Farmers Market Booth Ideas: What To Sell & What You Need To Get Started
Want to sell at your local farmers market but don't know where to start? Check out our guide for the best booth ideas!
Are you looking to start selling at your local farmers market? In this article, we’ll tell you what to sell at a farmers market, what you need to get started, and how you can be prepared for farmers market season!
Despite the name, you don’t have to be a farmer to sell at farmers’ markets. There are almost infinite ways you can connect with your community while earning a profit.
Table of Contents
- Why Start A Farmers Market Booth Business?
- 10 Ideas For Products You Can Sell At A Farmers Market
- How Much Money Do You Need To Start A Farmers Market Booth?
- What Do You Need For A Farmers Market Booth?
- Tips & Ideas For Running A Successful Farmers Market Booth
- Take Your Farmers Market Products Beyond The Booth
- Is Starting A Farmers Market Booth A Good Idea?
- FAQs: What To Sell At Farmers’ Markets
Why Start A Farmers Market Booth Business?
Not just a great place to be, your local farmer’s market is a great place to start or expand your small business! Offering low start-up costs, personalized interaction with your customers, creative freedom, and networking opportunities with other vendors and market organizers alike, farmers’ markets are a great opportunity for your side hustle or full-time small business.
10 Ideas For Products You Can Sell At A Farmers Market
Are you looking for ideas for products to sell at your local farmers market? Here are some of ours:
How Much Money Do You Need To Start A Farmers Market Booth?
While we wish we had an answer for you, the amount of money you’ll need to start a booth at your local farmers market varies significantly based on a couple of personal factors. Do you already have a profitable small business? Do you have a full-time job and this will just be a side hustle? Will you be making your products or does nature take care of that for you?
If you already have an online or brick-and-mortar storefront and are just looking to expand into a new market (no pun intended) and reach a new range of customers, you can set aside some of the cash you might use for marketing or extra expenses and make yourself a farmers market fund. If you do have a small business established in a physical space, there’s a good chance you already have a lot of the items you need for a booth, so your costs to begin will be lower than someone who has only ever sold products online. You’ll want to make sure you’re keeping an eye on your cashflow as your expenses could increase with the added materials you need to run a successful booth.
If your foray into farmers’ markets is your first step as a small business, you have options outside of using money directly from your own pocket to fund this venture. You can apply for start-up business loans from companies and lending platforms like Lendio, Fora Financial, National Business Capital, or OnDeck.
Each of these loan providers has its pros and cons, so make sure to do your research to figure out which one would be best for you and your fledgling business. Get started today by reading our article on start-up business loans.
A tried-and-true way to raise some funds for your new farmers’ market booth is crowdfunding. This can be as informal as asking customers to donate and devoting all of your tips to opening the booth or as formal as a campaign launched on a designated site like Kickstarter, Patreon, or Indiegogo.
What Do You Need For A Farmers Market Booth?
Now it’s time to talk about some fun things. What’s your booth going to look like? The world is your oyster (especially if you choose to sell locally-sourced shellfish) so get creative but make sure you have the following necessities!
Some of these things could be provided by your future farmers market, so check with them before making any big purchases.
- A table or two to serve as a base for the rest of your supplies.
- A pop-up tent or another kind of canopy to protect both your customers and your products from rain or the summer heat.
- A chair (or two, if you’ll have an extra set of hands helping!).
- Weather-appropriate clothes for yourself. Farmers’ markets typically open rain or shine, you wouldn’t want to miss out on customers because you literally got cold feet!
- Eye-catching containers or displays for your products.
- Signage (like a banner for the front of your table or a sandwich board) displaying the name of your business.
- Smaller, easy-to-read signs with product names, descriptions, and prices.
- A cash box, register, or mobile POS system for collecting money.
- Small bills and coins to make change for customers if you plan on accepting cash.
- Bags or containers for customers’ purchases. (Might we recommend using something that can be re-used around the farmers market or the next time they visit your booth? Think: Marketing.)
- A scale for weighing products, if needed.
