Market Newbie

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

TheGecko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
1,635
Reaction score
2,293
Location
Oregon
1) Samples in times of covid. I’ve been making a ton of samples the last month to just give away a bunch.
Samples go with purchase...even small purchases.

2) Selling other things like lotion bars and balms.
Soap, Lotion Bars and Whipped Body Butter. I had set aside a jar of Unscented Butter and used a plastic flat thingy that I could wipe off and dip in IPA.

3) Displays
I bought a half dozen Expandable Racks and Expandable Racks 2. I normally box my soap, but all my display soaps is shrink wrapped so folks can easily pick them up, look at them, smell them, whatever...then I can easily sanitize for the next person. I usually have two of each for display, to give the alcohol smell a chance to go away.

4) Schlepping to and fro.
I...have a Wheeled Cart with a Cargo Net. I measured the interior space and bottom shelf, and my soaps and sundries and then bought plastic see-through containers. With careful planning, you can actually get a LOT of stuff in that cart and it also has a fold-down shelf.

Right now, my sister and I split the cost of a space and since we do the market in her town, her husband brings the tables and gazebo and set them up for us (he gets paid in soap).
 

TashaBird

Supporting Member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
1,247
Reaction score
3,235
Location
CA
Here is another way to get elevation and table real estate. You can purchase telescoping tables that you can elevate behind your tables and use inexpensive boards elevated and different levels and make fitted covers for them. I just used a table cloth for making the covers. My pics are not necessarily current since I have had no markets in approx 1.5 yrs now. Sorry about some of the crates showing in the back I was still setting up.

Sorry, the last picture is blurry but you will see I also liked step acrylic stands for lotions and setting out samples. I used end slices of my soap loaves for smell samples and pump bottles for lotion samples. For solid lotions, I used small birch wood sample sticks with a small pail for trash.

Make sure you have a good selection to attract people to your booth. If your market manager will allow it Rubber ducks are a great seller and a great attraction. I used to have a full table of rubber ducks that I sold for $2 each or 3 for $5 and many nights I paid my $60 booth space selling my duckies. You cannot imagine how many adults buy ducks but they certainly attract the kidlets which bring mom and dad to your booth. I actually had some that would come every week to see if I had new ducks.

ETA: People tend to pick up free samples because people love freebies, but my experience was you very seldom got a sale from a sample. While banners are a great idea if money is short I would put it toward the bottom of the list. I sold for 10 yrs with no banner. My labels and display brought customers to my booth. Granted if your booth is sparse you need a banner. I had up to ten tables in my booth at most of my markets.
Gorgeous displays!!!

Not specific to soap, but I spent a few years doing markets with my glass work and a lot of the advice will translate. You've had some good tips already, I'll try not to repeat them.

Firstly, think about which qualities of your soap do you want to emphasize? This will be informed by your target customer, the type of people who shop at the market. For example, are your products natural, vegan, artisanal? Those will attract a different audience from handmade, fun and bubbly... Use these words to think about your stall. Piled high and selling them cheap? Go for bright colours, both in your table cover colours and clothing. Or are they more expensive and sophisticated? Dress your table and yourself appropriately.
The more luxurious your image, the more space you need between products. Dark colours, luxury fabrics on the table and a minimalist aesthetic mean you'll likely sell fewer items, but at a higher price.

Depending on your price points, put your most expensive, luxury items highest on the display in the middle, you want them at or close to eye level if possible. This holds true no matter what your general pricing levels are.

Lowest on the table, and right at the front, you may want some small, possibly brightly coloured, cheaper items to attract the kids. Could be something like a basket of lip balms, rubber ducks, small sample sizes /offcuts (if you don't have many small soaps you can cut a few full sized bars into small bits) and sell them at 3/5 for $x.

It's good to have a few items that are cheaper, even pocket money prices, either for kids or for folks who want to buy something but aren't sure about a full price item yet. This is especially true if your core product is a premium, fairly expensive item. Folks like to feel that they're getting a bargain!

A banner isn't very expensive and can be a good way to bring your branding to the stall. It can go behind you in a gazebo, or at the front of the table if the market is indoors. It's not essential for your first market, but if you'll continue then do consider it.

