The last few years we've seen small businesses being birthed during quarantine while others pivoted out of necessity. Personally, I've enjoyed seeing all the new outdoor craft markets that have made it possible for businesses to continue offering their services and products even in the midst of a pandemic.
In 2018 I started CEREMONIA out of my home, where I held intimate events & trunk shows for friends and family to introduce them to my brand. At about the same time I also started going out to local markets to expose the brand to a larger audience. This is a great way to test your product and get direct feedback from customers. At the same time, it's a great marketing tool: in addition to sales revenue, you're gaining exposure. Take this as an opportunity to build connections with customers, and other small business owners. Build your e-mail list, ask customers to follow you on social media, gain a better understanding of your demographic. Meanwhile you never know what other opportunities for collaboration may come from meeting with other vendors. Check, check, check, and check.
Photo by CEREMONIA at Smorgasburg LA
So you're convinced now, right? But maybe a little overwhelmed on where to start? Don't worry, I got you! Start by researching craft markets or farmers markets in your area. Visit them to get a feel for them, get inspired, and choose a couple that make sense for your business. Give yourself time to prepare and gather all your inventory & equipment. Continue reading for the ultimate craft market check list and some tips for having a successful pop up.
- clear signage with your brand name
- white 10 x 10 canopy tent (optional: white side walls)
- tent weights
- at least 1 6-foot folding table with table cloth
- at least 1 chair/stool
- heavy duty storage containers
- wooden crates that store goods and double up as displays
- credit card reader like Square to accept credit card payments
- back up battery bank with charging cables for phone & CC readers
- point of purchase materials (ie: photos, relevant displays, info cards)
- QR code for your social media/website
- a sign that shows your accepted payment methods (CC, Venmo, Zelle, cash etc.)
- a clipboard with an email list & pen
- mini chalkboards &/or price cubes
- branded paper shopping bags
- S hooks of various sizes
- hooks for pegboard
- working gloves
- extra hangtags & pricing stickers
- yarn or twine rope
- gorilla glue
- cleaning wipes
- hand sanitizer
- first aid kit
- a credit card reader like Square
- $100 in small bills & coins
- back up battery bank & charging cables for phone & CC reader
- clothes rack
- collapsible shelves
- peg boards
- wagon/dolly (for transporting goods)
- step ladder
- props like plants and florals to add warmth
Photo source: Foca
Once you've set a date for your pop up, make a flyer for it. Be sure to promote your event across social media, let all your family and friends know about it. Ask them to help you get the word out. And now it's time to show up. Arrive early, give yourself more time than you think you may need to set up. Be friendly, SMILE lots, welcome everyone who walks by. You'd be surprised how much eye contact helps. Avoid being on your phone or looking down even during slower periods. Engage with shoppers, try to learn a little about them. Give genuine compliments and thank everyone who stops by, even if they don't purchase from you.
And there you have it. This is a list of everything I have for our pop ups and these are the practices that I employ, and train our team to employ. To date, we've only had positive pop up experiences and customers who continue to visit us 4 years later. I hope this list helps you on your business journey and encourages you to try a pop up. Good luck!