This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to participate in my first ever Flea Market. The sale of spaces benefited my daughter’s school, so of course I jumped at the chance to get involved. I was a bit nervous. It was the first time I have attempted to sell my projects. I also had some additional spring cleaning items to sell as well and anything I can do to create additional space in my overloaded craft room is a definite plus.
Let me start off by saying, I have been to a lot of swap meets, yard sales and flea markets as a buyer, but never as a seller. It is hard work preparing, pricing and hauling your goods to the sale location. I have a new respect for those who can make a living at it and participate in sales on a regular basis.
I am in no way an expert at this, but I thought I would share with you all what I learned from this experience.
So, How did the modern flea market get its name?
The first flea markets were in Paris and they were called marché aux puces which translates to ‘market with fleas’. Flea market first appeared in English in 1922 as a translation of the French market’s name.
When Preparing, Take Care of as much as you can the night before
Since most flea markets start bright and early, and I am a night owl by nature, I loaded the car and any other items needed for my sale the previous night. This allowed me to get a good night sleep and wake up and leave the next day without scrambling at the last-minute.
Show up on time or early for set up
This was the fun part. Setting it all up so it is pleasing to the eye. Leave yourself enough time so as to not feel rushed.
Mark all prices clearly and have a backup plan
I devised a color coding system. Also when marking your prices, keep a mental note of how low you are willing to go with price. I marked my prices a little higher so that I had some “wiggle” room.
Plan for a long day in the hot sun
If you have a canopy or beach umbrella, it is a good idea to bring it. Make sure to bring plenty of sun block, dress accordingly (avoid dark colors that attract the sun) Wear a hat and sunglasses and bring plenty of fluids and a snack.
Bring tables or other items to properly display your merchandise
I found that items more visible, and that didn’t require a lot of effort to look through sold better. A clothes rack, table or even a sheet or mat placed on the ground is essential when displaying your items. If people have too put a lot of effort in they will move on quickly to a competitor’s table.
Don’t Just Sit There… Get up and Sell!!
I found I gained more interest in my items when I talked to people and said “Hi” Sitting their idle watching people come and go doesn’t sell stuff, but being a social butterfly DOES even when the turn out is low.
Talk about what you do and PROMOTE
I created plenty of business cards, and even sign explaining what Upcycling is. People’s curiosity would get the better of them and they would stop to read the sign. It was a great conversation starter!
Bring Singles and 5 dollar bills to make change and wear a fanny pack!
I brought about $40 dollars in cash. I used 25 singles and four 5 dollar bills and found this to be enough to make change. It is better to wear a fanny pack or apron to keep change, pens and tape in. Leaving money unsupervised in a box even for a minute, creates a potential for theft.
Make Friends and Connections!
Even though the turn out was less than spectacular, I still managed to socialize with other vendors and make personal connections. I met a really nice woman who runs a local consignment shop, and my flea market neighbor and I helped each other when the other had to take a bathroom break. The nice lady next to me even helped complete a sale while I walked away for a moment!
Oh and Don’t Forget to take a Flea Market Selfie!
What are you doing to prepare for this Flea Market Season? Do you have any tips for sellers not mentioned here? Do you have willpower when it comes to buying things at a flea market when you are there to sell?