Middleton Fair – preperations

It’s taken me a week to write this. Which in one sense is a good thing, it means I’ve been busy. On the other, I’ve used the bits of spare time to do other things. Which does not include reading emails, except those that are vital. Blogs, I’m sorry, have had to fall by the wayside.
This week I’ve been getting ready for the Annual Middleton Fair. Those that follow me everywhere will know this, I’m like a stuck record on this one. But it’s a good thing. And it’s just down the road from me, doesn’t make the day much shorter, just easier to get to.

Last year was my first fair here since we returned to Tassie, and I looked back on my notes for last year. Well organised for sure, but something wasn’t quite right. I remembered what I was doing when it was set up and pack up time. A little disorganised and awkward.
I had boxes of jewellery. And I had boxes of props.
This year I took a different track. I was going to pack each table into it’s own box, or boxes. So I could do the set up/pack/up in a different, but hopefully more organised way.

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A box of mini busts and other props.

First up was to make my lists.
Design the layout of the gazebo to make sure there was room to move.
Figure out what goes where, and what I will be taking.
It comes down to this.
There will be a table of bracelets and other accessories, earrings, brooches etc. These, along with most of the props are all in one box.
My bags, which I’ve hardly taken anywhere this last year – are all in one box and will have the rack I use to stand at the front of the gazebo and wave in the wind…
Two tables with necklaces – one end will be shared with my canvases and a bag or two.
So there is one box with all the necklaces, and then three boxes with the props required. Busts, mirror, boxes for height…
I have a small table I’ll be using for the sale items I have. There are lots of little things I just want to get rid of, and there are always people who want to buy bits and bobs.
I bought myself a little table, smaller than the half size one, for my point of sale. I’ve not found the perfect set up yet for this, as each market has different space and layout options. I usually stack some of y boxes and use that. but its awkward and feels wrong. Looking at what others do also hasn’t helped as their stall displays are different so it’s easier for them.  I’ll have the important items on the table and then spares in a basket on the box next to me, out of sight. Fingers crossed that works.

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3 of 5 tables. There will be 2 more of the big one.

This job also took me so long as I wanted to do a full inventory of my stock as I packed it, categorising each item (eg: each style of necklace and bags), then packing it in such a way that it was quick to get out and pack up. And making sure every item had a price tag.
As I was nearing the end I grabbed a sheet of butchers paper (thanks to a friend who did a hall clean up and asked me to pass it on, or keep it) and drew my gazebo layout. I added each section and what was needed, then ticked them off.

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Awesome sketch of gazebo layout

I was also writing a rather long list of prices to have near items or hanging on the table itself. It wouldn’t matter how many price tags/notices there are people will still ask.

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List of prices I have to get printed

There is a note for all the accessories table – listing each item, one for the necklaces – again, listing each style, one for my bracelet/earring special and the items as a single purchase…. I think you get the idea.
These were wrote, checked, printed, laminated, stuck to pink card and ready to roll.

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Pricetag notes

I took a break to get some photos of scarecrows while it was daylight then back into it.
After dinner saw me get tablecloths ironed and folded, my point of sale (POS) box re packed – making sure I had everything. Business cards, box of tape, scissors etc, tissue paper, carry bags, all those lovely sales things.

Lastly I made sure my repair basket was stocked with enough basics should anyone want something done, and some more bookmarks to make up if I get time. (These are quick and easy and don’t have to be perfect like earrings have to match..)

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Box of busts, sale basket and repair basket

Finally finished, ready for an easy day tomorrow, going to the school to organise misters 14 & 9, baking and having friends come and visit for lunch.

That is it for me now,I’m already knackered and I still have the day to happen yet. We’ll be arriving about 8.30 to get gazebos set up, and cars emptied so they be be removed by 9. The fair starts around 10 so an hour or so is fine for set up.

The finished result is 5 tables (3 large ones and the two smaller ones in the picture), 6 boxes and 3 misc baskets. A full car load with all the seats down.

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And more boxes of stock with hat rack.

