Tuesday, 23 June 2009
Working the markets
With two successful market appearances now under my belt (!) I am starting to feel more confident about my product and more confident about selling on a stall.
A lot of people have recently been asking me lots of questions like how many cupcakes do you make, how do you package your product, how much do you charge and how do you know what flavours to sell. Well, firstly I have had my good friend Beth show me the way in terms of finding fairs, bookings stalls and seeting up and I think that has been invaluable to me. Beth used to have a stall selling funky kids clothes so she is a dab hand at knowing what to do. Let me share some of the information I have gained so far for anyone considering this route:
Finding a venue: I first used Craft People2000 as they are experienced at running events and generally provide you a table and venue in return for a table hire charge. Its normally a set price per event and I paid £60 for my first 2 day stall but this tends to be the high end of the market in Nottinghamshire so I expect most events to be cheaper. Beth tends find events, fairs and festivals and we then contact them directly to see if its possible to have a stall. The Sherwood Community Festival was advertised and we emailed the organisers and they managed to fit us in. Most of the time they want to see your Food Safety certificate, Public liabilty insurance and possibly other business documents but I now keep these in one file for ease of access and also keep e-copies so I can email them directly.
How many cakes to make: This is a tricky one! My first event was marred by terrible weather but we managed to sell over 270 cupcakes and various other baked goods in the course of 2 days. My second event was a sell out and we sold 250 cupcakes in 4 hrs so it really depends on the event. As a rule I will now ensure I have more cakes at a festival type event as people buy in smaller quantities but they eat them straight away so once someone spots a person eating your cakes they might seek out your stall as they need a sugar fix! I also provide cookies and other baked treats so I will stock up on those next time as they are easy to make in big batches and fill your stall with. Both events had footfalls of between 500-1000+. I think I would struggle with anything larger than 2000 at this stage of my business.
Packaging: I have invested in paper bags for small purchases and small white boxes (8x8x4") for purchases of 4 cupcakes or more. I did buy bigger boxes but they are hard to handle when you are busy as they come flat packed and your workspace is limited so buy something that you are comfortable handling or else you will get flustered as the orders come in thick and fast! I did buy some ribbon and stickers for the boxes but realistically I do not have time to make the boxes look 'pretty' so I now just put stickers on the boxes as we make them up and keep them under the stall for busy periods.
Flavours: At my first event I kept the flavours very simple and really made an impact by using lots of colours and styles. The 2nd event was more about flavours and you can see what I made here. The flavours went down well and it was easier for people to choose what they wanted this time as they didn't have to decide on which colour or style they liked best. I will definitely stick to more flavours for my next event but I keep them relatively simple to suit all tastes.
I also invested in a gazebo (as you can see from my pic!) which took about 20 mins to put up and just made my 'space' feel a little more like my own. It also stopped the direct sunshine getting on my cakes and a few spots of rain too!