Tuesday, April 1, 2014

knot too shabby BAZAAR Vendor Series Part 2

Our knot too shabby BAZAAR Vendor Series is all about selling in "flea market style" events, including our own BAZAAR as well as other vintage and antique shows. Part One was our Top 5 suggestions for setting up a great looking booth. 

Part Two is all about setting up a great FUNCTIONING booth, which arguably is just as important as a great looking booth if not more so!

Last fall, Michelle Black and I set up a booth at the Irvine Antique Market and I was giving her a really hard time because she was in the back corner of the booth hand cutting out individual business cards and then writing her information on them. As for myself, I had forgotten to pack change and didn't have any small bills to change out for the first hour. All that to say that a booth that looks good doesn't mean it is a booth that functions well!




Vendor Series Part Two
How to Run a Booth Like a Pro

1. Price your Product


I can't tell you how often I go to flea markets and come across booth's where nothing is priced. It drives me completely  nuts and this is what happens:

a) the booth is too crowded, I can't figure out who is in charge so I simply give up and don't ask;
b) I find the booth owner to ask a price and get the "give me an offer" remark...and anyone who knows me and how I "pick" knows that my offer nine times out of ten is insulting-it's not intentional, it's just what I'm willing to offer. And, I don't like feeling like I am insulting a vendor and their product. You just never know so I just never (or almost never) offer;
c)  I find something I like and ask for a price which is ten times higher than I am willing to pay. My assumption is that everything will be beyond my price range so I won't even bother to ask about anything else. 

For some vendors, leaving items unmarked is part of their strategy. Personally, I find it a turn off and would rather know what the expectation is and negotatiate the price from there. So, take this piece of advice for what it's worth...

2. Bring Marketing Materials
If this is your first venture into the world of selling, you may not have any marketing materials to speak of. But, if you have something as simple as a business card, be sure to bring them to hand out to your new customers. You never know when distributing business cards may turn into a lead for future business! 



3. Accept a Variety of Payment Methods
Cash is King! People come to flea markets and expect to pay with cash so be sure to have plenty of change from the get go. But, the world of credit card processing has become accessible to virtually everyone, it's not unusual to use a credit card at a flea market. Get a square, or a paypal credit card processor. They are FREE. They can be used with Ipads and Smartphones and the fees are minimal compared to the convenience of providing that service. The last thing you want is to lose a big sale because someone doesn't have the cash on hand to make that big purchase. 



4. Bring a Friend
I hate to say it, but as fun as flea markets are to participate in, they are long and exhausting. It helps immensly to have a friend, relative or spouse to hang out with you during the event. Plus, it makes it all that much more fun. So if you can twist your best friends arm to come spend a day with you or even find a selling partner, the experience will be that much better! I personally wouldn't even consider selling at a flea market without having an extra person to help out, keep me company and watch the booth for those much needed potty breaks (and shopping breaks). 



5. Think About Customers Logistical Needs
If you are selling larger furniture items, your customers may have some logistical concerns. Be prepared for them to ask if you will offer delivery, have dollies or ropes to tie down furniture (these are all things I've asked vendors in the past)! Before you get to the BAZAAR on Saturday morning, think about whether you have the means to provide local delivery. And, bring a dollie and ropes just to make furniture moving and strapping easier. Afterall, isn't it worth sacrificing a $5 rope to sell a $250 dresser?

Eddie let us "borrow" a refrigerator strap most likely assuming he would never see it again. Three months later when I sold stuff in Irvine, I just so happened to have a booth right next to Eddie and remembered to bring the strap to return to him. 

6. Bring Much Needed Odds and Ends

a) Pens and pencils
b) Paper or tags to make "sold" tags 
c) tape or twine to attach "sold" tags
d) bags for customers who buy multiple items
e) snacks and drinks
f) a chair (that you aren't selling)...you're legs will get tired
g) pad of paper to take notes on how to improve your next booth ;)


There you have it...that's my short list based on my selling experiences. Most of the photographs I grabbed from my "Pricing and Packaging" pinboard on pinterest. 

I hope this info helps you to set up a booth that functions more smoothly than some of mine have in the past! 

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