You can always improvise yourself a flea market vendor for a day. If you’re missing a few convenience items like a table, a chair, an umbrella, a raincoat or a thermos filled with your favorite treat, you will very likely survive the day – though it won’t be your most memorable day. But if you’re planning to reiterate the experience on a regular basis, you will need the right stuff.
What Do You Need to Start Selling at the Flea Market?
Starting a weekend flea market business won’t cost you much money. Apart from products, you’ll need at least one folding table (about $40), which you might already have. A few plastic storage tubs (about $8 each) will work for carrying your products and as extra display tables. Do not forget other basics like a cup base, plastic bags, racks, tables, tablecloths, chairs and a tarp if it starts raining. If you sell clothes, try to borrow a garment rack.
However, if you really want to step seriously into the flea market business, there are a few additional things to take into consideration when it comes to gearing up for the flea market. Viatrading’s 101 Hints & Tips For Flea Market Success is probably the most accurate and complete source of information you will find on this topic. And if you wish to go the extra mile, A Fun and Low-Cost Business: Selling at Flea Markets and How And What To Sell At Flea Markets And Garage Sales are great resources.
- Invest in a pop up shelter, as well as some good folding tables and folding chairs. Make sure you have some anchors (such as 2 ½ gallon buckets full of sandbags or cement) that you can use to hold your shelter down if the wind picks up. Cover the front and sides of your tables with a tablecloth (preferably solid colored), in order to hide all the empty boxes and stuff you have stored underneath. Presentation is very important to buyers and will help increase sales.
- Setting up a canopy will not only give your space a professional store-like appearance, it will also give you protection from the hot sun or rain. After setting up your tables, arrange your merchandise in an organized manner. Remember, a junked-up messy area can take away from the value of some items. It can also cause people to start tripping all over the place.
- If you need electricity, bring extension cords! Most flea markets have power outlets available but they are not necessarily going to be near your booth. You can often hook up to one of your neighbors’ power supply if you bring your own extension cord.
- Make up a cash box ahead of time with plenty of change, and note down the total amount so that when you can take out the day’s receipts, the box is ready for next time. At the booth, keep the cash box close by and out of sight. More secure than a wallet or a cash box, money belts are your key to peace of mind when exhibiting at a flea market.
- Use a tote bag to assemble a kit of things you’ll need such as marking pens and tags, pencils, markets, a notebook, price stickers or tags, tools set, extension cord, bungee cords, zipties or Velcro straps, safety pins, shopping bags for customers, tape, scissors, calculator, business cards, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, bug spray, aspirin/ibuprofen, a water bottle. Leave the kit packed and ready to go each time. This saves time on sale day and helps ensure you don’t forget anything.
- Pack a cooler! Most flea markets have a snack stand or place to get something to eat and drink but if you’re really busy, you might not have time to step out. Bring a cooler with ice packs, water, small snacks or anything to hold you over through the day.
- If you sell clothing, fashion accessories or shoes, make sure you have a full length mirror in your booth. Shoppers love to check themselves out before buying an item – don’t lose out on a sale because a shopper can’t see what she looks like in the coat she is trying on!
- Take advantage of technology and tools. If you only accept cash or check payments, consider accepting credit card payments, as accepting credit cards can increase your profits. This will make it easier to close sales with customers who may not be carrying enough money in cash. Consider obtaining a merchant service account with your bank and take advantage of Smartphone applications for Credit Card processing. These days, you can purchase a small adapter to turn your smart phone into a credit card processing terminal (the Square app).
- Have a notebook or receipt book handy for customers who may request a receipt for their purchase. Don’t lose out on potential sales because you are not set up for receipts! Customized receipt books are also a great way to market your flea market booth! Notebooks are also useful to make notes of what customers are looking for and to keep track of what merchandise sell well.
- Use garment racks to merchandise clothing by size. Avoid wasting time answering questions about whether you have this item in a particular size. Mark your racks by size and tell customers that everything you have in that size is on that particular rack.
- Use inexpensive mannequins or mannequin torsos to display attractive pieces of clothing prominently.
- Consider investing in plastic shopping bags with your business’s name and flea market stand number printed on them (if you have a permanent space). Other shoppers will see your bags all around the flea market and advertise for you once they leave the premises. If you don’t want to invest in your own custom plastic bags, save all the paper and plastic grocery bags you get when you go grocery shopping. Keep them all in a box at home and bring them out to every selling day. Customers will buy more if they have a way to take it all with them!
Packing the right flea market gear can save the day
Outdoor enthusiasts have their specialty store. So do boy scouts, tap dancers, witches and strippers – I swear this is true. Even umbrella enthusiasts have their own market place: The Old Umbrella Shop in central Launceston, northern Tasmania.
It seems there’s a market place for almost every hobby out there. So why wouldn’t there also be a market place for flea market enthusiasts?
Flea Market Insiders “Online Store” is the first online market place where flea market vendors & shoppers can search for specific gear made to improve their flea market experience. The idea of creating a specialty store for flea market enthusiasts, came from our own arduous beginnings as flea market vendors & shoppers. We all learn by making mistakes. But it wouldn’t have hurt if we had been able to avoid doing some, by being better equipped and prepared.
And the same goes for flea market shoppers: the right gear & outfit literally helps go the extra mile(s) when most “competitors” are giving up and heading home. Think massive flea markets like Alameda, Rose Bowl, Munich’s Riesenflohmarkt Frühlingsfest, Ciney Expo or La Grande Braderie de Lille.
From Amazon’s products maze to our tiny online store
Flea Market Insiders “Online Store” features a broad variety of items (shopping carts, folding chairs & tables, energy bars, flashlights, weather protection, e-payment solutions…), which have been individually handpicked on three important criteria: product rating, competitive price and, above all, relevancy to the flea market world; we only picked products that answered “Yes” to the question “would we personally use it or wear it at the flea market?”.
All items featured on our online store are Amazon products, which means fast delivery, a money-back policy with most products, and great prices.
So what’s in for us?
Our job is to take care of the laborious product search process, in order to showcase only the best items that could potentially appeal to flea market enthusiasts from around the world. What’s in for us, is a small commission paid by Amazon at no extra cost for you, every time you make a purchase through our store. You’re happy, Amazon’s happy, we’re happy. Everybody’s happy.
And the cool thing is that our shop is constantly growing with the addition of new products every day!
So, ready to gear up and own that flea market?