If you’re a creator, the Christmas market days are a wonderful opportunity to sell and promote your products like never before! With so much foot traffic and people looking for gifts for loved ones, you want to make the most of attracting people and your target audience to your market stand. The delightful summer atmosphere of live music and mouth-watering food aromas. It’s a creative business owner's dream come true. But if you’ve never sold at a Christmas market, the process can be quite overwhelming.
Here is our 26 Christmas market checklist with the best tips and ideas for a successful stall with Ecrylimer Eco Resin. We’ve included tips that relate to all creatives, so even if you use a different medium - we are sure you will find some ideas here also :) If you prefer to listen or watch a video - here is the YouTube link that has a voice over for you :) Looking for more business tips? Check out our article on selling handmade items made from Ecrylimer.
First things first, you’ll need a place to set up and something to set up on. Ensure all your permits, insurance, furniture and shelter are in working order to avoid stress on the day. You can even do a dummy set-up at home prior to the market to ensure you have a planned layout, and that everything works beforehand. You should have insurance and the market may require proof of cover prior. If you aren’t sure, talk to the market organisers, and check with an insurance broker or a specialist provider such as Auzi.
You want your products to be the star of your show, not your fittings! It’s also important that your supports complement your goods rather than detract from them. Choose elegant, solid and neutral-coloured furniture and market display props to let your creations shine. Ikea, Kmart, Spotlight and Bunnings often stock the bamboo plate racks (also search for kitchen organisers). Perfect for displaying your oval trays, shells and coasters. Local styling companies generally keep a range of quality items you can hire such as fitted tablecloths (not lycra ones lol), wooden carpenters tables, plinths, crates, table risers, plain linen napkins/tablecloths and small extra decor items to help your display. It’s a perfect way to test out what you want before you make or purchase your own especially if it's your 1st market stall. If you are having wooden tables (nowhere to hide your stuff tables!), a neutral cloth to cover storage boxes at the back or underneath tables is helpful. If you have a back to your stand, you can create a false wall with some pull up banners etc to hide essential items behind.
When you set out your beautiful items, work in triangles, sets of three or five and largest to smallest (size and quantity) from back to front. These simple rules of thumb are an excellent way to achieve harmony on a table full of different-sized items and symmetry when you have odd (and frequently changing) numbers. Point your items to the front, drawing their line of sight up your table, and make sure the customer can see as much as possible. Use small crates at the back with varying heights and you can even put 2 crates on the bottom and one on top to give you different levels to place items (also great for transporting).
It’s easy to get carried away when decorating and setting up your stall, but remember why you’re there! Everything in your stall should have a purpose, whether it’s to inform, enhance or complement your products. Any unnecessary clutter, jarring decor or unnecessary signage simply confuses and distracts potential customers from your wares.
Make it aesthetic
What vibe do your products give off? Do they work well in minimalist, artfully cluttered, colourful or neutral spaces? Decide what colours, styles or aesthetics suit your products best and replicate that within your stall. If you are starting out, go with a few colours from a palette that works well together to ensure your display looks cohesive (Pinterest is great for finding colours and display ideas). Not only are you providing visual inspiration for your customers, but your stall will also look more harmonious and aesthetic. If you tend to create with all colours, then group matching ones together, or have neutrals with a pop of pastel or a bright in between. Guaranteed. there will be always someone who wants a colourway you don’t do - but that’s ok!
While we are on that note of not being able to please everyone - if you want to offer custom made colours to deliver to a client later - make sure you get paid upfront. Or get them to order it on your website (if that is something you offer) there and then. To ensure they are happy with the colour, have swatches of what you offer (little coloured coasters are great) so they can choose easily.
Set the tone
How do you want your customers to feel when they enter your stall? Inspired, motivated, calm, excited? Use scents, visual cues and your own demeanour to set the tone. If you want your stall to give peaceful and relaxing vibes, some incense, lots of natural light, and speaking calmly and happily will create a harmonious environment in which your customers feel safe, welcome, and happy to linger.
Guide your customers
Draw your customers in! Start by putting some of your best selling products at the front, then lead them inside to other items. You can do this seamlessly by having less clear boundaries about where one display starts, and another begins. Sprinkling a few crowdpleasers/best sellers of different types throughout your stall will also encourage people into your stall, giving them more motivation to peruse your whole collection of goods.
With the Christmas season fast approaching, having multiple items available in bundles is a good way to encourage bigger spending within your stall, while customers can also save a bit of money. People love the convenience of bundles as it saves them from choosing pieces themselves, and making your bundles customisable will only make them more appealing to buyers.
Pricing and payments
Making it easy for people to purchase is essential. Having a quick tap and go contactless credit card reader like “Square Reader” is vital. Most Australian customers don’t pay by cash now, however, using rounded prices is a lot easier for those who do. Should you discount? It would be best if you kept your pricing the same as your website or your usual method of selling, bearing in mind the customer isn’t paying to ship, so it’s a win for them. It is a great idea to have a “Today’s market special” and your other pricing (ideally on branded price tags attached/next to the item) should be clearly marked. Often people don’t like to ask, so they will just walk on by.
Christmas is the busiest retail season, so make the most of it! Christmas decorations, decor and themed gifts are a great way to incorporate the Christmas spirit into your stall. Plus, the bonus that people are more likely to purchase goods if they are only available for a limited time doesn’t hurt!
Not so perfect
Have some bits and pieces that didn’t make the usual grade but you can’t bring yourself to get rid of? Having a “not so perfect” discounted section is a great way to have less expensive options at your stall while your efforts, time and materials don’t go to waste.
One of the best ways to ensure you maximise sales is by having a section of smaller items priced at a few dollars each, things such as magnets, hair clips and cone ring holders, etc. These offerings can get snapped up by little ones with pocket money, impulse buys and last-minute additions to purchases.
