Taking your Soap To a Farmer’s Market
Surviving the farmer’s markets and day markets as a soap maker
can be a challenge.
When you’re considering taking your soap to a farmer’s market, choosing the right market and where you set up your tent is essential.
After talking with several market vendors who have been doing the markets
for several years, they all say the same thing.
You don’t want to be set up as one of the first vendors the attendees see
because they are not quite ready to buy.
They may intend to come back to buy from you, but the chances
of them reaching their daily spending budget limit gets more and more
likely the further into the show they get.
You don’t want to be set up as an end vendor if your taking your soap to a farmer’s market, because the attendees
may either be out of spending cash, or they have already purchased
their soap from another vendor,
or they may have spent time at another vendors booth asking
all of the questions they had about soap.
Having all their questions answered, they are likely to just
glance and walk by.
The best position to be in at a market is in the middle.
By this point, the attendees have already opened their wallet and have spent a little money.
They are more likely to reach for their wallet once they have done it already.
There seems to be less psychological conflicts with deciding to buy something or not.
I call it “breaking the seal”. Like when you open a fresh jar. You might hesitate…. do I really want to open the jar?
They may have also had a chance to see a few soap vendors already
and might be warmed up to finally purchase some soap.
Selecting the proper market to go into is also a very important decision.
Though I personally find each and every market I have attended
has had something important happen.
If you are looking at the money aspect alone, you might just miss the real reason you are there.
For instance, I have found a few amazing shows that the organizers
have approached me to be in.
Many high end show organizers scope out small craft and
farmers markets to find the right fit for their own show.
Many of these organizers do their jury process right there, and
may not be open to other applicants.
It’s a perfect opportunity for you as a potential vendor,
to connect with the organizer.
If this happens, be prepared to ask questions to help you make a decision.
Have your show schedule with you, and be ready to commit if it feels right.
Ask how many vendors the show had last year, ask how many
vendors they will allow in the soap category. Make sure they tell you
both soap, skin care and spa products.
Some skin care and spa products vendors will be bringing soap too, be sure
you count the other categories as “soapers”, because you will likely be
bringing along spa and skin care products.
Find out how much the entry fee is. This will also give you a pretty good idea of how much
you can sell. I like to use 5 to 10 times the amount of the entry fee as a guide for how much
I will make at the show.
This also depends on the amount of Soap Makers at the market.
Another factor in determining how well you will do is if you have done the market before.
I have experienced past customers coming up to my tent and whispering “you are going to love her
soap” in a potential customers ear.
This is a great experience and it sure helps sales. At one market that I had participated in,
I had a return customer come to my booth and once I informed him that it was my last day
at that market, he bought the whole basket of his favorite soap.
There are many other intangible benefits to being at these shows.
Some of them are to make contact with other similar vendors, get exposure for future sales,
and most importantly teach the community about the benefits of hand made
soap over commercial soap.
Remember, you are representing your company even at the smallest shows.
Be proud of what you make and sell.
I will be talking about the best strategies to sell your products in another blog post.
Until then, keep soaping and keep selling.