Farmer's Market Advice- To Give Samples Or Not-Pros And Cons

Business By Psyched baker Updated 29 Nov 2013 , 7:18am by daprincessnora

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Psyched baker Posted 23 Nov 2013 , 3:36pm
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AHi, I am a relatively new business. I make special occasion cakes. I decided that a farmer's market would help to increase my exposure and give people a chance to taste my work. I am only selling single serving items such as cupcakes, scones and truffles. My thought was that I do not want to offer samples because then people will get their sugar fix and not buy. I have very reasonable prices for my goods (I am in the suburbs of boston). My cupcakes are 2.50/each, mini cupcakes are 1.00/each and scones are 1.50 each. I also have vegan and gluten free cupcakes priced at 3.50.

I am offering wrapping/packaging of goods free (either in cupcake box for a group of four or in cellophane and ribbon in a container for smaller amounts). If anyone has experience with farmers markets and want to weigh in on this or give any other advice, it would be greatly appreciated. The farmer's market is tomorrow. TIA :)

11 replies
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JWinslow Posted 23 Nov 2013 , 3:43pm
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I've never participated in a farmer's market but I wouldn't give free samples if you're trying to sell at the same time.  It kinda defeats the purpose in my opinion. 

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morganchampagne Posted 23 Nov 2013 , 4:59pm
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AI a sample would work if you were trying to secure larger orders. But for this you hit it on the head..most ppl will get their fix and take a card or.something

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MimiFix Posted 23 Nov 2013 , 8:27pm
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I detest sampling, but some people swear by it. There's a controlled way to do it which I wrote about last month, Sampling Products, FAQ.

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BrandisBaked Posted 23 Nov 2013 , 9:18pm
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ADepends what you're selling. I sold allergen/diabetic friendly pastries, so I wanted EVERYONE to try my wares, not just those with sensitivities. I think it really helped my sales. I have no idea if it would be a good idea for regular baked goods - might as well sample dollars. :-D

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justdesserts Posted 23 Nov 2013 , 10:34pm
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I actually do give away samples at my market, and it can help sell stuff once people get a taste and just HAVE to have it! Sure, there are always the sample takers who don't buy, but it does help at least draw people into my booth. It can convince those people who are wavering in whether to buy. That's just my experience, other areas maybe samples don't work as well. :) I just take a regular cupcake and cut it into about 6 pieces, or a cookie cut into maybe 10 little wedges. My candies always have a little leftover when I make them, so giving samples of fudge, brittle, or marshmallows helps use up that anyway. Cheesecake samples DO take up a piece that could be sold, however, I've found they are even more essential to reel buyers in! Ha!

I have the plate of samples farther back on my table, so there aren't any "drive-bys" with people swooping by inhaling samples without actually making contact and talking to them about my products. ;)

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Psyched baker Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 1:23am
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AThank you all for the feedback. I think I will go with my gut instinct and not offer samples but stay open to changing it up later in the day if I am not getting any sales. I liked the idea of keeping them very small and towards the back of the table if they are given. I feel better going into tomorrow now that I have had some input and I have a game plan. Thanks again!

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countrycakes Posted 25 Nov 2013 , 3:22am
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I worked my first Farmer's Market yesterday....I did mini bite sized cupcakes as samples, Spice Cake with Cream Cheese icing......made 150.....they went! I also sold almost everything I took with the exception of 4 very small cakes, which I did sell to neighbors the samples were a hit for me! :) The foot traffic at our FM was around 400-500 people in a 5 hour time go on that if it  helps. Good luck!

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Quadricakes Posted 25 Nov 2013 , 1:46pm
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I have done farmers markets.  i only gave smaller pieces to try.  most people tried and walked off, as some people tried and then borought.  I sold out the first time..  If you lable sample only and have small pieces to try and have a lid to cover you cannot go to far wrong.


Enjoy doing doing the markets

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luckylibra Posted 25 Nov 2013 , 3:48pm
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I did a craft fair a few weeks ago, not quite the same but close. I used someone else's idea and used one of those pampered chef apple cutters the kind that slices it in like 10 pieces and cut one cupcake put them in individual small containers with lids (like they put your dressing in to go with a salad - found them at walmart 50 to package on the paper goods aisle) and had those on a tray. The cupcakes that I had samples of all sold out.. the others did not. The sample was small enough they got a taste of it and they wanted more so I think it worked out great and since I was able to get so many samples from one cupcake, it was a winner for me. It was funny because I got the most comments on the faux hostess cupcakes but since that had filling I did not cut it and they did not sell well... people looked at them and commented they looked good and the few that did get them, loved them but by far the best seller was the heavenly pumpkin spice cupcake with cinnamon sugar cream cheese frosting which I had samples available.


Best of luck, let us know how it went :)

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Psyched baker Posted 28 Nov 2013 , 1:08am
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AI did the farmer's market and I think it went well for my first one. I am posting pictures of my table. There was a turnout of maybe one hundred people over the four hours. About 40% of the customers purchased from me. No one else at the market was offering samples so that made me feel better about my decision. I do like the idea of the apple cutter and small cups to give samples if I ever decide to. This is a small farmer's market with 2 farms and about 8 vendors. I do plan to do it again and have discussed signage issues and offered to post flyers around my town and the neighboring ones to increase awareness of the market. It will be interesting to see if if have repeat customers next month :) [ATTACHMENT=1388][IMG ALT=""][/IMG] [IMG ALT=""][/IMG] [IMG ALT=""][/IMG] [IMG ALT=""][/IMG][/ATTACHMENT]

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daprincessnora Posted 29 Nov 2013 , 7:18am
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AGood to hear that your day went good psyched baker i liked your table and the fact that you used smaller amount of goods in the first day, i also liked Luckylibra idea of small sampling it wouldn't provide that "sugar fix" limit and still with low cost Good luck with your future markets and please keep updating the thread with information on that (i'm personally interested as i'm getting insights on bake fairs before joining one soon)

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