Goods for sale? Check.

Business Cards? Check.

A big smile and a nervous tummy? Check.

With only three sleeps to go until the Virgin Market Stall, things are heating up in the Pepperberry & Co. Shivershop. Little Tango the Bichon Frise can barely make his way through the office over the piles of fabric, completed projects, and scraps; occasionally, he even finds lengths of thread and interfacing attached to his ears, tail and nose.

We're in full preparation mode!

A question that has come up now that the market is looming is that of how to set up my stall. There are many suggestions to be found online, such as using colour, having banners, and ensuring some objects are at eye level. I've also brainstormed a list of things that I love when shopping at craft markets:

- Being able to pick up a business card for future reference;
- Not having a busy table with too much to look at;
- Being able to see a clear 'theme'- ie. knowing immediately what the stall produces;
- Not having a pushy salesperson; and
- Seeing a friendly and interested face behind the stall.

Whilst brainstorming, I was thinking about how great it would be to be able to ask a group of crafty experts what it was that they love seeing at market stalls... and where better to find a group of crafty experts than amongst my readers?! So...

What is it that you are attracted to at markets?

Is it colour, style, or a certain type of vibe?

Do you like to walk into a stall and browse, or would you rather peruse a single table?

Do you like to see and know prices of things, or is having to ask for the price a nice icebreaker?

And what is it about a stall that has you actually purchase something?

With the crafty experts that you are, I'm sure we'll be able to come up with a Pepperberry & Co. stall that is simply perfect!

P.S. Thank you so much to all of the wonderful readers who offered solutions to my sewing dilemma. It turned out that the major problem was having an old needle- now that that's changed, I'm sewing like a nut! Due to your encouragement, I've also picked up my sewing machine's manual- and hey, who knew that my machine could do so many exciting things?! You gals rock!


Comments (21)

On April 29, 2009 at 12:49 PM , Cass said...

HI Sandra, firstly good luck at the market. Business cards are a must. I forgot mine at the first market I did and it was a pain because I kept having to write details down for people. I prefer the price on things but that's because I generally prefer to to ask, I also don't like pushy sales people but I do like friendly ones. Not sure what you are selling but I find somoething in the lower price range attracts people to your stall and may encourage them to spend more. Also if they are looking at something but it is not really them let them know you can custom make something for them (if you can of course). Also Amy from Badskirt has a list of market resources on her blog if you want to check it out ( I think)

On April 29, 2009 at 12:59 PM , Anonymous said...

I'm going with obvious pricing on my stall. As a shopper, I feel embarrassed if I pick up something lovely, turn it over, spot the price and immediately have to put it back down - especially with the stallholder (however friendly they are) watching me! And I've got this fear of someone asking me how much an item is, me telling them, and them saying "For THIS? How can you justify that?!" Um, just one of my more paranoid fantasies. :-)

But you seem like a warm chatty person who'd welcome shoppers to ask about products and prices. So maybe go with that instead.

That tip about having something at eye level is a good one - now I'm off to brainstorm on that for myself! If I do end up next to you I don't want to look shoddy in comparison!

- Jennie

On April 29, 2009 at 1:02 PM , Harley Dee said...

I'm excited for you, wish I could come! :) As for my opinions on stalls (and remember, they're just that, opinions) well here they are :) I go to lots of markets :)

*I like walking into a stall, makes it feel more "full" than just a table.

*I like groupings on similar things... if I see a purse with a cute pattern, but maybe I'd like it in a different color, I want it to be right there next to the other one..

*I hate it when there isn't a price on things. Just because if I see 8 different things that interest me, I don't want to have to keep saying, "How much is this?" Price influences a lot of my decisions.. I have not bought things because they weren't priced.

*A well put-together booth draws my eye. If your booth/stall looks cluttered, or like I would go into a claustrophobic episode if I walked in (like more than one person can't look at any given thing at any one time) then I won't go in.

