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Business Information by Gladys Edmunds

Business Information by Gladys Edmunds
Gladys Edmundspacer pixel At age 15 Gladys developed a travel service that would prosper for more than 30 years. She is a national award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, author and columnist. Visit her at www.gladysedmunds.com

Indie Craft Markets Great for Building Business

Indie Craft Markets Great for Building Business

Dear Gladys,

I make wooden cabinets and furniture and display my works at various “nomadic” handcraft markets. Most of these events take place on the weekends and that works for me because I have a regular job during the week. So far I am not doing very well at these markets. But I want to make the most of my time there and sell as much as I can. One day I would like to work full time making and selling wooden furniture. How can I make this happen?

Thanks V.B.

Creative marketplaces - also known as indie craft markets – have proven beneficial for many new and part-time entrepreneurs. I have met people who have built full-time businesses from weekend indie craft markets.

Let’s begin with how to select a market that can work for you. Not all indie markets are the same.

Learn about how much traffic the market gets and what kind. Visit a market before signing up and talk to some of the vendors to get a feel for the market and its developers. Most indie market developers will have a list of vendors on their website. Check this list and make a few calls to learn more.

Find out how the developer promotes the event and to whom the promotion is directed. It’s also important to know roughly how many people will attend the market. I have been to many markets and some can attract thousands while others can barely draw enough to earn a vendor back his entry fee.

Once you find your fit with the right market get ready to attract business.

Make sure that you have connected to all social media outlets so that you can let the world know about your business and where you will be and when.

Consider starting a blog and/or a newsletter and use it to educate and entertain your followers on the art and crafter of custom and handcrafted woodworking. Also there is no substitute for having a mailing list. So have a sign up sheet for folks to give you their e-mail addresses so that you can communicate directly with them.

Work on your selling skills. Make a list of all of the benefits and make a point to include them in your pitch to potential buyers.

I was once at a market and I approached one table where the woman was selling essential oils. I picked up the lavender oil to get a closer look and saw that a half-ounce cost $12. I asked the vendor how best to use the oils. She said smelling it would calm me down whenever I felt nervous or anxious. I place the bottle back on her table.

I continue walking around and happened upon another vendor also selling essential oils. I noticed her lavender oil was $12.50. I asked why oil that only calms your nerves cost so much. With great enthusiasm the woman told me that lavender oil was indeed calming in many ways. She went on to tell me that everyone should carry a small bottle of the oil because it is also good for burns. She listed many reasons why this oil was beneficial. So I bought it and lo and behold it did come in handy. A few days later we were cooking out and my daughter burned her hand on the grill. I whipped out the bottle of lavender oil and for sure it took the sting out of the burn!

If the first vendor has been more committed to understanding the many benefits of her lavender oil I would have saved 50 cents and she would have made a sale.

So, don’t go to market without being fully ready to talk up the benefits of your merchandise.

Aesthetics are also important. So make sure that your sales area is inviting and pleasant to the eye.

Finally, once you are connected with social media and have set up a blog/website/newsletter, don’t forget to make connections every place that you can.

Put up notices in supermarkets, coffee shops, schools, libraries, etc. See if you can put notices in the church bulletins and other places that people gather. And don’t be shy about asking your family and friends to spread the word.

The indie market place can be a great way to launch a business. Just make sure that you have a good product, knowledge about the product and how it benefits the customer and attractive and inviting display area.


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