It’s that time of year again. Saturday Market time! Saturday Market is a great place to sell your candles and grow your business!
If you haven’t read my post about where to sell your soy candles, you should run over there and take a quick look at the list. I ordered them from easiest to most time consuming or expensive.
First I’ll tell you my experience with Saturday Market when I did it a few years ago. I signed up for the Salem Saturday Market here in Oregon, and paid a $50 fee to sign up, plus you had to pay $30 for a space each Saturday . I could have made that $50 fee back by helping work at the market(I think things like set up and clean up) a few times, but since I live 30min. away and have kids and a husband to get back home to, I just let them have my $50, which would have been more worth it if I’d sold there all summer…..
So, the first 3 times I went I did fairly well. I more than made back my $30 space fee, gas, and material cost of the candles twice, and broke even the other time. The 3rd time I showed up, I was a bit late, but was still able to get a space. The 4th, and last time, I showed up right when they opened for sellers to register (an hour earlier than the 3rd time), and there were no spaces left! Apparently in order to be guaranteed a space, you had to have paid for a reserved spot. I thought that anyone who registered was guaranteed a spot, just that the reserved spots guaranteed you a spot in the same place each time.
Well, not so. Those that pay extra to reserve a spot are guaranteed their spot and must call the night before if they aren’t going to be there. Then, if the reserved people aren’t there, people like me can have a spot, first come first serve. Well I was really, really upset when I found that out. I mean, I read the agreement a couple of times just to make sure I understood how things worked before I signed up! Anyway, I decided it wasn’t worth it for me to drive 30min. to Salem just to be turned away, especially since you could probably bet that on any nice sunny day, there probably weren’t going to be hardly any spots available if any at all.
Anyway, take a lesson from me and make sure you check to see if you need to pay for a reserved spot in order to guarantee you can sell each Saturday.
So here’s a list of things to make sure you have in order to sell at the Saturday Market. Of course make sure to check with your local market to see what their specific rules are:
What to Bring To Saturday Market
- Lots of candles in several different fragrances, sizes and types.
- A pop up canopy with weights or at minimum, 1 gallon milk jugs filled with water attached to each corner. This will be a rule I’m sure for any Saturday Market. You don’t want your canopy flying away!
- A nice banner with your business name, and possibly a short blurb or list of products you sell, that you would preferably attach along the top of the canopy, or along the front of a table, but up higher would be better.
- Folding tables with nice table cloths that cover the entire table and 3 sides (this is usually a rule too).
- A chair to sit on….you don’t want to be standing all day!
- Money box, that locks.
- Change!!! Don’t for get the Change! I would say you should have at least $10 in ones, $20 in fives and $30 in tens, plus a roll each of quarters, dimes and nickels.
- Business cards- Hand them out to EVERYONE!
- Business card holder. Looks nicer than just stacking them on the table.
- Bags for people to put their candles into. Would be good to have tissue paper or newspaper as well so you can wrap any glass container candles.
- Notebook and Pen/pencil to keep track of what candles you sell. And for doodling in when business is slow…..
- Calculator. Best not to try to do it all in your head, especially when someone orders several candles or you need to take off an advertised discount. I imagine it makes the customer feel better about it too!
- Receipt book. This is optional, but I know I had quite a few people ask me for a receipt, and thankfully I had my little receipt book, so I say this is a must. Looks more professional than just writing it on a piece of paper too! Also, at the Salem Saturday Market, you can accept credit cards even if you don’t have your own machine. So if you opt in for that, you have to have a receipt book in order to write the customer a receipt so they can take it up to the main booth and pay, and then they bring you back their payment receipt and you give them their candles.
Ok, so there’s a pretty good list for you I think. Now here are some tips. Some of these are from my own experience and some are some tips I received from some SSM Veterans who visited with me and offered some advice. It was a pretty neat experience and you could form some good friendships there. I found many of the sellers there to be very friendly and happy to help! Probably helped that I was the only candle person there too, so I wasn’t threatening anyone with competition 😉
13 Saturday Market Tips You Need To Know
- Make sure to have your car packed up the night before market day so you don’t have to do it early in the morning and feel rushed.