Lucky it’s only a 500 metre drive to get there. My dad will be picking up the tables and gazebo on his ute as he takes mum’s as well.
Just thinking, for two market stalls there will be 3 full to the brim vehicles. A lot of stuff, yes.

See you on the other side. Hopefully over the weekend for a re cap and pictures.

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Market day

Here I am all set and feeling somewhat conspicuous out of my own. There are only two of us in the foyer this week and little ol’ me me on my own near the wall I feel lonely.
My tablecloths are working well, albeit lined from being folded up.
My new display is looking good – full of bright and fun jewellery garnering lots of compliments.

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Have a great Sunday 🙂
Jennifer

What a surprise! Workroom revamp again. Pt 1.

Hopefully this will be the last one.

I’ll admit it. I get bored easily. I like to move things around and keep myself on my toes. Sometimes it works, and then sometimes I can just leave things be. Like the bedroom, lounge, kitchen….. My work room, ‘studio’ creative space, is a whole different thing. I have been here before. Done posts, shown pictures, and yet here I am again, doing another. Why? Because I saw something today that resonated with me and I think it could work.
When I have a market, I have to tidy two (maybe three) tables so I can take one and organise myself on the other. Now imagine, if I could have it so that I didn’t have to do that every second week. Well organise the jewellery is a must, but having everything else properly organised so it was less fuss and bother.
Before I start, if you want to check here and here for other tidy studio posts go for it. They explain the circumstances and room space.
Ok, all read and up to date? Lets begin on this stage of my room.

While the pictures don’t quite show it properly, I saw the space around the tables and decided I really liked it. One thing was missing. The space to put everything properly. Now if only I could move just one item of ‘house’ furniture to make room for my things.

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So much stuff and not enough room. I don’t want to feel crowded. I am already am really, with it the way it is.
Something has to change.
I spent some time, several coffees and measuring bits and pieces, then I sent a text to hubby “you don’t mind if I cover the fire place do you?” And the response that came back was “…I never want to see another fire place so go for it”
Enabling the help of two boys, we moved things and the result is as follows.
Where the bookcase used to be,

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And where the bookcase lives now. A perfect fit!! Yipee.
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Next I thought I would re jig the filing cabinets and the wooden cube shelves. I figured if it didn’t look that good it wasn’t going to be a hard job to move back. And if it worked, I could actually gain 10cm on the other end near the bead shelves. And believe me, every centimetre counts.
Before the move

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And after.. I did have a little trouble finding a filler to hold the shelves at the window end. Well I do still have to, I have something but it won’t last forever.

20130619-194507.jpg I do quite like it on it’s side as the things I need are easily reachable.

To be continued……

Jen 🙂

New boobs and that “doh” monent

That doh moment. I have been wanting a small table to have my point of sale items on so 1) it’s easy to wrap items, 2) it’s stable, no fear of sliding off chairs or storage boxes, 3) it doesn’t get in the way, I can still move about my stall, and it’s not blocking the thoroughfare and 4) all my storage boxes can live under the table safely out of the way.
And here it is. I was moving the table and then it hit me. Move it back so the fronts are even, the display moves forward and I can use the back of the table. Totally obvious now, but considering I don’t always use or need the small table (it’s not needed at the Woodbridge market) I didn’t automatically think of it.

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And my lovely ladies. They’ll simply be called ‘the twins’ or ‘the triplets’ depending on how many I take to which market. Wanting to get a picture of them, I brought some of my necklaces to show you the size and how they will sit once on display.

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Ok, so sitting them in the boot and taking a picture makes me look weird, but whatever. This is them, and yes they will be clothed on the day.

Have a great crafty day 🙂
Jennifer

Market mix up time.

This weekend is the second Huonville market, and hoping it’s a little busier. Last fortnight wasn’t too bad, but more people is always good – stall holders aswell as customers.
I have redone my display as I’m able to have a tiny bit more space and on Wednesday I’ll be picking up some more props. Nude half bodies with no head that I can hang on the wall. These will be super handy for here as well as Woodbridge, well, pretty well anywhere I can have wall space and a few hooks.
My new display will allow height, different items, earrings!!! and look much more inviting.

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My banner will need a better string system for hanging, but I will sort that once my girls are hanging on the wall.

