Tag Archives: Collected and Created Market Gundaroo

To Market To Market Part Four – After Market Analysis

Yesterday I attended the Collected and Created Gundaroo Market as a stallholder and am pleased to report that it was a great day!   Not only was the venue lovely (the historic Soldiers Memorial Hall in Gundaroo) but the whole market was well planned, attended by beautifully talented local creators and collectors, and had the whole community supporting it.   All my thinking about attending markets, branding, displays, etc, came together seamlessly and I had a lovely day telling the story behind my products, selling to interested customers and generally enjoying the whole experience.

Of course although I am the face of my business the reality is that it doesn’t happen without the team behind the scenes. My parents provide such huge amounts of support that make it possible.  Yesterday Dad drove over to Gundaroo (about 15 minutes cross country from us) to help me unload my car, then he came back with my two daughters in the afternoon to help with the packing up.  In the meantime Mum looked after the children, tidied my house, and gave me the peace of mind to be away from home for the day.

Now we are the in after market phase and although my first inclination is to sit back and chill for a few days, the reality is that I don’t have time!   Last night after going through and counting my sales, working out the overheads and determining the level of profit (important so that you know whether you truly made money or just had fun) I also sat and assessed stock to determine where the gaps are that need to be refilled before the next market in two weeks time.   A quick online order to supplement my supplies, a list of products that need to be made, and a plan is starting to come together.

After market analysis is important so that you can see what sold well, what didn’t work, what you need to change in your display and what you forgot!    One of the stall holders I spoke to yesterday said that she was surprised by what sold and what didn’t, and I had to agree.  Even with knowing your target audience, and researching what you think will sell best, until you actually hit the event the predictions are just that, predictions.   Things that didn’t move at all at my last market went like hotcakes at this one, and items that I thought would really appeal to the community didn’t move at all!   This doesn’t mean that I will abandon those products but I will think about how to make them more accessible, appealing, and inviting to my customers.

Things to think about before your next market:

  • How do you keep track of your stock?  Is there a better way to track what sold and what didn’t? Do you need a spreadsheet that you mark off as items sell, a notepad that you make notes on as things move, or an inventory system connected to a point of sale that provides a full retail experience?
  • How did your display work?   Where there products that didn’t move because they were lost in the display, or items that customers couldn’t easily see?   Do you need more height variations, more signs, or different ways of showing pricing?
  • How did your stall set up work for you as the seller?  Did you have a place to take money and wrap purchases without crowding customers?  Did you have a place to sit when you had a few minutes break?  Did your cashbox and credit card facility work for you or was it too unwieldy and awkward?
  • Do you have supplies to replenish your stock, and how long will supplies take to arrive?  If you have enough for the next event but none for the event after that, assuming you sell the same amount, is it time to order more now so that they are ready when you need them?
  • How did you feel about the experience?  Were you happy talking to customers or did you feel overwhelmed?  Did you find that people were queuing to pay for items because you were too busy?  (I know – there are worse problems that can happen, but if customers get tired of waiting they will just walk away instead.)  Do you need to have someone else to help you serve customers for the next event?   Were you tired, hungry, thirsty or stressed?  What can you do to change that for next time?
  • What was your most frequently asked question?   If the question was about how much something cost, it is time to rethink how you display your prices.  If it was about what a particular item was, it is time to rethink how you package and display that item.   If it was whether you made all of this yourself then that is a great conversation starter!   Thinking about these questions can help you to be better prepared for next time.

Having now addressed all of those questions myself I am off to conduct another Distance Education session with my son, then start making lists.  There are some packages that need to be rethought, some signs that need to be made, and a shelf unit that needs to be painted to provide more height on one table.   Plus some blue wool and fuzzy green ‘cactus’ wool to be sourced!

I hope that your after market analysis gives you lots of inspiration to keep growing your business.

Real life, markets and tea

I am preparing to attend my second market in this, my revitalised small business life.  And while I would love to report that all has been smooth sailing i would be lying because that is not how life happens.   For anyone!

On the product development side I have lots of positive things to report, including new earring designs, key rings, wine charms, stitch markers, and more ideas that are coming together.   I have enjoyed finding new ways to make tea related paraphernalia and the process of sourcing supplies, learning new ways to craft things, and thinking about packaging and branding.  The products in the following photos are all available in my shop, with more if you would like to see the whole range.

