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Craftpreneurship 101: Insider Tips for attending Craft Markets

Craftpreneurship 101: Insider Tips for attending Craft Markets

I can’t believe I’ve been doing markets for over 10 years 😱 there’s always something to learn. Over the years, I have done Finders Keepers in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Bowerbird market in Adelaide, Big Design Markets in Sydney and Melbourne, and Handmade Canberra. None of the markets are ever the same but if you’re thinking about joining inter-state markets, here’s some tips for you.

Suki McMaster craft market tips

1. Is money your only goal?

I know. It’s a lot of money. Few thousand dollars for the stand + travel costs + accommodation + food + display, that’s not even including the costs of the products. 

But is making money your only goal? If it is, you may be better off to invest a few thousand dollars on marketing, at least, it saves you some time moving around the country. At the very early stage of the business, brand exposure is more important than the money for me. I want people to know who I am and see what I do. So attending markets around the country gives me a lot of exposure. It brought in the online sale, bringing in the followers on social media. It takes time but you just need to believe in yourself, people need to see you constantly to remember your brand, they may not buy the first time, but they might, when you see you the second time.

Suki McMaster craft market tips 

2. Location location location

Not where your stall location is but the market location. Do you think your target audience is in Sydney? Or in Melbourne? Or somewhere else? Some of our products sell really well in Adelaide but I sold none in Melbourne. You need to look at whether the market’s target audience aligns with yours. 

At the same time, do you know anyone in that city? Do you have any support? Anyone can bring you lunch or have dinner with you? Can someone quickly go to officeworks for you when you have forgotten something? Going interstate is about the whole experience. 

Suki McMaster interstate market tips

3. What is your peers’ opinion?

You can ask a thousand people how they think about the market, but you need to remember everyone is different. I’ve been to markets where absolutely no one comes, but there's still some people doing great. So you just don’t know. I don’t mean not to ask around, but don’t get confused by what you’ve heard. Also remember, the definition of “great” is different to everyone. 

Suki McMaster interstate market tips

4. Which markets?

Just because everyone says the Big Design Market brings in a lot of people doesn’t mean it is the right one for you. Likewise, just because people say people in Canberra spend a lot of money doesn’t mean you’ll make a lot of money at Handmade Canberra. Look at your products and see if they’re aligned with the market’s target audience. We really had a mixed experience in all the different markets. So for me, I choose the market based on the date, the fees, the time of the year, etc. Also some of the markets I actually look at if i have anything special launching, like at handmade Canberra I launch my dresses collection because I believe that would align with their market image. 

5. How are you going to set up?

Inter-state market setup is a pain, especially if you don’t have access to a car. So for me, since I always have a 4m x 2m stall with heaps of stocks, if I am not driving there’s no way for me to set up, and hiring furniture is just not sustainable. So before you apply for the interstate market, maybe think about what products you’re taking and how your stall is going to look because you don’t want to spend all the time and money then realize your stall is not doing your product justice. 

Suki McMaster interstate market tips

Here are the few things I look into every time I make decisions. Yes, even after 10 years in markets, I still think about all these questions when I apply. 

Look, going to the inter-state market is always a gamble, it’s a huge financial outlay, I understand that, but you cannot only just look at the money, you should be looking at your goal, and see if this market fits into your goal. And never let one market define who you are. You may do shit at one market but you may do extremely well the next. You just never know.

When I started to do Brisbane Finders Keepers, it’s because that’s the only Finders Keepers accepted me! It was stupid as that, haha! But with the experience in Brisbane, we’ve learnt that we no don’t want to fly our products to Brisbane, so we bought a van; we’ve also learnt how to pack things so it’s easier to set up, We’ve learnt how to make our stall looks pretty. So if money is the only goal we have, we would have missed out on learning all these things.

Later when we got into Sydney markets, we learnt that some products that sell well in Brisbane may not sell well in Sydney. Some products that sell well in our shop may not sell well at any market at all! It’s always good to experience and try all the markets. There’s no absolute yes or no answer because all the markets mean different things to us. Some brands don’t care about the money, they just want brand exposure, so you just need to make the decision that you think is right for your business at that time. 

Suki McMaster interstate market tips

I hope this blog post gives you some insight. Although there's no right or wrong decision but I do hope that you give markets a go. And if your experience hasn't meet your expectation, don't give up yet. You just need to keep trying.

Leave me a comment here to tell me if you like/dislike this post. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. If that’s too much to answer I probably will write another blog for that. Otherwise if you have anything more specific, you can also speak to me by booking a consult section here

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