Friday, March 11, 2016

To Market to Market !

Recently I read an article on Facebook that was singing the praises of a new platform for small businesses/SAHM /creatives/farmers on which all of these people could make an income.
 The article inferred that having a market stall, be that a handmade, a farmer’s market, a trash and treasure, a craft fair or even one where you can sell a car boot, was a new idea, one that was going to be the saving grace to all those with something to sell.
It got me thinking about how the market scene has changed over that last 8-10 years in particular and most importantly how people’s perception of markets has changed.
My, how the market scene differs to the one I started out in so many years ago.
Oh yes, didn’t you know markets have been around since Jesus was a lad, which was well before my time. No longer do farmers bring their crops and livestock to the village market to sell to make an income for their family…oh hang on yes they a slightly different manner…we call those Farmers markets.
You see selling your goods at market is not a new idea, however the style and venue of markets has changed dramatically which may have been what the author of the article had mistaken for a completely new idea.
The thought of visiting a market on the weekend no longer brings up visions of Trash and Treasure markets (where often there was a lot more trash than treasure and it was more akin to a massive garage sale). Nor are visions of the humble street stall run by the local CWA, P&C or local church, the first thing that springs to mind.
These sorts are ‘markets’ on a Saturday morning were usually a big bake up of sorts with delicious treats made by the best cooks in the town in seemed, as they always seem to me to be new to my palette and just plain delicious. You might also be able to get a potted plant or a bit of knitting, all of which raised funds for the group holding the stalls.
Over the last decade, hundreds of new markets have sprung up, all with a new take on the humble street stall or Trash and Treasure. The venues have been varied, the local school, halls, sports centres, carparks, event centres and any available piece of land that can fit a few gazebos on.
Unfortunately, many of these markets were short lived and quickly replaced by another new entrepreneur, eager to run a successful market and rake in all those stall fees.
As with every newcomer, new ideas are plentiful at the start of their market career and with all our new social networks, it is easy to make the market sound attractive and groundbreaking and one of its kind, just by having a pretty Facebook page.
However, without true passion to create events that are as good in reality as they are on our screens, these markets often falter at the first hurdle.
Insurances, venue hire, advertising, signage and the sheer volume of man/woman hours needed to bring a market to life, often pushes the price of stall fees beyond affordability and if the stall site prices are too low then often something is lacking in one of those areas.
Being a new stallholder in a new market that promises the world is hard work. Whilst your product might be fantastic and your sales on social media very promising, it takes more than just one market event for you to become well known on the market circuit. Unfortunately, that also means that your sales may be woeful for the first few markets until people get to know you and your product.
They also have to get to know about the new market, so it becomes difficult as a new stallholder on two counts.
I think it is fair to say that if you are venturing out into the market world as a new stall holder, you need to do your groundwork first, visit markets both in real life and on screen, what is the theme of the market and does your product fit in? Perhaps if you have a product that is already available at a particular market that you would really like to attend, how can you make your product differ?
Once you decide on a market you wish to attend as a stallholder you have to treat yourself as a new business. Just like any new retailer you have to look at your prices and your overheads and the reality that it might take a while to make a profit.
Many, many stallholders do make a small income to enable them to be able to supplement their family income and perhaps stay at home, create and be a SAHM (or dad) and I admire them.  They have done the hard yards though, been patient and built up their little stall over the years.  There have been many failed products along the way until they find their own niche within their niche market, but they are creative people who don’t let a few bad days define their business.
There are many whos work is so professional that in theory and on paper they could probably give up their day jobs and make a handsome living but the security of that weekly pay check holds them back. They are the envy of many a  hobbyist who attends a market as a stallholder.
So whilst markets are not a brand new shiny way of making money, they might be new to you and your business or product and I wish you luck.
Good word of mouth and self-promotion are awesome tools to possess and if you find a market that gives you feel good vibes and encourages you, you are well on your way to being successful.

If this article has your creative juices flowing and you are considering a stall at a niche handmade market with a proven track record and a national award winning resume,  then please google Handmade Markets Queensland to find The Handmade Expo in the top google rankings, page after page. 
The owners will welcome your application with open arms and will nurture your creativity and offer a long term relationship with great customer service and respect.


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