Making Your Mark(et): Expert Advice from Seasoned Entrepreneurs

We asked our community on Instagram to help us answer the question “What is one piece of advice you would give a first time market vendor?” and they did not disappoint! 

Whether you are just starting out with markets or have been attending them for a few seasons, there are so many golden nuggets scattered throughout this post. You might notice a number of reoccurring suggestions from different business owners – take note of those!

We suggest you take a read through them all before heading to follow and network with the businesses who shared the most helpful advice.

Scroll to learn about the importance of preparation, creativity, curiosity, and attitude at market events from experienced business owners in the community:

Bring a wagon, do your display the day before and take a picture, do not hesitate to ask questions and have a good attitude.
Wexford Candle Co.
Do a dry run of booth set up at home. Get more data than you think you’ll need. Take battery chargers. Dress in layers.
Studio On Tenth
Interact! Start conversations and get to know customers and other business owners around you!! Pack strategically, Bring a lunch, Add price lists to your products and most importantly have fun!!
Ivy Lynne Home
Network with fellow Exhibitors! Lots of connections and great way to help each other out!
The West Coast Wellness Show
Bring a snack and water. Not all markets have food on site and you won't always have time to buy food even if there is.
Drunken Chocolatier
It is important to think about lighting! Some locations can have poor lighting and having enough light on your product helps with an attractive display and makes shopping easier for customers.
LG Leather Creations
Believe in yourself & focus on your goals! Do not compare yourself with any other vendors as you don’t know the way they came to being in the place they are right now! Just learn and make a list how improve your business in every market! And Connect! Connect! Connect! Don’t sit silent, make new vendor friends, we are all growing together and making the best local markets.
If you are using a square make sure to set up items with detail so when you are done your market you have data to look back on for what your best and worst sellers are.
The Hollow Bird
Don’t randomly buy a booth at an event without doing your homework first! We just created a post about the “Top 13 Questions To Ask an Organizer Before Purchasing a Booth at a Live Event”. This will save you a ton of money and time in finding success at live events.
Vendor Bridge
Network with fellow Exhibitors! Lots of connections and great way to help each other out!
The West Coast Wellness Show
Bring a chair and a mat if you are standing to keep your feet off the cold wet ground. Tell your story! People love hearing the journey you have been onto get to the market !!!
Natasha's Baked Goods
Test out your tech equipment like a week before ! A replacement square reader takes a week to come in the mail!
Diiana Studio
I know it’s hard but try to stay standing during the whole market and only sit when there’s no customers in sight. That way you look approachable and ready to greet any potential customers as they approach — it’s been my experience over 16 years of markets that the booths where vendors are standing and not scrolling thru their phones tend to be the busiest.
Dirty Bird Jewellery
Signage is EVERYTHING! We see many Exhibitors do a ton of work on their booths but neglect signage. It tells the most important part of your business before you open your mouth! Make it big enough to be read from a distance, always include a URL or QR code, and remember: always start with a YES question!
West Coast Wellness Show
Make your set up list and check it twice. Have fun!
Kootenay Cannoli
Don't worry too much about your set up, it always comes together. Bring your smile and a friendly greeting, show your potential customers you are happy to be there and just excited for them to come and say hi! Try not to sit as it appears you are less ready for your people than if you are stood up.
Lazy Maisie Creates
SUNSCREEN! Market sunburns are no joke! And be prepared for all weather; rain, lightening, wind, heat waves.
River Craft
Do a mock up at home then do a checklist as you put things away. Food water and a comfortable stool to sit on. Do not over clutter keep it simple. Make sure your tech is working the night before. Place all items to be taken in a designated space and give yourself extra time so you are not panicking.
HB Originals Art
Make a plan for all weather. You're going to set up in the rain, know how you'll protect your product and keep dry. Get to know your neighbours, you'll be standing along side of them for several hours. Have fun together!
That's a Good Cookie
Less is more. Simple solid color tablecloth.
Stab It Pretty
Don’t take it personally if someone chooses not to buy, and remember to have fun and enjoy people
Lazybones Art
Do your best not to have expectations. Try to enjoy it, be friendly, meet other vendors, and know that while occasionally someone has success right out of the gate, it usually takes time. If your first few markets are a disappointment, don't let it get you down. It can be hard, it took me quite a long time to know it was going to be fine, and I could just relax and not be bothered by an off day.
Sparkle Lily Jewels
Don’t overthink or sweat the small stuff. I worried so much about simple things in the beginning and it prevented me from just going for it and doing markets. Trial runs at home are great!
Okanagan Clothing Boutique
Write a really detailed supplies list and make sure to go over it. For my first market, we had clothing racks but we forgot the bar that connects them. So the next time, I put even the small details on my list! It's easy to miss something when loading so many things! I'd also say to arrive early if possible to make parking easier.
So Very Prairie Photography
1. Remember people pay in cash, bring change. 2. Everything needs to be online and working to receive payment, take a charger. 3. Chat with other vendors and collaborate!
LIXS Pet Pantry
Wear really comfy shoes. Work out your tech ahead of time and bring battery packs and cables. Put together a crossbody bag or fanny pack. Bring water and snacks. Keep your signage really simple and straightforward. Have fun!
Sherry McMilan Writes
A trolly will save your life. Collapsible displays. Snacks, coffee and friends!
Sweets Craft Boutique
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