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    8 Tips for Market Stall Success

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    By Monica Ng

    You open your inbox and you see a new email from the market you’ve recently applied to.

    “Congratulations! Your application was successful!”

    You ogle at this sentence and you begin to buzz with excitement. You do a happy dance, Elaine Benes style to celebrate your success and show off your rad moves to the four walls of the room you’re sitting in. Yaaay!

    My jewellery shop, Geometric Skies has participated in a variety of showcases and markets including some specialty designer markets such as the Sydney Finders Keepers, the Etsy Interactive Exhibition at the Fracture Gallery in Federation Square as part of the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, RAW Artists’ first Sydney showcase, The Makery and the fashion markets at Bondi Beach and Kirribilli.

    I started from scratch as a complete newbie and through these experiences over the past year, I’ve gained some insight and learned some tricks that may help set up your market day for success. Regardless of whether it’s your first time, or if you’re a seasoned stallholder, here are a few pointers to help you prepare for your next event.

    Think about your display
    Dedicate some time to how you want to set out your work. This is especially important if there’ll be a lot of other stallholders selling similar types of items, like jewellery. I’ve seen a lot of jewellery designers at markets lay their pieces flat on tables, which may make it more difficult for customers walking by to see the work from afar.

    Ask yourself:

    How can your display be different to other stallholders?
    Can you arrange it at different levels? Use busts? Racks? Trees?
    Will you be buying these props or will you construct them?
    What materials will they be made from?
    What do these materials say about your brand?

    Try to be consistent and use the same materials to display your goods, as this gives your shop a cleaner and more cohesive look.

    Also, consider using a mannequin. I use a half body mannequin, so customers can see from afar how some of my more adventurous pieces like ‘The Lily body chain’ looks and fits. Often, this draws in customers who wander up to my shop to have a closer look and to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’.

    How will you display your shop’s logo? Laser cut on acrylic, wood or another material? Painted or printed on canvas? Wooden or metal letters? Sounds like a fun DIY activity!

    Will you be bringing your own table or will you hire one? If you’re using a tablecloth, make sure it’s wrinkle free.

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    Bring marketing materials

    What if the customer doesn’t buy today, but wanted to show their friend first before making a decision? How will they ever find your work again? What if they do buy, and want to share your other work with their friends and family?

    Be sure to bring business cards, postcards, a mailing list sign up sheet, branded packaging, or an iPad with photos of your work and a slideshow of press clippings. These are all great items to promote your shop. If you need help designing these, why not ask your friends and family to see if there’s someone who can help you?

    Printing business cards doesn’t have to be expensive as there are some inexpensive online options like Moo, Vistaprint, or Print Together where you simply upload your design, and they’ll print it and post it straight to you.

    Also, prior to the event, remember to publicise it! Speaking of publicity…

    Tell everyone about your event!
    Tell your friends, family and colleagues. Even if you think they won’t ever buy from you, they may forward the news of your event to people who will. Let your existing customers know too!

    Publicise your event through different channels such as your blog, word of mouth, newsletter and social media.

    Be a “yes” person and set up future sales
    Is the size too big, too small, too short or too long for your customer? Offer the option for customisation.

    At the market, consider offering a free shipping or discount coupon to customers for their next purchase.

    Running a competition can help direct traffic and add new followers to your blog, mailing list and social media channels. Why not try partnering up with a blogger to help increase your competition’s outreach?

    Be prepared for all weather conditions
    If the market is outdoors, bring warm clothes, hat, sunblock, snacks/drinks and a chair to keep you going during the day. If business is super busy and you can’t get duck away to buy some food, at least you have some snacks to keep you going.

    Also, sandbags for your gazebo are a lifesaver (in case it gets windy). I’ve seen some gazebos blow away before and not only is it dangerous to yourself and others, it could also result in property damage. If weather conditions become too dangerous, it’s the organiser’s discretion whether trading can continue. Safety first!

    Pack!
    Pack the night before (or even earlier), to save yourself a freak out the morning of the event. Use the checklist below so you’re not kicking yourself at the event for forgetting something.

