How can it already be 1 March? Two months of this year have disappeared who knows where.
The first Godalming Independent Market is getting nearer and nearer. Lots of lovely stallholders have signed up already and spaces are filling up very quickly. If you have sent in your Expression of Interest form and received a Booking Confirmation, don't forget to return it as soon as possible (with payment) to ensure you have a space at the events you want to take part in. I know it is tempting to leave it until the last moment, but there really is no guarantee there will be a space available for you.
Over the last few weeks I have had questions along the lines of ‘this will be my first event, what do I need to know/do/have ready?’. There are lots of forums on the Internet that provide advice for this, but I thought it might help if I add mine here as it is from my point of view and based on my experience:
Be welcoming and chat to your customers, even if only to comment on that good old English activity 'the weather', but don't overwhelm them (you know how annoying it can be when you walk into a shop and an assistant immediately pounces on you asking if you need help?). If your items can be picked up by customers, tell them. If you do not want customers to pick up your work, please tell them - politely. Offer to hold the item for them to have a look at. Remember to smile.
At one or two events I have taken part in, I have seen stallholders sitting reading books,
magazines, etc - it doesn't look good and gives the impression you are bored, not interested in or proud what you are making/selling. I know you don't necessarily want to be bobbing up and down all day, but it is polite to stand and greet your customers. Or, how about taking a high stool with you if space in your car/van permits? You can remain seated but still be at or near to eye level with your customers.
It is a good idea to have items with a range of prices, for example some lower priced ones will attract customers to view/buy what you are selling and they may then decide to buy something of a higher price too. You may have some things that are not selling well - can you reduce the price and make a special display of them?
Have different levels of displays on your table to attract interest. It is much more interesting to a customer than having everything either on one level or flat on the table.
I have what I call my kit box in which I have scissors, string, Blu-Tak, drawing pins, paper clips, paper, pens, blank price tags, etc - the things you always need when you haven't got them with you.
Remember to price all of your items or have labels near to them - the majority of customers hate to ask the price and sadly will walk away from your stall rather than do so.
Have bags to put your sales in and either a stock record so you can tick off your sales or some other way to record them.
Have plenty of change in your float and make sure it can be secured. Often you will have customers arriving with a £20 note for a purchase of say £2 and if you don't have change as much as they promise to return, they often don't, or if you do have change and you give it to the customer, you spend the rest of the event trying to get some.
You will need a cloth that reaches the floor so that your table looks neat and tidy and you can store boxes, etc underneath the table without them being seen.
It's a good idea to bring refreshments with you. There will be tea and coffee and cakes for sale at the event, and the Borough Hall is opposite a Waitrose Supermarket, but lots of stallholders don't like the additional costs of buying refreshments as it adds to their day's expenses.
Don't forget to bring publicity material with you - business cards or something that contains contact details and information about what you do. If you take orders for your work, make sure customers know this. It's also a good idea to have details to hand out of other events you are taking part in.
The way to approach an event is put yourself in the position of the customer - what would you like to see, experience, find out, buy, what do you expect of sales people? Most important is to enjoy yourself – this is not just a selling day, but a promotional event for future sales. It is also a great way to network with your fellow stallholders who will have details about events that you may not be aware of.
This blog is getting lots of visitors and a new follower this week - a big welcome to you.
Have a great week everyone - 'see' you all next week.