I like to include a photo of myself working somewhere on the table or banner, to emphasise the fact that they were made my hand, by the person standing behind the table... Perhaps one of you cutting a bar might be appropriate? Or pouring the soap batter?

I agree with the card machine suggestion, if possible. I lost a load of sales at first because folks carry less cash these days, and if they do bring cash to a market, once it's gone, it's gone.
I love the suggestion of visual placements since I’m focusing on soap as art. (Fancy soap!)
ive made a ton of decent sized samples over the last few weeks maybe ill sell them for $1.

which card readers do you all use and why?
 

Peachy Clean Soap

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2020
Messages
966
Reaction score
1,415
Location
Southern California
Here is another way to get elevation and table real estate. You can purchase telescoping tables that you can elevate behind your tables and use inexpensive boards elevated and different levels and make fitted covers for them. I just used a table cloth for making the covers. My pics are not necessarily current since I have had no markets in approx 1.5 yrs now. Sorry about some of the crates showing in the back I was still setting up.

Sorry, the last picture is blurry but you will see I also liked step acrylic stands for lotions and setting out samples. I used end slices of my soap loaves for smell samples and pump bottles for lotion samples. For solid lotions, I used small birch wood sample sticks with a small pail for trash.

Make sure you have a good selection to attract people to your booth. If your market manager will allow it Rubber ducks are a great seller and a great attraction. I used to have a full table of rubber ducks that I sold for $2 each or 3 for $5 and many nights I paid my $60 booth space selling my duckies. You cannot imagine how many adults buy ducks but they certainly attract the kidlets which bring mom and dad to your booth. I actually had some that would come every week to see if I had new ducks.

ETA: People tend to pick up free samples because people love freebies, but my experience was you very seldom got a sale from a sample. While banners are a great idea if money is short I would put it toward the bottom of the list. I sold for 10 yrs with no banner. My labels and display brought customers to my booth. Granted if your booth is sparse you need a banner. I had up to ten tables in my booth at most of my markets.
Beautiful display's & such valuable advise. My next venture selling @ the open markets. I was a Demonstrator Manager yrs ago for three different Costcos' I loved training my girls how to sale product's. It was so much fun interacting w/ the customers. Of all the different jobs I've had over the years being a product Demonstrator was one of the most enjoyable' tell Ive discovered Soaping 🤗🧼.
 

KimW

Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2020
Messages
1,265
Reaction score
2,093
Location
Michigan, USA
Here is another way to get elevation and table real estate. You can purchase telescoping tables that you can elevate behind your tables and use inexpensive boards elevated and different levels and make fitted covers for them. I just used a table cloth for making the covers. My pics are not necessarily current since I have had no markets in approx 1.5 yrs now. Sorry about some of the crates showing in the back I was still setting up.

Sorry, the last picture is blurry but you will see I also liked step acrylic stands for lotions and setting out samples. I used end slices of my soap loaves for smell samples and pump bottles for lotion samples. For solid lotions, I used small birch wood sample sticks with a small pail for trash.

Make sure you have a good selection to attract people to your booth. If your market manager will allow it Rubber ducks are a great seller and a great attraction. I used to have a full table of rubber ducks that I sold for $2 each or 3 for $5 and many nights I paid my $60 booth space selling my duckies. You cannot imagine how many adults buy ducks but they certainly attract the kidlets which bring mom and dad to your booth. I actually had some that would come every week to see if I had new ducks.

ETA: People tend to pick up free samples because people love freebies, but my experience was you very seldom got a sale from a sample. While banners are a great idea if money is short I would put it toward the bottom of the list. I sold for 10 yrs with no banner. My labels and display brought customers to my booth. Granted if your booth is sparse you need a banner. I had up to ten tables in my booth at most of my markets.
Wow - such GREAT info here. Thanks so much for taking the time to share!

Not specific to soap, but I spent a few years doing markets with my glass work and a lot of the advice will translate. You've had some good tips already, I'll try not to repeat them.

