Business Q & A

Find answers to frequently asked questions regarding applying to markets and standing out among  other applicants! We're also working on including answers to grow already established businesses. 

Choose events that fit your business

Not sure how to fill out a vendor application to help yourself stand out? What types of items should you be bringing with you to your craft shows? How much inventory should you bring? Sometimes these ...

Create an application that stands out

Not sure how to fill out a vendor application to help yourself stand out? What types of items should you be bringing with you to your craft shows? How much inventory should you bring? Sometimes these ...

Create a booth that fits your business needs and grabs attention

Not sure how to fill out a vendor application to help yourself stand out? What types of items should you be bringing with you to your craft shows? How much inventory should you bring? Sometimes these ...

Enjoy your time at a makers market

Things to know before hand - an elevator pitch on how you came up with your product. Will you do trades between vendors (ie: I'll trade you one of my products for one of yours, etc).
​...

Marketing your business

Not sure how to fill out a vendor application to help yourself stand out? What types of items should you be bringing with you to your craft shows? How much inventory should you bring? Sometimes these ...

How much product should I bring?

This is probably the most common question I've been asked regarding someone's first market and it's such a hard question to answer because it really depends on the maker.

When I was first starting out I received this advice: Think realistically about how much money you want to make. Consider how much you spent on the market and the cost to make your products. Then think of how much product you would need to sell in order to make that amount of money, but then add 10% onto that total and bring that amount of product. 

I thought that advice was sort of vague at the time, but I followed it and it actually worked for me for the first two markets. It gave me time to evaluate what was selling and what wasn't selling. I learned in those first two markets what I should bring more of in the future and what could stay at home or what to redesign. 

 

Now, after attending countless markets and diving into the event organizing scene, I have a few more things to add to that advice:

 

Look at how much space you have to work with and what you want your display to look like within that space. What vibe are you going for? Do you want a clean, simple esthetic or are you looking for a full and more eclectic vibe. Evaluate the size of your products and see how much of it you would need to fill the space in accordance with the esthetic you're going for and remember to have back stock, especially for the items that you think might sell best. 

If you don't know what will sell best, than you're pretty much like every other maker out there! Seriously. The best you can do is try and guess based on current trends, popular colors, popular classics (birds, cats and Paris themes will always be popular), and then keep track of what's selling at the markets so you can make a more educated guess in the future. 

Do you have any display advice? 

This may seem like obvious commentary... but your display and how your products are presented is going to be the very first thing a customer is going to see, before they even actually take in what it is you've created, so it's important to make some sort of impact. How you present yourself and your products is completely up to you but it should be reflective of the brand you're trying to create.

You need to figure out what esthetic you're going for, and figure out a way to present your products in a way that will pull people in. If you're stuck on trying to figure out an esthetic, you can always head over to the I Heart Indie Markets Vendor Display Pinterest board and look at it for inspiration.

Other than your products, some additional important items you might want to include in your display include business cards in multiple locations, a sign indicating what types of payment you accept, the price of your products and little "extras" that make your display unique to you.

What payment options should I offer?

The forms of payment you accept are completely up to you, however cash is traditionally a given and credit card has become increasingly important.

 

Those who accept credit cards do tend to make more sales. This is especially true if a customer didn't bring enough cash and an ATM isn't within seeing distance of your booth.  Credit card services have become much more accessible with tablet and phone applications. Head on over to our Helpful Links page to see a list of some of the more popular credit card application options.  

When it comes to cash, remember to have a cash box or apron with deep pockets, and plenty of change on hand!

Checks are becoming less common but it's still a payment form that is occasionally requested. It's a good idea to have your check policy in mind  ahead of time, including what your rules or penalties might be if a check is returned unplayable. 

Do I need to collect sales tax? 

More than likely, yes. There are only five states that don't require sales tax and those five states are Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon.

There are two typical ways of collecting sales tax. The first option is adding sales tax on the total order of products. So if an item costs $10 and the sales tax is 5.5% (the local sales tax of Madison, WI, for instance), than you would collect $10.55 and the $0.55 would be the sales tax. 

The other option is including the sales tax in the price of your item. If you have the item listed as $10 and the sales tax is 5.5% and you collect $10, you would still need to pay the 5.5% so you would be making $9.45 instead of $10. Sometimes this method can be easier, especially if you're in a show with a large crowd and working with cash. However, if you use this method be aware that some cities (such as Madison, WI) require you to post a sign in your booth stating that sales tax is included in the price of the product. 

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