Local farmers’ market are one of the quintessential methods of selling local grown food and produce for decades now. With the rise in organic food culture and health living once again, buyer are flocking to their local farmers’ market in search for healthy and organic food. These farmers’ market not only are a place to buy and sell produce but also a place local community can hang out, share great food, spend their holidays in an enjoyable manner.
If you produce organic plants, make household items, design and create handcrafted products and want to increase your income by selling in your local farmers’ market then you will have to do some planning and investment to enjoy health return from boot at the farmers’ market.
Today we will be talking about 8 steps that you should do become a successful farmers’s market vendor:
- Plan before starting.
- Have a Product.
- Get Certified
- Apply for the Stall
- Make your Stall
- Prepare for the Market
- Designs Marketing Materials
- Engage With Buyers
Plan before starting
If it’s your first time selling in a farmers’ market then it might seem like a daunting task to manage everything. But with careful planning and organization you can manage everything and have a great day at the markets. One of the first thing you should do is find out the opening date and time of your local farmers’ market where you plan to sell.
Note down all the important date like vendor application deadline, marketing opening day and time and how far the market is and how long you would have to drive to reach there. Once, you have these details you can prevent the last minute panic.
Once you have al the date and timing noted down you can then easily arrange your produce, transport them to the market and have your booth and marketing materials ready well ahead in time.
Have a Product
Farmers’ market sell all kinds of things. If you already have decided upon what product you would be selling then it gets easier but if you have still not decide upon the product you want to sell then look around your market see what item sells the most and see if you can add upon it. Find a product that you can value-add.
Create a product that you can advertise in a unique way. Tell your customers how you grow these item. Tell a story on how handcraft the items.
Sell specialty items that if not found in your markets or even in your neighborhood. Look around other farmers’ marketing and see what item is not available in your market and source those and add sell them.
Beware of your farmers’ market rules and regulations. If some item is not sold your market then there might be a reason behind it and the market’s association might have barred sellers from selling it. Read up on the rule and regulations and follow it.
If you planning on selling food in your local market then you need to get certified. Before selling your product know what rules exists concerning your products and get certification for those from your local authorities. Many areas have strict law regarding how the food is produced, how it should be transported, how they are stored. These rules vary from place to place so you should read up on law in your local jurisdiction
Learn how to avoid health hazards by making food in correct manner, know about the health code, sterilized bottles and high heat. Read up on how you should secure your food products. If you can’t follow through the rules then you might not be able to sell it in the market and in case your food causes health issues to the buyer then you might be facing fines in a hundred and thousands and potential time behind bars.
Apply for the Stall
Application for farmers’ market vendor license open well in advance. In some popular markets there is a wait-list from years before for a vendor license. If you are just starting out then get in touch with your local farmers’ market and find out about the vendor application and the certification you need to have before applying.
In some cases, you might also have to give a personal interview to the market association committee so that they can decide you are a serious seller and will sell quality produce in the market.
Before applying for the vendors license make sure:
- Have your sales pitch ready. Make a list of items you are going to sell and document detailing everything from your source to how you plan to sell them.
- Check who else is selling items like you. No point selling same organic salsa if there are a dozen other seller selling same item. Be Unique.
- Apply for Farmers Market Vendor Insurance. Make sure the policy covers general liability, product liability, and business personal property coverage.
- Be ready to ask question to the committee about the market. Like, how many sellers there are, how many customers they can expect in a day, is market under covers or outdoors, etc.
Make your Stall
Now comes the time to prepare your stall. Your stall must be unique but not too crazy. No need to decorate it with last year’s Christmas lighting if your market is going to be open in day time but make sure it still stands out. Prepare clean professional clothing for yourself and anyone who will help you with the stall in the day.
Buy paper baggage in bulk so you can provide them to your customers who buy your products. Apply for a POS machine or look into square.com so you can swipe customers credit card on your phone. Not everyone carries cash.
Prepare for the Market
Before the day of the market, complete preparation for all your products. Make sure the packaging is complete and labels stickied to any item for which its required. Arrange for transportation a day before and make sure the products reach the market well ahead of opening time. Arrange all the items you will need for your stall like chairs, table, display tents, umbrella, tablecloth, calculator, display holder, etc
You will need all the time you can get to ready the market in time and prepare your stall before customers start coming into the market.
Designs Marketing Materials
Print your business card and make a Facebook and Instagram page. Also, download a pamphlet template from canva.com and customize it with your business details and order it to print.
Hand out pamphlets to the visitors coming to your stall even if they are not planning to buy anytime soon. Share photos of your products, stalls and your farm or kitchen on your Facebook or Instagram page.
Engage With Buyers
On the day of the market, put on your best dress, open your stall early and smile. Talk to visitors that come to your stall even if they do not want to buy anything. Most people like a genuine seller and come convert to a buyer if they feel a connection with you. Tell your story, this shows how passionate you are about your products. Be proud of what you are selling.
Farmers’ market are all about community. Support your neighboring stalls and make friends with them right from the start.
You are helping build a community and create a livelihood for yourself and hundreds others.
Lastly, have fun and enjoy your day out in your local farmers’ market.