*I don't like it when vendors try to sell me stuff. If I ask about something, then okay. But don't be like, "Well are you sure you don't want it? How about this? Or this? You can't live without one of these!" That just makes me have to come up with several creative ways of saying "no." Too much work for shopping :D

*Business cards are definitely a good thing, that way I can keep up with other things vendors make throughout the year..

Lots of blabbering from me, but you asked :D

On April 29, 2009 at 2:17 PM , busy lizzie said...

I like colour, and probably thats whats attracts me to start with. Do not like pushy sales people, who the moment you pick up something start giving the spiel etc. Also like to know what the price is. If I have a budget I dont want to keep putting things down, because the handbrake (husband) is hovering nearby.

On April 29, 2009 at 2:18 PM , Cathy said...

Well done Sandra - I am so impressed. If your blog is anything to go by, your stall will be brilliant. What I look for at a stall? I don't like clutter so it would have to be very clean neat and very fresh looking. I would have prices as I don't like asking (even to break the ice). I wish you all the very best at it, unfortunately, I won't be able to make it . I am sure you will be a success and your purses look sensational! I am using my notebook cover and it goes every where with me!. We are almost going to be neighbours! We will have to meet up again. Take care!

On April 29, 2009 at 4:13 PM , Anonymous said...

P.S. I emailed to find out what the table dimensions are so I can 'make' a tablecloth (ie cut a piece of fabric to the right size). Organiser says: The stalls are a trestle table I don’t have the exact measurement but around 1.5 meters by 90, I think.

Thought that might help!
- Jennie

On April 29, 2009 at 5:29 PM , Henriette said...

Hey Sandra.

I agree with your other readers, but i will add to your suggestionlist, that coulours allways catch my eye. I LOOOVE green and blue especially, and of course crafty things that can inspire me.

PLEASE post lots of pictures, since it's not realistic for me to visit you BUUUHH HUUU :-(

I'm exited for you and cross my fingers for som great days in sunny weather ;-)

Kind regards Henriette

On April 29, 2009 at 5:33 PM , ange_moore said...

- I definitely prefer pricing on the items!
- I like to walk into a stall rather than being stuck in the "walkway" if I'm keen to browse a stall.
- I don't like the display to be too busy but at the same time I like to know that something on display might be available in another colour / style (perhaps displayed behind the friendly stall holder!).
- I don't like a pushy sales person but don't mind a friendly approachable person having a general chat if I've loitered around for long enough!
- Business cards a must as web-lurking is one of my favourite hobbies if I don't buy but like the stuff for sale!

Most of all - good luck!


On April 29, 2009 at 6:00 PM , CurlyPops said...

I had a large pricing sign at the last market and most people didn't notice it and asked the prices instead. Luckily, I also took stickers and a pen and priced everything individually on the spot. This seemed to work better, so I'm busily making sure that everything has an individual price label this time.
I think it's also good if you can try to add a bit of height to your table display to make it look a bit more visually interesting.
I used a vintage single sheet to cover my trestle table and it was just about the perfect size. It fell to the floor so I could store all of my boxes and clutter underneath.

On April 29, 2009 at 8:03 PM , A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

Good luck with the stall - how exciting for you! I don't have any direct experience with running a stall but from a shoppers perspective I like to see a range of items of different prices, different colours and styles. I often pick up business cards of sellers. Have fun - can't wait for a review of your day!

On April 30, 2009 at 3:43 AM , L. Jane E. said...

I don't have any suggestions to add. Everyone took mine already. I'm just getting more and more bummed I can't come to the stall. I look forward to seeing pictures of the event though!

On April 30, 2009 at 7:38 AM , danielle said...

i think your stall is going to be wonderful- wish i lived near by so i could pop over! as for the attraction- definately colour! a lovely bright stall is a must. and i also like it when it is more of a walk in store- more private and personal and i can get a good feel for what is going on inside! i also think pricing is important. i dont think people go to markets to find bargains, they go to find something special and unique-just like your beautiful products! but saying that, beautiful big swing tags, clearly marked is a must. also, one expects you to have everything,so maybe a business card with your blog/website so they can later go and have a good look at what you do make, have made, or can make in the future for them....

and your friendly smile of course! nothing pushy, just honest warm conversation...and if i lived closer i would say free coffee!! but might be a bit far to travel for that ; ) hehe

On April 30, 2009 at 9:08 AM , Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

I love a booth where the seller is happy and having a good time. One that feels at ease. Prices must be clearly marked and I like business cards.

