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6 Top Tips for Market Stall Setup Success



So, you’ve decided to do your first market, or perhaps you’ve done a few and are struggling a little with your setup.

Here are some things I’ve learnt over the past 6 years to make the lead up to a market and your setup time easy and fun.

  1. Plan Ahead

Setting up your table a couple of days before your market will not only make your setup time quicker and easier, it will also allow you to play around with how best to exhibit your products, give you time to work on your display, and allow you to setup with confidence and joy on the big day.

Set up just as you would for the market.  If it’s a night market and you need lighting, set up at night and use your lights to ensure they highlight your work in a way that will draw customers to your stall.

If you’ll be in a marquee set up in one or if you don’t have one, measure out the space so you can get a feel for your table layout.

  1. Promote yourself

Most markets rely to some degree on the fan bases of their stall-holders to drive customers to the event so make sure you promote your market dates to your customers and followers and in your e-newsletter if you have one.

  1. Packed and Ready

Packing your items and display pieces to take to market takes practice but having them packed neatly and concisely will make it easier to travel from your car to your stall site and to unpack quickly. 

Plastic boxes of various sizes are the most common way to pack your pieces if they are small.  Use bubblewrap for fragile items, you can use it again to wrap them when they sell.

If you sell clothes, you can set up a hanging rail in the back of your car so you can transport them to market without them getting crushed.

Buy or borrow a flatbed trolley and straps to keep boxes secure (you can get them both cheaply from lots of places and they truly are worth it).

  1. Display

You don’t need expensive display items to show your work off.

Creating height and balance to your stall can be achieved through using wooden crates or boxes or wrapping and painting cardboard boxes.

Look around your house and see what you can use to create a memorable display. 

Op shops are also a great source of display items and if you’re handy or got someone handy in your life, making bits and pieces for your display is not only satisfying but makes sure it’s the perfect size and fit for your products.  Remember that you’re creating a mini shopfront so make it inviting with business cards in a prominent place.

  1. Stock

Always make it bit more than you think you’ll need and be prepared with pen and paper to take any custom orders that might come along on the day if your business works that way.

Sometimes customers don’t like to ask the price so make sure everything on display in your stall is priced in a discreet yet clear manner.

Ensure that your items are priced clearly and that your table is not overcrowded. 

Price points are an absolute must so be prepared with entry (impulse), mid (affordable and the bulk of your sales) and high-end (draws people in) priced products to attract a range of customers and encourage repeat custom.

  1. Essentials for Market Day

It’s easy to stay up late the night before a market whizzing up last minute bits and pieces but it’s to your advantage to give yourself a cut-off point where you stop making, get your car packed and rest up for the big day or night ahead.

  • Wear your product if it’s appropriate and make sure to choose comfortable clothes and shoes suitable to the weather and your style
  • Have some healthy and wholesome snacks with you as well as lots of water
  • Pack a mini first-aid kit with some band-aids, pain relief, hair bands, safety pins, sunscreen etc in case of emergencies
  • Make sure you’ve got bags/packaging for your customers to take your products home in
  • Be sure to take business cards along so your customers can find you again!
  • Have a newsletter signup sheet so people who are interested with your work can keep up to date with what you’re making

And last but definitely not least, be inviting, courteous and gracious and most of all have heaps of fun!

Sam Gilkes

Sam Gilkes has written 2 posts in this blog.

Samantha Gilkes is an artist, maker of keepsakes, wife, mum of three and the face behind Jetta's Nest. She has been painting and drawing for as long as she can remember and has been making handcrafted pieces using recycled timber in her home studio for markets and her online shop since 2009.


Allison Dey

I can’t express how much the #1 suggestion (plan ahead by setting up your table) helped ease me into stress-free market going. Just having a plan allowed me to pack in the order I wanted to unpack, making set-up literally 5-10 minutes long. I’ve also learned to have as much vertical display as possible (if appropriate) at the back edge of the table so there’s still almost a whole table to lay other things out on. Pinterest is a great place to get ideas for display. I’ve found that every single item has to have a price tag and even then people still ask how much the items are. As for clutter, avoid it. I’m also a member of a local CWA group and since we stopped putting everything out, we’ve been making twice as much money at our craft table during our markets. And remember to bring plenty of change. Lots of people walk through markets with $50 notes from the ATMs. Great advice, Sam.

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