Monday, 4 May 2015

markets 101

Howdy, peeps.

I figured you guys'd like an overview from the markets a couple of weeks ago, yes? Maybe you don't care for the finer details of markets such as how many people showed up, what the temperature was or how many jars I sold, but I thought I'd give you detail-loving people a little insight into my day anyways.

Also I do realise this post is quite late. The markets were held well over a week ago and I'll admit I feel a little like a fish out of water publishing this post now, many days later. However I do have a legitimate excuse for my tardiness - we had bad storms here in our area and my internet connection suffered badly. Seven days without internet makes one weak (or extremely restless in my case).

Anyways, the internet is back up and running again (hooray!) and here's a quick overview from my day, starting the night before market day. And pleaseeee overlook the poor quality photos in all their unedited glory. They're so bad that I nearly didn't post them. But, thought I, what's a post without pictures?
Phone camera + no time + bad lighting + too lazy to edit already bad photos = extra bad quality photos. Sorry guys.

10pm Friday night: set breadmaker to have Focaccia bread dough ready by 6am the next morning

6am Saturday morning: alarm goes off. I hit snooze.

6:10am: alarm goes off again and breadmaker beeps, indicating dough is ready

6:15am: get out of bed, make my way to the kitchen and turn oven on

6:16am: realise that the breadmaker pan was not clicked in the machine properly, so I have no dough. Only water, yeast, flour and a little sugar. That's it. They were sitting unmoved and in the exact same position where I left them the night before

6:17am: PANIC. Will I have enough time to reset the breadmaker and make the Focaccia? Should I hand-knead the dough? Will it have enough time to rise? Will it cool in time for me to slice it and package it? Should I forget the whole thing, go back to bed and get a few minutes of precious sleep?

6:19am: decision is made. I'll handmake the dough and will leave it on top of the (very warm) stovetop, in the hopes that it will rise quick enough

6:35am: dough is made, kneaded and is left to rise on the stovetop

6:40am: I try to restore some order in my kitchen. Making bread in a rush is a messy job

6:45am: realise I have enough time to go back to bed and lay down for a few minutes

7am: the dough has risen nicely (phew!!) and I pop it into the oven to bake

7:25am: the Foccacia is baked! It turned out perfectly for which I was very relieved

7:30am: hurriedly get ready for the day

7:50am: load the car up with the stuff. There was a LOT of stuff and my little hatchback was stuffed with... stuff

8:15am: boil the kettle and prepare my lunch

8:30am: we're off! The song to market, to market, to buy a fat hog... home again, home again, jiggity jog pops into my head. Best nursery rhyme.

8:45am: arrive at the campsite where the markets are to be held. Talked to the coordinator and inspected the site allocated for me. I loved the spot I was given - it was near the entryway and most people had to walk past me as they walked in/out.

9am: start setting up. This was probably one of the highlights of my day. A delicate lace tablecloth, a vintage suitcase, antique books, pretty cake stands... I was in prop/decor heaven!

9:40am: we're all set up and are ready to go!

9:41am: I did a super quick dash to the secondhand book stall to grab a few bargains before the day officially began and people started arriving. No, I am not obsessed with books. Yes, I am passionate about them. You can't beat the quality of books or their prices at these markets

9:50am: people start arriving and the morning gets busier and busier. The cookie mixes in a jar sell out almost immediately and many people stopped by for a chat.

11:30am: where has the morning gone?! By this time, I hadn't had time to grab a seat, have something to eat, or even have a drink of water. It's been nonstop aaallll morning

12:30pm: this wonderful mother of mine offered to watch my stall for a bit so I could have a quick rest. (Okay, FINE. It was really was so that I could go around and have a look at all the other stalls.)

12:45pm: back at the stall again. My shopping expedition had to be a quick one (and let's face it, it was probably the quickest shopping trip I've ever taken and ever will take. Shopping is my therapy and therapy is most definitely not something that can be rushed) Ahem.

12:48pm: a little person, in full view of his/her parent, decided that the Anzac biscuits labelled 'try me' were so good, that he/she greedily used both hands to scoop up whatever was left and proclaimed that "these are so good!". My warning of you must leave some for others clearly didn't do much good.

1:30pm: crowds start thinning out and people start talking about going home

2pm: pack up. This was much easier than setting up, as I barely had anything left over, save for a few jars, a couple of boxes of cake and some choc chip cookies.

3pm: car is packed and we head off just as it starts to drizzle. We had beautiful weather which held off until the markets ended!

3:30pm: home again, home again, jiggity jog.

4pm-9pm: lay on bed exhausted, eating leftover chocolate chip cookies and vowing never to do a market stall any time soon.

Busy day!

Goodness, I hope I haven't put you all to sleep with all that. It was more comprehensive than I'd initially planned!
These markets also taught me a few (many?) things, which I'll share with you below. By no means is this list comprehensive! I'm still super duper new to this whole market stall thing and still have lots and lots and lots to learn. I have no doubt that this list will be added to in weeks coming.

1. No matter how good you think your mathematical skills may be, have a calculator handy. It'll be a lifesaver.
2. If you don't want to label every single item with a list of ingredients, I'd suggest having a 'master ingredients list' handy. I just made one list of every item I was selling and wrote down the ingredients used for each product. It saved me a lot of time, ink and paper. If someone asked me what ingredients were used, out came my Master Ingredient List. Easy peasy.
3. Have lots of plastic shopping bags to bag your items up. You can never have too many.
4. Keep a detailed list of how much money you spent on ingredients/materials/etc. Trust me, you need to know exactly how much items cost you to make so you know exactly what to charge. I did a quick Excel spreadsheet (make sure you use those formulas too). Overpricing goods is just as bad as underpricing them.
5. Speaking of Excel and spreadsheets, do stocktake before heading off to the markets. Make sure you know how many cookies in jars you're selling, how many chocolate cake boxes you have, even how many truffles you're selling by the piece. At the end of the day, count your remaining stock. That way, you'll know exactly how many products you started the day out with, and you'll also know precisely what sold and what didn't. It helps with any future markets.
5. Gluten free products always go down well.
6. Make sure all your price tags are easy to read. ie big and bold.
7. Have taste-testers for at least one or two items. People like to try before they buy, even if it's an old favourite like Anzac biscuits.
8. Ensure said taste-testers are not within reach of small children.
9. Make your set up as visually pleasing as possible. Use vintage books, old suitcases, lace tablecloths, flowers, empty milk bottles, etc to decorate your table. It'll attract more people.

In summary, it was a lovely, lovely day. I got to meet lots of sweet, friendly people and my products were very well-received. I'm keen to do another market stall in the future, however at present I take my hat off to all you people who do markets every.single.weekened. You people are machines.


  1. Grace I am not surprised your talents were received so well. You share amazing stuff on your page I love them all lol. Congrats to you!

    1. Very sweet of you to say Mari, thank you so much!

  2. Well done on the market!!! I have no illusions of how much work would go into this and do hope you aren't put off as I'm sure the produce was great :D

    1. Thanks Jan, it was indeed lots of work but it was lots of fun too! Considering doing it again sometime :)