Running a Show or Market Stall Successfully

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How to run a successful Market or Show stall

Have you ever wanted to run a Market Stall??
Have you ever wanted to run a Show Stall??
Ever wondered what the difference is??

Well lets begin.

Firstly when starting out with an idea you need to give in much thought......................
  1. What will you sell?
  2. What kind of customers are you aiming at (then go back to number 1)?
  3. Where do you intend to sell your items?
  4. What kind of income do you expect (then go back to numbers 1,2,3)?
The 4 points above are just the start.

What are you going to sell.
Do some research (or even better what do you know or are you good at?), its no good wanting to sell fruit and veg in a high street where you already have say 4 fruit and veg shops etc.
Food and drink stalls have the largest mark up(profit), but be warned they can be one the hardest lines (products) to work, with some pitches(rent) at show working out as much as £4500.00 for just 3 days (thats a lot of burgers).
£1 items sell quickly, but as a rule you have to sell a huge amount of them as the profit can be as little as .10pence per item.

What kind of customers are you aiming at?
I would suggest EVERYONE. Don't try and sell kids hair bands in a town full of OAP's, it wont work. You need a product that most people will want at some time or other.
 Its no good selling hand made walking sticks outside a sports shop and in a commuter town, again it wont work.

 If you already have a local market (or one in mind) go there each day the market is on and see what other traders are selling, if there are more than 1 stall of the same type, put it to the bottom of the list, ideally you want to find out if anyone is selling the same kind of 'goods' that you intend to sell.
Some markets will only let 1 trader sell a certain type of goods, so asking to go there could be fruitless (but ALWAYS ask, you know the saying don't ask - don't get).

What kind of income do you expect?

This really will depend on what you sell, where you sell it and what kind of commitment you have, so many times I have seen people come along with something different and something people are interested in, only to see them have 1 bad week and pack in all in.
With this kind of 'work' the sky can be the limit £2000-£3000 in a single day (non food stalls), but this can depend on the time of year ( Christmas is the best), the weather is a huge factor (even more so this year 2007), your location (don't opt' for cheap rent, as 9 out of 10 markets this will mean less people). My average market rent is £50 per day, my average show rent is £200 per day (with most shows lasting 2-3 days).

 Running a successful market or show stall is hard and takes a lot of time to get it right. remember you have certain Laws and rules to follow. You can be working in -0 temp' for 12 hours at a time, or even worse in +28c for 12 hours. Most people cant make it a part time job as the time needed can be extensive.

I run a successful Market stall (3 times a week) and a successful Show Stall (every weekend), whats the difference I can hear you asking.
 Well Market Stall (as the name suggests) would normally be at a market, weather in a High Street or another location, mainly rely on passing trade (certainly in the case of a high street market).
Ideally for a high street market you need to have a good 'pitch', one that gets a lot of foot traffic (2 of mine are outside the main doors to a Boots store). Have your wears on good display (I go for the 'front' plan, where all your goods are displayed across the whole front of the stall so anyone walking past can see them all( the other type a walk in will be explained in the show stall part)).
Keep them neat (as you will find that the public will 'mess' things up.).
 A show stall tends to work differently( with my stalls anyway).
 I have a 20ft wide by 17ft deep marquee for shows which is a 'show stall'
I have it as a 'walk in' as it makes the most of the area available and being at shows most people are happy to walk 'into' your stall (shop) (unlike the market where you rely on passing trade).
 Show goers tend to be more than happy to walk into a stall and browse and when you can have upto 100,000 people walking around you need ALL the space you can.
 As with ALL shows it will be 'pot luck' the kind of stalls you will come across, some of them have spent 10's of 000's on their stalls and live a life style of traveling from one show to the next.

So remember to pick something to sell that MOST people would want or be interested in (not cheap toys or fake shoes).
Do your research and find a gap in the market (no pun intended) and really work on it.
 Don't expect to do much else at weekends apart from work, but the rewards can be very high.
Be ruthless but not silly, set prices and stick with them, if someone else turns up trying to sell the same kind of thing, do the maths and work out their profit line and you can see if they are making money (9 out of 10 times they wont be), most think a price war will see of the opposition.WRONG. I stick to my prices and have seen many fold trying to force a price war.

If you have ANY question or advice (if im able to then i'll help out where I can) please contact me.

Regards
PAul

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