- A place for people to sign-up to learn more about your business or join your newsletter/email marketing list!
Tips & Ideas For Running A Successful Farmers Market Booth
A successful farmers market booth requires one major thing: a great product. Natural beauty products that really work, baked goods that make your mouth water, produce as fresh as if your customer had picked it from their own garden. While there are a lot of tips & ideas that will help you run a successful (and profitable) booth, a superior product will keep customers coming back time and time again.
That being said, if they don’t know who you are or can’t remember the name of your business, don’t know what markets you frequent, can never get the product they want because it sells out too fast, or experience other minor frustrations when attempting to purchase from you, customers are less likely to put in the extra work just to get your product.
Things like branding, marketing, customer service, eye-catching displays, and clever solutions can help make the buying experience at your farmers market booth as smooth as possible!
Branding is important no matter how small of a business you are! How many times have you stopped off the highway in an unfamiliar town and had an incredible meal, but you can never remember the name of the restaurant to go back to or recommend it to others?
Even if you don’t want to do anything too fancy, it’s worth choosing a name and making a basic logo to include on any materials you create. An easy way to begin branding once you have your name and logo is to make a social media page or two for your booth. Instagram works well for posting photos of your fantastic displays but Facebook could be better suited for connecting with the market and other vendors you’re looking to join.
If you want to take it to the next level, consider building a standalone website for your small business! Make it a one-stop shop for customers to find your booth, leave reviews, contact you, place pre-orders, look at what’s going to be on display at your next weekend at the market, and learn more about you and your amazing products.
Branding and marketing go hand in hand. Once you have established your brand, you will be able to begin marketing it.
There are two general types of marketing: passive and active.
Passive marketing means your customer is coming to you. There is no special event or interaction that brings them to your small business. It is otherwise defined as a form of marketing that doesn’t inconvenience your customer.
Examples of passive marketing include creating social media accounts, building a website, writing blog posts about your product and experience at the market, hanging a banner on your booth, setting out business cards for customers to take, or purchasing ad space on a website or local newspaper. Use your new social media and promote your first appearance at your local farmers’ market, host giveaways to gain followers and create excitement, advertise your schedule, and share, share, share with your audience! The more of a personal relationship that your customers feel like they have with you and your products, the more invested they’re going to be in your success.
Active marketing means that you are going to your customer. It is the exact opposite of passive marketing and often asks for customers to be involved. The main goal for active marketing is often to give the customer with an experience with your brand that results in a positive brand association.
Examples of active marketing include cold calling and pitching potential clients (like talking to passersby at the farmers market), networking with your customers and fellow vendors, and interacting with your target audience and current followers on social media through likes and comments.
One popular form of marketing for small businesses is email marketing. It’s one of the cheapest and most effective ways to keep in contact with your customers. You don’t have to commit to a monthly newsletter or regular emails at all if you don’t like, but consider establishing an email marketing strategy so whatever you decide, you stay consistent and on track with your plan.
For a lot of us, this may be an obvious tip, but it never hurts to get a quick refresher.
Farmers’ markets are known for their quaint and welcoming environments. Get in the spirit and remember that everyone you’re talking to is a member of your community and a potential connection. While a good product will keep customers coming back for more, a friendly face, enriching conversation, and a kind word will encourage them to go above and beyond to support your business. People are much more likely to sign-up for your email newsletter, pick up a business card, and refer their friends and neighbors to you if they feel like they will be taken care of any time they stop by your booth.
You don’t need to become best friends with everyone you meet, but it’s much easier for customers to enter a warm, welcoming environment and spend their money. Another idea is making sure your booth is weather-proof. Make a literal shelter from the storm by purchasing sides to add to your canopy or pop-up tent to block the wind or rain. Invest in a small space heater and several fans to keep your booth at a comfortable temperature for customers and your product alike. Offering a cool drink of water on a hot day can entice potential customers to step inside your booth even for a minute or two. This combined with your excellent branding and stellar product display will leave a lasting impression and bring a smile to their face the next time they see you at the market!
