Disclaimer: These are tips based on what we have observed after doing many markets. Following these tips does not guarantee success, but it is our opinion that they help.
A Good Attitude: It may sound trite, but this is the most important thing you can bring. A lot can happen at a market. By taking your good attitude with you, you’ll be ready to engage with customers and work through the unexpected.
MAKE A LIST: This will help you not forget what you need each week.
White Canopies: White canopies, set at a tall height, with or without side walls, are light & bright. This is inviting to the public. (They are required for the Daybreak Farmers Market)
Branded Canopies: If your company has a professionally branded canopy, these are good, also. Be sure they are at least 10X10, and keep them at a full height.
Practice: Practice setting your booth up at home a couple of times. This will help to work out kinks for setting up at the market and will let you figure out your layout before crunch time. Practicing also lets you know what you need to do to be more efficient at packing.
Chair: It may seem obvious, but don’t forget it
Tables: Practice setting up your booth a couple of times to see what size and quantity of tables you’ll need
Product Placement: Consider where your product would be in a store. Would it be where shoppers would browse or on the checkout item as an impulse buy? Soaps, slime, candy, produce, and other food do well when they’re right up front (in people’s face). Place the items in an appealing display on a table at the front, and sit behind the table.
Think Vertically: Folding shelves, crates, and even the boxes you bring products in can add variety to your booth and space for products.
Visually Appealing: Make your booth look good!
Invite them in: If your product/set-up is such that people are to enter the booth, ensure it is easy for them to do so. Place your chair where you are not hidden and can engage.
Engage: Make eye contact with those passing by. Be courteous and personable.
BE PRESENT!!! Put the Phone Down: You are there to SELL. Even if your product “sells itself,” it won’t if one is sitting down, staring at their phone (it’s actually a rule at our markets not to use the phone other than for transactions and for brief communication). People don’t want to interrupt, and sales will be lost.
Prepared Food Vendors: Make sure you have all your licenses on hand, the required ones posted, and follow all Health Department guidelines.
Weights: Most markets, at least in Utah, will require at least 25# weights )per canopy leg), and many of them require more. Get the weights. It's not worth risking not being allowed into the market or having your canopy get damaged from the wind.
Payment Systems: Have an electronic payment system. Make it easy for people to pay you. Print out QR codes for the systems you use.
Counterfeit Pen: Make sure you have one of these to ensure you don’t accept counterfeit cash.
Social Media: Post! Post! Post! The market will gain popularity with all the vendors posting, and everyone will do better.
Weather: If participating in outdoor markets, realize that your promoter has been hoping and praying for good weather, but cannot control it, so be prepared for WHATEVER may come.
Table Weights: If you have items that can tip easily, especially with the wind, find a way to keep them in place.
Bags (even if it’s just plastic grocery bags): So people can carry everything they want to buy from you.
Be Flexible: Things can change at a moment's notice at a show - this is normal.
Cash: Bring some cash to start with (and a money box or apron with pockets)
Battery Powered Fan/Mister: Seriously lifesaving on hot days!
Propane Heater: You’ll be so grateful to have this at outdoor winter markets!
Bring Help (if you can): Leaving your booth to use the restroom, get food, or shop is difficult when you don’t have a 2nd person.
Branding Signage and/or Tablecloth: Let people know who you are and what you’re selling. Include your website/social media and a way to contact you.
Trash Can: You'll use it even if you’re not selling food.
Insurance: If someone gets hurt because of your booth/product, you are the first person that will be sued. Protect yourself! We have seen microburst winds suddenly snap a canopy and send things flying. Life is unpredictable, so be as prepared as possible.
Wagon or cart: If you have to haul your booth to your space, do yourself a favor and do it with wheels!
Power Banks: Bring one or more power banks for your phone or tablet so you don’t run out of power
Medicine (ibuprofen or whatever you prefer)
Floor mat (seriously helps with feet/leg fatigue!)
Toolbag, or multitool
Non-white or Branded Canopies: These canopies are often shorter and not as spacious. They have a '“cave-like” feel, which is uninviting, especially when coupled with side walls. This is your business, do it a great big favor and get the white canopy.
Barricade: If your booth requires that you be in front of it, be sure to be engaging and personable. If you have kids at the booth, keep them where they won’t impede people from entering the booth or approaching the product. Don’t block your product!
Phone use: Again, put the phone down.