A Beginner’s Guide To Fall Markets Part IV: 4 Things I Learned After My First Market Season EVER
January 5, 2019
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Wrapping it all up!
Hello Lovelies! I hope you are all enjoying the new year! I am actually headed out on vacay to California here in a few weeks, however, before that, I wanted to wrap up my Beginner’s Guide to Fall Markets Series with a quick post about some of the things I learned as I navigated my first market season. So without further ado… here we go!
First things first…
Start prep EARLY!
Waaaay earlier than you think. I can’t lie, I spent a lot of time this fall during my first market season making, like every free and not so free minute I had, I felt like I was making stock trying to keep up with my market schedule. My suggestion would be to start thinking about prep for next season in February (at least that is my plan). Think about what shows you want to apply to (and apply if they have early deadlines!), and about what and how much product you want to have at each show.
To start, figure out what you want to bring with you to your markets. This doesn’t mean you can’t add to this list later, but if you start with your core pieces and plan how and when to make them to reach your desired quantities early, this allows a little more flexibility for you to add in different product as you get closer to your shows, like if a major fad hits next season like velvet scrunchies did this season.
This also includes determining how many poms you need if you’re going to be adding them to your hats. Let me be the first to say that I thought I was set, and got into November, looking forward to my biggest shows of the season and low and behold I was in a severe pom drought… and I wasn’t the only one so finding quality poms that could ship in a timely manner was tricky! So by picking out your core pieces, if that includes hats with poms that you don’t make yourself, plan out when/how you need to order your poms
I’m a very logically brained person, so let’s talk the numbers of the prepping game. If you’re shooting to be at 5 shows next fall, say Oct-December, and you want 20 hats per show, that’s 100 hats (and 100 matching poms), and you have February-September to prep, which is 8 months, that means, you would need to make 100 hats/= divided by 8 months equals 12.5 hats per month. That may be an over estimation, but in my opinion it never hurts to have too much product…
This leads into the second major thing I learned this fall….
Vet the items you’re going to bring with you
What does that mean? It means that you need to make sure you can make a profit from the items you’re bringing while having them listed at a price customers are willing to pay. I learned this lesson the hard way on a few items this Fall, so now I have a decent amount of stock left over of things that I don’t think I can sell for anything resembling a profit. Now, that isn’t the end of the world; I wanted this fall to be a season of learning. However it is a bit frustrating to bring the same item to every market and not have it sell. So learn from me! Do your research, price out your items appropriately, and make sure you are earning a HEALTHY profit on each and every item that you sell. If you can’t make a profit AND sell that item at a price customers are willing to pay, I suggest you don’t sell that item. Your profit margin is what is going to allow you to continue to run your business.
Now onto something smaller that I learned/would recommend…
Place a lower cost item at the beginning of your booth to help draw in buyers
For me, that lower cost item was my coffee cozies. Almost always they were at the front of my booth with their price on a sign, ($12 each or 2 for $20) and I feel like it made my booth approachable. Now, I don’t have any official research that proves this theory, but I do think it was an interesting, appropriately priced item that drew in buyers and from there they looked around my whole booth. Obviously for you, it may be a different item, scrunchies, dishcloths, the list could go on, but just try it! You may be surprised by what happens.
Lastly I want to encourage you to….
Markets are stressful and time consuming. A TON of work goes into each and every one, from prepping and packing up, to setting up and smiling for hours, to answering question after question and packing back up, to unloading once you’re home and repeating that cycle over and over again in a short few months. But friends, I want to remind you that markets are also here to allow us to meet our customers – to get to know them and see them loving and wearing/using our products. This is such an amazing thing; I don’t want us to get so caught up in the work (and exhaustion) behind each market, that we forget to enjoy ourselves while we are there. I may have mentioned this fact before, but really, market season is so brief, I want you to savor it!
To piggy back off of that, I also want you to have fun during prep and market season – outside of making. You need to take time to enjoy family and friends. 1, 2, or even 5 less hats won’t make or break your market season. I think it’s easy to get caught in the mindset that you have to make as much as you can, using every spare minute you have. But I think there is also a lot to be said for putting your hook (or needles) down and going out and enjoying life outside of “Maker world”. Not only will you enjoy some time away, that time away will help refresh you for the next round of making. That’s just my two cents though!
Well I guess that about wraps up this little series on my first ever market season! I hope you enjoyed going on this journey with me and I sincerely hoped you enjoyed the blog posts that make up this series. If you learned something, or have any questions, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below! Or tag me on Instagram (@hanoveriancrochetco) and tell me all about it! As always, all my love!
Did you miss the first 3 parts of this series? Check out the links below!