I saw a stall that used old playing cards for her price tags. Just wrote on them in Sharpie and attacked them with ribbon. But I also like odd things like that.

I have even liked stalls that had little bowls of candy for the taking at them.

On April 30, 2009 at 1:11 PM , Karin said...

Hey good luck Sandra! Definitely having a warm and friendly person behind the stall helps. I hate going up to a stall and the person is busy gossiping to their friend and barely notices you standing there. I also saw a stall recently where someone fell asleep! A big turn off. But I'm sure that won't be you :)

On April 30, 2009 at 1:13 PM , Jo said...

How exciting!! Have a really great time and come back and tell us all about it!! If I was anywhere near Melbourne I would come for sure and say Hi.
OK, I like prices displayed, also bulk buy bargains like $15.00 each or 2 for $25 kind of thing. I like a friendly hello, but not pushy, business cards are great as someone may have run out of money, but order something later online (I have done this before).
Yes, love the bowl of lollies too!!
Things display at a few different levels is a good idea too. Have fun!!!!!!!!

On April 30, 2009 at 1:28 PM , Sandra @ Pepperberry and Co. said...

Oops! I just commented on the wrong entry. This was meant to be for this entry...

You gals are THE BEST!! You have so many fantastic ideas that I never would have thought of. I'm definitely getting lollies now that you've suggested it; there'll be prices displayed everywhere; and I'm working on making a multi-level display using logs :-) How exciting! I promise to get photos up to share with you all. xx

On April 30, 2009 at 6:25 PM , Anonymous said...

Hi Sandra... seems like it's getting pretty busy there with all your preparations. Well done on all your hard work. I definitely plan to be there and will be looking out for you.

A couple of the thing that I like... definitely a smiling face and a warm welcome, and not someone who makes a comment whenever I show interest in any particular item... attentive but not too stalker (it's a fine balance)... I do like things to be clearly priced. I love colour and texture and I am a bit of a toucher too...

I always like to buy something from stallholders that I like, and therefore it is nice if there is range of items at a range of prices. Not everything at high prices and some things at lower prices...

But seriously, a smile is everything and your smile is sure to win you friends and lots of sales. Have fun. See you there.
Jacinta (one little acorn)

On April 30, 2009 at 6:50 PM , My Black Cardigan said...

Hey Sandra, How busy is your brain now! And how great is everyone in Blogland... all you need to do is ask for help and look at the response. I hope the stall in your head is starting to take shape... Can't wait to see it on Saturday. Good luck!

On April 30, 2009 at 10:21 PM , Angie said...

Good luck with your market, it looks like a good one. It's not the market I'm heading to (being in Hobart). Looking forward to hearing how it all went!

On May 1, 2009 at 6:08 AM , crafterella said...

There is a lot of great advice here! I agree that having a range of prices helps. I have managed to always have a few sales, even on bad days with some small inexpensive items.
I think that a banner is helpful, I know you don't have time to make one for this show, but for future shows it might be something to consider. I did not have one and I think I missed out on getting my "brand"/name out there.
The shows that I did last fall, several people were surprised that I had made everything ???, but there were a lot of people selling mass produced crap. I guess this year I'll need a big sign that says handmade or something.
Good luck, and have a great time!!!

On May 1, 2009 at 7:44 AM , The Dotty One said...

Wow - sounds like you've got loads of good tips. Just to add mine in too - I like a stall where it is clear what they are selling from a distance and it doesn't just look like a big mixture of stuff. Something bright and eye catching to attract people over. Other than that I agree with everyone else on great colours, business cards and a smile.
Hope the final preparations are not too stressful and hope all goes well. I'm sure it will be fab :o)