Many people get excited when thinking of growing their own food and selling their excess directly to consumers. Farmers markets are a great outlet to do this and their popularity continue to rise worldwide.
However what makes a successful seller at the farmers market? What do you need to know before you start thinking about setting up your stall?
It is important to note that there are many people who have succeeded and some who have failed in this arena, but your success will be determined by your efforts. Below are some tips that will go a long way in helping you find out more about selling in the farmers market and how you can be successful.
Do your research
Visit the farmers market many times throughout the season. This will give you an idea on the products that are readily available, and what gaps are there. You can go as far as asking the market manager what products they are looking for. It is also important to understand the community and what they would buy, and how they are willing to pay for it. For example, selling zucchini for $9/lb. during the peak season when it is readily available means you may go back home with your zucchini in tow.
Can you describe yourself as a people’s person? Can you stand repeating the same line over and over again to your customers? Are you willing to answer a lot of questions? Are you ready to commit to doing the same thing week in week out? If you are answering no to most of these questions, then you may have to recruit someone else to do the selling for you.
Understand the Rules of the Market
Every farmers market is different, and what applies to one doesn’t necessarily apply to the other. There is a chance that they are strict on the “locally made, baked, and grown” rule. Don’t invest a lot of money and time only to later realise that the rules won’t work for you.
The regulations can be very straight forward when it comes to selling fruits and vegetables however canned produce, home baking and handmade cosmetics may have more restrictive rules.
Build a Brand
You need to stand out and catch people attention when you are a vendor at the market. Pick a business name and register it. Brainstorm the type of feeling you want your customer to get when they think of your booth. When you have a name, it is much easier to build a customer following, who will recommend your products to their friends and family.
The name and the logo of your company should be on the produce. Ensure you pick consistent fonts and color for all your products to help you create a cohesive look at your booth.
Think also about your product packaging. Even a display of farm eggs can draw a crowd when the packing is different, creative or the display itself unusual.
Build a booth
Many vendors use a 10’x10’ canopy, which is affordable and can be easily found at retail stores. You should be careful when picking a color. There are some standard canopy colors like white, which filters light and reflects heat. A black canopy might seem like a good idea, but in 40+-degree weather, it will be like being in an oven.
If you have a little more money to spend, have the canopy branded with the name and logo of your business. This will make it easier for your customers to locate you. It is also important to know if there are any rules on canopies to be used in the market.
Create Interesting Displays
One thing about the market is that it is a bustling place and you need to make sure that customers can see what you are offering at a glance, and be enticed to come into your booth. Maximize the use of the canopy, from the ground to the top of the canopy. For a start, use tiered displays, wheelbarrows, buckets, wooden crates, and hooks to hang. This process will force you to put your creative side into action. There are many different places you can get ideas from.
The displays should be no more than arm’s length. This is to ensure that people can easily see, touch, and buy what you are selling. Putting the tables in a “U” shape will give people the chance to step in and learn more about your products. The products should be protected from the sun and rain.
Table coverings is an important aspect of creating an interesting display. The coverings should match your branding colors. Make sure the coverings speaks about your brand and products.
There should be a sign displaying your business name. Many people prefer vinyl signs printed because they are waterproof, can be easily rolled up for storage, and easy to attach onto a canopy. The canopy should be read by a person 50 feet away, so it’s advisable to put the sign at the front of the canopy rather than the table. There are many different options depending on your preference and budget.
A good signage is able to communicate what you are all about. If you get questions week after week, make an effort of putting the information on the signage.
Pricing Your Product
Before you price your product, know how much it costs to produce the products you are selling. This is not only the raw materials but also your time, packaging, land costs, licenses, etc. Try to avoid selling yourself short, it will be very hard to increase the prices later because you would have set expectations. Learn what the pricing of the other sellers is. Make sure you also promote your product by telling the customer what makes it unique.
The pricing should be easy for people to understand. If you are selling by the pound, let the customer know what he/she will be getting for a pound. The pricing should be visible from at least five feet away.
Taking some extra time and looking at the above tips will go a long way in helping you succeed in selling your wares at the Farmers’ Market.