Fresh from The Finders Keepers’ market curation team, here are our best tips to get you market-app-ready!
BEFORE YOU START: Read up on the application guides, criteria and FAQ’s and get familiar with the stall options and fees, and prepare all your files ready to upload. Here’s what The Finders Keepers team LOVE to see (and not see) in your market applications!
1 – Get Copy-Ready
Every good brand begins with a concise About Me story, written in your brand language and tone, that can be used across all your channels. And we want to see this too! Tell us who you are, what your maker/ designer story is and be clear about your brand. Needless to say, make sure you also do a final spelling and grammar check!
We love to read genuine, unique responses – not the same old copy & paste answers. Tell us new and interesting things you’ve been working on, including your design process, and always answer: who, what, how and why.
Pro tip #1: download Grammarly, it will be your best friend and constantly help you to check your grammar and refine your writing!
Pro tip #2: We now have a handy template ready for you to download and practice your questions! Draft your app here [PDF version] or here [Word doc version], then save and add when you’re ready to apply.
2 – Brand Ethics & Transparency:
This area matters a lot to us, and is becoming increasingly important to be able to communicate to discerning, conscious consumers – the people who shop at our markets!
Add as much detail as you can, including references and certificates if applicable. We want to see that you as the business owner can honestly share how your products are made, where, by who, using what materials and the ethics around the brand operations. This transparency should form part of your brand story and how you communicate with your audience.
If you’re going above and beyond with your approach to social and environmental responsibilities – the triple bottom line approach – tell us, tell your audience and advocate for your brand! This helps consumers make better decisions.
If you have not yet fully considered what makes an ethical and fair brand, then this is a good place to start.
Pro tip: Ethical brand ratings platform Good On You has a handy guide to their Brand Rating System that is useful for any brand, including accreditations and elements to address.
If you are a fashion/ textiles/ footwear business, Ethical Clothing Australia’s (ECA) Accreditation Guidelines document is a good reference for ethics and transparency. It is also helpful for businesses outside of the fashion industry. You can also check your brand’s eligibility for ECA’s accreditation too.
3 – Market exclusives:
We absolutely love to know if you are planning a new product, collection release or are collaborating with a like-minded brand to exclusively launch at the market event!
You will stand out with your application by including these details – they are marketing and PR gold for us, and your brand! Our visitors LOVE something special and unique to come to a market specifically for.
You may also consider doing something unique onsite like a demonstration or an activation, and this is now one of the questions we ask you about. What can you do in person at a market that helps demonstrate what you do? Could you be making one of your products in-person?
Don’t forget when you participate in a market you’re in a competitive retail landscape, so give the customer a reason to buy from you at this market.
4 – Put your best pics forward.
Check the image guidelines before you start to prepare them for uploading and then prepare/ resize and file name these in a folder ready to go. Get these prepared earlier with respectable sizes for download – not mega large hi-res, but not super low res/ quality either.
Pick the best of the bunch! Put your marketing hat on and think about the best images that will help represent your brand. We like to see at least 10 images.
We’ve also now separated our image requests into two new areas – Marketing & Promotional images and then Display & New Products. What do we want to see here? How you plan on displaying your work, any examples of previous stall layouts or proposed new ideas! This should also help to display brand cohesion, signage and your finishing touch details like packaging.
Don’t have good images? Consider working with a photographer, or upskilling to take some primo shots. Good images not only help our curation team, you’ll also be elevating your brand and products by investing in images. In that respect, the effort you put in WILL be a return on your investment.
Strong marketing images will always get picked by our marketing team for features and potentially by media outlets via our press releases!
Pro tip: Check out our Photography tips blog post here and our Product Photography Inspo pinterest album here!
5 – Are you digitally updated and ready?
Make sure all your online touch points are updated and are cohesive with your brand image and messages. Insider’s tip: if we want to get a better understanding about who you are and your brand voice, we ALWAYS check out your Instagram!
Make sure your website is included, Instagram and any other social media links are updated and speak your brand voice! You want these to form a strong identity about who you are and what your products do/ who they serve. All your channels should be instantly recognisable as the same brand.
6 – Last minute rushing…
Don’t leave it to the last minute!
Set aside enough time for yourself to know that you’ve done the application that best reflects your brand. Again, do a final spelling and grammar check, and we even recommend getting someone else to read over the app for you.
Each app is time-stamped, so try if you can to get it in at least the day before cut off! You’ll sleep a lot better knowing it’s all in and done ahead of time.
7 – Application etiquette – the do’s and don’ts:
Once you’ve submitted your app, there’s no need to email us – unless you genuinely have a concern, an error pop-up or something goes awry. We jump on curation as quickly as we can, but it is a big process and many hours for us to go through applications!
What if you didn’t get in this time? Whilst you might feel disheartened, an unsuccessful application can depend on many factors. The most common one is an over-saturation of products and competition in a trending category. There are only so many stalls we can fill and often we like to rotate designers, so whilst you might not get in this time, please don’t let it deter you from applying again.
Insider’s tip: We DO remember the disrespectful messages we receive, and being kind to us increases the likelihood of being asked to join if a waitlist position opens or at another market! Common sense prevails here. Be nice!
8 – Lastly, have fun and show us your personality!
We look through hundreds of applications each market, and as curators seeing the same-same can get a little boring. We LOVE seeing new fun things, quirky comments, videos or anything else that brings in your personality and lets your products shine. Think about different ways you can impress the pants off us – it sure makes our job a little more exciting and by bringing in something new and different it shows us that you’re innovative and passionate about what you do! Go on, be a little cheeky!
Want more? For more application and market tips and hints, you can also check out our Resources section for more essential reading!