After a spring and summer of participating in art markets, my booth has changed a lot! I’m always looking to make improvements, but take a look at the progress I’ve made so far!
markets for makers spring
Markets for makers this past spring was my first time vending at a national market. I’ve visited before as a shopper, but I had no idea just how busy it would be! My biggest lessons learned were about inventory storage and payment.
I had no idea how much inventory I would go through, and ended up sending my partner back to our apartment to get more cups, straws and lids. I actually ran out of a lot of accessories for day two, which was a bummer as I know people love to get the full tumbler set. Since I run Cheerware out of my apartment, I didn’t think about how to store my products in a small space like at the market and was just using big boxes that I couldn’t organize well. Afterwards, I got some collapsable plastic crates that I could stack under my table. Even though they are smaller, they are easier to organize my cups by design and since they fold flat, they are easy to pack out.
I also wasn’t used to accepting payment in person, so I got the swiping square reader. It worked fine, but when you have a line of people waiting to pay, you want to move them along as fast as possible! I immediately ordered the tapping square reader afterwards and it was a game changer. It was definitely worth the price, and I would highly recommend to any small business owner!
Renegade in my favorite Chicago neighborhood? Sign me up!
This was my first time vending at Renegade, as well as my first time vending outdoors. I was originally going to rent a tent, but it was only $50 cheaper than just buying a new tent. Since I knew I’d be vending outdoors again over the summer, I went in on an easy up canopy tent and it worked perfectly!
With a 10×10 tent space, there was also much more room to display my wares than in a 6×4 booth space. I ended up getting an extra table to make an L-shaped display. One table had cups and straws for people to browse and I had a whole table for taking payment and wrapping orders. I also got a nice vertical display for my straws, and it definitely brought people into the tent. I used a ladder shelf at the opening of the tent to display a few cups so those walking by could take a peak.
It was so fun to watch people walk by and see the strawberry frog or the spooky shrooms cup and literally stop in their tracks haha.
Even though I doubled the amount of inventory I brought to markets for makers, it still wasn’t enough! I ended up selling out of almost everything I brought a couple hours before the end of the last day. At my next Renegade, I’m going to triple the inventory and try to keep my space looking full until the end of the weekend.
Markets for makers summer
I was so glad I got to return to Markets for Makers this summer! Given the amount of traffic at my booth in the spring, I decided to pay a small fee and upgrade to a corner space. I had one table as well as a display pegboard I made with my dad. This is my favorite part of my display, because I can show off almost all of my designs. I also think this is awesome for more introverted shoppers, since they can look at my designs without feeling pressured to talk to me haha.
I do have a few more improvements that I’m working on:
- Separating the straw display from checkout: sometimes the hardest decision isn’t which cup, but which straw to match it! Having my straw display next to checkout definitely creates a bottle neck and is something I have to problem solve.
- More branding: I’m investing in some banners and backdrops so that my brand shines through at every event. Since I think about it all the time, it’s something I forget to showcase at events!
- More clear signage: At events, I always bubble wrap the glasses ahead of time so I’m not wasting time at checkout. I need a sign that guides shoppers through how to create their tumbler as clearly as possible