The Blame Game

There are many people in the same boat as you right now. You start up a business, want to make lots of $$ and set out a business plan to make those $$. You put everything into it – time, money, energy. You sacrifice family events, sleep and possibly a meal on the table just to make one more product or pay for that all important advertising to get your name and little biz out there.

These days one of the best and most strategic ways to advertise and get your name out there is through the market scene, and especially here in SA we have an abundance of markets to help you do just that. We are spoilt for choice some might say. But is it the right choice for you? You know the drill – you apply to a market, get the acceptance, pay your fee, sew/bake/create like a mad person, only to be disheartened on the day that you didn’t make anywhere near the $$ of what you expected. Your products are awesome;  your stall looked great; so it must be the markets fault right – who wouldn’t want what you have to offer? Now we’re not denying that your products are awesome, or that your stall isn’t great, but is it really the markets fault if someone didn’t spend their hard earned cash on your particular stall? What’s the old saying – you can lead a horse to water…..

The biggest and (and most important) task of the market organisers is to get people through the doors – simple. This is of course done through advertising, word of mouth, flyers, editorials, posters, signs, banners, social media outlets – pimping at it’s best. But not all markets were created equal – there are some markets that perhaps that aren’t as popular as others granted, but who’s to say that one person can’t walk in with money burning a hole in their pocket and maybe you have just what they want! The trick is to convert your thinking – how am I going to make that person come and spend their money on my stall? The important thing is – don’t give up, especially after just one! Markets ARE an awesome way to spruik your wares.

We have compiled some thoughts and our TOP TIPS to get you looking at how markets CAN work for you and what you need to do before giving up!

Give it Another Go! Never give up after just one market. Yes it’s deflating but you should always give a market at least 3 goes before deciding not to go back. Try applying at different times of the year too – it may be that your item is more suited to certain times of the year (eg summer/winter/Christmas etc) Don’t judge on the first try!

A Must See! Go to the market first – why apply for a market if you have never been? The best way to judge if you will be successful at a market is to go there yourself. Look at what sort of products are currently there – will yours meet a gap? Look at the customers – are they young mums or are they more of the retiring age? Which ones will buy your product?

Listen to the Noise – customers and stallholders TALK! Reputation plays a huge part in the success or failure of a market. If people like a market and have had a good experience then they will let you know. In fact they would probably tell anyone who would listen. This is also the case if the situation was reversed – people are the first to tell you if they are not happy! Best option – refer to point 2!

So What Do I Get? – does the market offer you advertising? If it does then grab it – hard! Now this doesn’t necessarily mean paying for more advertising. Social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allow us all to show our products to a huge audience nowadays and if the market is offering you a shoutout, album, logo on their cover pic – ANYTHING – then don’t miss out. Most markets let you know about their intended advertising but it is up to YOU to follow through with it. If the market says send us a pic and some words – DO IT. If they say send me your logo and I’ll add it to an album – DO IT. It is not the market’s responsibility to chase people for these tasks. You cant expect them to guess what you want to show the world, how much it is, what colours you have – because Murphy’s Law says even if they did, they will probably choose the one you don’t want to advertise!

Where Are We? – look at the demographic of the market – where is it based? Who is it aimed at? Don’t apply to a kids market if you sell mens cologne for instance – the people are there to shop for the kids let’s face it! Don’t just apply for markets in your local area. Branch out. If you know your current spending customers are from the northern suburbs then head there. Take yourself off to a country market – find some new customers who perhaps never heard of you or your product. Are you in a lower socio economic area? (yes we all have to admit that the truth is this does impact on sales) If so, then perhaps look at lowering your prices for the day? Offer a freebie – people will remember you for this too and may pop back onto your site for later purchases. And just sometimes they don’t have enough $$ left after buying food, face painting, entertainment etc so have different products at various prices – you might sell 100 things at $4 but only one at $50 – that’s profit right there!

If you’re still reading up to this point then it’s obviously you are serious about your business!

