One of my favorite parts of owning a small business is being able to sell my products in person at local markets and events. As a candle maker, these events are so important to me, customers are able to smell my various scents and see the detail and love that goes into each candle. If you’re new to the market/pop-up game, implementing these tips might be helpful to stay sane and safe.
I will preface this by saying I am not an expert when it comes to pop-ups and events, these are tips that I’ve gained through my experience selling in person since April of 2021.
I love to make to-do lists, but I tend to find myself closing the notebook and forgetting all about the intricate, detailed agenda I wrote out for myself. “Out of sight, out of mind”. If you’re anything like me, try to keep the notebook open on the to-do list page until it is completed. If you have to flip through the notebook, make sure you put it back on the to-do list before you set it down. This has helped me realign to my priorities whenever I get distracted and focus on one minute detail for too long.
Running a business can get very draining mentally, physically, and emotionally. There is so much physical and mental labor that goes into event preparations, and it typically goes unseen. Oftentimes there are a million things running through my mind on the week of the event, “I can’t forget to wash my tablecloths”, “Print more thank you/candle care cards”, “OMG I’m out of wicks!”, “I need to decorate and box up all of the candles”, “order more warning labels”, “Am I going to be able to drive up to the booth location or will I have to carry all my stuff?” the rambling goes on… The week or two before the event, I recommend creating a current inventory list and a goal inventory list that reflects the sales goal for that event. Through this, it has allowed me to plan out my week accordingly, purchase the supplies needed, and create enough product for that inventory goal.
As a one woman show, it’s nearly impossible to leave my booth without feeling scared or worried about my products. On the day of the event, I recommend bringing plenty of water, food, and a portable charger, so you can minimize the amount of times you leave your booth. Not only is it worrisome if you are new to the area/market, but you might also miss out on some sales if no one is working your booth.
One day, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and participate in a market in Sacramento(about two hours away from where I live). I was fairly new to the area and didn’t know anyone at the market or who lived in the city. As a precaution, I wrote down the address and phone number of the local police station before the market, and brought a portable phone charger just in case my battery died. However, I got there early, found a decently close parking spot, and got a good map of the surrounding area. Park your car as close as you can to your booth, whether that means getting there a little earlier than expected, it will minimize the amount of time you and your stuff is alone.