Tips for selling at shows from a former market manager

Soapmaking Forum

Help Support Soapmaking Forum:

soapsydaisy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
319
Reaction score
237
Location
San Diego
Hello Everyone,

I just wanted to share a little of my market knowledge with you all, I sold produce at various farmer's markets in Los Angeles and Orange County for 7 years. I also served as a market manager for two years.

*Be prepared for all types of weather:
- have weights for your EZ Ups in case of wind. Taking 5 to 10 minutes to tie everything down can save you the cost of buying a new tent and the liability of your tent hitting a car, person, other booth, etc.
- Have tarps ready to cover your tables in case of a sudden rain storm.

*Have change ready, many shoppers come to shop with large bills.

*Have bags for your product.

*Learn the names of your regular customers and ask them how their day is going. Consumers like to shop at farmer's market because they want to know where their products come from. If you seem friendly and approachable, people will stop to ask questions about your products.

*Be friendly and attentive, saying good morning to every person that walks by is a good way to get people to notice you. Do not sit in your booth texting on your cell phone and expect people to come to you. If you want to give samples of your soap, this is a good lure to get people in.

*Try to stay busy in your booth, rearrange your product, tidy up, label your product, etc. People are more likely to come into your booth if you look busy.

*Take the time to brand your product and business. Invest in vinyl banners listing your business name, location, and what products you sell. Have a nicely printed sign (or several) with your logo listing all of your prices, people hate asking what things cost.

*Make your booth look inviting, use clean tableclothes, baskets, have pamphlets or business cards visible, your customers want to know about you and what you are all about.

*Keep in mind, many shoppers at farmer's markets are not shopping for crafts, so don't be offended if people are not interested. Do take the time to acknowledge these people, if they see you enough times they will eventually decide to buy something if you are always friendly.

*Price according to the area. Know your customers. In many areas of Los Angeles, I would price my items higher because I knew that no matter the price, my customers would haggle to get it lower, being aware of that I was able to price accordingly. Don't be offended by hagglers, it is a cultural difference in many cases. Instead of lowering the price of a bag of $3.50 avocados, I would haggle them down to buying 3 bags for $9. I sold more product for a small loss, however my goal was always to sell all of my produce because it is perishable, how you want to handle this issue is a personal choice.

*Keep lots of product out, customers like to see a large selection. My old saying, "pile it high, kiss it goodbye."

*Keep a professional presence - Do not talk badly about other vendors and be polite to everyone.

* Make a point to arrive on time or even early, managers hate dealing with late vendors after the market has started. Trust me, the market world is small and managers do talk to each other. Don't get a bad reputation because you will not be invited to participate in other markets even if your product is wonderful.

*If you are able, give your fellow vendors a discount. Vendors will recommend your products to others and are likely to be consistent customers because you will see them on a regular basis.

Sorry for the long post and I'm sure there are things I didn't cover. I can't stress it enough, have a good attitude and put on your friendliest smile.
 
Last edited:

Yvonne

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
139
Reaction score
4
Thank you for taking time and do this post, it's very usefull information
 

wanalearn2soap

Active Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
Messages
43
Reaction score
3
As a new soaper starting a new business this is valuable knowledge. Thank you very much. There is a post on this subject asking about using credit card reader for iPhone or iPhone types would you suggest I invest in one of these card readers for credit cards. I have the iPhone but there are so many different types of readers I don't know which one to go with. Do you as a professional recommend one over another?
 

Seifenblasen

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
Messages
434
Reaction score
171
I am trying my best not to sound mean, but if you have only made 6 - 7 batches (and 2 did not turn out right), you are a long way from selling soap and I would not consider investing on credit card readers (yet), especially you mentioned in a couple previous posts that money is tight.

The intention is not to discourage you. I just hate to see you waste money on things before you are ready. :(

There are some very informative discussions on selling soap here:

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=17621
 

soapsydaisy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
319
Reaction score
237
Location
San Diego
As a new soaper starting a new business this is valuable knowledge. Thank you very much. There is a post on this subject asking about using credit card reader for iPhone or iPhone types would you suggest I invest in one of these card readers for credit cards. I have the iPhone but there are so many different types of readers I don't know which one to go with. Do you as a professional recommend one over another?

I stopped doing markets a few years back when I started teaching. I am not really up to date with the latest payment methods. As a rule, I only accepted cash. I got burned more than a few times when I took checks.
 

kdaniels8811

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2012
Messages
235
Reaction score
160
Location
Ohio, USA
Available card readers that are free are from paypal.com and squaredup.com. They charge a 2.75% commission on payments you receive. The funds come out of their account so there are no checks to bounce, it will be denied if the funds are not there.

I agree, thanks for the great information! I will be doing my first farmers market this spring and sold OUT of soap this Christmas, the spare bedroom has a dozen batches curing and I am waiting on essential oils before I make more. Have to get stocked up! I make CP goat milk soap and hot process cream soap, decadent and lovely!

I am eager to try some of the soap recipes I have found on the site. Thanks to all of you, this site is great.
 

SoapEssential

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2012
Messages
16
Reaction score
5
In regard to credit card readers for smart phones there are a number of these merchant services out there that will give you the reader for free and not charge you monthly fees plus you can terminate at any time without penalty. You simply pay per swipe. Just compare the % charge for each swipe to see what you're willing to pay. I recently switched from Intuit to Phone Swipe because they have a lower per swipe fee (2.69%). I have a Blackberry which I love and I am not an Apple fan so own no "i" products. Phone Swipe has a much larger phone compatibility base than Intuit or Square (Square only works with iphones and I think now Android). More merchant services are seeing advantages for offering services like these as this is another avenue of revenue for them with honestly, little maintenance. Just Google the information and good luck!
 

melstan775

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2013
Messages
2,100
Reaction score
1,150
Location
Reno, NV
As a new soaper starting a new business this is valuable knowledge. Thank you very much. There is a post on this subject asking about using credit card reader for iPhone or iPhone types would you suggest I invest in one of these card readers for credit cards. I have the iPhone but there are so many different types of readers I don't know which one to go with. Do you as a professional recommend one over another?

If you can get a merchant account from your bank, that is probably cheaper then using a card reader. The rates on readers are high. Make sure you insist your bank discloses all fees, including the machine or reader fee, rental fee, etc. Specifically say, "What will my total cost per month be not including card charges?" If you can get a clear rental, it's cheaper. If not, I have Square and PayPal. I like my PayPal reader, but you can get Square even at Wal-Mart now if you don't have a PayPal account.
 

MaitriBB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Messages
626
Reaction score
387
I signed up with the Paypal reader - I figured more people would be more comfortable with it as it's a recognizable brand in online payment processing.
 
Top