Firstly, think about which qualities of your soap do you want to emphasize? This will be informed by your target customer, the type of people who shop at the market. For example, are your products natural, vegan, artisanal? Those will attract a different audience from handmade, fun and bubbly... Use these words to think about your stall. Piled high and selling them cheap? Go for bright colours, both in your table cover colours and clothing. Or are they more expensive and sophisticated? Dress your table and yourself appropriately.
The more luxurious your image, the more space you need between products. Dark colours, luxury fabrics on the table and a minimalist aesthetic mean you'll likely sell fewer items, but at a higher price.

Depending on your price points, put your most expensive, luxury items highest on the display in the middle, you want them at or close to eye level if possible. This holds true no matter what your general pricing levels are.

Lowest on the table, and right at the front, you may want some small, possibly brightly coloured, cheaper items to attract the kids. Could be something like a basket of lip balms, rubber ducks, small sample sizes /offcuts (if you don't have many small soaps you can cut a few full sized bars into small bits) and sell them at 3/5 for $x.

It's good to have a few items that are cheaper, even pocket money prices, either for kids or for folks who want to buy something but aren't sure about a full price item yet. This is especially true if your core product is a premium, fairly expensive item. Folks like to feel that they're getting a bargain!

A banner isn't very expensive and can be a good way to bring your branding to the stall. It can go behind you in a gazebo, or at the front of the table if the market is indoors. It's not essential for your first market, but if you'll continue then do consider it.

I like to include a photo of myself working somewhere on the table or banner, to emphasise the fact that they were made my hand, by the person standing behind the table... Perhaps one of you cutting a bar might be appropriate? Or pouring the soap batter?

I agree with the card machine suggestion, if possible. I lost a load of sales at first because folks carry less cash these days, and if they do bring cash to a market, once it's gone, it's gone.
Wow great advise. 💫👍🏼🧼
 

Misschief

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2015
Messages
4,034
Reaction score
6,156
Location
Kelowna, BC, Canada

amd

Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2015
Messages
3,859
Reaction score
5,607
Location
South Dakota
which card readers do you all use and why?
I use square too. It works with my website through them to keep all inventory current. I spent the money on the chip reader as it does offer more protection to you and your customers for fraud security... Plus you know, hands free so I don't have to handle people's cards. They offer a free reader as well, but it isn't as secure.

Sorry it took so long to get shelf pics, I had to find them in the garage! Plus good thing we had this conversation because one leg has cracked wood so hubs will need to fix it or cut me a new one. Also, sorry about the glare, we finally have sunshine so finding a spot to take pics was tricky...
IMG_20210225_105945.jpgIMG_20210225_105954.jpgIMG_20210225_105949.jpgIMG_20210225_110044.jpgIMG_20210225_110002.jpgIMG_20210225_110306.jpgIMG_20210225_110312.jpg
The shelves are a simple notch and insert, 6 piece setup. Makes it easy to haul and setup. I try to leave as much room as possible in my vehicle for product! The shelf is 36" long and stands 18" high, and 12" deep, which leaves nice space around the shelves for price signs, other product or blank space. The height is good too, for putting things at eye level for customers. Mine are painted black so my product colors standout. I also really like that the back is open so I can restock from the back.

Hubby said if you want the specifics of how he built them, he can send you drawings, measurements, and bill of material too. He's a drafter by day (soap display maker and mold maker by night hahaha) so he can make you nice drawings.

ETA here's my square link if Misschief doesn't work Process $1,000 without fees when you activate a Square account with my link: Signup for Square to redeem your free processing offer!
 

TashaBird

Supporting Member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
1,247
Reaction score
3,235
Location
CA
“When I get home I'll look for pics of my display, and pull the shelf out for some closeup pics of how it goes together. It needs to get dusted anyways for a market in 2 weeks... It's a fairly simple design and I think you and your hubby are handy, yes?”
@amd I’d love to see the design your husband made! Is that possible. I’m looking up all kinds of ideas. We’re handy and might like to build some thing.s
 

Catscankim

Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
1,313
Reaction score
2,638
Location
Florida
How much product do you guys bring with you to the market for a four hour event? I was asked to join a market here, and the lady kept texting me if I was ready yet and I kept putting her off...it was right around xmas time, as I was selling soaps in person...and my stock was diminishing, so I didn't want to do the market if I didn't have enough product. I mean, I definitely had enough product to fill a table, and maybe even restock once or twice. Giving myself a lot of credit here on the sales, but I didn't want to go bare before the end of the event because understandably you cannot pack up if you ran out (because they don't want customers to think that it is over by seeing vendors leaving).

