Making an income from a market stall
From side hustlers and hobbyists to full-time sole traders, everyone wants to make great profits doing something they love. You will notice that the market community is strong and there is lots of advice ‘out there’ about how to get started and run an effective business trading at markets.
Let me introduce myself. I’m Nicki, founder of Pedddle. Pedddle is a directory of local, independent markets and their stallholders. We work very closely supporting stallholders and organisers to get the best outcome for their businesses. Want to join us?
Based on lots of research and observing our members, I write this blog for Earnr to support any sole traders currently trading or just starting at the markets.
The success of making an income from a market stall can be varied depending on products, current economic climate and, of course, time invested. Christmas is always an amazing time of year for most businesses, but the trick is to bring in a steady income throughout the year and anything better month on month is a bonus.
Your products and stall
Do your research on products. Are they a desirable product? Do they have other ethical principles to share? What is your USP (unique selling point)? Do you make them with profit in mind?
These are all questions you have to address. It is important to create products with an audience in mind and think about whether that audience is ready to buy. How long does the product take to make and if you need to scale up could that be done easily by you (or outsourced easily). Then once you are happy they are good to go, get out to markets. Visit as a customer first and see if your ideal clients are wandering around, then apply to trade if you think they are.
Think about your market stall too - this is certainly a way that will get people to interact with your brand and a great stall set-up can be a game changer for some businesses. View our stall set-up blog.
Watch how your customers interact with your stall, what draws them over and what are your best sellers. This can inform future stall setups and also future products.
When the economic climate is tricky and unsettled, it’s always an idea to have some lower-priced items that are easy takeaways for customers. Then if you capture their information you can upsell in the future.
Pricing for profit
This seems obvious but so many people price items from a place of fear, ‘who will buy it at that price’ often crosses the minds of small business owners, but STOP! Stop deciding what people can and cannot afford, work out the base cost and add a healthy profit of 80% in some instances. Your market stall aims to make money so this is essential. Read our product pricing and profit confidence blog for more information.
Ideally, you should be trying to collect the email addresses of customers at markets. Set up an email capture form and get going! At a market, you can make it fun to join your newsletter list or simply just ask those customers. This, in my opinion, is more important than a website at the beginning of your journey. You will value these customers and when you do get a website, you will have a way to drive traffic to it!
Marketing and PR
Know your audience and target them accordingly in your marketing efforts. This can be changeable when we face different economic conditions but always have your audience in mind when advertising.
Tell people why your products are so great, and show them how they can fit into their lifestyle. I love the quote from Seth Godin “People like us do things like this”, what he is saying here is people do like to follow a crowd. Build a community/audience of people that are interested in things you are doing and your products and the selling can take care of itself. Don’t just keep posting product pictures mindlessly, consumers nowadays want more and as a small business owner you have lots to give them!
Ethical awareness and values. This is another huge aspect of consumer habits. People love to hear about your values and any extra ethical or eco facts about your business - be clear about them if this is something your company is interested in.
Finally, if you are going to a market TELL YOUR AUDIENCE. You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t do this. Tell them where it is and how long it’s open.
If you love trading at markets then join us on Pedddle!
We have a really active community supporting one another on all of these types of content and more. You have your own stall page - which is a business listing. The best bit is you can virtually check in to markets to let your customers know where you are going to be and also this has massive SEO (search engine optimisation) benefits for your business too.
It’s a community of like-minded people where you can ask questions and share stories. We host online to meet and make sessions and also in person meet ups!
How much is the right amount of time to spend on your business?
As a small business owner time can evaporate in the making and then the endless scrolling on social if you love that side of things. It’s essential that you split your time wisely and are strategic with how you spend your time. Trading in a market is time-consuming in itself. Be sure to let your customers know that you will be there via emails/social posts and use the time at markets to watch how your audience interacts with your stall.
Balance the creative side with the marketing side as you need to be visible and share your business with potential customers. Online and offline marketing is essential.
Good luck if you are starting! We hope you find your version of success at the markets.