Have a great day, see you on Wednesday 🙂
Jennifer

Market mix up time.

This weekend is the second Huonville market, and hoping it’s a little busier. Last fortnight wasn’t too bad, but more people is always good – stall holders aswell as customers.
I have redone my display as I’m able to have a tiny bit more space and on Wednesday I’ll be picking up some more props. Nude half bodies with no head that I can hang on the wall. These will be super handy for here as well as Woodbridge, well, pretty well anywhere I can have wall space and a few hooks.
My new display will allow height, different items, earrings!!! and look much more inviting.

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My banner will need a better string system for hanging, but I will sort that once my girls are hanging on the wall.

Have a great day, see you on Wednesday 🙂
Jennifer

Space and display

I went shopping this morning, for food, but as is the way, while out I found something that would work for my new look display. Considering I cannot find this darling lady’s head I need to find something else..

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I think this cute tree which will be perfect. and for just $12, a bargain.

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And with earrings:

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My display as I set it out the other night, with space for a cute earring tree.
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I look forward to the next market.
Happy Friday and weekend 🙂
Jen

Mirrors, markets and super sized bling

I have been looking for a new mirror for my table, or some time. The old one. Well, it was old. And had weird scratches and marks on it, that to be honest, made it look crappy. It had been mentioned to my market neighbour that I was on the lookout for a new one, it had to be the right size, and the right look before I would buy it.

My neighbour often goes to garage sales and auctions to find little things so when I got a phone call on Saturday evening saying she had a mirror and would I be at market tomorrow, I got all excited. She is a wonderful friend and while looking for her own things, was on the look out for me as well.

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We moved my current mirror and set this one up to see if it would work with my look and layout – Perfect!  Money changed hands and now this beauty is mine.  I am in the process of re-designing my layout for a new market I will be attending.  The current market I do has a group of different sized tables, many of them the standard 180cm but the one I use is closer to the 200cm mark. Which when setting up for market, changes the whole dynamics of the display.  I am now working through revamping the display slightly to allow for the bigger mirror and less room. Fun, I think not.

Markets. What’s going on with those.  I am doing the Woodbridge market twice monthly, if we can get it to keep going over winter (it is normally just a summer market) I wont be going back to the Snug one just up the road.  I have been rejected several times for the nichey one at Kingston Beach. Which is fine. Not evveryone lieks what I do.
Now to the new market.  Mum has attended the Kingston market several times and this week just gone a guy came around with some business cards advertising a new market he’s starting up in Huonville (similar distance, but the opposite direction) for those that may be interested.  Mum rang and asked if I would be interested – yes please! – and passed on the details. Well, several emails later, I am in!
And none of that application process, sending in pictures of your product for someone else, who usually has no idea what they are looking at, to judge and decide if it’s suitable.  I did include a link to my website so he could see what I do, and he mentioned that mum and I will be next to each other.  Now while I love being near different people and getting to know others, it is nice to know I can trust my neighbour when the loo/coffee runs come up.  So while I will be missing the next Woodbridge market as hubby and I are taking a weekend away just the two of us, I will be working on some new pieces ready for the 5th May market.

And a little bit of fun and a giggle to finish with.  I sent hubby off to work again this afternoon dropping him at the airport around 3pm.  Several hours later I check out my facebook only to find this.  I was speechless. I mean really, what do you say in response to this?? You can’t say he doesn’t support me? The basic back story is about rival car racing teams. Hubby is a staunch Ford follower and a friend is Holden. He had made his own bling, and this is hubby’s retaliation.

My wife has outdone herself with her Jewelry designs, the latest from Marcato Designs…her best work yet I think.  Lol
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I love him. Nutter that he is.
Happy beading, marketing and bling-ing.
Jennifer 🙂

Revamped Studio – now it’s time to get back into production.

After my last post, or the one before that, I mentioned it was time to tidy and organise my space. I wouldn’t mind having to do this so much, but I have limited wall space to use. So I get all growly and upset.

