Photo: Brenda Lui
Preparing for a Market stand to sell your headwear can be daunting. This guide gives you simple ideas to help you display your merchandise and connect effectively with your prospective customer. Happy Selling!
Consider who your customers are. Ladies who love fashion, with a passion for a unique style.
Set up with clean uncluttered look. Use white ironed tablecloths/sheets and maybe a small bunch of fresh flowers in a stable vase in one corner. A neat look to your stand reflects the neat quality of your millinery. In hot weather, a water jug with ice and lemon pieces and clear plastic glasses is always welcome or small glass bowl of wrapped chocolates = customers like to nibble. ( Tidy bin on side for rubbish. ) If worried about chocolate on your hat a little organza bag of treats to make them feel they are special.
If you have the option with organizers, place the table at the back of your allocated area so you stand at one side. This welcomes customer to your space, rather than you form a barrier to the customer with the table in front of you, as they approach you. Result is they feel free to view without you peering down on them.
Your personal presentation and passion is vital – appropriate outfit with stunning hat/headpiece that co-ordinates perfectly and great shoes. You are representing your product at its best as a milliner. You are a stylist and face framer about to make them feel fabulous. Stand tall and be proud of your exhibit. Perfume, makeup, breath freshener, plenty of water for personal use and a small snack attack to keep up energy. Alternatively wear all black or white outfit and alternate your headwear for a new look.
You do not need to put every piece out immediately. Do not overload display as gets too cluttered and confusing when too many choices – never a similar style in different colour! They are looking for a unique piece. Make sure you have hat boxes under the cloth cover to elevate the displays at back. Avoid using vintage or cheap boxes on top of cloth as brings in clutter that you are not selling. The stand is all about your beautiful hats. Mix colours rather than colour group – they know what their favourite colour is but you need to tempt them to think beyond that with a stunning style as an option.
You do need a mirror with a stand. The display stands or mannequin heads you choose should be uniform colour/type. If you have other hats tucked away swap with a style that no one looks at or tries on. Keep table fresh and rearrange as they do return and will say I missed that hat just because you refreshed stand. Weight display heads if outdoors or to prevent domino effect on stand. For foam display heads cut out wooden base with dowel in middle to insert into foam. Pin hat on discreetly using fine patchwork/quilt pins if outdoors.
Display your logo or name. A small sign in frame that states eg. “Thank you for admiring my latest Millinery collection. Do ask for assistance to try on your favourite hat.” Another sign elsewhere if you have space even small laminated piece that lies flat on table with removable adhesive - “ I can customize that extra special unique hat/headpiece for you - please enquire today ”
• Public relations
Meet and greet your customers = SMILE !! Tell them something very briefly eg. hand business card/ from x town but here today/ are you looking forward to x Race Day/ some of my latest styles featuring... - point to hats/ they may admire hat you are wearing = make most of discussion, agree with them it is stunning and so comfortable ( we are not ones to blow our own trumpet as milliners but grasp such an opportunity ). Talk about this hat and your inspiration for co-ordination as that is what will sell your work.
Fair pricing for your time spent on headwear is vital. Do not go to market to undercut your peers. All hats must have swing tag with price otherwise you will never make a sale. Remember the price is the price! Enquire of other stall holders near you if they ever offer a discount? Best at a market to make a united decision as otherwise the customers will come to you saying I got a % discount from another milliner. Agree together to offer discount in last half hour maybe? Remember you are there to make money not just for PR.
• Repeat customer
Collecting names to add to your database is always a great extra. People are very savvy you will be sending social media messages/marketing emails and do not always want that. Anyone who purchases is smitten with your offerings so ask them would they like to receive an email regarding each seasons new collection before launch. To secure repeat customer you could hand the purchasing customer a 10% discount card on next hat/headpiece purchased in next 6 months. Always have time frame. To capture repeat customer you just need to find what is comfortable for you.
If they leave, buying or not buying thank them for their admiration of your work or just stopping by = they may come back later and you have built up a relationship with them. If you are in heavy conversation with someone and another person spends time on your stand acknowledge them by saying, “I will be with you in a moment.” The first customer gets message you are busy. Not easy but need to be as tactful as possible.
Accreditation as a milliner is helpful – display TAFE, College or Hat Academy Certificate or membership of MAA/local Association with logo at rear of stand or on velcro wall. Become a member of Milinery Association of Australia - available to International milliners/students as well & whether a student or experienced milliner you will qualify. Accreditation helps to market your work as a standard is maintained.
• Sales target
Set yourself a goal on how many pieces you want to sell eg 4 hats/headpieces @ $320 each.
Packaging in box. Have this with fresh tissue paper ready to go. If box not included in price give them price option as some of the Hataholics have so many boxes they may prefer a carry bag.
Have cash for change but you do need a card reader system check with your bank or buy a Paypal reader, practice digital sale beforehand. Some may want old world paper copy of receipt so have such already stamped with your info. If you accept lay buy, deposit of 50% but avoid this if possible as incurs extra charge of freight for them upon final payment – give written receipt/ invoice quoting freight.
At a busy market, it is impossible to spend time designing a customized piece so make sure you have diary or calendar on phone to set an appointment.
Public Risk Insurance is often required by organizers – even if they do not request such it pays to have your business covered. ( In Australia AAMI cover markets. )
Do you sell at markets? Share your tips below.
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