Renting a booth at a Flea Market can be fun and exciting. You are going to sell all of your crafts and treasures and make a bunch of money! BUT...throwing everything out on a table is not enough to grab a customer’s attention. There's more to making money at flea markets. You want to turn a profit. There are some selling tips that you should learn before you set up. Do’s and don’ts for vendors are easy to follow for a successful weekend of sales.
Most communities have at least one Flea Market. Some are only open certain times of year and others only sell certain types of items. Choosing the right Flea Market depends on what you are selling. Attend as many Flea Markets in the area you wish to sell and then get the details of renting a booth from their front office. Observe what others are selling and what their prices are. These people are probably established vendors and know what attendees are looking for and what sells. Ask lots of questions.
Take a look at what goods are in the shopper’s arms. You want to see what products they buy! If you want to sell handmade crafts, look at all the booths that are carrying handmade items and see if people are buying. If you are selling vintage furniture or clothing, do you see others who are selling the same or are the vendors only selling 5 tube socks for a dollar? Sometimes you can break through a market with new items, but remember that the customer is accustomed to those tube socks and not cool vintage. It may take a few weekends to get the word out. Or, does vintage furniture and clothing sell well at another Flea Market in the area? Before renting a booth, consider which market works best for your product.
Pricing of a booth needs to be a priority as you need to make that cost back as early in the day as possible. When talking to the Flea Market front office, ask about the rules and regulations and any information about merchandise such as competition and how many like product booths there are in the market. Also ask about the approval process, legal and tax requirements, and the location of any booths that may be available. If there is a wait list to be a vendor and it isn’t year's long, get your name on that list. If there are booths that are open and you have a choice, try for one that is near the entrance. One that is way in the back of the Flea Market layout, will only attract a small percentage of shoppers. They tire out traveling all the way to the back 40 and will only give a passing glance on the way to their cars!
Decide what you are going to sell from the research you did on all the Flea Markets in the area. While deciding items, remember that the items sold this week will need to be replenished before next week. You will have to block in time to go out and purchase more inventory at thrift stores and garage sales and estate sales to be ready with enough wares for next week. You will have to buy your stuff cheap enough to be able to mark it up for resale. If you are selling antiques or vintage, set your prices for Flea Markets and not for Sotheby's Auction House. Price items low enough to sell. Negotiations are a part of the culture of Flea Markets so figure in what you price your item and what you will actually take for it. It may take several weekends to move an item that you are not willing to haggle over. Some things should be sold on ebay and not at a Flea Market.
The fun part begins while setting up your booth and displaying your merchandise. Try to set up everything early so you are not digging things out late. Early morning shoppers are eager and ready to spend money! If your booth is out in the open, then bring a covering such as a tent or an umbrella. It can get terribly hot standing in the open for long hours. If it rains, you will want to be sheltered. An umbrella, tent or canopy can be unique and help you stand out from the rest of the crowd.
The gates are open and the throngs of customers have come pouring in. You have change in your pocket and your booth is looking spiffy and the first guy who approaches wants to buy an item for $1 when you have a $3 sticker on it. As mentioned before, haggling, negotiating, and bargaining are all part of the culture of a Flea Market.On the good side, you own the merchandise and you can ask any price that you want. On the bad side, if you price an item too high, it won’t sell. Don’t feel pressure to drop the price drastically until the end of the day. Someone else may be interested for the asking price. Also, when people are browsing, let them browse! No one wants a carnival hawker following them around being pushy! If they are interested, they will let you know and if you have suggestions of other things that you have that they might like, only suggest if they seem interested.
It is always great if the money end of business can be setup to run smoothly and without problems from the very beginning. One way to do that is to accept credit cards. People have become so used to using their little plastic cards for everything, that they carry very little cash. Use the slide device called Square and hook it up on your phone and payment goes directly to your bank. There is usually a fee of about 2% of sale. You can also accept payments through paypal and other credit card readers.The easier you make it for shoppers to buy, the more they're likely to spend, especially if you sell big-ticket items.
Shouting out to the public that you are at the Flea Market as a vendor is a great way to get new traffic to your booth. Post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest that you are busy and ready to sell. Post pictures during the day of your booth, your items and the crowds of customers. Not only does this get likes and followers, but it builds a customer base that will find you at the Flea Market weekly. Start a page for your booth and add pictures of the items you are selling and let people know they can order from you.
You will find that the Flea Market crowd is an interesting one. Everyone has a story and the camaraderie is infectious and addicting. To be successful all you need is a colorful booth, a big smile and some really cool products!
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