A few days ago I had my first market stall! I had been thinking about it for ages but never had the time to go for it… Finally, I gave it a go at the Rag Trade Market, a 2nd hand/vintage market in Melbourne CBD.
Overall, it was a fun experience… I made some money, got nice customer comments, had a blast preparing all the cupcakes but as a market newbie there are always things to improve or change for future times. Here are some musings and tips:
- Do some research! There are lots of markets around and not all of them might be suited for your baked goods. Ask the organisers if there are other baked goods stalls, find out what other food stalls or coffee places are around, what is the average price/range of other stalls, how many people usually attend and when (early morning, lunch , evening?). In my case, the market was inside a warehouse, which had a coffee house at the entrance so many people would have coffee or eat first and then come along to the market. Although some might come for dessert, many were too full to buy cupcakes!
- Consider all costs! Aside of materials, there is transportation, market fee, packaging, displays, etc. It’s good to have an estimate of how much you spend and how much you can possibly earn to see if it’s worth it.
- How much to bake? I must say I baked way too much! If you can find out an average number of attendees, calculate about 10-20% might buy your goods. If you have leftovers, a good idea is to go around coffee places in the area and see if they want to buy (at a reduced price) some of your baked goods to sell themselves.
- Bring a stall-buddy! or a hobby! Markets are usually 6-8h of sitting on your own, doing pretty much nothing. Bringing a book or having headphones on is not very inviting, so I’d recommend to bring some sort of hobby, which in my case was knitting. If you have a friend to help out or you are sharing your stall with someone even better!
- Prices and allergy information (or even some basic ingredients): if you don’t want to repeat the same information a hundred times, print some tags or leaflets with the flavours, ingredients, prices, etc. You can add your blog, Facebook, website for a bit of promotion too.
- Variety: it’s good to have a few options for costumers to choose from… I had a range of cupcakes and slices. It’s also good to see what people like best or don’t like, to bring back the next time.
- Presentation: a nice, appealing presentation is essential to attract people. I couldn’t carry much weight so I used cardboard cupcake holders and plastic plates with mini cupcake stands. I also had some fabric bunting I added to the table. Aside of helping you sell, it can also help with promotion of your blog/FB page. Some people took pictures of my stall and shared them on Facebook or Instagram! (Ask them if they can tag you or your business)
- Don’t forget to print a banner with your business name! Ooops! So busy I was with all the prep that I didn’t print a banner with Cupcaketeer on it… I did give cards and flyers to people interested but I think it was a big blunder not to have a banner, specially when you have a webpage or blog… next time, next time 😀