Show who you are
The people who shop at Christmas markets don’t just come for the unique and locally produced wares; they come for the atmosphere, to contribute to their community, and to support small businesses. Part of connecting to your customers in this sense is showing who you are! Don’t be afraid to inject your own personality into your stall, whether it’s through your style, decor or the way you interact with your customers. People don’t just want to know your products, they want to know you.
Something for everyone
While you most likely make for one or two specific niches for your wares, expanding your product range a little to be more inclusive is fantastic for Christmas. As people look for one item, they can buy multiple versions as presents for loved ones. For example, if you sell Ecrylimer products, experiment with different colour pigments and mediums to make things like trinket trays and decor that will suit a wider variety of tastes. It’s the perfect time to luxe up your line with gold leaf, metallic pigment powders and glitter to attract people’s attention.
Stock up on best-sellers
If you create a product that everyone seems to love, don’t hold back during the Christmas period! Create extra and display them front and centre to make them the star of the show.
Just because it’s a market, doesn’t mean you can’t sell some of your higher end products - it also helps to elevate your brand. There are a couple of key ideas to helping them move - think neutrals (that would suit most people’s homes if someone else is selecting it as a gift) and package it up. If you have made a large vase, for example, include dried flowers tied with a matching ribbon, with a nice box ready for it all to go into and display that with the item. Generally, it’s hard for people to visualise how a larger piece can be used. Styling your statement piece with other decor (even if it’s not your products) will help them see how beautiful it will be in its place.
Provide gift wrapping services
It is Christmas after all! Offering gift services like eco-friendly gift-wrapping, personalisation options and even gift receipts or vouchers is a way to support those customers who are buying your quality products for presents. They are trusting you with their loved ones’ gifts, why not thank them by making the process as easy as possible? If you have the space, a small square table set up as a dedicated packing station with all your items will be handy. Keep your logo stickers, business cards, pens, tissue paper, paper bags, sticky tape, scissors, extra price tags, sharpie pens, etc all together.
Keep it tidy
The markets can definitely get quite hectic, but don’t let the Christmas rush overwhelm you. Use time between customers to rearrange, clear up rubbish and recentre your goods so upcoming customers are not confused or put off, while also making the end of the day easier for yourself!
Keep it stocked
While it may look great to you when there are lots of gaps in your stall because it means you’ve sold a lot, it can look unappealing and untidy when it gets too empty. Make sure you have plenty of backup stock and replenish it as soon as possible. And if you’re getting down to your last few pieces, centre them in your market display!
Reward your best and regular customers and offer gifts for those customers who return or spend over a certain amount. A freebie like a small crystal, a voucher to use on your website, or branded tote is a great way to thank your customers while ending the purchase on a positive note that encourages them to return.
Show product examples
It’s one thing to show products, but it’s another to help customers visualise how these products would fit into their lives. If you sell candle holders like those made from Bramblier’s Ecrylimer range, show what they look like when the candles are lit. Showcase trinket /catch-alls with some jewellery from Lovisa. If you make earrings or pendants, wear them! Let people imagine what their life would be like with your products. If you have done some styled shoots of your products, get those photos printed and display them with your items in a little stand.
Be ready with information
Having your business cards ready and including a QR code that goes to your online shop makes it easier again for the customer. Include a small sign on your stand with your logo and QR codes that go to your Instagram and whatever socials you are on the most (one QR code for each), so they can follow you there and then. Use the other side of your branded price tags to print care instructions (double sided business cards from VistaPrint or similar are perfect with a hole punched for tying on with twine). If someone asks a question about looking after the item, you can quickly show them that each item has the care instructions included.
Take Photos and short videos
After you’ve spent all that time setting up, don’t lose the opportunity before the crowds hit to get some pics and quick videos. Close-ups of your lovely displays and items (think portrait mode) and overall shots you will be able to use later. If you can get your buddy or your market neighbour to take a photo of you behind the stand, even better!
Finally, make sure you are comfortable at your stall! Have a chair, food, water and anything else you might need. If you are outside, prepare for the weather and bring a jacket. A cool looking bum bag is perfect for keeping your cash float, phone and your card reader - they have come a long way since the 80s! The comfier you are, the happier you are, and the happier you are, the happier people will be to spend time around you and your products. Encourage your best self by making yourself feel comfortable - especially with shoes that won’t kill your feet after a long day standing! (bring a spare pair to swap into just in case). If you can bring a friend, it will make the world of difference to help with restroom breaks, coffee trips and keeping your spirits up!
The hardest moment is when you are all excited and pumped and then.... you feel the day ended in a flop. This can be a variety of reasons (the weather, your stand position, their marketing, time of year, other events that are on) - the list goes on. Keeping your expectations in check by deciding that as long as you don’t lose money on the hire of your stand then you are ahead. It was an opportunity for you to connect to other stall holders (who you can often find out from about other events and markets), and for people to meet you, your brand and products.
Hot tip - look for other vendors that compliment your brand - taper candle makers, dried flower suppliers, jewellery designers, etc. These people will often be doing similar market circuits to you and it’s an opportunity to reach out to collaborate for the next market and cross promote each other. For example, can you offer their candle sticks with your products, or their dried flower posies? Keep smiling, put on a Xmas hat, sing some carols and enjoy the atmosphere - you never know that the person you spoke to at 4 pm just before you pack up your items could go onto your website that night and place the biggest order you’ve ever had - trust me, it happens!
Best of luck with your markets and thanks for stopping by to read this comprehensive market stall checklist, tips and tricks - we hope it’s been helpful!
Merry Xmas! Gabbi xx
Psst… want to find out more about Bramblier’s Ecrylimer Eco Casting Compound - Click here!