Starting a business at a farmers’ market can be a great way to sell locally grown or handmade products and connect with customers in your community. If you’re running a homestead or growing your own produce, likely, you’ve already wondered about whether you can make some money from your existing efforts.
Even if you don’t currently grow your own plants or produce, you could still make money at a farmers’ market by selling crafts or artisanal products. It’s a great opportunity to target a market that loves to buy locally and can also be a fun and sociable way to make money and meet people.
What can you sell at a farmers’ market?
There are many different products you could sell to make money at the farmers’ market, depending on your interests and skills. Here are a few ideas:
- Fresh produce: If you have a green thumb and access to fresh produce, you could sell a variety of fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market. Consider offering seasonal items like apples, tomatoes, and pumpkins in the fall, or berries and greens in the summer.
- Eggs: A lot of people love to buy fresh eggs, so if you keep chickens and produce more than you eat this could be a good option to sell at the market. Different coloured eggs can be an extra unique selling point.
- Baked goods: From bread and muffins to cookies and cakes, baked goods are always popular at farmers’ markets. Consider offering a variety of sweet and savoury options to appeal to a wide range of customers.
- Handmade crafts: If you have a talent for crafting, you could sell handmade items like jewellery, candles, or home decor at the farmers market. Look for unique materials and techniques to make your products stand out from the competition.
- Preserved foods: From jams and pickles to sauces and soups, preserved foods can be a great option for farmers’ market vendors. Consider using locally grown produce or speciality ingredients to make your products unique.
- Artisanal products: Artisanal products like cheese, cured meats, or pickled vegetables can be a great option for farmers’ market vendors. These products often require specialized equipment and knowledge, so be sure to do your research before launching a business in this area.
- Live plants: If you have a green thumb and a greenhouse or other space to grow plants, you could sell live plants at the farmer’s market. Consider offering a variety of annuals, perennials, herbs, and vegetables to appeal to a wide range of customers.
- Cut flowers: Fresh cut flowers are always a popular option at farmers’ markets. Think about growing a variety of flowers in different colours and sizes to appeal to a wide range of customers.
- Speciality products: If you have a particular skill or passion, you could turn it into a business at the farmers market. For example, you could sell handmade soaps, natural skin care products, or artisanal chocolates.
Once you’ve decided on what you want to sell you’ll want to get going as soon as possible, but there are a few things you should consider to set you up for success.
Top tips for making money at a farmers’ market
Here are some tips and ideas to consider before you start selling at the farmers’ market:
- Do your research: Before you start selling at a farmers market, it’s important to know the rules and regulations of the market you’re interested in. Each market will have its own policies on what can be sold and how vendors can set up their stalls. Some markets may require that you have a business license, insurance, or other certifications. Be sure to research the market you’re interested in and meet all the requirements to become a vendor.
- Think carefully about your pricing: When choosing how to price your items you’ll need to factor in your expenses, such as materials, packaging and transport costs as well as your time. You don’t want to go to all the effort only to find your takings don’t even cover your expenses. Similarly, you don’t want to overprice your products and not be able to sell any. Visit various farmers’ markets first to research how other people price things.
- Offer unique products: One way to stand out at the farmers market is to offer products that are unique or hard to find elsewhere. This could be speciality produce, handmade crafts, or other one-of-a-kind items. Consider what makes your products different from what other vendors are offering and highlight those features to attract customers.
- Build a loyal customer base: Building a loyal customer base is key to success at the farmers market. Offer excellent customer service and make an effort to get to know your customers. You can also offer loyalty rewards, such as a discount or free items for repeat customers.
- Offer samples: Everyone LOVES a free sample. Particularly if you’re selling edible items, offering samples is a great way to draw people in – if they love your sample they may well be tempted to buy from you.
- Have a professional appearance: First impressions are important at the farmers market, so be sure to have a clean and organized stall that is easy for customers to navigate. Consider investing in attractive signage, packaging, and other marketing materials to help your products stand out. You don’t have to spend lots, just keep it clean, uncluttered and nice to look at.
- Promote your business: In addition to promoting your products at the farmers market, be sure to let people know that you’ll be there in advance. Share your market schedule on social media accounts or create flyers or postcards to distribute in the community.
- Be prepared for all weathers: Farmers’ markets are held outdoors, so be prepared for all kinds of weather. Bring plenty of sunscreen, hats, and other protective gear for hot days, and bring tarps, rain jackets, and other weather-resistant items for rainy or cold days.
- Accept different forms of payment: Make it easy for customers to pay by accepting cash, credit and debit cards, and even mobile payments like Apple Pay or Google Pay. Consider using a mobile card reader or other payment processing system to streamline transactions.
- Keep accurate records: Finally, be sure to keep accurate records of your sales and expenses. This will help you track your business’s performance and make informed decisions about what’s working and what needs improvement.
By researching and ensuring you’re fully prepared, you can make the most of your time at the farmers market and turn your passion for locally grown or handmade products into a profitable business.