Today I tried my hand at tending a market stall at Watten Estate, for an annual event targetting residents. I participated in a market almost a decade ago on a grass patch where *SCAPE is right now, selling something completely unrelated to gardening — handmade cards! But really, this is a first proper attempt at managing a stall, I put in a fair bit of effort to dress up my shop front, can you tell?
I thought this would be a fun experience, and also a way of promoting upcoming workshops and to meet other keen gardeners. In addition, I have some seed stock that I wanted to move. My seed box is getting quite full, and I felt it was a good idea to declutter a bit, instead of being a seed hoarder.
This week, I figured out a few things along the way:
- It’s quite inconvenient to set up a decent stall without a van and trolley, and fortunately my brother helped to drive me there and back in his sedan, so I could showcase more than if I were travelling in a cab. Brenda was also really helpful — not just carrying my bags and boxes of stuff, but promoting everything on sale, and upcoming workshops too. I’m not the best when it comes to selling, to be honest, but she’s just fab!
- I could only manage two boxes of plants so I had to pick ones that I felt would do well, such as chocolate mint, roses, stevia, lemon balm, Indian Borage, Calendula and Aloe Vera. I sold most of my plants, so it was a real load off my shoulders. Seeds were another popular item.
- Everything needs to be clearly labelled, but of course! This is something I could have done better at.
- The stall needs to be visually enticing, through use of different materials to create texture, arrangement of items according to shape and height, and a quirky table cloth helps!
- It’s difficult to do this alone, so a friend is a much needed asset! Also, I can be a little shy when it comes to selling, and Brenda was great at engaging in conversation with visitors and helped pique their interest in stall items, and encouraged them to sign on to workshop updates. It helps to have a friend who has a different skill set, especially when it comes to selling and promotion!
- My takings were quite modest, but it really didn’t matter because I had a great time and met a lot of people. If markets were my bread and butter, I would of course be more aggressive about it. An acquaintance of mine does markets in Australia almost every day, and shared that if the cost of setting up exceeds 10% of the day’s possible earnings, she would give the market a miss. I thought that was an interesting point to note.
This is something I might do again in the near future, we’ll see!