Ever wonder what it’s like to sell at the local Farmer’s Market ? Here is some basic information and a mini How-To based on our experience so far.
We’ve started selling at the local Farmer’s Market this month, Saturdays only. We have met the nicest folks ! If you’re in the area, please come visit us. The space we have is a combination of crafts and upcycled vintage from our two Etsy shops (Oodles of Whimsy, Oodles of Vintage). There are tie dye garments, quilt pillows, pincushions, silver plate key rings, dyed vintage doilies and more :)
If you mention you read about our Farmer’s Market space in this Blog, we’ll give you 20% your entire purchase !
Here is some information about the market and how we came to be here….
We are trying this new (to us) venue to see what the response will be. We are hoping to establish repeat buyers from this group. So far, here are some of our impressions of the Farmer’s Market:
Colorful: We sit facing a lovely produce booth that displays their shiny fruits and veggies in overflowing bins, boxes, buckets and other containers :) The colors PoP! out at shoppers walking by~ The friendly vendors give out tastes of pickles or peaches which engages the people passing by. When their bins get a bit low, they quickly restock, keeping the storefront looking full, fresh and pleasing to the eye. And yes, it makes us hungry…
Noisy: The Goshen Farmer’s Market is housed in a cavernous wood-beamed, tall-ceilinged wood building. The flooring is cement. Sound carries ! Toddlers shriek, people laugh, blenders mix smoothies, dishes rattle, paper bags crinkle; all amplified by the space. Sometimes a group of musicians play instruments, often singing. The audience will clap along. We’ve heard drums, guitars, string groups, banjos, harmonicas, saxophones and more. If there is an event going on (salsa competition, sign-ups for a special function, directions regarding parking..) announcements are added to the mix. In general, it’s a jolly experience :)
Crowded: The early morning group comes in with a task in mind; pick the freshest ingredients for their kitchen. They are single-minded individuals that methodically work their way through the maze of vendors. They all arrive at opening (waiting for the doors to get unlocked) and quickly fill the aisles. These shoppers do not mind standing in long lines to get their treasures :) Sometimes, the 8 foot wide path between the produce across the way and our table is full. We are unable to see the produce; our view is fully blocked by people. Some have biked over, wearing their bike shorts and tops with rear pockets holding water bottles. Others are pushing a stroller with a little person being squeezed by the presence of a melon in their lap :) Most carry their own recycled tote bag or basket for food.
Timely Schedule: As the morning crowd begins to disperse around 10 o’clock, the walkways appear again and the more relaxed shoppers arrive. These folks are here to check out their favorite vendors and to socialize. They greet their friends loudly with hugs and handshakes :) They stop whenever they see an acquaintance, clogging the aisles for a bit before moving on. They chat about the kids or who else they just saw. They open their totes to show what goodies they bought. Often, a group will move on to one of the seating areas to get coffee and continue catching up on each other. The loud greetings slowly become softer mumblings and giggles. And then, we see the kids. They are not interested in the parentals chats, they love to gang together and explore on their own in small groups. They are curious, quick and pretty well-behaved as they wind through the many booths and stalls.
Friendly: “Well, Hello! Are you new ?” ~We are asked this many times :) “Welcome”, they say. The nicest people are roaming around and we love when they stop to chat. They ask us about the crafts; where do you get these doilies ? I love these pillows ! what are these things for ? where did you get all the silverware for the key rings ? We like it when folks want to pick up and look closely at our items. It’s fun to hear that the vintage pieces remind them of Grandma or their grade school teacher :) They sometimes buy something and then give us their story; who this gift is for, maybe they had one of these years ago or their mom used to sew a lot. It’s great that they share tidbits with us.
Is selling at a Farmer’s Market for you ? How does one get into this ? Is it hard to qualify and is it expensive ? Do you have to drive far ? Find out from the locals or ask the city/town/county office where the nearest Farmer’s Market is located. Ours happens to be just down the street from our house ! We are so lucky~ At our market, we leave our wares in place, covered, when we leave the building. It is locked until the next market day. Visit your local market and really look at the vendors. Are they all food related ? Are there any crafts or artwork ? What size are the spaces ? What kind of booths look busy ? What do the shoppers look like ?
When we checked out the market, we realized it was mostly baby boomers and college people. Most wear garments that reflect lots of wear and are casual in nature. They are into handcrafts of the recycled, green and eco-friendly variety. So we catered our stock. More burlap, industrial, upcycled items. Bohemian and hippie, instead of steampunk, country or preppy. We set out to bring a mix of price points as we weren’t sure what people were wanting to buy. We are watching to see what sells and what interests folks. Our initial email was sent as a query if there were any spaces available and if we qualified; I included photos of some items as well as the links to our shops and website. The Farmer’s Market had a website that gave info about the pricing and who to contact for a space/booth/table. Our 8 foot table space costs $15 each day we are there. Some markets only offer payments quarterly or monthly. Ours is more flexible; you can choose from many options. We have electricity available in many spaces. We use ours to run a small fan that cools us down in the heat; the building does NOT have air-conditioning :( This market is mostly food related. Other non-food vendor booths include potted plants, jewelry, soap, pottery, photography and T-shirts. All must be handmade by the sellers at the table. When we ‘interviewed’ with the manager of the market, we brought in a bunch of craft samples to show her.
A few things we have learned: Bring water ! Drink to re-hydrate and to keep cool in the heat. Bring a project to work on or something to read but don’t allow that to distract you from greeting people :) Be prepared to talk about your crafts; people love a story about the background of the items. Take business cards and also scratch pads and pens. We exchange phone numbers with people asking about other items or color choices of things we sell. You think you’ll remember but it’s best to write down all the details ! Bring enough change in your “kitty” and always know where it is. When Rick goes for a walk, I know I have the change with me at the table. If I’m off to the ladies room, he has the change with him :) Let the price tags show; it’s intimidating for shoppers to have to ask the price. Don’t make them feel awkward, let your items speak for themselves. It lends honesty to your booth and lets the shopper move on to asking more details. We’ve had several positive comments about our display set up (which is rather random, but inviting). We welcome shoppers and encourage them to pick up items, try on clothing, shuffle through the stacks to see it all. Be open to custom work. Two shoppers are going to bring a garment from their closet for me to dip-dye. Another lady asked if we’d be interested in buying her old cutter quilts (Yes !). Someone wants to have pillows made from their childhood quilt. These are all good situations that shoppers felt comfortable asking about. We had no idea this would happen !
Well, that’s all for now. I’ll be updating as we go. Hopefully I can get some interesting photos of the building and other vendor tables to add here~