5 Tips to Make an Interstate Market a Breeze!

Are you thinking about taking your small business to interstate markets? Awesome! We’ve been travelling interstate for markets for over 15 years and have some tips to share. Attending interstate markets can be a game-changer for spreading the word about your products and getting them into new hands. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who dive in, it can boost your sales and get your brand out there. So, before packing your bags, check out some of our top tips!

1. Do your research and your costings.

Before you even apply for a market, look into the running costs of doing an interstate market and how you can make it cost-effective. 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, make sure you are accounting for those costs. If brand awareness and growth is your goal, you might have more expenses than you do profits, but in the end, it might be the oomph you need to help grow your business, so have a good think about the pros and cons first and foremost!

Costs to consider:

  • Stall costs
  • Travel and accommodation. Don’t forget to factor in your ‘to and from’ costs from the markets to your accommodation, airport, etc.
  • Freight or courier costs (if applicable)
  • Stock costs
  • Staffing costs
Public Holiday

2. Cost-effective ways to reduce your expenses.

We look at ways to minimise travel and accommodation costs and general expenses for each market. Our first recommendation is to share these costs! How can you make travel more economical? Can you share 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 whether driving with your stock or flying is more worthwhile. With driving, you may save on flights and courier costs, plus the benefit of having your vehicle with you. With this option, you must consider the travel time and whether this will hinder your preparation time. For instance, two days of driving could have equalled two days of extra making, etc. If you have the time, this might be a better option.

Flying to your destination could save time, but you must 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 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 displays, you have to factor in courier or postage costs to and from the venue and the place you are staying.

Handy hint: Share resources with your market pals; you can share the transportation or use transport hire services like GoGet.

Know the Rose and Ochre

3. Minimise but don’t compromise your displays.

When showing in another state for the first time, make it worth your while with an excellent 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 you avoid incurring the costs of moving them around. Always think about how your display and products are going to be re-packaged and brought home in the most efficient way. Make sure you have a plan for your stall and practise your set-up before you leave.

If your products and display are being couriered or picked up, make sure you have all the necessary documentation and plans set out before the day. That bit of extra preparation can really help on the bump-out day, making things run smoothly and saving you stress!

4. Don’t skimp on quality and comfort.

Don’t go for the cheapest budget accommodation. Your experience and sleep will be compromised, and it will make 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. 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! They will make you stand out from the crowd, and people notice the little details, so make sure you always put your best foot forward. These things, in our opinion, shouldn’t be compromised.

Middle Child

5. Good preparation.

We can’t stress this enough! Preparing will ensure your experience goes smoothly. Don’t leave everything to the last minute. We highly recommend a market checklist (we have some templates ready to go you might want to use!), from arriving to set up, to where you plan to eat, to your packing down and getting everything home.

Maps: Explore the area and prepare your routes for the whole weekend. Factor in your estimated travel times and allow for a buffer of extra time. Pay attention to peak traffic times.

Getting your stuff there: As mentioned, driving will eliminate the need for couriers, but 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 get away with carrying your stock on your flight, but remember to check your luggage weight restrictions. If you are over the maximum weight limit with your luggage, you can get charged quite a lot, so try to keep it under the weight restriction.

Insider tip: The Finders Keepers now offers logistics solutions to make getting your stock to our Sydney and Melbourne venues easier! Contact our team to learn more about these options.

Couriers are a good option; however, consider the estimated transit times and always allow extra time. We have seen some people wait for their couriers to arrive and never arrive; this is devastating! You also need to be there to sign for your boxes, so it might work out that your accommodation is better for products to arrive. Make sure you 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 of getting your stock/display home!

Market Checklists and Utilities Box: After many markets, we have perfected our utility boxes! 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, staplers, pens, paper, etc., are essential for every market. Even things you think you might not need, pack them anyway just in case!

The checklist is equally important and something we have refined over the years (we have some recommended templates here). Print out or digitally save all your info, bookings, maps, 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 snacks for the weekend and have fun! Get the most out of your weekend and experience by making it like a mini holiday. We love travelling and always have a fun time out of it, having dinners with fellow market stallholders and meeting new people. Try to schedule a few shop or gallery visits, or share some cupcakes and have a good time!

This is a revision of our original 2012 blog post, with more up-to-date information and references.

Photos beautifully captured by Samee Lapham.

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