Selling at a Market: Jo-Ami’s top tips and tricks!

Hi Jolene, great having you back on our blog – this time I’d love to ask you some questions to help other small businesses get into trading events! Firstly, how do you know when they are coming up? Are there Facebook groups you’re a part of?


Thank you for having me! I am on a lot of the market holder’s newsletters and keep an eye on social media for upcoming application dates for the markets as you need to apply for some quite far in advance. This is something to always keep in mind. I found the markets through seeing other makers taking part then doing my own research into where I think my brand fits. It’s great to reach out to fellow makers and designers and ask their experiences at markets and recommendations.


Is there an application process you go through for selling at a market?


Yes, there is usually an application form to fill in that requires info about yourself/the business. They could ask for an artist’s/designer’s statement regarding your business and what you do. They will ask contact details, if you have a website and social media so they can view your work. They will also ask for high quality images so they can use them in marketing for the event. Finally, they may also ask for a CV to see more information on the maker themselves.


Once you’ve secured a place at a trading event, what’s your first steps in making sure you’re organized?


I consider what has sold well at previous markets and what buyers are interested at the time, for example it depends what time of year the market is at that I will decide what products I will make more of. I will look at the time I have until the market and divide my time up in relation to the products I want to make. I will also consider colours and sizes that will work well. As I work in a made to order basis on some designs, I will organize these samples. All the products need labelled, and I then plan for how I will display everything.


How important is the presentation of your products at these events? Is this something you prepare in advance?


I think this is extremely important as it’s the first impression that you make on a person at a market and a lot of the time this may be someone that is new to your brand. So, it’s important to engage with the person, give a small overview of your brand and that you are there if they have any questions. You want to have your products displayed so everything can be seen but is not overcrowded, which is hard to do! I have edited my display each time I’ve done a market, looking at what works well and what doesn’t. I’ve even changed my display during the market if I think some pieces are being lost. Its also great to go round the market and look at other stands display to get ideas for what would work for you. I set up my display, so it has depth to it, for example you want products to be at different heights and use the full table space. I have my garment rail, small tabletop rail, clear tables in varying heights and sometimes take my mannequin too. I think I might need to get a small van at some point as my car seats are forever down.


When you’re finally set up and ready for sales – how important is it to interact with people as they browse? Should you have leaflets for people to take away?


It is important to get a good balance of engagement as you’ll know from being at a market as a customer, you can be out off easily if someone is in your face trying to sell. Have an easy introduction and opening sentence or question, for example “how are you today” or “have you travelled far to the market”, then you can introduce yourself, the brand and leave it with them should they have any questions or interest. I sometimes try pieces on to show customers that this is ok to do and invite more people over to have a nosey. I have my business cards and postcards on my table for people to take alongside a designers statement in a frame so someone can read about the brand if I’m not there or busy. 


Even if you don’t make as many sales at a market, do you think it’s still good to attend for brand awareness?


Yes, 100%! I think every market I’ve been at I’ve had at least one person purchase through my website after the market as they couldn’t stop thinking about that one piece or even just people starting to follow you on socials, it’s all worth it! If you have a nice display, people visiting the market ad other makers will share your work on socials and with friends. The more you do, the more you will get noticed. I LOVE supporting other makers at the markets and am very guilty of purchasing a few things whist there, but everyone supports each other and it’s great to get into and be involved in. YOU NEVER KNOW WHO WILL SEE YOUR WORK OR WHAT OPPORTUNITIES THAT WILL COME TO YOU FROM OR THROUGH THE EVENT!


To learn more about Jo-AMI visit here.

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