Casual Stallholder Tips

So you want to have a stall at Salamanca Market…. now what?

There are several things you need to consider before you can start trading at Salamanca Market. Salamanca Market is a highly competitive venue with many stallholders vying to attract business from the passing crowd. Here are a few tips to get you started and to maximise your chances of success.

1. First Things First

Salamanca Market is run by Hobart City Council (HCC). Contact the Council to find out how to book a casual stall, what their eligibility requirements and criteria are and what costs apply.

2. Research your Competition

Prior to booking your stall site, visit Salamanca Market for several weeks to see what competition there is for your products. Pay careful attention to the ‘casual end’ of the market (the Davey St. end) as not all casual stallholders attend each week and you may miss seeing a potential competitor. Don’t forget to evaluate your competition from the shops in Salamanca Place and Salamanca Square as well.

3. Be Organised and Prepared

Assuming you have succeeded in booking a stall, you’ll now need to consider what stall props, equipment and infrastructure you’ll need for your display and how to store and transport your products without risking damage.

Depending on what you’re selling, you may need tables, tablecloths, baskets, stands, clothing racks, clips, stackable plastic storage bins etc. Remember there are special regulations in regard to food products – check with the HCC if you intend to have any food for sale. Trestle tables can be hired and booked in advance from the HCC. Choose your display props carefully. Your market stall is your shopfront and an attractive and professional appearance will help to draw in potential customers.

Don’t forget to have protection for yourself and your products from the weather. Have enough plastic sheeting on hand to cover your goods in case of rain. You’ll also need clips or something to hold the plastic in place. If you plan on attending Salamanca Market or other markets regularly, consider buying a marquee. A marquee will need to be of an appropriate size to fit within your allocated space and must be securely weighted or bolted down. The HCC will be able to advise you on the responsibilities and conditions regarding marquees.

Make sure you can erect your marquee by yourself or arrange for someone to help you on the day. Don’t assume that you can rely on other stallholders for help. Practice a full stall set-up at home to minimise oversights and problems on the day.
Bring a chair or stool. It is a long day to be constantly on your feet. It’s a good idea to have somewhere to sit in between attending to customers.

4. Promotional Material

Consider having promotional material, business cards, brochures and the like, available to clearly identify who you are and where you can be contacted outside the market, so that customers can find you again.

5. Displaying the Price

Most people feel uncomfortable to have to ask the price and you can lose a potential sale if your prices are not easily obvious. Use tags or stickers attached to the actual items and consider having larger, clear, laminated price signs that can be read from a distance, wherever possible.

6. Taking Money

The size and makeup of your float (the cash you have on hand for change) will depend on the value of the items you’re selling. It’s preferable to have at least $100 in a mix of notes and coins, remembering that most people withdrawing cash from ATMs, do so in the form of $50 notes and will require change, so your float can quickly be eroded. Keep your money secure, preferably wearing it on your person. Take time to learn where the nearest ATMs are so that you can direct customers to them. If you’re intending to be a regular stallholder, consider opening a Merchant Account so that you can accept credit card payments.

7. Timing

Arrive early on the day and prepare to be patient and cooperative with other stallholders. Set-up and pack-up times are stressful and the coming and going of market vehicles is generally a finely timed and cooperative exercise, even if it’s not apparent to the casual observer. Regular stallholders will generally have a routine set-up time that fits in with their neighbours and any unexpected disruption can result in chaos.

It is important to unload/load your vehicle and move out of the market area as quickly as possible. Complete your stall set-up after you’ve removed your vehicle from the market area.

At pack-up time, ask around before trying to bring your vehicle into the market area, so as not to disrupt any of the organised queuing arrangements that help pack-up time run smoothly.

8. Customers

Acknowledge potential customers with a smile to let them know you’re available to help if necessary and answer their questions honestly and politely. Try to be attentive and helpful without being pushy.

9. Networking

Once everyone has set up, take time to introduce yourself to your neighbouring stallholders. Most will be happy to chat when time allows and some may mind your stall while you take a short break. You can learn a lot from experienced marketeers.

10. Chin Up

Finally, know your product and yourself. Be prepared for all sorts of people, behaviour, comments and questions. You’ll be dealing with the general public, so anything can happen.

No two market days are the same. Try to stay calm and positive no matter what happens and tidy up your display regularly.

Putting your products out on a table for the public to judge, touch and comment on can be a confronting experience – good or bad!