- Get to the market as early as you possibly can, at least on the first couple days you sell, and especially if you don’t have a reserved spot! Give yourself plenty of time to set up so you can be done and maybe wander around a bit before the market opens.
- If you don’t have a reserved spot, you can always call the market director the night before and see if any of the reserves called in to say they wouldn’t be there. At the Salem Saturday Market, the reserved spots are supposed to call in the night before if they aren’t going to be there. And if there are spots open, make sure you get there early because those spots can fill up fast and then you’re out of luck for that day! (like me, even though I did show up early, but I didn’t know I could have called the night before)
- Try to set up your tables in a way that invites people in! This is one thing I noticed of other booths that seemed to work for them. I only had one table so I just set it up out front with 2 shelf things on each side of the table. If I had two tables, I would have tried setting it up in an L shape with one table on the side of the canopy and the other toward the back. This way, it kind of invites people in to look at your stuff rather than just walking on by because they think they can see all that you have right there in front. I think this is like creating some curiosity to draw people in to take a closer look. Better yet, have 3 tables making an upside down U shape.
- Set up your display with different levels. I admit, mine was kind of flat. I tried to raise some of the candles up on boxes that I put underneath the table cloth, but still, it wasn’t the way I would prefer. So if you can afford it, find some sturdy shelves that you can set on top of the tables in order to create different levels, of course making sure everything is sturdy! Even if you can’t afford to spend much money on this, I imagine you could make a pretty good multilevel structure with different size cardboard boxes and just cover them with nice looking table cloths.
- Bring enough candles and accessories that will fill up your tables enough to look like you’ve got something going on there! You don’t want it to look empty and boring, or like you only have a few items to choose from.
- Be there EVERY Saturday. This, I did not get a chance to do, but this was the advice I got from a couple of the regular sellers that had been selling there for several years. This way, the buyers get to know you and rely on you being there and you can develop a relationship with some of them, in turn making it very possible to get regular customers that know and love your product!
- Hand out business cards to anyone who will take them and keep some on the table in an obvious spot. You normally aren’t allowed to coerce anyone or “sell” to people unless they come up to your booth, so just be ready when someone comes to browse, ask them if they’d like to take a card. Try to engage them a little bit in conversation. Maybe ask if they’ve ever used soy candles before or what their favorite scent is, etc…. But ALWAYS ask if they’d like a card before they leave.
- Make sure to include a business card in the bag when someone does buy your candles.
- Have leaflets on the table that have your soy candle burning instructions on them. This way you can also include that in the bag when someone buys, and they’ll be more likely to have a good experience with your candles in burning them properly.
- Keep your candles out of the sun! I learned this the second Saturday I sold at the market. It was a pretty warm day and although they didn’t melt, my candles started getting faded from sitting in the sun too long, so I had to make sure to move them back under the canopy more as the day went on.
- Leave the lids off of a few of your best smelling candles. I did this and have had people comment that they could smell them even before they came up close! Plus it makes people feel like it’s okay to take the lids off and smell. And you can also offer that they can do that too.
- Make your prices easily visible to the customers. Many people may not ask you for the price if it’s not made available to them and they might assume it is going to be too much.
Incentives to Get People to Buy Your Candles
- Be friendly! Smile, try to engage a conversation without being pushy. Some people just want to be left alone as they browse, so just go with the feel of it. If they don’t seem to want to talk, then just leave them alone to look.
- Offer a free tealight to anyone!
- Utilize Buy One Get One free sales, or Buy Two Get One Free (that’s what I used and quite few people took advantage of it!)
- Be open when people ask information on how you make your candles and what kind of ingredients you use.
- Make your booth area look appealing!
- Bring lots of different fragrances and sizes. Don’t be boring!
Anyone else out there have experience selling at the Saturday Market in particular? What’s worked for you? What hasn’t worked?