Let’s see what I have to work with.
There is a fire place, but it has shelves above meaning I can’t block it off. That and the fact heating is so darned expensive I want to light the fire instead.
There are two doorways, two low windows – lovely natural light not to be messed with, and only one large wall space – which has to go to my mega bookshelf full of beads.

The other wall, has a heater – which in a stupid place means I have little room either side to use.

Then I also have to share it with a low bookcase full of books, and the buffet which is ‘family’ space.

The shelving unit of cubes was meant to be in the kitchen but it was too wide so I swapped it over (they both work much better in their new home) both filing cabinets have moved and I am now using 2 desks instead of one.

This makes it slightly squishy when getting beads, but I can easily move the table if I need to. And it covers the heater I don’t want to use.

As you can see there is not a lot of room to move, but I am trying to make the most of the space without feeling closed in and messy.

And with a market coming up this week (& the 27th) then the Annual Middleton Expo early Feb, I had better get moving and make a few new and bright items.

Happy crafting 🙂

Jennifer

Market How-To

A market stall ‘how-to’. The basics. Utilising my experience and current markets as examples.
With each heading I have discussed how they can be used and how I do it.
Getting Started – Costs – Tables & Coverings – Display & Props – Time it – Product Wrapping – Photos – Storage & Transport – On the day

Getting started.
You’ve been busy with your craft and would like to start selling it. Family and friends can only be given so much after all.
But where do you start? First up visit lots of markets. Different markets are for different markets. (Or demographics) And you want to find the right one that fits your style of craft. While at each one be sure to take notes and pictures. Not just of the stalls that sell similar things to yours – this is important of course – but of the many ideas other products and displays on hand. You may be able to use something. If you’re up to it, ask stall holders where they got their props from – either if something interesting and different catches your eye, or they have a similar product – good stall holders will help you. The ones that don’t like to I find are the ones most insecure about their product and competition.  People will remember those who helped, and if you are neighbours one day, you need to able to trust them in the case of loo break stall security.

Once you have a basic idea of what different stalls look like and how they’re set up you can start working on your own thoughts and plans.

Research, draw and shop.
Second hand shops can be a treasure trove of perfect and interesting display items. Many of my props are either sourced from my own things or second-hand. Some things need to be new though.

Cost
How much you spend on your market is your decision, and no one can change that.  But the more you put in the better it will be, generally speaking.  Slowly investing is a good way for those on a tighter budget.  But what you have to think about is the cost of travelling to and from, how much float you’re going to need, the cost of stall (and insurance where applicable), what you are going to sell your product for, how many props you want/need/desire coz it looks awesome and will you be buying lunch or drinks while attending. Don’t forget, we all get market fever and quite often you’ll find other stall holders will buy your product… as no doubt you will want to wander and check out other stalls.
The ways to cost your products will differ with every person you talk to. Research it and find the best one for you. But importantly, keep it consistent.
Your float will again depend on your prices. My total has changed over the years, but I generally have more of the coin and small notes with several each of the larger ones.

Tables & Coverings.

One of the first things to organise are your tables – do you have to take your own or are they supplied, and more importantly the size. My craft tables I use at home are actually the same ones I used for my stall in Mt Isa, and are also a generic table that most market organisers/community halls have a supply of. In Australia I’ve noticed from friends’ market pics that we all use the same sort of table (180cm long and about 70cm wide) readily available from the hardware store for around the $50 mark, or the foldable version (this folds to make a square when transporting) for approx $10 more.

One of my tables – the one that never seems to be tidy…
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Once you have your table sorted, what sort of covering do you need?
Regardless of how much a business or hobbyist you are, seeing boxes and assorted crap under the table is unprofessional. A floor length cloth at the front (and sides if you want it to) is the neatest and best looking solution. The material is up to you, although consider that at the end of the day you may just want to scrunch it up into a bag or box – will it need ironing or can you just fold it up after. I use cotton sheets and try to fold them each time, unless its time to wash them, then it’s just stuffed into any spare space.

