A Real How-To for a Market Boutique

 

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This past Saturday marked my first attempt at having a stall for Le Prix at the St. Jacob’s Farmers Market. I tried to Google different ideas to make an attractive booth, how to stand-out and how to make your life a little easier the first time ’round. However, not much came up, except in the world of craft fairs. 

So after a while I realized I would document my experiences that would unfold as I learned what I did right and what I did wrong.

So this is how it went …

The Le Prix in-house Boutique Chaos

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Seen here: the mess of packing the essentials the night before.

I knew I could not bring everything I have to the market, so I picked a selection of styles in various sizes to represent a wide array of fashion types. Then I had to take the clothing racks to display the clothes — so this was the mess of the clothing left behind.   Note: PACK BEFORE!! We had to be at the market for 6am and you need rest to be energized for the day.

transportation to the market

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Car packed to the brim!

Again as mentioned, we packed the car the night before. This was a good call since we have a small car and it would be stressful trying to play Tetris and pack the car as efficiently as possible, the day of.  I had a bag of shoes on my lap and a drawer display on the dashboard … and a mirror behind my head. Needless to say it wasn’t the most comfortable ride there.

Steps to fuel the day as the sun rises

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Can’t forget to eat breakfast!

We had to get in line at the market office by 6 am (yes we were a little late) to get assigned our 10×10 booth space. We got to pick out of three areas and I selected close to Weber Street and I was quite pleased! Plus I ran into some friends from my high-school days who were getting a booth for their first day at the market too.

Le Prix’s First market space

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#555 for Le Prix

We were at the end of the produce aisle which oddly enough is the only aisle I usually go down with my boyfriend when we are shopping for groceries. As you can see the yellow lines indicate where my stall is and by the time everyone is set up, it is tent to tent. Just make sure you differentiate your booth from others. I learned this, as well as make it attention grabbing in some way that represents your business. I am thinking balloons next time. To the shoppers at the market, the tents flow into one another and the guy next to my market boutique wasn’t very present, so his clients asked me a few times about prices thinking I worked there because I was near his stall. So make sure you pay attention and are available.

Display tables – rent or buy?

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I rented 2 tables like this, and didn’t realize their awkward size. Luckily some nice man loaded them onto a tractor and met me at my #555 market space.

There wasn’t enough space in the car for me to bring any tables so I had no choice, but to rent. Plus, these were 8 feet long which was great. Initially I thought they looked too rough and I had not brought any table cloths – but then they worked with the rustic boho look and vintage vibe of Le Prix. A friend’s mom offered me a table they don’t use anymore so I may do that… but I will find a way to re-create the boho distressed look.

The amazing crew

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My amazing boyfriend and Le Prix die-hard-supporter bestie Hillary at the almost-finished booth.

It took some reworking of racks and tables to figure out something that fit and flowed. Make sure to not fully set up your displays until you figure out a set-up that works. My worry was that I rented too many tables or brought too many racks but it all worked out perfectly. The hint is that you have some extra space behind your market boutique because it’s the storage space for the vendors. This means you can put your chairs and inventory back there if you have extra stuff. Or in my case, my friends, mom and visitors.

Treat yourself & stay hydrated

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The sunshine on Le Prix was beautiful all day, so I was sure to stay hydrated with this fresh honey lime lemonade. It’s HUGE and lasted forever.

Things were always changing – like the crowd, where the sun was shining, the breeze and how the items were set out as things were sold. Make sure you have fluids and food. I wasn’t so good on the food part, so my boyfriend got me a fresh cinnamon bun and later on brought me lunch. When I am in the zone of meeting clients, I forget to eat! So I didn’t realize that 5 hours had gone by and wondered why I felt so beat. Snacks are key to keep your energy high all day (duh!).

A look at the le prix market boutique

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Used a vintage suitcase to store the shopping bags as well as hold up the earring display.
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DIY’d the jewelry box on the right and brought a vintage dish display, to boot.
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Some things need to be seen on something life-like. Take a beaded necklace or hand bracelet for example!

I had fun making the market boutique look similar to the in-house boutique Le Prix already has. I try my best to re-purpose used and vintage pieces for displays. Character, sustainability and uniqueness is at the heart of Le Prix.

Excited Le PRix clients

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People attract people

Once one person was browsing – a crowd appeared. It also creates a frenzy where clients don’t want to put down the item for fearing that someone else may score the awesome piece (and deal). Little kids loved the jewelry and would beg their parents to buy something from Le Prix. Other ladies would say “I love it all!” and more wanted me to be there next week so they could check out more stuff. It’s a great way to make new clients and to expose yourself to new people. Lots of visitors were from out of town, such as Toronto or Niagara and were excited to know that Le Prix has an online store too (www.leprixclothing.com if you didn’t know).

Confident & Happy

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Me at the Le Prix market boutique near the end of the day… with low inventory!

 All in all, the day was a success. I dreaded the early morning (5:30 am wake up) and the long day ahead – 7a-3:30p operating time, but it was totally worth it. My imagination made me fear the worst and it turned out to be a blast.

Would I do it again? YES! Maybe not every weekend since next weekend Le Prix has a look book photo shoot in Waterloo with 7 models. But I will go there, tailor my inventory to what was popular and will not forget to bring my sign (my bf was awesome and drove home to get it)! I knew I would learn what I did right, and what I didn’t do right – or forgot.

Key Points for a market boutique

1. Bring food and water

2. Pack your stuff the night before

3. Get help – I paid in food!

4. Be relaxed and not too pushy – don’t be who you wouldn’t want to deal with

5. Be active on social media while on location

6. Bring business cards

7. Foster the atmosphere of your shop, in your market boutique

8. Most importantly, have fun!

I hope this was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

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