Behind the Market Table: Part One

I’m part of a few crafting groups on Facebook, and I’ve been seeing a number of posts from crafters heading to their first markets. They’re looking for tips.

There’s lots of people offering tips on how to set up your displays. You can check Google or Pinterest or whatever tickles your fancy.

But people tend to forget about what you’ll need behind your table. Some things are obvious. Bags, or some other packaging so customers can carry your products. A cash float (tip: if you don’t have to charge sales tax, make your prices all whole dollar amounts, so you don’t need to bother with small change.) But let’s go over a few other things you might want to bring that no one seems to think of. These are general things that any crafter will find useful, for indoor or outdoor markets.

Scissors: Yes, the humble scissors. They don’t have to be large shears. I actually have dog grooming scissors in my box, because they were handy. But most markets I go to, someone asks to borrow scissors at least once, but no one else has any. Don’t be the person scrambling for scissors.

Tape: I pack four kinds of tape in my box. Yes, four. Scotch tape, double-sided tape, packing tape, and dry-erase duct tape (it’s really cool, y’all.) I bring so many because there isn’t one tape that’s good for everything. I’m actually considering packing masking tape and regular duct tape, to make sure ALL my bases are covered. Anyway, again, people ask for tape all day. And I wind up using it pretty often, too.

Sharpies: Bring at least a black one. This isn’t as commonly asked for as tape and scissors, but it does happen.

Notepad: Someone may ask for some paper. But more likely, this will be something you’ll use. One of the things I do at markets is take notes. What people are looking at but not buying, what is selling best, what people are asking for, what took too long to set up, what displays are unstable. Any ideas you come up with while you’re sitting at your table.

Portable Battery and Charging Cords: These are a must if you use your phone to process transactions. The last thing you need is to lose sales at the end of the day because your phone’s battery died. Make sure the battery is charged a night or two before (I don’t recommend charging it overnight, in case you forget to pack it.)

These are things you’ll need at any kind of market. Other things I pack are an assortment of pens, some dry erase markers, paper clips, binder clips, sticky tack, and post-it notes. I use the calculator on my phone if necessary (another reason to keep that battery charged.)

Of course, you should also pack necessary personal-use items. I keep a bottle of Aleve in my box, because my joints and tendons are crap. I also make sure I have lip balm and my Fiddlestick. I always forget to pack a hair elastic. So make sure you pack anything you need to get through a long day standing and lifting.

I keep all these things in my market bag at all times, so I don’t have to think to pack them (the exception being the battery. I cart that around in my purse.) It makes the night-before prep a little easier.