Tablecloth colour is up to you – your works will dictate how you lay out the table and colour schemes to use.
The best advice here – the less colours the better. A black or white base with no more than two highlight or contrast colours is best. Otherwise the display will take over from the product. Racks, stands, trees should all be kept in neutral colours so the product stands out.
Black and white are both well suited to jewellery although there are no hard and fast rules. Neutrals are decidedly better, so your jewellery will ‘pop’ and not fade into the table.
I use white cloths with a hot pink contrast – usually at the back over my risers. It is then half covered but still stands out. Pink being the colour of my business – cards, props, bags, tags. Even my little price cards and notices are white on a hot pink background.
My latest market table.  I am really happy with this layout – my new girls and the basket at this end.
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Display & Props
You’ve been to markets, done your research and have some ideas of what you want. Here are some more for you.
Mirrors. A must if you have anything that people will want to try on. On the table is fine if there is room, as they help to add light and attract visitors. If you can’t or don’t want it on the table, have it handy for when needed. I have seen the odd stall with a full length mirror next to it. In that instance it would have been better placed with the stall in the corner and the mirror away from the traffic.

Using the front of the table. When having items hanging from the front of the table, I have noticed that many people just do not see them, and others cannot see them when there are more than a few around your table. So probably not always suitable. Leave the front looking clean and neat. If you get a banner it can be good on the table, or on the wall if you have that sort of space. In a gazebo, it can easily hung on any of the walls.

The height of your display is personal, but remember that everyone – even short people – will want to be able to reach and touch items. Height is good as it allows for space at the front and base of the stand to be utilised in other ways, and customers strolling will be able to see your stall even when there are people milling around. A good rule to follow though, is to have the taller items/props on the ends and stagger the props lower towards the middle. At the very least you need to be able stand behind and see and be seen by your customers.

If you don’t want an overly high display, but also don’t want items flat on the table, risers can be a simple way of adding height without too much trouble. They can be as simple as Perspex stands (shop display shops are a good place to start) and the small containers your product was transported in (if applicable). My first risers were sturdy shoe boxes. Covered with white cloth no one ever knew the difference but they worked perfectly. I still use a couple of small boxes, but I also have Perspex risers, and that plank of wood I bought the other day… Yep, two small containers to hold it up, and it is a continuous length of riser. No worrying about the gaps in between boxes or uneven heights causing busts to fall over. Plus it has made for less things to bring. The containers carry jewellery and the plank is flat so fits anywhere in the car.

You have all your props and are ready to head out. Pull back, and wait a second.
How are you going to set it up. A mock-up prior to your first (or a new) market is the way to go. You want to make sure that everything is easy to reach, items won’t be getting knocked over, and from your place behind the table (this is the usual place for a seller to be) you need to be able to pass their bagged item arose the table without elbows tipping props and product. For this reason I always have a small bust or an empty space at the centre back of the display. And above all, it needs to look good.

Layout practice will help with the visuals and each market may be a trial and error adventure getting things just right. Don’t worry too much. It’ll all come together in the end.
If I am changing my layout or want to try something new it is easy enough to set up a mock display at home – using props only – to gauge suitability.

Time it.

When you are ready to have a practice setting up your table. Time it. Don’t dawdle. Most markets will allow approx 90mins max for set up before the ‘official’ start time. The markets I have done while in Queensland I utilised every minute of the hour I had, and sometimes was still going when people turned up. It was an outback town, so everyone was pretty laid back and no stresses occurred. It is not all bad news, but your table needs to be 90% done at least by opening time. Most markets in city areas need you to be fully set up and ready to go at start time. For me, if it takes longer than an hour to set up, I have too much stuff, or it’s too fussy. When you get into practice, an hour is a long time and you can get heaps done.

If at all possible, set up the day before. The two markets I attend allow for Saturday set up. I like this as it works well for my family commitments on said afternoon and I can relax a little more on market day itself. It also allows for any forgotten items to be brought along. Never leave your money at the stall, bring it with you on the day.
If I cannot set up the day before, I arrive with a good hour for set up. While I am practised, I like to make sure I can tweak things once I’m done. Pack up will be as quick as you need it to be. I can be packed and leaving in 20-25mins after market finishes.

