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Topic: First time selling at market / craft fair (kinda long)  (Read 10840 times)
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sarah_1980
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« on: April 24, 2004 03:12:15 AM »

I'm considering going to a market to sell my handbags right?

So I drove there today to see what kinda things were being sold there and its all really kinda hippy things (flute music, bongo drums, incense smells, etc).

There were a handful of stalls selling funky clothing and handbags but not really like mine so I *think* there may be a niche there for my kinda handbags.

The problem is, I am really scared about getting out there and doing it. Like, what do I take along, what do I say to people when I get asked questions, do I actively *sell* the stuff to people? I'm kinda shy and timid so I'm not really sure if the market thing is for me.

Any ideas from anyone who has been through the first time nerves or anyone else who can offer some wise words of advice in terms of how to do the market thing?  Roll Eyes

Oh and sorry this is a bit looong.
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Sarah
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2004 06:36:59 AM »

Sarah~ first of all, swallow that timid being you think you are and sign up.

Then, enlist an outgoing friend to help you at the actual fair. Then, start working your butt off getting stuff together to bring to the fair. Remember, presentation is everything! When people ask questions, answer them! It's your stuff - you know it the best! Don't let anyone brow beat you and remember to stand up for yourself, your bags and your integrity. Don't undermine yourself because this is your first fair ~ be strong. Bring lots of cards for those that don't buy, but might later.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Carrie
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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2004 08:16:56 AM »

i know at the fairs and markets around me it's not uncommon for people to try and talk you down on prices, so be prepared in the event that someone tries to talk you into taking $5 for that $20 purse.
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2004 10:46:54 AM »

Yes, you need to be strong and not back down on prices. my friend once sold a 50 dollar bag for only 20 because she didnt want the custumer to be angry.  So you just need to be careful to not let that happen to you.
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fly
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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2004 11:34:59 AM »

You could always increase your prices a little... Like, if you want 20 for them, price them for 25 so that people can haggle and if they talk you down to 18, big deal..  

If they ask anything, it'll probably be fabric care instructions.. You could always just print up a little thing that says what fabrics are used and how to clean it for each bag..  

Not sure how busy the place you're looking at are, but you should have a few dozen bags at the very least

Oh, and not to scare you or anything, but watch your stuff!  At flea markets and places like that, things have a way of sprouting legs and walking away... Take a friend, if for nothing else than you gotta have someone to watch your stuff if you need to go to the bathroom.
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OldQlts
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2004 09:56:35 PM »

hi sarah, and congratulations on being ready to take a big first step into the marketing world! many of us have been there and done that, and even though i was barely out of 6th grade the first time i tried setting up a stall (yes, really!), it gets easier each time you do it. btw, i made a whopping $3.46 at that stall back in about 1968 or 69! [that bought me a few candy bars and some more supplies so i was actually a happy camper! *grin*]

ok, for what to take ... do you mean in the way of "supplies & equipment?" i trust that you know what you'll take in the way of inventory!  Grin  do you have a way to display your handbags? that's probably the first thing you need to come up with. and probably a chair to sit in; if you can find one of those tall directors chairs, they're great, cuz you can sit and be almost at eye level with your customers (and they're comfy on the ol' bum!). take a receipt book (and pens) so you can write up sales, some bags to put your customer's purchases in, and a tax chart if you intend to collect sales tax. and maybe a calculator, esp. if you find math challenging.  Lips sealed  if the show is outside, some sort of shade cover might be good (a market umbrella is cheaper than a canopy, since you're just getting started!), and sun lotion with a high SPF, of course, cuz you'll nearly always get sunburnt no matter how hard you try to stay out of the sun! [i have what i call an "office basket" that i keep most of this stuff in from show to show, so i don't have to round it up every time i need it!]

as for what to say to the shoppers, i'd just greet them with something like "hi, let me know if i can help you!" and then not bother them again unless they have a question or simply look perplexed. be aware that they're there (both so you can help them if they need it, and also so they don't walk off with the store ... which happens, i'm sad to say!). they're apt to ask questions about how your products are made, and only you can answer that ... or know if you want to answer that! there's no need to share any trade secrets, of course, and if they try to pry, just smile real big and say "that's a trade secret, sorry!" (i've done it!). when they buy something, be sure to thank them, and make sure you give them a business card or flyer with your name, phone, email, web site (whatever you have for contact info) so they can share that when their friends ask "where did you get that COOL bag?!"  Grin

hope this helps! good luck!

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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2004 01:24:35 PM »

I have been selling at Craft Sales/Faires since high school. Things to remember:

1. Bring a friend or two. Do not do it alone, especially if it is your first time. Friends can help a ton, even if it sitting at the table while you run off to get a bite to eat. Plus I agree with the earlier comment that if you take an outgoing friend they can help make you feel more at ease.

2. Believe in your stuff! You know that you made it and that is good, no
GREAT! When people ask questions just answer honestly.

3. DO NOT LET PEOPLE HAGGLE. For a while my friend and I sold handmade books. Our avarage price was $20, (which was dirt cheap considering what we were selling) and people would always try to talk us down or complain about the price. Believe me you don't want these people as customers, (they will bring their cheap friends the next time). Buy sticking to your price people will respect you.

4. Make sure you have tags that have your e-mail on them. That way if people love the bag they got, and want to order one they can get a hold of you.

So that is what I have learned from my many years of craft sale/faire events. I actually make most of my money with my creations at craft sales. I say take a deep breath and plunge in!
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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2004 03:19:54 PM »

I hope it all goes well, don't be too scared!! I just wanted to add that you don't need to worry about being really outgoing to sell your bags, if it was me I would much rather buy something off someone who wasn't pushy and in my face. Just be yourself and people will realise you really care and have devoted a lot of time to your items. Have pride in your work and don't let anyone haggle with you, these bags are made with love!!! Cheesy
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OldQlts
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« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2004 04:30:20 PM »

a friend is definitely a good thing to bring to a show! i go back far enough in this biz that i can remember asking the person in the next booth (a total stranger!) to keep an eye on my stuff while i ran to the potty or to get some food. would i do that today? no way!!!

do be careful, however, that the shoppers don't get the impression that you and your friend(s) are too caught up in your own conversation. this is apt to make them feel like you'd rather chat with your friends than to answer their questions, which in turn may cause some shoppers to walk on by your stall/booth.

you might think about bringing your own food & water; there's nothing worse than sitting at a show, stressing about making enough to cover the booth fee ... let alone a little food & water or soda.

oh, and keep your money on you!! when i lived in the midwest, i always used a change box; of course i kept it sorta concealed (under the table). but the first show i did in california, the vendor on one side of me said that was a baddddddd idea. so i started keeping my change in a fanny pack. or since you make bags, make a little bag that you can wear across your body (over your head for security!) and use that for change ... and advertising!

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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2004 11:32:11 AM »

I think that Fly's idea to mark the prices a tad higher than you would like to get is probably good advice.
I don't think that you need to be too talkative or pushy (which usually scares people away) just be yourself, be attentive to people and their reactions and let your products speak for themselves.....
 
Good Luck!!!
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