Tips from my first Christmas market stall of craft/hand made jewellery

Are you looking to set up your first accessory/jewellery market stall? I hope I can share my experience and pass on some tips 🙂

On 5th December 2015 I did my first ever market stall at a Christmas market inside the stunning Horney Town Hall.

I have helped organise conferences and events for a few years now and they’ve been quite successful, but yet I was so nervous on the day! I did not know what to expect.

I mainly was worried as this was something I’ve never done before, especially selling directly to the customers. It’s easy to upload your products’ photos online and put together a listing, sooner or later somebody might buy your product. But engaging with real customers in person is a completely different story.

Shall I sit? Shall I stand? Shall I help them? Shall I leave them alone? Shall I talk? Shall I ask what they like and what they don’t?

The questions you would like to ask them are so many (especially to understand how well your product is received) and yet you don’t want to compromise the sale by being too pushy. I tried a bit of a mix: spoke to a few people, told a story, smiled a lot (which are two of the advised techniques I’ve read online), but my friend Laura who was helping me on the day made a sale within the first few minutes of her being there with no effort whatsoever just by being friendly without being pushy.

It’s a very tricky matter, especially as it’s about saying the right thing at the right person at the right time, rather than just “engaging”.

I still have not a perfect technique, but these are my tips if you are looking into setting up your market stall:

  • know your crowd – if you can go to the same market you’ve applied for a few weeks before and study the crowd. We seemed to have a wave of quite old people for the first 2 hours, then a good mix of 20/20-somethings, families and older people for another 2-3 hours with some drops around meal times, then some more old people for the last 2 hours. The venue/market was possibly not quite the right one for me as I think I needed more 20-something to be there. Many people just seemed to be there just to browse or because they were curious about the local market rather than on a mission for Christmas shopping (which I thought the objective of the market be), so it’s important to understand what the market you are applying for it like, before actually applying for a space.
  • if you are selling accessories aimed at kids or teenagers, engaging with them sometimes it’s not enough – yes, you want them to like your product and get them interested enough, but ultimately they might not be the person in charge of the purchase, maybe their parents are. So you can start the conversation with the kid/teen, but you will have somehow to draw the adult in. We did not quite manage to do that step and I think that’s where we might have gone wrong (my friend was sharing the table with me and selling this kind of accessories). We left it to the kids to say how nice the product is, for then the parents to simply take them away to the next stall, without the kid/teen being able to emphasise how much they wanted the product.
  • If a customer only looks then move on, they are not interested. If they pick up the item, they are interested, regardless of the price. That’s when you might be able to jump in and start a conversation and possibly offer a discount. Missing out on this opportunity means you will see the potential customer put the item back down and move on.

I hope some of the tips I have given you are useful and good luck! Let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below 🙂

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