Reflection is important!

Reflection is so important to business growth, its vital especially for small business' to reflect on the positivity that makes everything tick smoothly like clockwork, as well as the bumps in the road to each trading day. I wanted to catch up and have a little reflection on selling at the markets, on what works and what may not work. I felt this

was important because I meet a lot of new makers asking for advice and a lot of customers who give me feedback on each market they visit. As you all know I love to chat and get some feedback to constantly see where improvements need to be made. Obviously, there are always things out of my control that people say they would like but it is impossible for me to achieve everything, saying that, if I can make changes for the better, I do. It’s also clear to me that some makers at the market may want to benefit from this feedback too. so here goes: Please when reading this bear in mind that some things may work for one person and not for another and there are things that never work but I see people do them all the time all the time, like sitting down behind your stall looking bored. this one thing will never get you sales! Ultimately please take from this the parts that may help you and your small business, we are all individual and unique please remember this. It is always important to me that everyone has a successful day at the market and that doesn't always mean in a monetary sense, I will explain more about that in a bit, but I am hopeful some of this will help in one way or another. Some of you are new to selling your makes so these pointers may be more relevant to some of you than others, and some may find these just a good reminder. So, I can see seven points to selling at the markets that are good good practise: 1.Deciding on a product, choosing a market When you first have that light bulb moment and you decide to start selling your beautiful products, please try to stay away from the idyllic image in your head of being sat down chilling out behind a stall and when the market doors open, you sit back and let people hand over their hard earned cash…well..... it’s not like that at all. There is so much more that people don’t see behind the scenes. You need to remember always, that all successful products have a target audience who need to constantly be considered as your business evolves. Its best to write down who you think that audience might be, this will help you to think about cost and product suitability and viability and this will lead you to many other questions you need to answer before you continue. One mistake many people make is thinking they need hoards of stock and lots of variety, this just isnt always the case well certainly not to begin with. You will first need to figure out what people are looking for on your stall, have a variety of the same category rather than lots of different products, this helps to give your stall an identity, you will be known as the cake stall, or the bag stall etc and makes you memorable, if you have a bit of jewellery, knitting, woodcraft, cards and textile, your stall can start to look a little jumble sale like, you need to try to stick within one or a maximum of 2 categories if they compliment each other. Here is a list of things you need to consider before you book your stall: Products – Don’t get complicated Category – Stick to 1 or 2 maximum Cost – Make sure you have low cost items as well as high end, not everyone will spend big on a whim Business name – Make it catchy and memorable, think about the initials (no one wants their business initial to be BJ or similar and google the name you choose, check no one else has a business of the same name Logo – Make it unique and relevant to what you sell Contact info – You will need to have business cards or flyers; people like to take away your contact details in case they decide they want to buy after the market Payment system – Having cash only now is not good business sense, not many people carry it anymore, there are lots of card reader companies you can choose from, check their charges and you shouldn’t pay more than £20 or £30 for the devise itself. Sum up, izettle are just two of them. Packaging – People like to take their purchases in a bag, think environmentally friendly, paper bags are popular and is a good way to get your logo on something customers can take away for others to see on their route home, its great advertising. When you book your stall make sure you bring to the market the products for the category you booked into, I for one like to make sure there are as few cross overs between makers as I can, this helps to prevent any competitive feelings and helps everyone to work together to make the market have a lovely atmosphere. If you suddenly decide to add something to your stall that you hadn’t mentioned when booking, please check with me before adding it to your stall or check the room to make sure no one else is selling the same. Please remember when choosing your market company like New Forest Makers Markets or Mynt image for example, what will work for one person may not work for another, some locations are great for one type of stall and others it just doesn’t work, please remember this is not the fault of the organiser. Footfall is something I always get asked about, I view footfall numbers as false feedback on making a successful market, you can have a quiet market with traders main big sales and a super busy market with minimal sales. This is also not the fault of the organisers this what I call an uncontrollable, and us market organisers are all more often than not, makers ourselves. Importantly we are all small business owners doing our best to earn a wage whilst giving you guys a platform to sell your wonderful products, we are passionate about handmade and appreciate your talents. Essentially, we ask you to remember that we are human and if you have an issue or a question, we will much prefer you come and chat to us, our business is our livelihood and spreading kind words on social media is what we love to see. 2.Planning, preparation I am sure you will all agree, being prepared, and organised in our everyday lives is what helps the cogs tick smoothly. Well, markets are no different. Artisan markets are