Because our focus is on flea market and farmers market vendors, we wanted to create a blog to help with the ups and downs of selling to local customers. Since this is our very first blog post, I think the beginning is an excellent place to start.
One of the main things to keep in mind when headed to the flea market, is there are many different types of crowds. Some people like to get up early and some people like to visit in the afternoon. Your customers could also change as the temperature changes. One of our vendors in the local area has an indoor and outdoor location he runs with the help of his family. This can help facilitate different crowds and temperatures.
All these different crowds and temperatures running around, how is anyone supposed to know what to do? Most of the local flea markets will allow you to pay for one day. Some of the lower end and affordable spots will be as low as $5 while some of the bigger and more high visibility flea markets will charge $25 per 10 ft X 20 ft space per day. If you want to start low risk, find out if they offer a discount for booking in advance, military, senior citizens,... etc. If they do, book for one space, show up early, and work all day. If you do well, learn what works best for you and continue. Whatever doesn't work, stop doing it.
Of course, customers and regular traffic will be determined by many different factors. Some of these include the general layout of the market, the location of parking, and the setup of the permanent, long-term vendors. Go for a walk before you book and pay for a spot. Learn where everything is and what the layout is. If you have the time, go for half or a whole day and people watch as they park and walk. This will help you determine the best spot to set up for your test.
Always make sure you pay and keep your receipt. Once you're seeing a good return on your investment of time and money, you want to make sure you're also in good standing with the folks who run the flea market. This will make sure you keep a good solid professional relationship with them and you won't get kicked out. I know what you're thinking... "Why would someone not pay?" Well, there are people who run their entire flea market booth like this.
Make sure to check the weather before you pay for your spot. If the weather is going to be nice and you have a chair and cooler to fill with water, it is possible you can get away without a tent. That means you will need a table to have your products set on and then you're ready to go!
Show up early on the day of your practice run. Make sure to bring an extension cord if you want electricity and maybe a power strip or two so you can share it with other vendors (this is very common at flea markets). Work until the flea market closes and then start packing up. Sometimes the late crowd will bring business. In the end, it's all about what makes you happy. If you test it out and don't like it, then maybe try a different market or even selling stuff online. Just do what works best for you.
Thanks for reading. We hope this has provided some value for you and your business venture. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send us an email.