As a market event organiser, and a stallholder with a few years' experience under my belt, I often get asked for advice by people considering giving markets a go themselves.
I have watched small businesses come and go over the years, and had several first-timers at my own events.
I like to use the life cycle of a butterfly as a good example of how things can work out for a nascent business - as long as the caterpillar stallholder stocks up on plenty of knowledge, planning, and products before taking its shot at butterflydom, they have a reasonable shot at success.
To help identify levels of experience, we classify our makers according to the following criteria:
Level 0 - Caterpillar – not approved to sell at Wrought but has potential
Level A – Chrysalis or other new sellers – approved to sell on half-sized stalls
Level B – Butterfly - Standard approved sellers
Level C – Sellers approved for showcase spots – experienced makers who have the capability to stock and fill a showcase stall space professionally and attractively, and who can demonstrate a skill or give workshops onsite.
Butterfly courses explore the content of the short Caterpillar course in more detail, with particular focus on display and interaction. The following topics will be released throughout 2018 in online format:
Physical workshops - Workshop #1 – Stall display - Butterfly level
4.5 hours (includes half hour meal break)
Stallholders will have a strong concept for their display, and a plan (with goals and deadlines) for making any changes required. Stallholders will be held accountable for meeting their targets by themselves, and the rest of the group.
Physical workshops - Workshop #1 – Selling at markets - Butterfly level
As with the caterpillar course, we will focus on role-playing in pairs to get comfortable with different customer types, then we will brainstorm our ideal customer for our products. We will review cash handling and the mechanics of a sale, with more detail about inventory management, payment methods, and customer delighters.
We will also practice dealing with difficult customers, disengaging from talkers, and how to cope when friends visit our stall.
Stallholders will leave with a clear idea of how to interact with a range of customer types, and a better sense of their own ideal customer, and how to attract them and turn them into loyal followers. They will also have confidence in their ability to manage the sales process, and gain some tips and tricks to delight the customer.