not the place to turn up and chuck a wrinkly cloth sheet over the table, lay your products out flat and sit waiting for customers to hand over their money. There is a knack to it, and you will learn with every market you do. I have lovely stall holders who have been selling for years and they still tell me they are learning all the time. So, when you are in your research phase, please do come along to the market, chat with the traders, ask them about their experiences and ask them for advice, we are all in this together and certainly at my markets, I don’t have competitiveness, we work as a team to create a wonderful experience for our customers. Planning your layout before the market is vital, whilst planning make notes about what works and what doesn’t, before and during the market day to help you improve each time. Your market stall will evolve, don’t be scared to ask other traders about layout, photographers and artists often have a great eye for what works as they have to think of composition a lot. Think about your target audience and what might catch their eye, encouraging them to stay longer at your stall, practice your layout more than once, take photos and see what looks most pleasing, think about height laying everything out flat on the table never works! Ask friends which layout they find most enticing and intriguing and what will draw them in. Remember more frequently, less is more and your display needs to not detract from your products if you have too many props’ people will struggle to know what’s for sale and what’s decor. Once you have chosen a layout make a list of all the things you need to have on the day: Table cover Price labels Stationary Flyers/business cards Props Payment machine Change Phone charger and lead Lunch Flask of coffee Notepad You can use this list as a starter, everyone has different needs so this won’t be everyone’s final list. 3.Promoting Promoting the market isnt just the market organisers responsibility, if every maker shared information and adverts in a minimum of 7 groups on Facebook alone think how many more people will find out about the market. Its all about spreading the word, add about the market on your socials, pin them to your stories and to the top of your pages, all of this helps to the success of the day. Yes, we organisers advertise but the councils make this very, very difficult now, I have tried to be creative in my thinking when it comes to advertise, but posters along roads and on lampposts and on bikes are likely to get us thousand pound fines for each one so I have recently been informed, different areas also have rules about buskers and people handing out flyers. These rules mean we are left with having to shell out huge fees out of any small business range to advertise in papers/magazines on radios/ and to pay marketing companies, all of which means the business becomes not financially viable to run. This means we are only left with 3 advertising routes, small local magazine advertising, social media, and word of mouth. I hope this helps you to see why it is so very important for you guys to spread the word as much as we do. I was reading an article recently by blogger ANDREA J. STENBERG and she confirmed something I had heard previously and that was about the rule of 7, she said: ‘The Rule of Seven is an old marketing adage. It says that a prospect (customer) needs to see or hear your marketing message at least seven times before they take action and buy from you. Now the number seven isn’t cast in stone. The truth of the Rule of Seven is you can’t just engage in a marketing activity and then be done. Marketing must be an on-going process in order for it to be successful.’ I see this so often; I advertise profusely but I hear people say as they walk past the front of the market ‘oh yes, I saw about that. and they sometimes walk on by, but I know they have now registered that we are there and although they haven’t gone in the market straight away, I know they will visit soon. The more they see my adverts on social media and at the entrance of each market, the more curious they will get and eventually I know they will visit. So please, share, share, share even if you can see that I or someone else has shared about it in a group. If I could have our markets visible from 7 people in each Facebook group, I know our visitor numbers will grow and hopefully your sales too. Photos, ok so we need to talk photos, when promoting on social media you all need to have good photos, this is so important. Customers need persuading to visit, and we do this with visual queues hence why the importance. If you are not great with them and don’t know where to start ask someone, this brings me to a wonderful photographer who wants to help other makers to get great photos at a reasonable cost, let me introduce you to Keith Elcombe, many of you will have met him at my markets, his background is in marketing and is a talented photographer. He has some great tips and knows the importance of selling your products through photos Keith is looking to offer a discounted rate for members of NFMM if they would like him to photograph their products for marketing purposes, such as providing photos for website and social media use, and/or printed media. This could be photos of your stand as you have it for craft fair use, or individual products that you sell. In the meantime, Keith would like to know if anyone is interested in such an offer. Keith would travel to your location as long as it is a reasonable distance from where he is based in Andover. Please get in touch with him if you need help and let him know you are an NFMM trader. Aside from his wildlife photography website, Keith has another website catering for his freelance work. That can be found here: His rates page gives you an idea of his usual fees, but this would be significantly discounted for NFMM members, and Keith is happy to work with customers to come up with a suitable package. Note that Keith would photograph your wares and process the photos in order to provide you with a final version that you could then use as you wish. (Note that expressing an interest is not seen as a commitment to employ Keith’s services. 🙂) you can see Keith's wildlife photography by searching for @keithelcombephotography

