Attending a farmers’ market or craft fair is a great way for a growing business to drive sales and create awareness in a local area – but if your business hasn’t done anything like this before, it can be difficult to know where to start.
You’re likely to already have some customers, and have probably established production or service provision methods, but now you need to spread the word about all the good things you do. These are also great opportunities to gain valuable feedback from customers. So, get your product right, then look for events.
Read on for four essentials to help get you ready for your first craft fair or farmers’ market, as well as tips for finding the right audience for your products and services.
Which is the right event for my business?
If you’re just getting started with events, something small and local is best. That way, you can find out about preparation, setting up, stock levels, cash flow, customer service, and how best to run the day, without getting in over your head. Use the event to get things running smoothly before moving to bigger events.
How do I find these events?
Here are quite a few co-operatives – Co-op Farmers Market: St. John’s Farmers’ Market is an example of a large co-op farmers market. They tend to have websites that detail events. Farmers Market: Farms.com lists farmers markets in CA by their region. A simple ‘farmers’ markets’ Google search will bring you lots of options.
What sort of cost is involved?
At smaller events, the costs aren’t huge. To be a stallholder at the Matlock Bath Indoor Craft & Gift Market costs between $12 and $50. For farmers’ markets, the costs can also be low, with some markets charging as little as $30 for a stall. It might be necessary, however, to pay a small fee and become a member of a co-operative or organizing group before becoming a stallholder.
What are the rules for participating?
At farmers’ markets, there are often rules about stocking produce from within the local area and having someone involved in production in attendance, but rules can be different everywhere, so it’s best to check with individual events. Craft fairs generally want you to pay in advance, they also have set hours you must keep to, and you can usually only sell or display items and services agreed to with organizers in advance. Some form of liability insurance is usually required at events of this kind.
Now you know the essentials of attending an event for the first time, how about dipping your toe in the water and looking for an event that’s just right for your business?