I'm starting my home business (legally) and I really want to just do farmers markets to build up business. Any tips on set up, displays, how much to produce? I have a month prep time.
ACan you get into farmer's markets? When we looked into this the only markets with non-produce spaces available were either not popular or only popular with customers outside our target market.
Who are you targeting?
Our farmers markets are awesome for baked goods, I have sold out every single time, no matter how many I seem to take. I do cupcakes, the ones that do actual cakes don't get as much business.
There are 3 different markets in my county, and even the tiny one does great.
The coordinators are the people you want to be asking about how much to bring, they should be able to give you a rough estimate of attendance.
For set up, the simpler the better, I just have a table with a row of small covered stands, and each flavour of cupcake that I am selling is in one.
Then I have wire shelves with all the cupcakes pre-boxed, in singles, packs of 6 and packs of 12.
I have a vinyl banner that hangs of the front of the table, and my business cards out front.
As well as another banner that simply says 'cupcakes' on the canopy.
If you're doing cakes, I would do samples, (just check with the coordinators to see if that's allowed).
I did our local farmers' market last year for the first time. It was definitely a learning experience! I brought all kinds of sweets and candies, not any decorated cakes except simple cupcakes. The very first week I brought WAY too much stuff. After that, I still always had some leftover, but not extremely so. It was really hard to predict what to bring...every week the customers went for something different. No rhyme or reason to it! I think you will probably just need to feel it out as your market goes on to know how much you should bring.
I did order a vinyl sign for my booth from Staples. One thing that seemed to boost sales that I did not add until later on in the season, was a chalkboard propped at the front of my tent. Usually every week I would change cheesecake flavors or fudge flavors, so on the board I wrote Featured Today at the top and listed several products below. It really pulled people in that may not have stopped to browse my table, but they saw Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake and just had to stop and check it out. ;)
My table was nice and bright - my mom loves to quilt, and she made me a very colorful (heavy on the pink) cakes/cupcakes on cake stands quilt. I used it to cover the top of the table, and then had various cake stands and overturned baskets arranged to give some interest to the table. Since most of the other booths were either farmers with lots of green veggies, or various vendors with not fancy set-ups, the brightness and more put-together look of my table stood out. That sort of thing would of course depend on your own market and the other vendors. I did notice that several vendors surrounding me actually tried to upgrade the look of their tables with nicer tablecloths etc. as the season went on - I think they saw/heard the customers keep commenting on my cake quilt! :)
I will be doing the market again this year, and I'm hoping to do better this year. I bought my packaging in bulk last year, still have a lot left, so don't have to spend money on those supplies. The well established baked good lady retired and won't be there this year, AND now I have my own regulars who will know me from the start of the season. That's always nice, when you can pretty much depend on certain people who always stop for their thing.
I hope you do well!