I probably have enough now. But not sure how much is considered enough. This would be soaps exclusively, and maybe some soap dishes or lifts. 10x10 tent. It still wouldn't be for a few more weeks anyway, because I still have to get the tent and table. My friend said he would lend them to me, but I might as well just buy them.
 

Catscankim

Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
1,313
Reaction score
2,638
Location
Florida
I took a min of 40 different soaps to all my weekly markets, and you can see from my earlier posts I had tables with lotions, and various other products, plus my crochet hats. I set out a very large amount of product.
I can only sell homemade soap in Florida...no other BnB products. I was thinking about pens with a logo as giveaways as opposed to biz cards. Everybody keeps their favorite pen right LOL. I know I would never get a free pen and throw it away.
 

Misschief

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2015
Messages
4,034
Reaction score
6,156
Location
Kelowna, BC, Canada
I can only sell homemade soap in Florida...no other BnB products. I was thinking about pens with a logo as giveaways as opposed to biz cards. Everybody keeps their favorite pen right LOL. I know I would never get a free pen and throw it away.
A lovely idea but it still costs you more than biz cards would. I try to have a dozen or so soaps. I think it depends on your market, to be honest. The one I attend is a fairly small market so I don't feel that I need to crowd my table(s). My market is in an agricultural area with some very high end homes and orchards so I try to market accordingly (successfully or not is up for debate).

I'm also finding that, now that I have 3 years under my belt, my customers know me and know how to find me and seek me out on my social media.
 

TashaBird

Supporting Member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
1,247
Reaction score
3,235
Location
CA
There was another soap table at the last week I went to this market I”m going to do who had a 4‘x 4‘ table with maybe 50 bars of soap total. Some of these booths are super small. It’s kind of cute, and keeps me from feeling too much pressure.
Bumping up my request for @amd to maybe show me the display rack her spouse built.
Edit: Oops, sorry, how it posted your response above my question, I do not know. But, I see it now. Thank you!!

I can only sell homemade soap in Florida...no other BnB products. I was thinking about pens with a logo as giveaways as opposed to biz cards. Everybody keeps their favorite pen right LOL. I know I would never get a free pen and throw it away.
I’m going to make a sign and ask folks to take a picture of it, instead of cards. That was mentioned earlier in the thread, and I’ve done that at markets myself for a long time. I’ve also started making samples, and just ordered some little baggies and small ingredient labels.
 

amd

Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2015
Messages
3,859
Reaction score
5,607
Location
South Dakota
Edit: Oops, sorry, how it posted your response above my question, I do not know. But, I see it now. Thank you!!
LOL, because I posted it last Thursday! My display setup pics are old, but I'm doing a mock setup this weekend for a show in 2 weeks, so I will take some pictures then so you can see it with the signs and product on the actual tables.
 

Rsapienza

Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2017
Messages
292
Reaction score
463
Location
Florida
I transport my soaps in a hard shell suitcase on wheels. I have previously used boxes and/or totes, and this is hands down the easiest method for me. I wrap each batch in Kraft paper (I always save packing paper from Amazon or other shipments). I pack them so there is no movement during transport.
I agree on a tablecloth that goes to the ground. Not only does it look more polished, it also hides my suitcase, tent bag, etc...
I have a market checklist that I have printed out to make sure I have everything. I think I may have got it from someone here. I use PayPal Here for cards, but always make sure to have an adequate amount in change. It seems like it's always the first customer of the day that wants to pay for an eight dollar bar of soap with a $100 dollar bill. The more markets you do, the more you figure out what works for you. Good luck🙂
 

Attachments

TashaBird

Supporting Member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
1,247
Reaction score
3,235
Location
CA
Just waiting for my sellers permit to come in the mail to finish up my application. I hope it all works out! I’m sure it will be a learning process as I go. All my friends/customers who I tell that I’m considering doing the market have been super supportive and said they’ll come visit. It always looks good to have folks looking at your stuff!
 

Latest posts

Top