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bluecreekpottery

Are Farmers Markets A Good Place To Sell?

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What state are you in?

 

Farmers markets can be pretty good. I use to go to one at Mt. laurel near Birmingham.

It was small, 8:00-1:00 Saturdays! I usually made gas money and then some! Met some really nice patrons, farmers, and crafter's. Most people were there for the farmers produce.

I normally don't sell in a booth, so it was good practice. I normally sell from a sheet of canvas on the ground. It was a learning experience...on one slow day, I didn't sell anything, but the guy on my left was selling varnished sticks for $60.00 and the lemonade stand had long lines for $5.00 a cup!!!! So you never know!! The booths were free on most weekends.

 

Good luck

 

Alabama

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It really depends on your farmers Market.  I live close to a major ski area/summer destination.  That farmer's Market is AMAZING!  New crowd every Saturday.  So there is always a new opportunity for sales.  In my town, the farmer's market is small.  My town is small.  The crowds are there for food and consumables mostly.  I don't do this one, I am concerned about oversaturation in my small burg.   But it could be a great event where you are! 

 

Roberta

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It depends on the market, but in general it's not going to be a big money-maker like an actual art fair would be. I think most people go to the farmer's market with a certain amount of cash in their pocket, with the intent of buying certain foods. A $25 mug, or more expensive things, won't necessarily fit in to their budget for the day, so if you take credit cards that will help. I would also think that being there consistently would help to build your sales since they will be expecting you.

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For the most part, I find short farmers markets to be more work than they're worth.

But.

I have one that really works for me, because it's been running for 25 years, and pottery vendors have always been a part of that. The customers going there expect to see pottery alongside their vegetables and flowers. They supply an 8' trestle table, I supply a 10x10 pop up tent because it goes rain or shine. I bring risers and table coverings, signage, business cards, etc. And about 4 bins of pots, enough to make a good display.

 

I found that my take at this one has increased over time, as the regular shoppers get to know me. I started off making $75-100 on a slow day 2 summers ago, (booth fee per day works out to $46), and last year towards the end of the season I was having $500 days, plus orders. Not bad for 4 hours in the outdoors and a chance to get my own fruit and veg. The biggest reason I do this one though, is the same organizers have a Christmas sale that is an absolute institution in the area, and is one of my most profitable ones. They give priority selection to the summertime vendors who do things like show up when they say they're going to, and don't bail because of weather.

I too, have experienced having booth neighbours that sell a million pairs of felted slippers, or trays made out of recycled pallet wood, and have those same customers not even want to make eye contact with me once they've dropped an obscene amount of money next door. It can be demoralizing, but as far as I can tell, that sort of thing happens to everyone at some point, and each day is different. I have found that it's best to reserve judgement on a related series of shows like this until the whole season is finished, and you can analyze your profit/loss then.

Roberta12 and LeeU like this

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Last summer in an attempt to get some exposure and cash moving we did a couple of dozen farmers markets in the northwest.

 

These were large markets like you mentioned with large populations in the surrounding area. depends on what you think is worth it. We started out in June when most markets open in this part of the country doing 3 markets a week, Thursday, sat and sun around our regular show schedule. all ran for 5 hours and it took about an hour and a half on each end to setup and breakdown. So that 2 people for 8 hours. After a month we dropped the Thursday market as it rarely topped $200 and the other two settled in between $250-$350. We brought about $3000 in inventory to each and had full booth setup with three display racks and a table.

 

Berry bowls were hard to keep stocked and mugs and spoon rest were easily half the sales, the bigger the better. I do believe if we did them this year we could work them up to $400-500 through continued building of repeat customers and getting better and better at know what sells. Not sure if those numbers are worth it to you or not.obviously if you count the labor for us to go do it they are a bust but its cash between shows, exposure and they are fun. The customers you do have, at least where we were, are super nice, Make sure you have something like square set up as that's important so that folks with just a few bucks for vegies and flowers can pop a few mugs on their card. We gained some regular customers in the process and also got some orders here and there.

 

Definitely bring a lot of low priced under $30 stuff but we did sell some more expensive pots here and there.

 

Oh and yeah $22 mugs were a hard sell. We dropped price to $18 at one point and they started moving. Hand Painted mugs however sold just fine for $28. Not sure much higher would have worked but we don't look for volume on those anyway.

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Yeah, my farmer's market I do alone, and I can be set up in an hour and packed down in half that. I do not bring full sized shelves, it's too much work for one morning. Just lots of good risers and iPad holders to prop up bowls and plates, so things show well on a table across the front of the tent. I move the setup back farther into the tent in wet weather, so people can come in and get dry. Berry bowls are definitely the trendy item right now.

Roberta12 likes this

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For me, the Farmer's Markets in my area are more about fun, socializing, and getting out in the sunshine. I earn enough to cover my gas, lunch, table fee, and put a couple of dollars in my pocket. They are not big money makers. But I live in a very rural area that is also fairly low income so, the people come out to the market with their weekly budget for buying veggies, and then wander around to say hello. The tourists like to buy things but otherwise, it's just a social piece.

The juried fairs in the fall and winter - that's another story! I make more money over a couple of hours at a fancy winter fair than I do throughout the entire summer farmer's market season combined.

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In our area the farmers market is only for farmers-not other stuff-they are strict and do not bend their rules.

The other note is they can be ok for some low end sales-I have friends who do the Davis Ca one and do ok for as one 1/2 day set up (but ceramics do really well in that area). Their sales are ok as they live close and its a smaller set up.

Generally I would say no they are not good for all the above posts about them.

You can try one and see for yourself.Also maybe a $100 is enough for you for a few hours one never knows what each of us has  considering a good time investment. For me as a professional its a bust and not worth my time but for others it may be great-each of us has different expectations.

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