Community Markets - reflections from a novice

Last Sunday we had a stall at the Port Chalmers Community Market for the first time.

Neither Kelly nor I would describe ourselves as extroverts, but we both had a lot of fun - except for the early start!

All are welcome at the Port Chalmers Community Market (held on open ground on the main road opposite the 4Square) so sites are on a first come / first served basis - thus the early start. Set up is at 8am for a 10am start and the market runs until about 1.00 or 1.30pm. For us in Riverside this meant a 6am start by the time we loaded the last of the gear (and the kids) into the ute.

So what were our learnings ...

Location Location Location

Positioning is important. We chose a space at the front which was good for visibility from the street. Ground was a little uneven though, so must remember to bring some blocks next time to shore up the table. We had practised our table display so we were unpacked and ready to go by 8.30am - only 1.5 hours to wait (sigh!). But never mind, there was plenty of time to check out the other stalls, watch them set up, have a pit stop and go for a coffee run.

Good weather makes for happy patrons and happy stallholders

This market is an open air one so the fine weather meant there was plenty of patronage - although we would have loved more. Hint hint nudge nudge: the next Port Chalmers Community Market will be held on Saturday 20th March and will be part of a special Port Chalmers Day - watch out for this event.

Products should be highly visible 

Our products are small (essential oils, face mist, body cream, etc.) and the challenge is to make them more visible to people walking past. Next time we're going to reduce the amount of each product on the table allowing for more space for signage and an eye-popping display. 

Make it easy for people to understand what you are selling

Again, this relates to the small size of our product but also to people's traditional view of lavender as a plant and maybe a sachet in grandma's drawers/linen cupboard. Kelly and I can talk about how versatile lavender is but we need to first provide information at a glance in order to draw people in, which means more visuals.

Markets are great for trialing new products

While we have our established products on our website, we'll be using markets as a test audience for new products. We're currently working on a range of soaps and gift packs and can get on-the-spot feedback from our customers.

Perseverance

Just like any other retail outlet, it takes tome to build-up awareness and customer base.

 

Overall, it was a really positive experience. We'll be back.