5 tips for doing an interstate market!

We originally posted this as a guest blog post on Leeloo, and thought we would also share this info with our blog readers who may be considering applying for our 2012 interstate markets, for the first time!

After many markets interstate, we thought it would be fitting to share some of our tips for doing interstate markets. Doing interstate markets is not for everyone, but for some it can really help to boost your customers and broaden your product availability, which can create a better distribution for your product and also reach out to new retailers.

Here are a few things to consider before packing your bags!

1. First thing to do is research and do your costings.
Before you even apply for a market, take a look into the running costs of you doing an interstate market and how you can make it cost affective. Your aim for the market might be to make more sales, or it might be to broaden your customer base and do a bit of market research. Either way you look at it, make sure you are accounting those costs into the benefit for your business. You might have more expenses than you do profits, but in the end it might help to grow your business so think about the pro’s and cons first and foremost!

Costs to consider:
– Stall market costs.
– Travel and accommodation. Don’t forget to factor in your ‘to and from’ costs from the markets to your accommodation, airport etc.
– Courier costs (if applicable)
– Stock costs.

2. Cost effective ways to reduce your expenses.
Each market we look at ways to minimise travel and accommodation costs and general expenses. Our first recommendation is to try and share these costs! We hire a big house, prepare and eat food at the home and split the costs with other market stallholders to minimise overall expenses. Can you share or can you stay with a friend?

With travel, consider if it’s more worthwhile to drive with your stock (save on flights and courier costs, plus the benefit of having your vehicle with you) with this option you have to consider the traveling time and if this will hinder your preparation time. For instance 2 days driving, could have equaled 2 days of extra making etc..  If you have the time, this might be a better option.

Flying to your destination could mean time saved but you will have to consider your transportation to and from the airport, your accommodation and the market venue. Hire cars can be expensive, so consider sharing a car or look at other cost effective options. Flying can also mean limited stock, if you have smaller items this shouldn’t matter but if you have large items and display, you then have to factor in courier or postage costs to and from the venue and the place you are staying.

3. Minimise but don’t compromise your displays.
When you are showing in another state for the first time, to make it worth your while you want to make a good first impression! Don’t skimp out on what you would usually use in a display in your home state, instead think about some travel friendly versions of what you would usually do. You can get even more creative with this!

Think of ways that things can be dismantled or flat packed, or things you could hire or use from that state to help with not having to incur the costs of moving it around. Always think about how things are going to be packaged and brought home with you, this often gets people stuck as they don’t realise how hard it is! Make sure you have a plan for your stall, and practice your set up at home before you leave. That bit of extra preparation can really help on the day, make things run smoothly and save you the stress!

4. Don’t compromise on quality & comfort.
Whilst we recommend you try and reduce your expenses and look at some easier ways to transport your goods to and from each state, we don’t recommend that you compromise on quality and comfort.

Don’t go for the cheapest budget accommodation, we’ve made this mistake and it makes dealing with the stress of your first interstate market ten times worse! You need to look after yourself, get a good night’s sleep and be in a safe environment. This is a priority for you to be your very best at the market themselves and be confident and happy, and a good nights sleep goes a LONG way! We have come to see this as a business investment, you need to be your very best.

Quality is also important, don’t compromise by employing cheaper ways of displaying or selling your goods. We have said this many times before; your displays and product quality will get you over the line!! It makes you stand out from the crowd and people notice the little details, so make sure you always put your best foot forward. These things shouldn’t be compromised!

5. Good preparation.
We can’t stress this enough! This will ensure your experience goes smoothly. Don’t leave everything to the last minute. We highly recommend a market check list, you won’t be able to head back home if you forget something, so you have to get it right! Think about the whole process from arriving, to set up, to where you plan to eat, to pack down and getting everything home.

– MAPS: Get your head around the area, prepare maps for your whole weekend. Get your to and from maps ready so you can easily get to and from where you need to go. Stressed and lost is not a good place to be in, so don’t wait until you turn up to try and figure out where you are going. Also factor in your estimated travel times and allow for extra time on top of that.

– Getting your stuff there: As mentioned driving will eliminate the need for couriers, however if this is not an option, consider the easiest way to get your product to and from the venue or accommodation. If you have small products you may be able to get away with carrying your stock on your flight, but remember luggage weight restrictions. If you are over the maximum with your luggage, you can get charged quite a lot, so try and keep it under the weight restriction.

Couriers are a good option, however consider the estimated transit times and always allow for extra time. We have seen some people wait for their couriers to arrive and never show up; this is devastating! You also need to be there to sign for your boxes so it might work out that your accommodation is the better place for products to arrive. Make sure you do your research to find the best courier option (and not just the cheapest). We also recommend booking your courier for the way back at the same time, you don’t want to get stuck at the end of the event with no plan on getting your stock/display home!

– Check list and utilities box: After many markets we have perfected our utilities box! We have everything we need for set up, display and pack down and have refined this over the years. Things like packing tape, scissors, blue tack, pins, stapler etc.. It is essential for every market even things you think you might not need, pack them anyway just in case!

The check list is equally important, and something we have also refined over the years. Print out all your info, bookings, maps and any emergency numbers and contacts you might need. Keep them in a folder and use them as a guide before and during your market. It will save you from potentially stressful situations!

Lastly, pack some sugar for the weekend and have fun! Get the most out of your weekend and experience by making it like a mini holiday. We love traveling, and always make a fun time out of it, having dinners with fellow market stallholders and meeting new people. Try and schedule in a few shop or gallery visits even, share around some cupcakes and have a good time :)

Do you have any interstate market travel advice? What have you learnt to do/not to do?
Or please feel free to ask any more questions!

All images in this post are from the Brisbane S/S 2011 Markets taken by Eleni Toumpas.


  • This was really helpful, i -almost- always buy stupid things! :/

    (Pls check my new blog guys: http://inwhirlofinspiration.blogspot.com )

  • Thanks guys, these tips are really helpful. We’ve been discussing logistics for attending interstate markets for a while now, and you’ve certainly made things a whole lot simpler.

  • Andrea Myers says:

    I found it interesting when you said about considering the cost of your expenses when you want to do business in another state like the cost of your travel. My friend has an online business and she’s planning to make her products available to another state. I will make sure to share your article with her and advise that it may be better to get a company that can help her to distribute her products to another state.

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