Dress-up Your Display
If you already have a brick-and-mortar store or a farm/garden, you could take some of your smaller displays, shelves, and containers with you to hold your products. If you’re starting completely from scratch, you can save a couple of bucks by visiting a department store and purchasing particle board or plastic displays. If you have the time and love a good find then look no further than your local secondhand or thrift store. An old magazine rack, a sewing table, a cabinet with a broken door, all of these unique items could be used to display your equally unique products and catch the eye of passersby! Other easy embellishments you can add to your booth include tablecloths, decorations to hang from your canopy, bright on-brand clothing for yourself and any of your helpers, handmade (neat) signs, and decorative vases or other small trinkets.
Take Your Farmers Market Products Beyond The Booth
This section applies particularly to those of you who have yet to start your small business and will be using farmers’ markets as your launching point. Once you have established yourself at your local farmers’ markets you could take your products and success beyond the booth!
If you dream of turning this side hustle into your full-time job or just want to continue selling even when the markets have closed for the season, we have the resources to help you reach your goals.
Social Media Selling
Now that you have your branded social media accounts, it’s time to use them for more than just passive marketing. Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, are just some of the social media platforms that have integrated the ability for their users to sell their products. Many of these platforms will also allow you to make a business account or page with tons of behind-the-scenes functional features and aesthetically pleasing systems for your customers to use.
With no long-term contracts required, transparent pricing, no monthly fees, and built-in fraud detection, Square is one of the best choices for a new small business owner looking to take the plunge into eCommerce.
Square’s fees for online processing are 2.9% + $0.30, fees and include:
- Square payment links
- Square Online Checkout (payment buttons, links, social posts, and QR codes)
- Customer pays on your website
- Invoices (payment details entered)
The fees are different for cards already saved on file.
Other benefits of Square for farmers’ market vendors looking to venture into online selling:
- Build a free Square store online, no pre-existing website needed
- Square Checkout (comes free with all accounts) allows you to add payment buttons to just about anything, emails, text, social posts, etc.
- Online Checkout allows you to create subscription services with recurring payments for your customers
- Square Invoices ensure you get paid on time
Like Square, Shopify is a cloud-based software that allows small businesses to sell both in-person and online. The main difference between the two is that Shopify does require you to subscribe to a monthly plan.
Here are the plans Shopify offers for users:
- Basic Shopify, for $29/month
- Shopify, for $79/month
- Advanced Shopify, for $299/month.
There’s also Shopify Starter, for $5/month, if you want to be able to sell through social posts, email, SMS or anywhere with a payment link. Shopify Starter even comes with a simple storefront. Very large eCommerce operations may want to choose another plan, Shopify Plus, which starts at $2,000/month. This tiered payment system does ensure that you will never pay for more than you need. With almost unlimited add-ons, the ability to sell through your social media accounts, sleek templates, and a 14-day free trial period, Shopify is a great option for farmers’ market vendors looking to sell outside of the booth.
Read our full review of Shopify for more information.
The idea of opening a physical storefront might seem daunting, but once you start to establish yourself at your local farmers’ markets, it’ll be easier to imagine taking your small business outside the booth. If you’re ready to take the plunge, we have tons of resources for first-time small business owners.
One of the most important things to consider is how you’re going to fund this venture. We can help if you need to learn how to start a small business without any money.
Is Starting A Farmers Market Booth A Good Idea?
As supporters of farmers’ markets and small businesses alike, we’ll never say no to starting your own booth. However, there is a lot of work that goes into having a booth at your local farmers market and it can take a long time to make back any funds you put into it. With the right research, planning, and execution, though, your booth can go far! The answer to this question is really up to you.
Put some time into networking with vendors at the farmers market in your community and find others who sell the same kind of products as you. Learn what they do well, hear where they could improve, listen to their experiences, and ask for advice!
If you want more information about the logistical side of starting a farmers’ market booth, check out our article How To Get A Booth At The Farmers’ Market: Research, Registration, Permits, Payment, Making Sales & More.