Surviving Your First Artisan’s Market: 4 Tips from Gypsy Botanicals

In the run up to the holidays, pop-ups and seasonal markets are great places to introduce your products to new customers. Cheaper than opening a brick-and-mortar store, these markets come with guaranteed foot traffic and they provide the perfect opportunity for smaller businesses to make their marks.

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Kayla Ferguson runs Gypsy Botanicals, a Vancouver-based business that sells small-batch aromatherapy products. She started using Square when she attended her first market in December 2015. Now, she regularly sells at the bi-weekly Eastside Flea Market in Vancouver and attends around 15 markets a year.

Kayla likes how simple and fast Square is to use anywhere, anytime, and she loves that it makes it easier and more convenient for her customers to pay. “Sometimes the ability to take credit cards makes a sale happen,” she says. Square sales make up 35 to 50 percent of her total sales.

Here are Kayla’s top four tips for surviving your first market:

Prep and pack smart.

Whether it’s a one-off or a regular weekend market, Kayla suggests preparing for your first day well in advance - don’t leave it all until the night before. “Test your display at home first to make sure you have everything you need,” she says. “Pack snacks and water, and make sure you bring a float [loose change] and your Square Reader.”

Build your network.

Kayla advises making friends with other vendors as a way to build your network and support other sellers. Look at markets as a chance to get the word out about your product and seek out potential collaborators and product ambassadors. “I love getting to interact with my customers, share my passion and teach people about my products,” says Kayla. “I also really love the supportive relationships I’ve built within the vendor community — it’s inspiring to be surrounded by other makers who are passionate about what they’re doing.”

Enjoy the atmosphere.

Holiday markets can be overwhelming for first-time sellers due to their busy, crowded nature (hello, captive audience), but Kayla suggests tapping into this atmosphere to power through the day. “Sometimes the days are really long, and it can be tiring talking to so many people, but if you love what you’re doing, you learn to vibe with that bustling energy. A nice bubble bath after a long market day fixes everything.”

Make sure you and your booth look approachable — even the most interesting products might get passed by if the seller looks disinterested or surly. You’re an extension of your brand; a simple “hello” and a smile can work wonders. “Stand up, smile and engage your customers,” says Kayla. “And have fun!”

Capture sales on the spot.

You should carry business cards in case people want your information for future purchases, but you also want to make sure that instant sales are an appealing option — and having your Square Reader on hand helps make the case. You may also want to offer special market deals to secure on-the-spot sales.

Kayla will be focusing on selling her bath and body products, candles and aromatherapy diffuser blends this holiday season. “We have some great new products and beautiful gift sets available for everyone on your list,” she says.

Catch Kayla and other Square sellers at the Eastside Flea Holiday Markets on November 18–20, December 2–4 and December 16–18.