    • Stationery/admin: blu-tack, pen, notebook, measuring tape, screwdrivers, drill, receipt book, bull clips, plastic bags, duct or masking tape
    • Sales: Sufficient change in your float, credit card machine, mobile phone, phone charger
    • Furniture and accessories: tables, chairs, trolley, gazebo, sand bags
    • Props/display: Stands, mannequins, table cloth, signage, business card holder + extra business cards, price tags, mailing list sign up sheet, packaging
    • Enough stock to sell (always better to take more, than less)
    • Personal: Mini first aid kit, snacks/drinks, hat, sunblock, warm clothes, umbrella

    Network with other stallholders
    Get to know your neighbours and become friends! Gather business cards so you can remain in contact after the event. You never know when a collaboration opportunity might pop up and you’ll be kicking yourself for not getting their contact details.

    Have fun

    Sometimes business is so crazy, before you know it you’ve sold out of everything. Congratulations! On other days, business may not be as well as you hoped it would be. Perhaps it’ll pick up later on in the day or the next person that stops will shop up a storm. Stay positive and enjoy the experience.

    Good luck!

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    Monica Ng left her accounting career at the end of 2013 and began studying a two-year jewellery and object design diploma at the Design Centre, Enmore in 2014. She blogs at www.geometricskies.wordpress.com and you can also find her on Instagram @geometric_skies, www.facebook.com/geometricskies, and her Etsy shop


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: business tips, guest blog, my advice, resource | Comments Off
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    How to write a great design brief

    Our guest columnist Nat Carroll is back today with a follow-up to her popular article Why Write a Design Brief. Having been convinced that this is essential for the creative process to flourish between client and designer, she outlines what should be included and how best to get your point across (or draw it out from a client). Thanks, Nat!

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    You’ve been pondering over your business idea for weeks, months — perhaps even years. You know it inside out and back to front. It’s your baby, and it WILL be brilliant! But, here lies an obstacle: how do you best communicate to a graphic designer the details, tiny nuances and objectives you have, that require their creative input?

    Achieving design that truly represents – and hopefully accentuates – your project, begins with a healthy amount of dialogue between you and your designer. It’s time to gather up all of your thinking – the what, why, how and what if’s – and arrange them into some sort of sensible explanation. We designers make use of a helpful series of questions – commonly known as the design brief – to assist you in identifying the information most relevant. It should be said that some design briefs though, are more superior to others. Being asked the right set of questions by a designer and understanding why they’ve been asked in the first place, lays the foundations for a better project outcome.

    Why write one in the first place, you may ask? Why not just have a brief phone discussion and get the ball rolling? Writing a design brief, whether you write it yourself, or have your designer write it for you, has numerous benefits. I’ve explained some of those benefits in my previous blog post.

    So, what constitutes the contents of a well-written brief?
    When working with clients in my own practice, there are the things that I really like to know about before moving towards the research and concepts phase, and I’d like to share them with you here.

    01. Who are you, really?

    Tell your designer all about yourself. And I do mean ALL. Your designer is now your new best friend. It’s crucial to work with a designer that you know in your heart of hearts you can trust. The more openly you can speak with them, the more they will understand your expectations and motivations. This leads to design that addresses your bigger goals, rather than narrowly focusing in on the smaller, mandatory details only. A well-written design brief should cover expansive knowledge of your brand. Often I find the simple mistake here can be to resist revealing all – this really shouldn’t be a time for a modest elevator pitch.

    Give a background on the history and where you’re at, present day. What do you create, provide, represent? What do you see it growing into? What are the big goals, issues to achieving these, and where does it’s strengths and weaknesses lie? What are it’s values, tone of voice, attributes? If it were a person, who would it be? Who are it’s competitors? What makes your brand unique? What problems does it solve?

    Answers to these questions add up to giving your designer a good overall sense of the big picture – often forgotten in the determination for the project’s details. Your designer is now better equipped to be able to advise you and steer you in a direction that is more tailored to fit you!

    02. Who is your audience?

    It’s unfortunate that you cannot be everything to everyone in this world. There’s no point in trying. But, there is an upside to this! You can be meaningful to a select group, one that will stay loyal to you, if you are loyal to them. Narrowing your focus and understanding as much as you can about your selective audience and catering to them specifically, will pay off in dividends. Tuning into your audience and understanding what motivates them, pleases them, frustrates them, helps immensely in formulating an informed visual direction for your designer. Speaking succinctly to your audience, in THEIR language – be that visual and verbal – is the goal here.

