As part of my research I went to our local farmers market here in Long Beach. I was very surprised to see the amount of crafty/handmade booths mixed in with all the fresh produce/prepared food booths. It turns out that this same company puts on a farmers market every day of the week from Huntington Beach to San Pedro. Right now all the spots are full but if I really get going with the business I’ll have to see about joining. I don’t have enough stuff to do a weekly gig right now. There was a lot of foot traffic and the vibe was really nice – music playing and lots of people eating dinner and enjoying themselves.
I especially enjoyed talking with some of the vendors. One person sells scented salts and another sells homemade soaps. I got good ideas on pricing and how to package items together. I also liked the idea of combining several products together for an easy price like $20 or having a “show special”. Another great feature is that they list all of the vendors from all the different farmers markets with links to their websites. The company that puts on this farmers market also puts on others in the area (one each day of the week!). Right now they are full but it’s a great option for later when I’m up and running enough to commit to a once-a-week market.
We set off today for adventure and to research another farmers market. My friend told me about the farmers market at the OC Great Park in Irvine. She said that the first Sunday of the month they also have an Antique Fair. It sounded like something I had to see. I’m still trying to figure out which farmers markets in the area will let people sell prepared food and crafts. I’m hoping to put together a schedule soon of places I can sell at and research booth costs, etc.
The OC farmers market DID have both prepared food booths and some crafts/handmade products. I was impressed by the amount of foot traffic going through and the food trucks for people to eat at. It felt like more than the usual farmers markets I’ve been to in the area. It got pretty hot by 11am so I recommend getting there early (on the first Sunday the hours are 8-2 but normally 10-2). A hat and sunscreen are imperative!
I really appreciate that the vendors get to pull up to their booth so there isn’t a lot of schlepping your stuff from the parking lot! I also liked the fact that they had a shaded eating area and, in the antique area, they had a flop section with umbrellas and chairs (presumably for all the tired husbands). There were several good booth ideas such as pop-ups with vents, cute little shelves on the table to make things more vertical. I think the best lesson I received today is offering samples. I was already planning on doing that, but I really saw the psychology of it today. By offering a sample you are engaging with the customer, making eye contact and opening up a conversation. It also plays on the idea of reciprocity. You have just given them something and most people feel the need to reciprocate by buying something (if they like it). I noticed that some people just sat in their chairs as people passed and no one was coming to their booths. I was thinking that even if I wasn’t selling food items, I could still offer samples of hand lotion or something. It’s good to remember that it’s not just about putting your stuff on a table, you really need to be engaging with customers to make sales.