Craft Markets are everywhere now! Who knew they would be so ubiquitous 10 years ago? Schools have them, organizations have them for fundraisers, and maybe, your city has a monthly one in the summer, not to mention the bajillion ones that pop up during the holidays (or holidaze)! But don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I love nothing more than trolling a flea or craft market! So many cool, creative things in just one place. It’s like a mall, except more creative and the money goes to everyday makers or folks. Also, you can find some truly unique items for that special present, a bespoke necklace, a specially made clock, the perfect spun ceramic coffee mug. I have seen all of these beautiful things at recent markets. The sky is the limit.
Anyhow, as a maker or crafter with an online business, whatever you prefer to call yourself, it’s difficult to differentiate yourself at times from the truly thousands of makers on Etsy, Artfire, Instagram and everywhere in between. Standing out can be easy when you come up with a new product, item or pattern, yet after a few months, you can see a marked decrease in your latest item sales due to the copycat syndrome. Folks who see what you make, and decide they will make it as well since your item is flying off the internet shelves. Or maybe you aren’t getting as many sales as you would like. So, what’s a maker to do?! The design phase can be so difficult, and laborious. To come up with something new every month, or so can become creatively taxing and discouraging. Adding new products weekly can be costly. But don’t despair though, there’s hope! You can sign up or apply to sell at your local craft market or flea market!
Markets have been around forever, and I am not trying to pretend as if they are truly new. Many countries commonly have a few or more markets always going year round for local artisans to sell their wares, foods and everything in between, yet it is a relatively new thing in the States in the last decade or so. Yet you didn’t click here to get a history lesson on markets, you clicked for some pro tips, so let’s get started.
The Tips from Good to the Best:
5. Focus in on a few main items and Make them Great. It’s important to focus on quality and quantity of some best sellers. Preferably 3 items that are easy to transport to the Market. You don’t want to get too overwhelmed with making too many things, and rushing through quality.
4. Plan Your Booth Set up and Make it Stand Out. You want your booth to look inviting and like a place that someone wants to come in and spend some time in. Have your displays organized and set up in such a way that folks can easily navigate your booth. Put something out in front, or at the entrance that is a conversation starter. Something folks want to touch, pick up or is thought-provoking. At one of my best markets, I had a macrame Christmas tree out front. Everyone either wanted to talk about it, touch it, or learn more about me as the maker as they had never seen something like it.
3. Clearly Mark your prices and have different price points. Customers don’t want to guess at prices or have to hunt them down. That can be quite uncomfortable. Also, make sure you allow for a small discount if they buy more than one of your items. People love a deal, and a business owner who is willing to give one. Additionally, have various priced items. Some easy grab-n-gos, and some higher priced offerings.
2. Be prepared! Show up on time and be set up on time. Also, make sure you have enough business cards, money, bags, a mirror if someone needs to see how something looks on, and once again, enough items, etc. Make sure you take alternate forms of payment.
1. Put yourself out there! Welcome folks into your booth, invite them in, talk with them about whatever. People like buying from those who take an interest in them or make it feel easy. Don’t get discouraged when it is slow, and be ready when it is popping. Also, make sure customers know how to reach you online, or if you offer custom work, be sure to tell them that. Make sure you brand yourself. Some won’t buy that day, but they will buy from you online, or in the future if they know you are local and were friendly.
Anyhow, I hope that helps you if you are new to making, or are trying to find other ways aside from online to make money at your craft. There are slumps in online sales, and no better way to make some quick money by going out to the market, and be there in person. You will find some items that sell slowly online, sell quickly at markets. Believe in you, and don’t be afraid to get out there. Markets are fun in the first place, why not make some cash and have a blast!