There are so many things to remember and think about when you are gearing up for a craft fair or artisan market. Whether its your first market or you have been doing them for years, in my experience, you always forget something! (I actually forgot my jewellery once!)
My philosophy when it comes to packing for a market is to be over prepared…very over prepared. You really never know what you’re going to be faced with once you get to the venue, and I have come to my fellow vendors rescue more times than I can count! (and who doesn’t love to be the hero for a few minutes!)
I have compiled a handy list to check before you head out to your next market. You can even print it here: Artisan Market Checklist-2
I have separated the list into 5 categories which helps me stay organized when packing up for a market.
- Chair – make sure your chair or stool is tall enough. You don’t want to be sitting down so low that your table and display are hiding you
- Table cloth / cover – floor length is best. There is nothing worse than being able to see all the boxes and storage stuff under the table.
- Risers & display props – visit my previous post about display ideas. Make sure your display has different levels for your customers eye to seek. No one wants to look at jewellery thats just laid flat on a tablecloth…BORING!!!
- Tent/canopy & weights (for an outdoor market) – If you are planning on doing a lot of outdoor events, make sure to invest in a good canopy. I have seen so many vendors struggle with cheep tents that fall apart the second time they are used.
- Lights – Even indoor events can have quite poor lighting. Investing in a couple small lamps that can either clamp or stand on their own is always a good idea. I attended one market a couple years ago, and the draping was so high and the lighting so dim that a number of vendors were practically in the dark! Plus jewellery always looks so beautiful when its brightly lit.
- Power bar & extension cord(s) – most venues will have limited plugs and rarely provide cords.
- Sign with your business name – You don’t have to break the bank on this one, or get something professionally printed. My sign was made by a talented vendor and is made of reclaimed wood. (I traded it for a ring!) If you do want something printed, VistaPrint has great deals on banners and signs
- Float – Make sure you have lots of small bills and change. (more is better! it only takes a couple customers paying with $20’s or $50’s to use up all your $5’s
- Cash box or apron – This one is really a personal preference. I don’t like to leave my cash unattended, so I use a small apron (okay…its pretty much a fanny pack! don’t judge, it works)
- Credit Card processor – there are a couple out there, but Square is awesome. Really easy to set up with low fees and the money gets deposited directly into your account.
- Receipt book – I use my receipts to keep track of my inventory, plus some customers really appreciate a proper receipt.
- Business cards – A MUST!!!! even if you print them at home, your customers will want to know how to contact you.
- Mailing list – Even if you don’t plan on sending emails out right now, it’s a smart idea to start a mailing list so eventually you can let your customers know whats happening with your business and where they can find you.
- Cell phone & charger – If you are using Square then it can run through your battery pretty fast. Having your cell phone with you is great to take a couple pics and post them on social media, but DO NOT play games or scroll through your Facebook feed at a market! Nothing turns customers off more than a vendor who doesn’t pay any attention to them!
- Bags & packaging/boxes – Think about how you want to present your brand. Putting your jewellery in a cute box as well as a small shopping bag with some tissue paper goes a long way. Getting some stickers printed with your logo or name to put on your boxes or bags is a nice touch too. That way every customer is advertising for you as they walk around.
- Lunch & snacks – Pick food that is tidy and without strong odours. No one wants to walk up to a vendor with sauce dripping down their chin, or with terrible garlic breath!
- Drinks – Staying hydrated is a must for long market days. I may or may not occasionally spike my morning coffee!
- Lip balm & handcream – Theres nothing worse than having dry lips when you are chatting up a storm. The hand cream doubles as a way to remove a ring thats stuck on a customers finger.
- Tylenol/Advil – Headaches and markets don’t go well together!
- Baby wipes & tissues – Its not always possible to leave your table or booth to wash your hands.
- Tools for quick repairs
- Tape (duct, masking & scotch) – remember better over prepared. You never know when one or all three of these types of tape will save the day
- Clamps, tacks, safety pins & paperclips – Great for malfunctioning displays and signs
- String/fishing line
- Velcro with sticky back – I can’t tell you what a life saver this product has been for me!
- Sharpie & pens – Bring a spare and a back up
- All your products you sell – organize them the night before to make sure you have adequate stock. You don’t want too many empty spaces in your display.
- Inventory/price list – Always take inventory after a market to make sure nothing is missing
- Price tags, signs or stickers – the choice is yours how and if you price your work.
- Easy project(s) to work on – Sometimes a market can take a while to get going or it will have slower times. Keeping your hand busy is great, but put your work down when customers approach…don’t ignore them!