Today we’re sharing ten tips for running a market stall or craft fayre stall from the folks behind The Soap Kitchen. It’s great advice for anyone tempted to take the plunge and turn their handcrafted creations into a small business as a sole trader – be it soap-related or not!
There is a lovely sense of community and a buzz of activity when you go to a fayre or market and look around at everyone’s wares on display. There is always a chance that you could find something suitable for yourself or a family member.
If you make and sell soap and toiletry products then you may consider running your own stall or table at a fayre or market. A well-organised fayre or market is certainly great for local promotion and a good way to find potential new customers. Here are ten tips for running fayre or market stall.
Make a nice display
You need to draw people to your table with something that is on their eye level like a shop window pulls people into a shop. Use suitable containers on their sides or display shelving to add height to your product display. Make sure it’s stable and not going to fall over easily if knocked. Practice on your own table so you know where you might put things and have a couple of different arrangements in case what works in one venue doesn’t work in another.
Look tidy and professional
Don’t use a tablecloth that’s has a pattern or design on it as it will be too distracting from your products. Maybe one in the colour of your logo or just a plain light or dark colour. It needs to be big enough to cover the table and flow down the front of the table and the sides so that it just touches the floor. You can leave the back of the table to the floor uncovered and you will be able to store boxes, extra stock or any other bits under the table hidden away from the customers. Dress smartly and business like.
Stand up and be approachable
There is nothing more off putting than the prospect of approaching a stall where the seller is sat down looking bored and disinterested. The only time you might be sat down is if you are working on a product related project that could draw potential customers in to enquire about it.
Start a conversation
Break the ice with a ‘Hello’ or ‘How are you today?’. Craft and arty people are not salespeople but if you own a small business you need to do all the different types of jobs that are required to run a business. Any purchase comes with a bit of chit-chat as your customer needs to get to know you before they will trust you and buy from you. Be friendly and approachable. A good impression will last where a bad impression will mean they probably pass you by next time and certainly won’t let others know about you.
You are your brand
Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself and your products. Be proud and confident about what you make and sell. We can all be a bit modest about our achievements. You are a business, not just a hobbyist. Don’t be shy and show your knowledge and expertise about your products and how you made them.
Signs and prices
Have some eye catching signs so people will know who you are. Be bold and in tune with your brand. Keep your pricing clear so people can easily see it and work it out themselves. People have come to buy so make it easy for them otherwise they won’t bother.
All your products should be labelled with the correct information on them and you have branded them with your logo. It also worth thinking about what you hand to the customer once they have made a purchase. A paper bag with your logo on it gives a better impression and look more professional than an old supermarket plastic bag. You could possibly also have a leaflet or voucher that might bring them back to you or your website.
Legal paperwork and insurance
Make sure you have the right legal paperwork in place. You need to have product liability insurance and right licenses or certificates depending on the products you sell.
Make sure you have an easy to open money box. A lockable money box that allows you to put the different coins in different sections and keep your notes out of sight is a sensible choice as it also keeps everything secure. Also, make sure that you have a selection of coins to be able to give people some change depending on the cost of your products. For example, you might find you run out of pennies if everything you sell is not around £1 or has 99p at the end.
It’s also worth considering offering the customer the ability to take credit/debit card payments. That way you don’t lose a customer who hasn’t brought enough cash when they see the perfect product on your stall. Many fayres and markets offer the facilities that you can easily set up through PayPal or other mobile solutions through other providers.
Pen and paper
It’s always good to have a pen and notebook or paper to hand. You might need to write down stock you have sold, a note for a potential customer or details of a customer because they want to buy from you but are unable to make their purchase right now and you will send information to them.
With thanks to Richard for sharing the original post from Soap Making Magazine, the official blog of The Soap Kitchen.
The Soap Kitchen stock an unrivalled selection of ingredients for soap making, toiletry and cosmetic making and candle making supplies. Richard Phillips and the team also run Soap Making Magazine, official blog of The Soap Kitchen, which is home to a host of information, tutorials and recipes.
The views expressed in our blog are those of the author and not necessarily lowimpact.org's
1John Harrison September 27th, 2018
“A paper bag with your logo on it gives a better impression and look more professional than an old supermarket plastic bag.” Really? How’s the environment feel about that? ?
2Mike Eaton September 27th, 2018
John I can see no problem using paper bags rather than any form of plastic beit an old supermarket bag or otherwise. Lets face it paper bags are after all biodegradable whereas plastic generally is not! Add to this I find that the majority of small hobby/businesses tend to be people who are highly environmentally motivated, I’m sure you’d agree with that.
3Dave Darby September 27th, 2018
There are worse things I think John. I imagine that some customers (me, for example), would say don’t bother putting it in a bag at all – I’ll put it straight into my bag. The most important thing for me is diverting people away from multinationals (who wrap their soaps anyway), to the non-corporate economy. If that requires a paper bag with a logo on it to sell soaps, then so be it, I guess.
4Jan September 27th, 2018
I found the sort of apron that holds money to be invaluable for keeping earnings safe when working by myself. Sadly it is just too easy to be distracted….