4. Market morning/ read info legislation Okay, so it’s the night before the market and you are excited about the day ahead, I’m going to recommend one thing… GET SOME SLEEP! You will have practiced and photographed your layout for reference, packed your car and been promoting the market for the week before, the day will be tiring so its important to have a relaxing evening the night before and importantly re-read the information pack, its so important as it gives you the times and notes about each venue, its important not to arrive too early and to know where to park. I can’t stress enough how important it is to read these notes no matter how many times you have sold at the market, you don’t want to miss any changes that may have been made since the last information pack was sent out. Make sure you have read about the guidance/ legislation regarding your products long before the markets, there is a guide to these on my website if you are unsure. Products like children’s toys, food, silver all have requirements you must meet in order for you to sell them anywhere.

5. layout/ refer to practise When you arrive at the market, please remember we are all in this together, if you are unsure about anything, please ask. Everyone is so friendly, and everyone has nerves. If you need to check anything with me, please do come and chat. I do my best to go round to speak with everyone several times throughout the day as well as organising and trouble shooting where necessary, but I’m honestly super happy to stop and check in with you if you need me longer. Make sure you look at your layout before you start and take a breathe, don’t worry if you have forgotten anything as I’m sure someone else can help you, I also have an array of stationary etc you can use. 6.Selling Okay so just because you make stunning products doesn’t mean you can sit back and not sell. When I say sell, I don’t mean you have to sell like a fruit seller on a street market. What I mean is, be open to conversation, smile and be welcoming. Time after time I see traders sitting behind their table and looking at their phones making potential customers not want to stop and interrupt them. PLEASE don’t be the one sitting down behind your stall looking bored especially when there are lots of people walking through the door, this stance doesn’t make you approachable and will affect your sales. You only need to make light conversation to keep them at your stall, remember the conversation doesn’t even need to be relevant to your products it can be about anything, my theory is: the longer you keep them chatting means the longer their eyes are scanning your table, which in turn means they are more likely to buy from you, something might catch their eye or they just may not buy this time, but they will remember you and are more than likely to come back and buy from you another time, remember the rule of 7!

Success!, remember at the beginning of this that I said I want you all to have successful market days and not necessarily in monetary terms, well success at a market can be in the form of: *Networking with other traders, *Finding out about other markets and shows, *Getting tips on layouts *Discovering products to help you build your business. *Creating an opportunity to collaborate with other creators Getting your brand out there also means a potential for other forms of business and the potential for opportunities to stock your products in places you hadn’t considered, the more you are seen, the more trust and report you will build with potential customers means they are more likely when looking for that one gift to contact a memorable maker… you! Sales don’t always happen on that one day, every market you are at gives you the potential for sales later in the year, and if people know the markets you are attending you will build a following who come back time after time. so, success may not mean you will earn hundreds at every market at the beginning, be patient, and view every day you network and chat with potential customers as success. 7. Pack down/ promote You have made it to the end of the day, and you’ve had a successful day! You have: Smiled Chatted Stood up till your feet ache …. but you have also Laughed Made new friends Made sales Connected with new potential customers and now you are ready to go home, but the most important thing is to carefully pack everything away, so you don’t have to re-do it when you get home. Now is the time to keep those business cards you've been collecting from others safe in your notebook for connecting later and make sure you jot down last minute reminder notes so you can follow up any leads you have. Check your table is clear and you have all your belongings and you have taken your rubbish home with you. Again, promote whilst its fresh in your mind, post on your socials a thankyou to anyone who visited your stall today, customers love to see this, it is another opportunity to keep you fresh in their minds. And the last thing is to go home and relax happy. If you have read this far well done and thank you for reading my words. If you have any tips Ive not covered here that you would like to share, please do comment on my Facebook post that has a link to this blog page, all tips are valuable to someone, and your tip may very well be what inspires someone to dive in and sell at the market with us. Don’t forget to contact Keith if you are interested in getting help with photos too. Just a little reminder, at the moment I am filling up all April/May and June market spaces ONLY. If your category says it is full on the website and you would like to join me at the market please email me, there are spaces available, it just means I need to check your products dont overlap another stall already booked in. or chat on the website: I really hope these pointers help you all even in some small way to achieve successful market days! Happy crafting and selling everyone See you all soon Kerri

“Success doesn't always refer to monetary terms, it can also be about the people you meet and about having a positive day”. - K Brock -

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