Farm Market Entrepreneurship 101

We have been selling Beary Good Stuff at the local Market for the last 4 years. I thought it would be:

  • You MAKE a product.
  • You TAKE it to the  Farm market.
  • You SELL the Product.
  • You TAKE home the Money,

I was WRONG! First, you have to decide:

  • Am I a Crafter?
  • Am I a Producer?
  • Am I a reseller?
  • Am I selling a product that I grow?
  • Am I doing some of the above?

All of the above are allowed at Public Markets, but 3 of the above are allowed at FARM Markets.

Knowing how different markets operate, is the first thing to knowing if you can sell what you do at the local market.

First – Find out what kind of market is in your area? Do they belong to a Province or State Farm Market Association? If so, re-sellers are NOT allowed. Resellers sell a product through a franchise, or purchase something and sell it (unchanged) at the market.  If you grow, make or significantly alter something, then you may be eligible to apply to your local market.

Second – Will the market you choose to sell at, have enough customers interested in your product? Vegetables and other produce, farm products such as eggs and meat are what draws people to a market. If your product is a secondary product (such as plants, pickles, jams, jellies, breads, and sausage) you too will have a product that market goers are coming to get. Crafts, including wool and fabric arts, jewelry and ceramics are extras. The more people selling these, the less money each individual seller will make.

Third – Market Management. Do the regular market people have the same spot from market to market? Are the Food people kept together? (eg. bakers and jammers) Are the  Produce and Plants kept together? The crafters, or are they interspersed?  Markets where there is some order always have more sales. There is less friction between the marketers.

Fourth – No matter where you go, all markets have politics. The people who have been there for years and years will always want things to remain the same as they have always been, no matter when the market starts (for example, early spring) and when they actually start selling their wares at the market (for example 4 weeks later) . They want their “spot” no matter how it can affect the flow and sales of all the other vendors or making the vendors who have started the season and come to all the markets.

Fifth – You. Are you adaptable? Can you get along with opinionated people? Most people who are self employed are stubborn and jump to viewpoints. When you get a bunch of them together at a market, the sparks can fly! If you can remember that the other vendors share these traits with you, step back and take a deep breath before saying anything, you are on your way to a successful season.

Sixth – Yes, others will be selling a similar product. How are their products different? We sell artisan preserves. All of our products are different from what you would normally expect to find (eg. Blueberry Garlic Jelly), there are always other vendors selling preserves. We get to know who sells what and what their offerings are, when somebody wants something we don’t sell (for example, Blueberry Jam) we send them to those who do. They get more sales and they send those that want something more exotic our way. We both get more sales. However, it takes work on the part of both vendors to go realize this kind of relationship works for the betterment of both.

Let me know if you are interested in hearing more about how to become a Market Entrepreneur!

I am leaving you with a picture I took at the Friday Market in Grand Forks. The vendor behind me was Avalon Nursery. She had the most incredible bedding plants and the Butterfly agreed.

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About badkowalik

Prepared by hand and cooked in small batches – our preserves are cooked slowly. There is an average of 1.5 pounds of fruit in every 8 oz jar. Not only can you taste the difference – you can see the difference. Beautiful natural color and unmatched textures – that can only be achieved by the patience and experience of the Confiseur (the maker). There is alchemy to what we do. Like fine wines, each season has it’s own specific style. We create preserves with exceptional taste. Capturing these flavors is the craft of our business. Beary Good Stuff is a collection of seasonal, sustainable, artisinally made preserves. The collection is made (in limited quantities) from local fruits using traditional cooking methods. We use the freshest ingredients we can get. The small batch production insures a taste and texture that is unmatched in the commercial market today. The collection includes preserved fruits & vegetables – marmalades, jams, fruit butters & salsas, pickles and gift collections that reflect the bounty of the season and spirit of feasting. Although not necessary yet, we have received a letter from the BC Heath Authority. We submitted a package detailing how and where we made our products, what each recipe contains and how we prepare it. This letter is displayed in our tent at the Farm Market. We have our BC MarketSafe and FoodSafe certifications.

Posted on June 2, 2013, in Market and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. GREAT information and tips…beautiful picture too.

  2. Thanks for all this tips – good to know all this things when you plan to start a business :o)

  3. That’s furry interesting! There’s always plenty of stuff to think about in any business endeavor but my human had never really thought about market entrepreneurship. Thanks!
    Purrs

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