Saturday, September 26, 2009

Market Newbie - Part 2: How can I show my stuff?

Stall presentation is not something that comes naturally to me. I'd happy just dump all my stuff on a table, let people rummage through it and if they find something they like they can have it!

However, a handmade market is not a car boot sale and my natural inclinations simply will not do! While hardcore handmade fans love nothing more than spending five minutes at every stall making sure they've seen everything you've got, the average market shopper will decide at first glance if your stall is worth stopping at or not, especially if they've got bored kids with them.

This makes it very important to make sure all your wares can be easily seen and your most unique and eye-catching stuff is what a shopper sees when they run that first sweeping glance across your stall.

You probably won't want to go to the expense of custom-made display furniture for your first markets - unless that's what your craft is! I know an awful lot of craft marketers who head straight for IKEA when redesigning their stall, including myself. Half my market display furniture can be found in IKEA's small storage listings. An equally popular option is your local op shops for more unique finds.

Before you go shopping try to have a clear image of your stall aesthetic - clean and crisp, earthy and natural, dark and gothic, funky and bright, arty and hip. Decide if each item you pick up is in keeping with the look you want for your stall. Also take along a list of the wares you need to display so you don't miss anything, or buy more than you can use.

The phrase I keep in mind when choosing my stall setup is 'Golden Age of Travel'. This is in keeping with my old tram theme. I choose display boxes that look like old luggage (and if I ever find some affordable old luggage I'll use that!). I also like unusual retro fabrics, so my tablecloth is made of fabric I bought for $2 a metre on Sydney Road. I use fabric boxes from IKEA to make a tower for my cushions.
Craft Hatch

Northside Makers committee member and market veteran (compared to me) Jay and shares this advice:
"Look in your own sheds and kitchen cupboards before heading to the shops. I use a CD rack lying on its side for my gift cards, kitchen platters for my earrings and an upside down ice tray for my rings. It's important to think outside the box, and utilise what you have, but maybe in a way you just hadn't thought of yet."
Here's some photos of appealling stalls I've found online or in person.

Originally uploaded by Covetables

Melbourne maker Rabbit & the Duck. Originally uploaded by Rabbit & the Duck

Northside Maker Pepperberry & Co. Originally uploaded by Pepperberry & Co

Originally uploaded by Marisa Bogg

Melbourne maker Penny Walker-Keefe. Originally uploaded by Craft Victoria

Melbourne maker Brittany Veitch. Originally uploaded by Craft Victoria

My last tip is that if you plan to do a lot of markets, you can save a lot of money buying your own trestle table rather than paying table hire fees. Officeworks has a bi-folding trestle table that'll fit in any car boot, and at only $69 you'll make back the investment in no time.

If you've got any more suggestions of where to find great stall designs, leave a comment and share!

Missed something? Find Market Newbie: Part 1 here.

Main photo: Northside Maker Finki. Originally uploaded by Finki.


  1. Thanks for all the info. Great to hear from other crafters about the whole 'market' experience. Looking forward to the 10th!


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