Another time to remember is how long will it take to get there, the length of the market (I usually write off the day as I am stuffed by the time I’ve packed up and arrived home) and how long it takes to pack your car. Can you park close by or will you need to park/unload and then re park the car elsewhere. All these things take Time.

Product wrapping.
How you wrap your product is decided by your product – bags, boxes or both. But you need to bear in mind the space allocated for your stall and the ease of being able to wrap and package goods behind or on the table itself. (This is something I am still struggling with. Another small table would be perfect, but I try to make do with empty containers stacked next to me). I have yet to find my perfect solution, but I find customers rarely complain it takes too long to make sure their purchase is safe.
Having a logo or a brand identification is ideal for your overall look – bags and boxes – so people will recognise you at other venues, and can look out for you. Business cards are a must and can be relatively cheap to get printed. Just make sure that all spelling and numbers are correct before uploading. You want your wrapping to be easy, but also good enough for the product to be safe.

Photos.
Once you have set up your able I recommend taking a picture. What you do with it afterwards is your concern, but I find it vital to my set up, as I have often found a small ‘problem’ in the picture that I didn’t see while setting up. A picture will show you what it looks like from a customer’s point of view. It takes you out of the scene. You spend time setting up, and therefore may gloss over some things or not even see them in the bigger picture. A photo will make it stand out like the proverbial.
I keep most of my pictures, and I can look back at now I have evolved and my stall looks pretty good most of the time. Almost professional. 😉

Storage & Transport
How many boxes to take? Well this depends on what you are selling and what sort of props are needed, the size of your vehicle, how strong you are and they have to be stored at home in between markets?
Having said that, I have more props than I can poke a stick at, and aside from the below list of containers there are three more stacked in the corner, a suitcase of bits and two more small baskets. Lucky I have the room (kind of) to store it all.
I have fine tuned my packing – many times over the years – but try to have no more than 3 plus my POS box (Point Of Sale, meaning anything to do with the table and sales. Cloths, business cards, cash tin, paper and pen, pliers & extra bits, small bags for earrings and tissue paper and tape…) This is always the same, and is usually the only one I don’t touch too much. Just top up or add to as required.

Too many boxes and you get tired just getting too and from the car especially at the end of the day. Will you be having help at the start and finish of your market? Great if your are, but you still want to be able to hide the containers, so less is better. I know a lady whose carry boxes are also part of her display. If you can do that, even better.

My other boxes are then dependant on what I choose to take. Jewellery, bags, canvas or a combination of all three. My passion is still jewellery so this is a big part of my boxes.
This is what I took to the market yesterday and will again take to this weeks’ market: (I have finished re packing since I started this post)
1 box, no lid with my new girls, other busts, wooden stand;
1 box with jewellery and smaller props like the earring stands;
the basket I had my canvases in (worked a treat and is easy to carry, store and pack in the car) and my POS box.
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and all ready to go on Sunday – I may take my baskets with the bags yet…
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On the day.
On the day things to take are my tote with camera, wallet phone and any extra items required plus my lunch bag with thermos and snacks. This bag from hubby’s work is perfect, small but big enough for my thermos, mug and everything else.

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The best things to take food wise, are those that don’t need to be hot – odds are when you want to eat, customers will appear – and are easy to nibble on. I usually take snagwhiches sandwiches, trail mix and small pieces of fruit. A water bottle is a must, and if you like a hot drink then a thermos is a good investment. I just bought one and by Christmas (5 markets) it’ll have paid for itself in coffee I haven’t needed to buy. Well, I am partial to a good cap so…. I think you get my drift here.
Above all, have fun! It’s as much about socialising and PR as it is about selling your product. Some days are good, some not so, don’t take a bad day to heart. It will take a few markets for people to get to know you. Don’t forget to smile and be enthusiastic about your product, after all, you are here because you love hat you do.

I hope you found this helpful and/informative. I have not added any links, as only you can search for things that are specific to your needs. Chances are, if you have been making things for any length of time, you will have seen numerous types of displays on the Internet while shopping for supplies, or in your local craft shop.

When all organised these things can run like a well oiled machine. My only spanner is hubby who is notorious for being late. If I’m ever late it’s because he had something to do with it…
Jennifer 🙂