Sell Sell Sell – the whole point of going to a market is to sell right? Have a sale, offer pre orders to pick up – reward your customers who take the time to visit you at a market. Give them a reason to not miss you! The more of a sale/offer you have, the more likely they are going to come and visit you for fear of missing out! After all, if everything is still at retail price on your website/page, why would they bother coming out? Make them NEED it! If someone stops at your stall to look, remind them of your special, ask them are they perhaps looking for a gift? Are they after something for a boy or girl? They may not see what they are after straight away so point them in the right direction. Keep them interested and even offer a custom order on the day. Offer eftpos – its pretty easy these days with the introduction of PayMate on your phone. Some markets offer eftpos facilities too – remember to promote that on the day, it may make or break that important sale!

Shout it Out Loud – how are people going to know if you don’t tell them? If you are accepted into a market you tell everyone you know! Use your social media pages, send out emails to your client database. It’s important for the market to let people know you will be there, but not everyone follows the market pages – they follow YOU! So let your customers know where you will be and what they can get.

Make Me Pretty – you always hear chefs talking about how we eat with our eyes, well isn’t food more appealing when it looks good too? Nothing worse than something slapped on a plate with some gravy on top! The same goes for your stall. Find out the set up space allocated and work within it. Create a stunning visual effect, make yourself stand out. You want people to stop at your stall and not just walk past. Search on Pinterest for inspiration, use levels so it’s not all just plonked on the table, clearly label your business so people know who you are and wont forget easily! And sometimes you may not even use a table at all! Think outside the square, use ladders, chairs, dressers, blocks, crates, doors, racks – do something different!

No No’s – these are KEY to any market success! Don’t sit behind your stall and wait for people to approach you. Get in front of your stall – just because a chair is there doesn’t mean you have to use it. If someone is walking past say hi, let them know you have a special on today only, hand out a card – they might not stop straight away (they could have just arrived, want to check out your fellow stalls) but they will most likely come back to you if they know that you are there! Don’t play with your phone. By all means take a piccie of your stall, upload it to Facebook so everyone can see where you are and what your stall looks like but do all this before the market opens. Make sure you get there early to set up and allow yourself the time to do this and browse around too.

Even after all these points are taken into consideration and you do market after market and still no success, then it may be time to face some hard decisions. Is your product what people really want? Yes you may have something unique or out of the box, or you think you are meeting a need, but maybe it’s not something that appeals to others as it does to you. Look at how many similar stalls there are already out there – sometimes we think we are doing something very unique, you trundle off to a market and you find 10 other stalls doing the same thing! In this case its important to make YOUR stall the point of difference – why should they shop with you? Perhaps its different patterns, materials, colours, scents, sizes, or even just the price point. It’s always important to make sure you keep your products fresh and exciting, set up releases over certain times of the year (eg summer/winter), keep people wanting more!

The reality is though that not every market for you is going to be successful, no matter what you sell and if it is a success for you, then you are definitely doing something right (and please share your secret!) The important thing is not to give up! You may find that some markets work better for your product than others. There is no point attending a market aimed at the uni crowd and selling baby clothes, or selling handbags at a farmers market! It’s not going to benefit you or the market and think of all those other things you could have been doing on a Sunday afternoon? DO however keep reminding yourself of all the exposure you are getting. People who never knew you existed outside the world of Facebook, the people passing your stall, looking at your products, taking your business cards, the lovely comments – they may not have had the money on the day but a website is always available!

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Our Fab Feb Market – 2013

Who can believe that we would have a 40 degree day for our Feb market? We were super impressed with how many people we had coming through the gates – we sure do have some dedicated Lollipop shoppers and thank you for coming out in the heat to enjoy your day! Goes to show heat will never keep people away from Lollipop Markets! We would like to thank all of our wonderful stallholders – your dedication, enthusiasm and general love of our market make it something special for all of us – and the whole of Adelaide, to enjoy.

We have lots of exciting things happening at Lollipop HQ and stay tuned to our Facebook page and website to see more!

Every market we select an SA charity and with your gold coin donation at the gate, we are so happy to announce The Bow Tie Bears volunteers managed to raise a total of $3234 for Muscular Dystrophy SA! Pat on the back to the awesome people in SA who donate each time – we are so close to $30,000 total since the market inception! We are very proud of our fundraising achievements and are happy to be able to help out in some way. Our next market we are raising money towards Williams Syndrome Association of SA Inc.

Thank you again and we look forward to seeing you on May 19th!

Nicole & Kaye



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