Monday, November 21, 2016

The Week Before A Market

I'd like to post a few advisory things to do with the markets on here - on how to prepare for the markets, how to set up your stall, work your people skills and how to make it so when you do finally get into working the weekend or boutique markets, you don't feel as though you're walking in blind. 

One of the most-often asked question I am asked is how I prepare to go to the markets and what do I take? These are really great questions; and not a lot of people tell you what you need to take... as it's not something you're advised of when you get into working the markets.

Whenever I do a market, I always make sure I have almost nothing going on the week coming up to it so I can have everything all ready and organised for that particular market.

All the stock has to be ready.

The float has to be with me and ready.

I have to have enough food at the house to make myself lunch and snacks and drinks.

I have to get enough sleep about 5 nights before the markets - nothing worse than going out sometime during the week for dinner and having to recover from a bad curry, something you're going to react to on the day.

All my boxes have to be labeled, numbered and ready to go. This is so I don't leave anything behind. And a list on my phone is handy too for the same reasons. I know this sounds petty, but really I need to make sure I have everything, so I'm not panicking about what I need on the day and finding out that I left one thing at home.

But preparing for a market is something of a skill you have to acquire. It takes time, weeks of preparation and once you've gotten yourself into it, you will never forget how to do it. Every person is different, but how I work with mine is as individual as anyone else's. Some people rush their preparation; whereas I don't. I take about two weeks to prepare my market stall, money and other things to make my experience, workings with the market stall operators and retailers as stressless as possible - and that's exactly how it's supposed to be. 

When I leave the house, I make sure I have the car packed the day - or night - before. Or if you're living in close quarters with other people (like I do), do it the afternoon before and cover the boxes in your car with blankets so nobody sees what you're carrying. 

Arrive around an hour before the market starts. You'll be battling for a parking spot along with other market retailers and working in close quarters with other people. It does pay to be firm with people when it comes to your 'spot'. I know this sounds rude, but when you have to share small spaces with others, you'll always come across some who will try to shove you out of your space. It's happened to me and best thing I've done is tell them where to get off... in the loudest voice I can muster. Not only does it embarrass them but it also shows people that you're not a person to be bullied - especially if you look like a doormat in the first place, when in truth you're not.

Don't take too much stuff. Streamline your stall into as little as possible; and yet make it stretch as far as possible... yep, this sounds like you're making your storage boxes look and feel like the Tardis, but it's not a good look to bring everything but the kitchen sink. Recently, I've had to have a good look at my stall and overhaul it (this is the 3rd time I've done this) and I think I've finally got it right! I have 3 boxes, 1 old-fashioned picnic basket, and 1 basket... and that's it! This means I will have only 2 trips to the car! That sounds great! I used to have an easel and other bits and pieces which had me running to and from the car about 5 times. But setting up still takes me an hour - pulling down takes 20 minutes. And the term for showing up and going home - as a retailer - is bumping-in and bumping-out. It takes time and you have to allow for it all... you also have to allow for travel, traffic and know at least 3 different ways to get to your market in case there's something going on during your journey - so make sure you have your GPS handy in your car with the address of where you're going. 

So, there you have it. How I prepare, how long it takes, what time to show, how long it takes to set up, pull down and the correct terms ... and yep, there's always bullying in every place - especially the markets. Wherever there is competition, you'll find bullying. Sad but true. Well, until my next post, keep creating!

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