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8 things we learned at the Easter Hop and Shop Market

Posted by Kavita Panchoo on

New opportunities and experiences bring new learnings. With 6 weeks of preparation for our first in person market, we felt nervous and ready to be a part of the Easter Hop and Shop with the Local Luxe Market. Let me tell you, the Art Gallery of Burlington was hopping. With lineups from 9:30 am - 2:00 pm, there were crowds of parents and kids streaming past the tables. Remarkably, it took about 45 minutes for the kids to exhaust all the eggs that were hidden on the vendors' tables.

Two years deep into the pandemic, families were craving an event to attend, or an activity to take their children to. The heavy foot traffic result in obstructed aisles, disappointed faces, empty baskets and vigilant vendors who tried to make sure their breakables weren't toppled over accidentally.

However, I considered this our first in person success. Quite simply, my curiosity about how the day would unfold allowed me to remain open minded about the unpredictable attendees.

Here's what we learned before, after and during the event:

  1. 1. My husband and I sometimes work best when we are apart. Christian is great at woodworking (clearly since he made all these stands with a handsaw, 2 stools and some clamps in our narrow hallway), and I have been driven to finding ideas and opportunities to network and make our business more accessible. When you figure out where your strengths are as partners, you fight a lot less about decisions.

  2. 2. I am short. That's not so much a discovery as it is a statement. Relevant to the point of trying to squeeze at the side of the table while scores of kids ran past, risking knocking me into the Plinko display Code Ninja had next to us. It also meant I couldn't go behind the table to engage and sell. For the next market we need to rework this display with a bit more negative space or at least a hole for me to peek through and project my voice.

  3. 3. Engagement happens at the front of the table. After the start of the day, when I packed away my mobile after hastily making a video for social media, my goal was to stand all day to respond as quickly as I could to the potential customer. I wore my compression socks after all. I came with a mission. This allowed me to catch all those customers who walked past and whispered under their breath: "Oooh tea!" Additionally, I was able to demonstrate the parts of our infusers or teapots, or encourage the customers to hold it themselves.

  4. 4. Markets with events means distracted parents and agitated kids. Less of a learning point for me, and more for the organizers. It's difficult to maintain a conversation when a parents is worried about their kids fiddling with whatever's on the table at their eye level. (note to self: consider investing in a rainbow coloured pop fidget, use some Command strips and stick it to the table.)

  5. 5. We have to be flexible about adjusting prices on the go. Shipping fees across Ontario (or generally within Canada) can be astronomical. Even with a Canada post business account. Building in shipping costs to the retail price can be a huge deterrent to the casual online browser. In person markets can get around that. You don't need elaborate packaging, or to shake test it in case someone decides to kick the box across the mailroom.

  6. 6. Cross selling and upselling were not a part of the med school curriculum. Real time conversations with the customer can flow and allow you to spark interest in products that you know about but they have yet to be exposed to. What initially attracted them to the table, may not be what they go home with in their bags.

  7. 7. There is a need for technological literacy. Covid-19 discouraged us from carrying cash around to minimize the risk of transmission via physical dollar bills (or coins). Therefore, we must cater to the millions of Apple and Google pay users. Having multiple payment methods can mean a less frustrating transaction. I'm glad we invested in installing our store's POS app and getting a tap enabled device. It worked seamlessly throughout the day.

  8. 8. Doesn't hurt to do a dry run. I was not surprised the day my husband asked me to help him with the display from beginning to end, and to time ourselves. The clock ticks when you arrive on site. Chances are, you will get faster but it's good to work out kinks and troubleshoot before the first customer strolls by.

I guarantee that at the next event we will gain even more insight. I sincerely look forward to it. My belief is that these in person market are the next best steps for our brand. Hopefully, if you're also a new business owner, our experiences can work to your benefit. Visit the Green Market on the Upper level of the Erin Mills Town Centre on April 24th, 2022.



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