Market Essentials

All the essentials as a small business that you need to have a successful market.

Market Essentials

I'm by no means an expert on this, but I thought I'd share the things that I have found to be essential when doing markets over the years.

Price signs

It's important to have prices visible on your stand. From a personal point of view, it's always awkward asking prices, so if they're readily there and available to see it avoids any of those awkward conversations if it turns out the price is out of budget.

And they don't need to be fancy! Just visible and clear. I print onto sticker paper which I then stick on greyboard to give them a bit more of rigidity so that I can then lean or clip them to where they need to be.

Business Cards/Flyers

Business cards might seem a little old fashioned to some, but they're still the perfect options for market customers that aren't maybe in the position to buy right now but really like your products and want to remember who you are to buy from at a later date. Just picking up or giving them a little card can bring you customers in the future, not having any, it's very likely those potential customers will forget about you after walking away.

I've actually trialled recently having little A6 flyers that I then add a unique discount code to for each market on the back for 10% off a future order. I'm always intrigued to see if I make any online customers from people who have found me via markets, and really curious to see if it works!

An array of priced products

Something that I have noticed at the markets I've done is that the lower priced items tend to sell a lot better than higher priced items. So for me, cards, coasters and bookmarks are always guaranteed to have interest. If you do have higher priced items, it might be worth looking at some more affordable products, if you can, so that it gives customers a range of products to buy that will suit all budgets.

My theory for why lower priced items tend to sell is people don't want to pay postage for low priced items when ordering online, which is extremely valid as postage prices are getting a bit wild these days, as well as it meaning they can buy from several vendors at the market, making their money stretch a little further.

Even if a customer only buys a small item, chances are they might then buy more or higher priced items online at a later date too!

Display Stands

I don't think I have done the same table setup once! I'm always trying to improve the look and layout of my table, and it also depends on what type of market it is and what products I'm taking as what it will look like, so it's always great to have options!

Last year I tried out some wire grid panelling to add some height to the table and it worked for the products I had at the time. I haven't used them this year, but have instead bought some stands that can be disassembled making them perfect for if you need to pack a bit lighter! Foldable crates and boxes are also great options for displaying products and also think about adding some height with shelf stands or using boxes. Having your products displayed at different levels creates more of an interesting table layout, and makes it easier for people to see from further away what you are offering. I personally try to have a minimal amount of products flat on the table.

I do also use a lot of acrylic clear storage, as it means none of the designs get hidden behind coloured plastic or wood. Search on Amazon for nail varnish storage displays which is what I use for my bookmarks!

Card machine/cash

Probably the most important so you can actually accept sales!

I have a zettle card machine, but there are others like square and oneup too. With my zettle card reader, I can add products onto the app, which then connects to the card reader and people can tap their cards or phones and pay that way.

It does let you sync your products from your website, so that it keeps inventory up to date, but the problem I found with this, is because I have 100's of listings, and a lot with variations, it was taking too long to find the particular product when it came to the customer paying. So instead, I have added product categories, so for example, A4 prints, Cards, Coasters etc. and just keep a note on what I sell in the notes app on my phones. It also helps a lot to have a list of stock quantity you take with you too.

Most people tend to pay with cards these days, but there are still people who do pay with cash, so it's always worth having a bit of a float of some change for if you so have a cash paying customer. I tend to get people buying one or two lower priced items that pay cash. Anything over £10 is usually always card.

Business name prominently displayed

This can be a banner, table cloth, stand... as long as your business name is there, and big enough for it to be read at a distance, it'll work! I originally had a wide 6ft vinyl banner that went across the front of the table. But I found it a pain to try and secure it to the table, so went for a table runner, which also adds some extra colour to the table top itself.

The little things

I have a little pouch that has little essentials, things that you might often forget about, because they're not the big essential bits.

For me, this includes scissors, pen or pencil, washi tape, cable ties, clips... all the little things that may not seem important, but can be a right pain when don't have it!


I'm not going to count this as an essential, but to have a successful market, the market you doing ideally needs to be well advertised both before and on the day, for it to be a success. Markets with paid entry I find I tend to get a few more sales at, my thinking is that people have paid to come in and want to make sure they make a few purchases to make it worth it?

I've done a couple of markets that have been local school/community events, and they were not great, and clearly not my target market at all.

If you're in the UK, I would recommend Craft & Flea, who do markets all around the country. I've done a couple with them now, and for me, it's felt very well-planned out, where you're given all the necessary info in advance (something I am very appreciative of as I get very anxious going to new places).

Is there are any other things that you think are essential for a market?