I’m starting my blog posts with a bit of information I’ve learned from participating in local market events. I don't claim to be an expert at being a vendor since I only started in 2021 and I work full time so I’m unable to do weekday markets but they are definitely available if you have time and inventory for them.
Markets can be very successful and tiring but are each in themselves a learning experience. I’ve made many connections with other vendors, customers and businesses which was a blessing since I was new to the area. Finding events that fit your budget and be profitable can be tricky. It helps to keep a journal with notes of the markets you vend at and track notable pros and cons.
Farmers markets can be a great venue for some vendors, especially here in the Southern California area as they typically have a great turnout and are available in several towns. They take about 4 hours of your time, not counting the setup and breakdown.
If you’re contemplating markets you should definitely check some out prior to applying so you can get an idea of the layout, vendors and turnout.
There are large online event coordinators you can peruse for events in your area. A good nationwide organization is Eventhub. They provide details on markets across the country including market stats, demographics and projected attendance. The cost to vend can range in the hundreds but knowing these details can be helpful to plan your inventory. Although it's tempting, I don't like to gauge sales on the projected turnout as some smaller venues can be as successful as the larger ones. It all depends on the customers who show up to buy.
A street faire consists of attendees local to the immediate area along with their friends, family and businesses coming to support local and shop local, as well as tourists who may have happened upon the event or a traveler who seeks out street fairs when traveling. These are community events that may have races, school bands and other talent so there's a real sense of the local vibe.
Night markets are becoming more popular as they accommodate working families who want to get out in the evenings and they often include entertainment for the kids. Be sure you have adequate lighting available for when it gets dark.
Winery events can be lucrative since the wine club members usually attend and drink, eat and shop while getting to know the vendors. They are lovely venues if you have the opportunity to join one.
Be prepared to accept credit cards, Venmo, PayPal or any other method of payment, as well as cash. You can sign up with these apps for free and print out the QR codes so customers can scan, pay and be on their way. I print the QR Codes on a sheet and frame them so they're easily scanned. And remember to bring lots of business cards. People may not buy at the market but they may buy from your website or at another event. You may be contacted for a commissioned order down the road. If you have events planned throughout the year, bring flyers with the dates and locations so customers know where you'll be and can share it with friends/family. If you have a mailing list bring a notepad to collect names/emails for those who'd like to signup for your newsletter or blog.
Squareup.com provides the free credit card swipe connection. They also have a "cash drawer" management feature to track cash flow.
I'll be expanding on this blog but have to run for now. Stay tuned...
Thanks for reading and send any comments, questions or suggestions!