I have had this thought for a while to do kids art and/or craft at a market stall. And the opportunity came up and circumstances suited so I said YES...here is my experience for anyone thinking of this idea, and things to consider:
- Stall Fee plus public liability insurance (I got a good deal which is one of the factors that enabled me to do it, as well as a friend loaned me her Marquee)
- Marquee and other Equipment such as a Tressle Table and kids table and chairs
- Signage for your business if you don't have it already
- Lighting (if it is a twilight market and access to a generator or power)
- Presentation of stall in terms of containers
- Float ($100 to $150) and money tin or bum bag
- Plan B in case of rain or poor weather, especially if outdoors
- Marketing of your stall -I did up a flyer and promoted on Facebook and printed out for the local sport my child attends. As I was only 1 stall holder and not the organiser of this event I didn't feel it was my place to be doing the leg work and promoting it, however in terms of promoting yourself and your stall you could consider contacting the local newspaper to do an article.
As my first one I wanted to be prepared...so rather than allowing 'free reign' of stock I created some activities with 'base' packs, focused on design and decorate, and focused on craft rather than art -so no painting only gluing, sticky taping and stapling. I was concerned was the narrow focus of only having 5 activities to choose from but I feel this helped me prepare immensely to purchase and organise what I needed. I also brought along 'extra' materials for those wanting to 'stay and play' to add to their base packs. Also the value of having the base activity packs ready to go is peope could buy and take away if their child or grandchildren were not with them and they could do it later -all they would need is glue. Making the packs though was very time consuming as some activities needed to be 'prepped' to allow for quicker making time at the market. (I estimated 'stay and play' would be about 15mins).
Because it is a market stall parents just want a quick but affordable activity. I ranged my prices from $3-$7. I found most went for the 'cheapest' activity pack but having said that it was also tailored more at the audience who came to the market (early childhood age -though I had packs for 3 - 12 yr olds). I was considering just a base/flat rate for all packs ($5) however I didn't feel that the $3 pack was fair to charge $5. I also made all my 'packs' random...this was ok as it is kind of like a lucky dip in that they can 'pick their pack' however any 'examples' I had the children said "I want to do that one" and had to explain that was just an example and each pack is different.
Other things to consider:
- I ideally wanted to print out instructions to add to the packs but ran out of time. Depending on the level of difficulty this could be an option.
- Having an example is good to show but also tests out the activity, and if you have access to a child, even better to test it out on them.
- How much stock do you need? I estimated to reach/soell 50 units (activity packs). I made just over 80 but I only sold about 15...so consider what to do with left over stock. As my activity packs were very Christmas focused, it was not feasible to attend another market stall event to try again and sell more. This would not be an issue if your activity packs were 'general' craft activities. Also Note this was a new market event so numbers could have been a result of lack of awareness, also being a twilight event (3-8pm) I found the people dropped off around 5.30 and pretty much had no-one after that, and also the weather the evening before was rainy and had been iffy so people might have been cautious not to go out...all these factors to consider. I would prefer an indoor stall next time -lucky the weather was fine.
I think the best thing about the craft market stall was the access for any child to be creative and parents saying how grateful they were to buy prepared activity packs to take away as they aren't creative at all or as one customer said "I love the idea of the packs as I don't have to think as I am not crafty". Also it provides opportunity for parents to engage with their child in a creative activity without fear and to have me their to guide ideas. It was also great to see the collaboration between child and parent.
I think the main thing is if you want to do this is attend a few and record your observations -who is your audience, what are they looking for, what are they prepared to pay etc.
There was a lot of prep work leading up to this....from thinking and trailing activities to buying stock, to creating packs and in general preparing for the stall itself. In the end I just wanted to break even -and I did!
To check out the Christmas activities I did click here.