Weekend markets are some of the best fun you can have with your clothes on. They’re always choc-a-bloc full of the stuff from “you never knew you needed that until it caught your eye” to “wait, really, that’s a thing that f-ing exists?”.

But you know what’s more fun than going to a market? Being a part of the whole shebang. It’s both a great way to offload any extra stuff clogging your wardrobe/room/life, and a very easy way to make some extra cash on the side. However, it can be straight-up scary AF to get into, if you’re not prepared. That’s where we come in.

So get out the fold-up table, because it’s time to make bank.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

Are they into vintage stuff, or near-brand-new goods? Is it the right place for clothes and jewellery, or is it more a collectibles scene? Before you book, head to your market and get a feel of the place. Knowing what the vibe, audience, and market you’ll be selling to is important. Because the last thing you want is to be selling your old designer clothes to a bunch of blokes who have watched too much 7mate.

SET A BUDGET

Different from a “how much you can spend on groceries this week before dying” budget, a budget for a shop is planning out your expenses (overheads) versus your projected sales (revenue). Factor in things like stall hire fees and rental of any equipment like tables and clothes racks, versus what you expect to pocket over the day. Be generous, but realistic; you might not be able to cover all your costs alone, so splitting a stall with a mate with similar stuff to sell is always a good idea.

BOOK YOUR PLACE AND GET TO KNOW THE RULES

How soon can you arrive to set up? What can and can’t you do on the day? How soon do you need to book your table? Do you need to pay for insurance? All these questions will be answered by the market or fair organisers, via a contract they get you to sign, their terms and conditions, or both. As with most things, the earlier you book a place the better; most popular and trendy marketplaces sell out weeks beforehand.

HAVE A VARIETY OF PRICE POINTS

Not everyone can splash $300 on a velvet coat. Likewise, you don’t want to sell all ya stuff for a gold coin or less. Aim to have a variety of price points: some cheap stuff that you’re cool with moving quick and fast, some reasonably priced things that potential customers can umm and ahh over, and then a couple of big-ticket items to draw the customers in (that might not actually sell).

TAG YOUR STOCK

As a general rule, it’s always good to price and tag everything. It saves time when people start haggling with you and helps your more anti-social customers. Also, if you’re selling certain goods like food or beauty products, you may be legally required to label your stock with important info (such as ingredients and allergy warnings). As always, it’s best to check beforehand.

USE SOCIAL MEDIA

With your social media channels, you already have a network of people who like you, might want to spend money on you, or might know someone who does. So get your #personalbrand on. Make an fb event, post on instagram, and generally make sure your mates and their mates all know you are selling your wares on that day and that place. Get the word out, fam!

BRING MONEY FOR CHANGE

If you’ve ever done a retail job in your life, you’ll know about a float and how important it is. If not, a quick primer: It’s a modest amount of cash you have on-hand in various denominations, so you’re not caught out by the one person (and there’s always freaking one) who wants you to split a hundy on their $8 shop. Most banks will sort you out as long as you have the cash in your account and ask nicely. Also, if you’re particularly keen on making this a regular thing, invest a bit of money on an eftpos terminal or app so you finally smile when someone inevitably asks, “Do you take card?” 

BRING SUPPLIES

Like a kid in an 80’s movie about to go on an adventure, it’s always good to bring supplies. As well as common things as labels, bags, a safe place for cash (like a bum bag or lock box), and a notepad to keep track of sales, remember to be equipped with stuff that’s specific for your stall. Having a large plate and knife so you can cut up and serve food samples is a great example, as is having a full-length mirror if you’re selling clothes.

HIGHLIGHT YOUR IMPRESSIVE STUFF

Have something that will stand out, even if you don’t think it’ll sell? Put it on display, baby! Put that eye-catching product front and centre to draw in the crowds. Even if it’s way out of their price range, you’ll have already roped them in to check out the rest of your stuff.

KNOW HOW TO LAY OUT YOUR STOCK

The delicate art of visual merchandising is simple in theory, but bang-on hard in practice. There are however some easy tips to follow. First, keep it as clean and uncluttered as possible. Even if it means keeping some stuff back off the tables and racks, having a set up that’s easy to browse is essential. Second, keep most of your stuff at the eye-level of your customers. This applies doubly if you are dealing with anything for kids. In other words, if they can’t see your stuff easily, they wont buy your stuff.

USE SIGNS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

Signs. Not only one of the worst M Night Shyamalan movies but also the benchmark of every good stall. As with anything, preparation is key. Make one or two before you head in outlining what you’re selling and your price range. Keep them simple, but also creative and eye-catching. If you have any special offers or discounts, make something for that as well.

GET TO THE FAIR EARLY

Remember how I mentioned that you should find out the earliest time to set up? This is why. You’ll notice that a lot of your more serious sellers will come early in the day, as they’re hoping to call firsties on the good stuff. So the earlier you can get to set up, lay everything out, and be prepared when the Big Spenders come out to play, the better.

BE A GOOD MERCHANT

As with life and The Internet, the golden rule here is “Don’t Be A Dick”. Be approachable, but know when a customer wants to be welcomed or just left to their own devices. Also, be nice to your fellow stallholders around you. You’re all in this together, and you may just need their help if you need a quick toilet break.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

Got something that would make your stall stand out? A unique way of setting up your wares, a nice rug to lay down, or anything else slightly out there? Go for it! Try anything and everything that might make your stall stand out from the crowd. It’ll both draw people in, and create a point of recognition if they want to come back later along their shop.

MARK DOWN AT THE END OF THE DAY

Towards the end of the day, if you’re keen to move your stuff ASAP, get that red marker out and start marking down. Whoever is left is probably looking for a deal, and you are just the person to give it to them. And there’s the added bonus of not having to pack and lug whatever sells back to yours.

So what are you waiting for? Get out your extra stuff and start selling.

*The above article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent financial advice before making any financial decisions.