Jump to content
jbradshaw

Experience with central checkout/booth markets?

Recommended Posts

Many of the local markets here are set up where you come set up your table/booth/whatever, leave extra product under the table or in a back room, and then leave it to the market runners to manage. They have central checkouts (which take a % of sales) and volunteers/employees who straighten your display and restock as needed. The seller can also stop by to straighten or restock throughout the market.

 

Anyone had experiences good or bad with these? I've volunteered at them in the past, and can attest that they do have enough volunteers to monitor shoplifting and keeping the tables looking nice. I've been accepted to two this holiday season, figured it made sense to just apply and then see how I felt about it. I also have ZERO idea how much inventory to have ready for these, but that's another issue. 

 

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't say I've done anything like that. Sounds a lot like consignment. Which can go either way depending on the people running the market. How much % do they take? Are you okay with it? Who is responsible for theft, damaged, or missing product? Will you be signing a contract? When do you get paid and how? Do you commit for a specific time or can you cancel at any time? If they go out of business will you be able to get your product out? It can happen. Happened to me. These are some of the questions I would want answers to before I signed up.  If you are satisfied with the answers and still want to give it a go then I say go for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They are incredibly popular here - the majority of markets around are set up like these, so I feel like I can't really avoid them. 

 

They vary in the % they take, anywhere from 15%-20%. I don't love losing that %, but it does seem fair given that I don't have to be there, don't have to manage the checkout or sales tax, etc. You do sign a contract, but from the ones I've seen, the market is not responsible for theft, damaged, or missing product. You are paid 2 weeks post market via check, it works like a payroll and you fill out a W9 I believe. 

 

Unlike consignment, they are pop up markets. So the market will rent out a venue for a weekend, one week, two weeks and the market gets set up, then comes down. Which is nice, there's a limit to the time table. 

 

I know you didn't really need the answers to these, but it was helpful to write them out. I've talked to other vendors and some love these and some hate them. One in particular refuses to participate because she just can't justify losing 15% - however, she has been around for years, and supports a family of 7 off her business alone, since she does enough online and at other markets to ignore these. I feel like it's a good way to get my brand out as well. 

 

In my area, we have:

farmers markets

craft lake city DIY fest (which is basically a weekend long craft fair outdoors)

swiss days (booth fees are $1K for a 2 day festival)

Pinners conference (booth fees are $900 for 2 days)

these central checkout markets, which are numerous

 

So I feel a bit backed into a corner if I want to grow my business. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think I would like that set up.  These people don't know your product, so if someone has a question, they probably would not know how to answer depending of what it was.  Are you responsible for misinformation?  Sounds like if they are working in "commission" they might say anything for the sale.   You also have booth fees, so is that on top of the 15% you also have the give them?  Also, those fees seem really high for 2 days.  Not sure where you are from, but I have never heard of these.  I have heard of pop-up shops, where the owners of the business run them just like a regular store for a set amount of time, like a month.  Every area is different, so like Candybee said, if you are comfortable doing it, then go for it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that would work for some items but I also think that sellers need to be somewhat educated on what they are selling.  Then again, it's like a grocery store where you go from dept to dept or booth to booth in this case and help yourself and then check out.  I like the personal touch I can give to customers when selling my items. It's very much like our multi-dealer antique stores where most times we only know what the price tag states and either I or my workers are selling, not the owner of the items. I could go either way on this, I guess I might try it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, jbradshaw said:

They are incredibly popular here - the majority of markets around are set up like these, so I feel like I can't really avoid them. 

 

They vary in the % they take, anywhere from 15%-20%. I don't love losing that %, but it does seem fair given that I don't have to be there, don't have to manage the checkout or sales tax, etc. You do sign a contract, but from the ones I've seen, the market is not responsible for theft, damaged, or missing product. You are paid 2 weeks post market via check, it works like a payroll and you fill out a W9 I believe. 

 

Unlike consignment, they are pop up markets. So the market will rent out a venue for a weekend, one week, two weeks and the market gets set up, then comes down. Which is nice, there's a limit to the time table. 

 

I know you didn't really need the answers to these, but it was helpful to write them out. I've talked to other vendors and some love these and some hate them. One in particular refuses to participate because she just can't justify losing 15% - however, she has been around for years, and supports a family of 7 off her business alone, since she does enough online and at other markets to ignore these. I feel like it's a good way to get my brand out as well. 

 

In my area, we have:

farmers markets

craft lake city DIY fest (which is basically a weekend long craft fair outdoors)

swiss days (booth fees are $1K for a 2 day festival)

Pinners conference (booth fees are $900 for 2 days)

these central checkout markets, which are numerous

 

So I feel a bit backed into a corner if I want to grow my business. 

Those fees are crazy high.  I just decided against a 2 day vintage show that was $450 for 2 days.  I thought that was sky high, lol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed, those booth fees are crazy high - I didn't do either of those shows because of it. 

 

The booth fees for these are only $20/weekend since they take a percentage. And luckily they don't try to sell people on anything, customers just peruse the venue and purchase what looks good. They basically only admit vendors they like the product for and think would appeal to their customer. 

 

I'm definitely concerned that I wouldn't be there to answer questions, or even to steer people towards the scent they might like best. I just can't decide if it's worth the risk or not. 

 

I appreciate all the input. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did one for a popular 2 weekend in a row Christmas show. Worked very well. The thing is, those customers were looking for holiday decor, not necessarily what I was selling. I made money, did not lose and product and learned a lot. I have wanted to set up again with a different product line now that I "get" the customers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i don't like the idea of leaving my product with someone who takes no responsibility for theft, damaged, or missing goods. Once they contract with you to hold your product for sale they need to take responsibility for it. In my opinion this is a very bad set up for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Candybee as far as having any control over your product. 

 

The only way I could see it working to your advantage is if you don't care about it and are mainly using it for marketing.  I am assuming you can place a stack of business cards in front of your table.  If that is permitted and you have some money to throw at it, then it could be worth stocking with minimum just to get the exposure.  But, if you're not in a position to invest in marketing, which sometimes works out and sometimes doesn't, depending on a wide assortment of reasons, I'd listen to Candybee ... not a good set up if you personally cannot be there to be a part of the scene.

 

 

Edited by birdcharm
keyboard stuck again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the only way I can go into this (if I go into it) is to say that I'm willing to do all this as an investment and see how it goes. I hate that none of these markets take any liability for damaged or stolen goods, but I checked all the markets I could find like this in Utah and it's standard procedure. 

 

Having been a volunteer and a customer for many of these markets, that does assuage my concerns a bit because I'm familiar with how they run. If i do it, I'll minimize the risk as much as possible by doing candles in tins only. I can also stop by as often as I want to straighten or restock, and I can be a volunteer at one of them, which would mean I could keep an eye on things. I'm just so torn - all of this input and caution has been incredibly helpful to me. I feel a bit cornered just because if I want to participate in the local craft scene, I have no choice but to do these markets. I can try to expand online, and get wholesale going, which I'm definitely going to invest time in, but I feel like the opportunity to get product in front of customers is so valuable. 

 

What kinds of markets do you all have in your areas? This seems to be really unique to Utah.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the best features of more traditional craft shows and markets, IMO, is that the maker is standing right there beside his/her product.  Customers get to interact with the creator/seller, and you can explain the highlights of what you do and talk up your product.  You are knowledgeable about your stock, can answer questions, and can point the customer to a particular item he / she wants.  As a buyer, I prefer the seeing to and talking with the maker face to face.  JM2C

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×