Farmers Market? Should I ?

Business By karenamr95 Updated 17 Sep 2015 , 1:01am by ellavanilla

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karenamr95 Posted 15 Sep 2015 , 12:27am
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Thoughts on farmers market 

the one in my area is coming up and i feel like i should strongly do it especially since i am just starting to do business off the cottage food law

its 10 x 10 tent( which i have to buy)

and 500 $ for 29 saturdays   

9:00 am to 2:00 pm

Does this sound good to do? 

anyone have experience at farmers markets?

im really hopeing to make a decent amount but not expect much   my savings will go toward storefront( which i also looked into 

10 replies
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costumeczar Posted 15 Sep 2015 , 1:19am
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It probably would be worth doing just to see what kinds of things sell well.

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Shockolata Posted 15 Sep 2015 , 12:30pm
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500:29=17.24, so you will have to sell enough items to make at least 18 dollars a day to break even for the cost of the market (not including the unknown cost of the tent, the travel to the market and your personal labour.) Five hours of trading with what peaks and troughs? Have you been to that market to see if there is a steady flow of buyers? Do you need a licence to operate a market stall? Here in the UK you need to have  your business registered and there is the additional law about marking everything up with ingredients - argh! How do you feel about standing for 5 hours in all kinds of weather? How good are you with quick mental math and change giving? If you feel up to it, go for it! It is a pity you need to pay for so many weeks instead of being offered the chance to try out the market and see how it feels for say a month. I would love to hear your experiences from operating a market stall if you go for it! :)

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Webake2gether Posted 15 Sep 2015 , 1:03pm
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We had considered the farmers market and actually went out to our local market and there was a cupcake stand there and the whole time we were there nobody even stopped by  they had fridges plugged in and all kinds of stuff just to keep the icing from melting. We agreed that was way too much work to commit to every Saturday to hope someone buys what we were selling. However another baker got her start at the farmers market (she didn't sell cupcakes it was more like breads and pastry items) and opened up a little cafe type restaurant  which she is now selling. The cupcake stand that was there when we went also has a commercial kitchen and takes orders but I'm not sure how successful they are or aren't. As far as I knowl they've been around for awhile and I had never heard of them. 

Starting a business is a gamble no matter what way you choose to start one so good luck. You never know if something will work unless you try :)

we are about 7-10 days (hopefully) to opening up to the public with our commercial kitchen so we're taking a shot at this baking business too!!  My advice is go out to the market several times at different times and see what booths are busy and what people are actually buying. Look at the prices of things at all the booths too so you'll get an idea of what people are spending. ask if there has been booths there before selling what you plan to sell and ask how they did. The more homework you do the better off you'll be. Going into it with you eyes wide open and leaving no stone unturned will be a great benefit to you. It's not a guarantee for success bc there is no guarantee. You have to sell what people are buying and it has to be good, your prices have to be on point, you need good marketing, and most importantly you have to know how to run a business correctly. Because at the end of the day it's a business if your selling not just a hobby :)

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Pastrybaglady Posted 15 Sep 2015 , 3:37pm
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That's actually a great deal for you.  Here the farmer's markets are over $100 each week!  But @Webake2gether  has given you great advice cupcakes seem to be fading. Check out the market a few times and see how the booths are doing.  

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chattums Posted 15 Sep 2015 , 3:53pm
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I tested the Farmers Market in our community.  Only had to pay 100 for the season.  I did cupcakes....used Facebook to really get out there what I was bringing for the day.  Only did one day a week.....had a blast. Always sold out.  My record was 200 cupcakes sold in 21 minutes....and our market wasn't that large. I did variety of 4 pks and simple 4 pks also.  People loved them.  Hype....variety. your audience and competition.   Good luck to u!

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remnant3333 Posted 15 Sep 2015 , 5:00pm
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If you decide to do it, please let us know how things are going for you. Great advice from webake2gether. Check it out and then decide. I hope it works out good for you!! 

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Webake2gether Posted 16 Sep 2015 , 1:21pm
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I'm not sure if cupcakes are losing popularity here I know we get asked to do cakes a whole lot more than cupcakes so maybe they are. And when I do cupcakes they are always more than just a regular cupcake they have to be special and something others don't offer. My husband is the cake assembler and decorator so I do cupcakes a lot to try new recipes and I have a good following of people who like the different cupcakes I make. I do old school stuff that isn't sold in stores. It's all about finding your niche in the baking world :)

one last bit of advice and I'll shut my mouth keep things simple....starting out  is hard enough find a few things you do really really well and stick with that while you grow. Too much too fast is usually never good for anyone. Keep us posted!!

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tdovewings Posted 16 Sep 2015 , 3:31pm
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I do farmers markets and I would say like opening any retail outlet look at your demographics and decide if and what to sell at the market.  I do two market, one is a urban planned community, younger, smaller families (2-3 people).  The people like lots of variety and presentation is everything. They don't buy a lot, maybe one of two items unless its close to a holiday. They care about the ingredients used, and eat healthier.  There is a lot more traffic, and my sales are higher here. It's a picky market, if it rains or is too hot or cold, no one comes.  I've learned to adjust baking quantities based on the forecast over the years. 

 My other market has more elderly and families. They like to buy things in family packs, have a budget to stick to, always buy produce first, and if there is any leftover may stop buy. They like plain stuff (chocolate and vanilla cupcakes) and breakfast items (scones and muffins). They don't like trying fancy stuff or new flavors, even if I have samples. It's a small market, but they are loyal, they will be there rain or shine.

I started out with just cupcakes and cookies, but soon realized people got tired of the cupcakes week after week. However if I didn't have cupcakes there would be a riot too!  I increased the variety of cookies I sell. Added bars, scones, hand pies, granola bars, and muffins. The nice thing about the other items is that doughs can be made in huge batches, frozen, then baked off. 

Good attendance is key to being successful, when people come they want you there. It takes a couple of months to learn your market. I've seen a lot of people come and go and not even give it a full market season. Markets ebb and flow, and there is a financial investment in tables, displays, tents, weights, insurance, and marketing materials -- as well as time. Remember, it is a cheap form of advertising, sometimes you may want to drop out when you have a couple of weeks with bad sales. However, I book more custom cakes, corporate parties, and dessert tables from my markets than any other source. It's a convenient way to interact with customers to learn what they want, have them taste your product, and build on it. 

I started doing farmers market to get more concrete market research data before opening a shop. Additionally, it helps build an established customer base and gives you a baseline of predicting sales. It also lets customers and bankers know you serious about your business and they have more confidence especially if you are a home-based operation. I think my biggest lesson learned was how to make production like baking more efficient to increase profit margin and reduce waste in material and time. 

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Happyfood Posted 16 Sep 2015 , 9:13pm
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In our area you must abide by strict food safety laws just as if you are operating a business.  These laws vary from place to place so I would check with your farmer's market committee and ask them what sort of food laws would apply to you.  If they can not help you, then check with your county department of health.  Heck, according to the strict food safety regulations in place in our area, the farmers are not allowed to even offer samples of their watermelons unless they have the proper credentials and a legitimate sanitary wash station set up on premises.  By offering a slice of their crop for sampling, they fall into the category of food service and must abide by the local food safety laws.   I can understand the reasoning behind this but still, what a pain. 

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ellavanilla Posted 17 Sep 2015 , 1:01am
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my two cents: too much work, too much leftover product, not enough benefit, not enough promotion of my business. 

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