This fall I have participated as a vendor at the Paddock Arcade Fall Market for the third year in a row. This has been another great opportunity to extend the market season for my products, with vendors there every Wednesday, 9am to 3pm, October to December.
I was worried that it would not run this year, as our dear friend Sandi McCarthy, who had coordinated the market for the past two years in a wonderful way, died suddenly last winter. This October, when the hall was full of new and returning vendors , I really felt Sandi was there beaming. Her former colleagues did a fine job of carrying the torch forward.
I love this market, even though the hallway gets very cold and the traffic is slow. In any case, we vendors always seem to have many a good laugh together, even if sales are nonexistent in any one week. But traffic really needs to increase in order to keep vendors interested in coming back.
This is how I have tried to make more people aware of this market:
1. Word of Mouth - I tell everyone interested in my stuff that I am there every Wednesday, whether I am talking to someone at the hair salon, library or grocery store. And I am there every Wednesday unless I am deathly ill.
2. Customer Orders - If I am at a craft fair or somewhere other than the market, I will tell customers about the market. I try to arrange to have them pick up any order they place at the market, so they become aware of the location and the wonderful things there.
3. Coupons - This year I was behind the eight ball, but last year I printed up coupons for discounts and distributed them during the last month of the summer market, with discounts expiring at the end of December and the market schedule printed on the coupons. This did bring in 2-3 customers last year.
4. Flyer Posting - This summer I posted the market flyer at my booth and talked it up to customers during the last 4 weeks of the outdoor, busy market.
5. Facebook - I try never to miss posting a reminder about the Wednesday market on Tuesday evening, and then make several posts with pictures at intervals during market hours on Wednesday showing my and others' products to lure shoppers.
6. Van Adverts - I bought markers that can write on glass, and wrote the market scheduled on the back window of my van! Rainy and snowy weather has been a challenge for this, but I haven't really minded the frequent re-writes, and since I drive our van all over town so much, I think it MUST have some impact?! Maybe I'll do a 'mention this window for a discount' message next season!