    What do you know about your audience, or the audience you would like to attract? Describe a typical member of your tribe: Are they predominately male? Female? Does your brand have more than one audience? Where do they live, work and play? How much do they earn? What do they spend their money on? What are the motivations behind their purchases or use of a service? Do you have any data you can share with your designer? Do you have past surveys, focus groups, Google Analytics or data from your Facebook Fan Page? And what about feedback?

    Understanding your audience will allow a designer an insightful view into communicating with them in a language that is appropriate. Creating a story that speaks to your audience in their visual language will create a sense of belonging, which in turn builds brand loyalty.

    03. How and why did your project arise?

    It may be that your brand has lost it’s way a little, a whole lot, or that you are simply in the start-up stage. It may be that you’ve discovered a gap in the market for a new product. Maybe you’ve just about finished your artistic endeavors, but you need to visually package everything together. Giving your designer an insight into the way your project came to fruition, helps them to understand the motivations and objectives behind your project. This section of a design brief really helps to define the design ‘problem’ – big, small or somewhere in between – highlighting the issues your designer needs to fully address and resolve.

    Tell your designer about your ‘problem’. Give them a summary of your project and the main reasons you are commissioning them for their creative input. How did this all arise? What are the goals you plan to achieve by undertaking the project? Is it to create further recognition? Develop your audience? An investment or financial gain? What specific design deliverables do you believe addresses your ‘problem’? And how will you measure your success?

    These factors will drive a designer to find and create an effective aesthetic and strategy that is in tune with addressing your goals.

    04. What is the key message you are giving to your audience?

    Often in communication, we tend to muddy the waters by saying too much. It is important now more than ever to simplify and pinpoint. You are competing in a sea of information, a decreasing of attention spans and the increased perceptions in lack of one’s time. You have about five seconds, more or less, to make an impression – so – make it count. What is the single, key message you wish to impress on your audience? How would you like them to respond, feel, react and/or act?

    Your designer will now be sure to focus in on illustrating this message succinctly and simply.

    05. OK! Now, for the details.

    This may come across as rather obvious! However, ensure you tell your designer what you require from them. Provide as much detail as you can. The outcome of a project is affected by it’s constraints, so it’s important to be upfront about these before a project moves to the concept stage. A thoughtful designer will be able to forewarn you of issues that may arise because of said constraints and steer you towards a direction that bests reaches a compromise.

    Give them an idea of your deadline, and any outside factors that may affect the date. How many people will be involved in the signing off process? Are there mandatory, non-negotiable factors that must be adhered to? What is your printing and/or development arrangement? Is there any text in the works that needs to be finalised and supplied? Will the scope of the project likely remain as it is?

    Keep your designer abreast of these details, and any amendments as soon as they arise, and you’ll find you’ve created a more mutually collaborative relationship.

    …..

    Gathering and sharing all the information – research, data, plans, goals, thoughts, samples, inspiration – you have at your disposal, enlightens your designer with much more knowledge to operate from. If you let them into your inner circle, by placing emphasis on partnership, rather than just relying on their technical know-how, you’ll find it will allow a designer to respond by creating a meaningful, engaging outcome. One that is much more in tune with your goals and your audience’s desires. This is the unequivocal benefit of mastering an excellently written design brief!

    If you’re wondering about the specific questions of a design brief, try searching for samples online – there are plenty out there to pick and choose from. In my own design practice, I’ve formulated a series of questions from over ten years of reading and putting them together – feel free to utilise this one if you see fit!

    Nat Carroll is NSW-based creative director, designer & illustrator with an artisan style and strategic approach, working under the moniker, the Seamstress. She carefully crafts visual communication — brands, design & illustration — for the creative, cultural, business & non profit fields.


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: business tips, guest blog, resource | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Glossary: Colour terminology

    GDScover

    There’s a lot of terminology and jargon associated with graphic design, especially when referencing colour modes. So we have released a little eBook called Graphic Design Speak to help you understand what terms like CMYK, Pantone, RGB, Index colour and Greyscale mean and where you use them. Check it out here.


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: business tips, glossary, resource | 1 Comment
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    More books to add to your reading list

    Inspired by Ming-Zhu’s talk and her recommended reading list, Jennifer has posted her helpful branding & marketing-related reading list to her blog… Thanks Jennifer!

    If you have any must-read titles or blogs, please add them in the comments. I’m currently enjoying Etsy’s Quit Your Day Job interviews, and thanks to MZ’s suggestion, The 99%! I’m sure there are many more out there so please share the link-love.

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    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: resource | Comments Off