How to Maximise Your Experience as a Stallholder! 2024 Edition

Being a stallholder at The Finders Keepers Design Market is more than just selling your products; it’s a chance to soak up knowledge, refine your style, and perfect your vibe! With markets becoming more popular and competitive these days, we wanted to help new and seasoned pros alike. So, we chatted with six of our seasoned stallholders to share their best tips and tricks from years of market hustle.

Before we dive in, we want to say a big thank you to the designers who shared their wisdom – Chantel from Bon Lux, Jenna from Musings from the Moon, Cass from Paxxy & Flora, Rowan from Little Rowan Redhead, Adriene from Tanica and Suki McMaster. This is what our community is all about – THANK YOU!

This article was influenced by our original and popular post from 2013 over here, featuring new designers and some fresh tips. So much gold here!

Adriene from Tanica photographed by Samee Lapham

Q: What was your first market experience like and how have you changed your approach over the many markets you have done?

“We had a tiny debut stall and we had a stand which we designed to fill the entire space like a plywood unit with drawers and shelves. It looked lovely and was very pretty, but it had nowhere to sit! First lesson learned!

Second lesson learned is to get out from behind the stall and chat to the customers! I had no choice because I couldn’t sit down, so I stood there and chatted the entire time, meeting fellow designers, and stallholders, as well as organisers and customers and that was a huge learning experience! You begin all intimidated and feeling scared, but you end up quickly getting a feel for the energy and love for creative small businesses and the real community that’s at Finders Keepers!”
~ Chantel, Bon Lux

“My first debut stall was such a wonderful experience. I was very nervous and worried everything wasn’t perfect, but everyone was so kind and encouraging, and I had so much fun! I loved being able to connect with my audience face-to-face and receive feedback for my work. Making friends with stallholders was also a big bonus I hadn’t anticipated.

My brand and market stall has definitely evolved over the years. I’ve added new products after receiving feedback from customers, and have played with display set-up to allow people to best view and interact with my work. Mostly though, I’ve relaxed about things needing to be perfect and instead put focus on being present with customers.”
~ Jenna, Musings from the Moon

Q: Do you have any market ‘hacks’ or top tips that you can share with others?

“ – A market is always a good way to test new products. If you have a small handful of samples or something new you’d like to try, have a small quantity on display and gauge the feedback.

– Give yourself plenty of time for bump-in so that you can relax and enjoy putting the final touches on your market stall. You’ll also have time to duck off and get any last-minute things if you need them.

– Pop your logo on your carry bags to advertise your brand around the market.

– Make your stall stackable if you can. For example, have display stands or baskets etc that fit inside one another to save space. Or fill stands with products before packing in the car.

– If you’re doing an interstate market, think about creating a streamlined version of your stall to save you from taking more than you need. A lovely hanging fabric backdrop on a portable stand is much more travel-friendly than a heavy wooden pegboard.”
~ Jenna, Musings from the Moon

“Pack and unpack in a logical way to make it easier for yourself when setting up and unpacking again afterwards. I pack all of my boxes for the market based on what will be displayed together so it is quick and easy to set up and I know exactly where everything is. Same again when bumping out, but this time I pack based on where it needs to go in the studio when I get home so it’s nice and easy to unpack and get back to work afterwards.”
~ Cass, Paxxy & Flora

Q: Markets are popular and can also become very competitive, and this can mean that designers have to have good tactics or tools to help them sell and bring their brands exposure. How do you maximise your market experiences and keep growing your brand?

“Keep evaluating and analysing your stall set-up and product offers. At the end of the market, think about what worked as opposed to what didn’t. Have a look around at your neighbours’ stalls and see what worked for them. Steal like an artist! Focus on the positives and try to be objective about the negatives.”
~ Rowan, Little Rowan Redhead

“Think up new promotions, like buy X get Y, even during the event to try out. I purchased some flexible display boards with magnetic letters for our stand which means we can change the promotion or pricing if needed midway through an event if it’s not working.”
~ Adriene, TANICA

Q: What are some of the marketing activities you do pre-event that help you set-up the weekend for success?

“Pre-event, we usually are working on new products which we want to launch at the market, so we’re making, photographing etc. We might do a mailout to let customers know we will be there, and that some new things are launching, as well as a sneak peek of some new things on the socials to build excitement for customers to come visit us! We always use the assets and start posting behind-the-scenes videos and photos to show folks how crazy it gets in our tiny studio!”
~ Chantel, Bon Lux

“I always post on my Instagram stories and feed about the market in advance and pop any upcoming market details on my profile so they are easy to find. I find it handy to include market details on my website and email newsletter too.

I’ll try to video any market prep in the lead-up so that I can share the experience with my followers. I find videos more interactive and effective. It might be a short video watching an artwork come out of the printer, or as I add gold leaf to it afterwards, or maybe a photo as I play Tetris trying to pack everything into the car!”
~ Jenna, Musings from the Moon

Q: What do you do post-event (if any) to drive more conversions to sales, or grow your customer base post-event?

“Post-event I usually try and have something happening online – often it’s a shop update with any remaining new items that I’d made especially for the event so interstate customers or those who couldn’t make it can shop online. I’ll usually try and share some snaps from the event as well as details of what I’ve got coming up next.”
~ Cass, Paxxy & Flora

“We give a discount voucher to our customers at the market and that gives them an incentive to shop on our website. We also did a wrapping paper giveaway at the markets last year when people signed up for our newsletter. Both of the campaigns were very successful.”
~ Suki McMaster

Suki McMaster

Q: What are some common mistakes you see from newbie stallholders, and what advice can you give them to help improve their experience or results?

“Not engaging with customers, being distracted by their phones (and sometimes by their online sales!)
Coming to market without reading the manual.
P*ssing off their neighbours by not having adequately considered stall layout and impact on neighbours. For example, make sure that you include an entry point into your stall that does not impinge on your neighbour. I know of a newbie that expected to exit their stall via their neighbour’s stall. While most people are understanding, don’t expect people to accommodate you. Also, don’t get grumpy or talk sh#t about people! It will not go unnoticed. Ask for help if you need it or if you don’t know something – most of us are happy to help if we can (and offer advice, whether you want it or not). Try not to compare your sales with your neighbour’s sales. This is a common one! Everyone has a different idea of what makes a good day and comparison is the thief of joy.”
~ Rowan, Little Rowan Redhead

“Not bringing enough product and selling out! There are always places to store extra product, bring about 20 – 30% more than what you need to be sure to meet demand and have enough for sampling.”
~ Adriene, Tanica

Q: How have you adapted your business from what you have learned at the markets?
(from consumer patterns or otherwise)

“Markets are such a great way to get real-time feedback. I take note of people’s reactions, and sometimes even straight up ask what they think of something. I pay attention to what people look at, what they ask for, the highest and lowest sellers and then put what I can into practice for my future collections.”
~ Cass, Paxxy & Flora

“We have learnt that customers are after a unique experience at the market so we’re introducing limited edition and collaboration items to the market. We want customers to come to the market to get something unique and special that they can’t get anywhere else.”
~ Suki McMaster

Looking for more stallholder resources? Go here!

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