29/07/2016
You and me both, sister.

Words by

Eliza Sholly

The only thing better than doing a cull of your wardrobe, is making money off it. While there are number of outlets through which you can make money from your pre-loved stuff, a market stall is always a fun and (potentially) lucrative way to do it.

Not only does a market stall give you an outlet to make some dosh, but it can also be a platform to do some good. For example, since opening in 1976, Camberwell Market has raised over $15 million for community and humanitarian causes. It’s also helped to establish some pretty cool local designers, FME Apparel anyone?

When planning a market stall, however, there’s a number of ways the whole thing can go very wrong.  With more than a few experiences under my belt, I thought I’d take this opportunity to impart my wisdom upon you. So whether you’re setting up at Camberwell, Bondi or Gilles Street, here are the top 25 mistakes you’ve probably made at your market stall. 

  1. Not taken note of your stall number, resulting in a very confusing and not-fun game at 6am in the morning
  2. Had the expectation that people were going to pay more than $3 for any item regardless of quality and/or brand
  3. Forgotten to check the weather forecast and been left with no profit and an assortment of soggy clothes
  4. Gone out the night before and made the mistake of thinking you can run a successful market stall off 3 hours sleep
  5. Forgot to bring chairs. These are great for slow periods, as well as people watching
  6. Priced things too high. Be realistic about the kind of money people are going to spend on your secondhand threads
  7. Eaten before you got there, meaning you only have room for two delicious jam doughnuts instead of three
  8. Refused an offer because it was too low, then immediately regretted this decision because the item probably won’t sell
  9. Forgotten to BYO clothing racks, meaning you have to hire the market’s generic and flimsy ones
  10. Didn’t price your items. While majority of people will ignore your costs, it gives a good starting off point for those who try to bargain
  11. Done it with a friend who has completely opposing expectations about the market than you do. These things can ruin friendships, people
  12. Slept through your alarm, gotten there waaaaay too late and missed the morning rush
  13. Neglected to entice customers with special deals. ‘2 for 1’ and ‘Everything for $5’ bags are a great way to make fast money and move product
  14. Forgotten to bring gloves/socks/beanies/warm clothing. Seriously, are markets deliberately built in a wind tunnel? Because even in summer these things are freezing
  15. Thought that your prices were be all, end all. Be prepared for people to haggle and be haggled
  16. Forgot to make a cash float of change. Unfortunately there is no Paypass at a market stall
  17. Overwhelmed your customer with too much product. Sometimes less is more
  18. Thought the other person was bringing the coat hangers, when they thought you were bringing the coat hangers (maybe this was just me)
  19. Become nostalgic over items you’re selling. Now is not the time to reminisce over the amazing time you had at Splendour when flower crowns were really in
  20. Thought you needed a visual merchandising degree to separate your stall from the rest. Jazz up your space with some simple decorations, then watch the customers roll in
  21. Made the mistake of forgetting to bring plastic bags. No one wants to lug around their purchases. Be a thoughtful stallholder
  22. While majority of customers are fab, some will try and take you for a ride. Market stalls are easy to steal from, so be aware of this fact and ensure you keep two eyes on your products at all times
  23. Had shame when promoting your stall. Use your social networks to get the word out there. Check in on Facebook, do an Insta, start a hashtag. The world is your oyster
  24.  Went shopping straight after your stall, spending all the money that you may have made. I think we’re all guilty of this one
  25. Took it too seriously. Have fun with the experience, it’s a way to take your childhood dream of owning a store and turn it into a temporary reality.

Camberwell Market is celebrating 40 years as Australia’s most popular and iconic second-hand, antique, handmade and vintage markets. Sunday 28 August will see the Market come alive with festivities to celebrate this incredible milestone. Find out more here.

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