Welcome to Autumn Hub Market - Wrap Up

The Blue Mountains Makers kicked off this year’s markets with a Welcome to Autumn Artisan Market at Springwood Theatre and Community Hub on Saturday March 2. We had a spectacular day, with lovely sunshine and a gentle breeze. Many locals and visitors from Sydney came out to support our local makers.

We had a number of debut stalls, including Virginia Burrow Design, Shack Stuff, Parchment and Moss, and Elizabeth Rose Ceramics to name a few.

There was a wonderful variety of handmade products on offer including fashion, jewellery, art, children’s toys, homewares, accessories, gourmet food and skincare.

Market Stall Checklist

To round off our little blog series on creating the best Market Stall experience you can, we have put together a handy checklist document for you.

The day of a market can be hectic. You’re up at the crack of dawn to drive to the venue for bump-in. You have about two hours to get your stall completely set up and ready to trade. Hopefully it’s a busy day with lots of visitors meaning you will most likely be on your feet all day, chatting and serving customers. Then you have one, maybe two hours to pack down your stall, cart it back to your car for loading and drive home to a well deserved glass of something cold. Phew! What a day.

Being prepared ahead of time and ensuring you have packed everything you need will reduce market day stress and the need to dash home to get something you’ve forgotten. We have used our collective market experience to put together a list of Market Day necessities, also leaving room for you to fill in more specific items or merchandise you want to take.

And remember….Always Be Prepared!

Market Stall Check List 01.jpg

Eight Tips for a Successful Market Day

Whether it’s your first time or 50th time, setting up and running a market stall can be a daunting process. Early bump-in times, long days, un-predictable weather, there are many things you need to be prepared for. We have put our heads together and come up with eight tips to help you achieve a successfull market day.

  1. Be Prepared

Do not wait until the day of the market to pack your car! Prepare your stock, price tags and signs the week or at a minimum the night before. Make yourself a list of what stock you want to take and what displays and signs you will need. You may find it beneficial to do a mock set up at home and take photos of it so that on the day you are not trying to work it out. You will have generally two hours to set up your stall at most markets, so it’s handy to have a rough idea how you’re going to do it. Pack yourself a market bag with essential items and don’t forget a cash float.


2. Be friendly and welcoming.

Greet everyone who enters or comes up to your stall with a welcoming smile and a polite “Hello how are you”. Acknowledge them but don’t immediately hound them with your rehearsed sales pitch as this can be off-putting. If you notice them lingering and looking at a product intently approach them in a friendly manor and tell them a bit about it. In-your-face sellers can be off putting to a lot of market shoppers. It is a fact of market life that not everyone is there to shop, some people are just enjoying a pleasant market day stroll and browse. Don't be disheartened or resentful if they don't buy something, they may return!


3. Stay off your phone.

It is totally fine to jump on to social media to share your market stall, but do not sit there all day with your phone in your hand. You will come across as a disinterested stall holder and shoppers will find this rude and think you to be un-approachable.

4. Be on time and follow organisers instructions

It’s important for the smooth running of every market that you follow the organisers bump-in schedule and instructions. Be there on time for your allocated bump in spot. Tardiness will reflect poorly, as will any instructions that you ignore from a market official. Markets have strict bump-in and bump out policies to protect both stallholders and the visiting public. These are also in place because they are hiring the venue for those set times.

Just as it’s important to be on time for bump-in, it is equally important to follow the bump-out instructions. If you are instructed not to pack up until the market close time, then be sure to follow this. Stall holders who begin to pack up before a market finish time send a message to visitors that the market is closing early and they may leave before looking at other stalls.  

Organisers are most likely hiring the venue which will have its own rules that need to be followed. There may be an official from the venue marking which stalls didn't respect the conditions and will discuss this with organisers. It may be out of the market organisers control once the venue manager has decided a stallholder has done the wrong thing.

Food and drink stalls will have their own extra set of rules and regulations to follow, always be prepared for unannounced council inspections. Check back with council and venue requirements regularly.