I have also been crocheting away, making tea cosies and delivering orders.  This cosy is my current favourite and sold very quickly so I am inspired to play with this style a little more.   You really can never have enough ladybirds in your life!

That is all pretty positive isn’t it?   What has real life got to do with all of this?   My chicks and I have been having a bit of a rough life over the last few weeks.   My eldest ended up in hospital for a week unexpectedly (she is receiving great treatment and support for what ails her and will be fine) and the ripple effect through the family is still being felt.   Existing struggles with school attendance have been magnified, and anxiety levels are high.   I saw a friend briefly this morning after a horrible couple of hours at home and answered her query about how I was with a very breezy ‘I am great’, then realised that I was great in that exact moment, standing in the sunshine on her front step, even though a couple of hours earlier I had wondered if the sky was about to fall in.   It is a useful reminder that there are lovely moments even in days of stress.

Big changes are happening in the latest round of strategies to make life better for my chicks. My beautiful boy is now doing a combination of Distance Education and school attendance, which makes me his supervisor.   Not a fun job but we have had some nice moments in amongst the tough ones in the short time we have been doing it.  The long term challenge here is to understand how he learns best so that I can support him to gain the right skills to go on and succeed in life.   He hates to make errors so any process of asking questions or asking him to give answers is fraught with anxiety, and therefore aggression, for him.  In order to give him the best chances I need to stay calm when I really want to scream at him to just do it.   Oops.   Best keep working on not saying that!

Oh how I wish this was true!

My biggest girl is planning a huge adventure, going to live with their father for a while.  She will be living overseas, attending an International School, and being exposed to all sorts of amazing experiences.  I am going to miss her but this is the best decision for her at the moment and she deserves to have a chance to live as a teenager without feeling responsible for her siblings and her mother.  I keep stressing to her that she is not to feel responsible for her father, and that it is his job to look after her, not the other way around, but only time will tell how that one goes.  This is not a decision that I thought I would be making, but it was my suggestion that she go, and I am really comfortable that it is the right decision for her, and that we need to try it as an option for her.   And seriously – what teenager doesn’t get excited at the thought of moving to the other side of the world and getting to see and do amazing things for a few months or longer?!   (I admit openly that I am very envious of the experience she is about to have!)

As for my middle chick, well, she is still struggling at the moment.   I haven’t quite worked out the next strategy for her, to help her to feel safe and secure enough to attend school, but I do have a project to keep her busy for the next few weeks.   Today we had a  blank library box delivered to our house, as part of a larger community project to see 10 little libraries installed in our community.   She is going to design and then paint our box before it is installed, possibly at our driveway, to hold books for passersby to borrow, swap, etc.  I am really excited about this project so am keeping my fingers crossed that she maintains her enthusiasm too!

The blank canvas is so exciting in its possibilities!

That is the real life part of running a small business.   Family and homelife will always have priority, and plans for products and for growing a business will always be affected by whatever surprise event comes along.   And that is where the tea comes in.   Over the course of the last few weeks as we have moved in and out of crisis mode, tea has been a constant theme.   Sharing a cup of tea with a friend as we talk over the latest development in our lives, finding time to sit and drink a cup of tea as a break from being in a hospital room, or sitting at home with a book and a cup of tea to clear my head.   Tea has kept me going in the way that wine would have in my younger days.   My favourite flavours at the moment are a Red and Green Vanilla Rooibus, and New York Breakfast (a black tea with almost maple syrup notes) and a refreshing herbal green tea.   In my younger days (when wine was the answer, not tea) I was a focussed clothes shopper.   I could be in Melbourne for a meeting and pop out at lunchtime and buy my year’s wardrobe before getting back to the meeting.  (I was living in Darwin and shopping wasn’t great there!)   These days I don’t buy clothes and shoes like I used to, but I can hit T2 and stock up on flavours, present my loyalty card and be back at the car within an impressively short space of time.   Same focus, just different products!

Anyway, that is it from my little corner of the world.   Preparing for the Collected and Created Market in Gundaroo on Sunday 19 November from 10 – 4, living a real life, and drinking lots of tea.  I hope your real life is in solution mode rather than survival mode!