5. Have a good looking stall

It’s important to have a well planned out stall design. The look and feel of your stall should reflect your business brand. Stalls with consistent merchandising displays are eye catching and creates a feeling of cohesiveness and professionalism. For tips on designing your market stall and keeping stands safe and secure from crazy weather see this post.


6. Keep your stall secure

If you are an outdoor stall, be prepared for crazy weather. Not checking the weather forecast doesn't cut it with organisers.

It's baffling seeing people show up without adequate weights, these can be purchased online or from camping shops and hardware stores. Purchase proper weights, fill them with wet sand or quick dry cement for extra weight. Some people use double weights tied with ocky straps to the legs and some will also use a huge weight for the centre of their marquee which they tie on with a rope. You can cover your weights with fabric if you're worried about how they look, but please have them. Some markets won't allow you to set up without them, especially if pegging into the grass is not allowed. Take your roof, backdrops and walls down if it's getting windy, keeping these on will create a parachute like affect and your stall will fly away.


7. During quiet times stay active

During busy phases of a market your products can be picked up by customers and put back down in random places. Sometimes neatly arranged items can be rummaged through as customers browse.  When there is a quiet time use it wisely to tidy up your displays, and refill empty props or stock if necessary. It is also more enticing for customers to come and look at your stall if they see someone else there.

Stay visible and ready to welcome people to your stand even during quiet periods in a market.


8. Care for the community

Have fun! Market stall holders are a bit like carnies. We are a community of small business owners trying to bring our products we've put our heart and soul into, to the public.

We should all support each other,  you will find you see some of the same people you've met working at markets and festivals near and far. Many become friends and it's great to celebrate the good market days, business goals and get through the tough ones together. If you need help, someone will be there who's probably gone through something similar. We stand stronger together, especially on crappy weather days, all holding down our marquees!


Market Stall Design

Taking the time to theme or style your stall creates an inviting and interesting space for customers to immediately understand what your business is about. It helps to characterise your products and give them a personality. Putting the effort into styling your stall also shows people you are a serious business, people want to relate to your brand and support it. Creating something immediately recognisable, even from afar will help you to be sought after and stand out.


The design of you market stall should be in keeping with your brand. Use materials and displays that are in keeping with your brand's style and also your business ethos. If you sell organic products, then consider using natural cotton tablecloths and recycled timber display stands. Plastic, shiny displays would jar against the products you’re trying to sell, as well as your business eco mission.

Write a list of what products you have to sell. Use this list to then draw up some ideas and ways to display your products specifically. Consider items that need to hang? Maybe you have lots of small items, or do you have large bulky items? It doesn't matter if you don't use all of your ideas, once you start this process you may find you have a clearer idea of what will work

Give yourself a budget, it needn't cost too much. You can always revise or set goals to improve your stall in the future. Op shopping is a great way to find affordable pieces to display or style your stall. Garage sales can also be a fantastic place to find stands. You can upcycle found items like boxes and shelves by giving them a new coat of paint, covering them in fabric or turning them into a display.



Think about the layout of your stall. Make a list the main foundation display items you have and their dimensions, such as tables, shelving units, clothes racks. Start by drawing up a plan with these pieces. There are many ways to set up your tables. Think about if you want a walk-in stall, or if you want people to stand outside of your stall. On hot days you might like to consider allowing some shady space for customers to stand under.



Doing a mock set up at home can give you the time to work it out. Are there lots of blank spaces on your tables? Is there too much walking space? Is everything laying flat on the table? Do you have a good tablecloth that covers the legs?

When people stand in front of your stall and look around, what do they see? Putting yourself in the shoes of the customer helps in seeing the space clearly. Does it look empty and unapproachable?



Think about what's above and behind you, is there a lot of blank space, consider filling this with something to break it up. Banners, wreaths, garlands, bunting, signs, and hanging stock ( if suitable) can help.





Think about where you’re going to stand or sit. You want to look approachable and not off putting. Consider being in a position that allows you to see who is entering and leaving your stall. It is a sad fact but shop-lifting does happen at markets. Being able to see your customers and see them interacting with your products at all times can help to minimise theft.

It’s a good idea to set your self up a space where you can take sales. Have an area where you can gift wrap, bag up items etc. This could be a stand alone counter or just a small area of your table set up behind a display stand

Highlight a feature product, best seller or a great deal. This creates a talking point and an opportunity to talk with your customers.

Do you need to offer sampling to your customers so they can try a product? Think about how you will display your tester items. Make sure tester products are clearly labelled and identifiable. Use disposable paddle pop sticks or timber spoons for people to try products hygienically.





If you’re selling clothing consider setting up a discreet change room for a customer to try the item on. And don’t forget a mirror so they can see how fabulous they look! Likewise if you are selling jewellery or small apparel items have a hand held mirror (or two) on hand so that a customer can see the piece on themselves.

Think about how a customer will engage with your product. Can they easily pick an item up to look at it more closely? Be careful not to overcrowd items so that a customer doesn’t feel like they will send an entire display to the ground if they pick up one item for a closer look.

Give your stall an identity with a good business name sign. How will a shopper know what your business is if you don’t tell them!. Make it prominent. Your business name sign should be a representation of you business branding - logo, fonts, colours, materials. Other important signs to consider are payment method, website, social media and contact details.

Product and pricing signs are also important and should also reflect your brand style. Consider price tags on all items. Many shoppers will dismiss a product or item if the price isn’t clearly shown.



Don’t forget to have business cards and promotional flyers on hand for people to take. Having a clip board with a Newsletter sign-up sheet is also a good idea.



Remember to be prepared for different weather. Can things be clamped or tied down? Are stands heavy enough? If you sell lightweight items is there a way they can be individually pegged or held down with elastic? Baskets can also help with keeping things together. Consider weighting your displays with flexible weights. Fitted tablecloths hold up better in the wind because they won't flap around as much. Consider sewing elastic on in stripes to hold down stock

Ensure that your floor stands are stable and can be adjusted or stand firm on any type of ground. Many outdoor markets have uneven ground. You could be on grass, pavement or even dirt! Stacked table stands should also be stable. Avoid using wobbly display stands, or placing stacked displays where people could easily bump into them and make them fall down.

Also know the limitations of the Market site. Most markets will provide you with a stallholder layout map a week or two prior to the market. Study this map to work out where your stall is positioned. Do you have a corner stall or do you have stalls either side of you? This will impact the way you set up your stall space. What are the sight lines to your stall, which direction will customers be coming from? Having an idea on this lets you orientate certain products and signs that are eye catching.

Also be aware of what you can and can’t do or have at the Market. Some outdoor market sites will not let you peg items in to the ground. There also could be restrictions on tying things off buildings or trees. Always be respectful of the Market Terms and conditions as they are put in place to protect you and visitors to the Market.

Here are some display ideas:

  • Frames can be used to display all sorts of things, prices, jewellery and of course artwork.

  • Baskets can be dipped in paint and lined or kept natural.

  • Vintage suitcases are a good way to transport and display stock

  • Timber boxes can be stacked to create different spaces to showcase products

  • Pegboards can be used to display hanging items big or small

  • Add height to your stall with tiered timber display stands and hanging apparatus.

  • Timber A-frame displays a great for hanging clothes. Add timber planks and you have a set of shelves

  • Old wooden ladders can also be turned into a shelf display system, or used to hang items off etc

  • Mannequins are great for displaying clothes, hats, scarves etc

Pinterest is a great way to create an inspiration board with styles and themes you like, you can get ideas of how to display products and create stands. There are loads of ways to upcycle using bought and found items you may already have.

Check out The Blue Mountains Makers Market Stall Ideas board on Pinterest.

Most importantly have fun! This can be a great way to really show what you're about. Merchandising is a creative exercise that anyone can do. If you need, feel free to ask advice  in the group, or you could do a mock set up for family and friends.

Written by Nisa Stone and Leela Brown