I often get a lot of questions about how to prepare for winter markets. My first answer will always be "branding". The way you choose to present yourself should take a lot of thought, and thus a lot of time. Begin your checklist, with branding as your number 1, well in advance! While I like to think about this year round, I really crack down on it at the beginning of the summer. Regardless what step you're on with your actual product market prep, you can be thinking about the information you want to convey WITH your item. I have the following tags attached to each of my items:
1. Business Card
2. Product Info & Care
3. Pricing & SKU
One thing I will say about making these tags is that consistency is key. I like to use a range of cards and tags, but I always make sure to use the same fonts throughout. I narrowed it down to 3 main fonts for myself: a bold one (think Playfair Display), a fancy one (all those fun brush-stroke-y cursive ones), and a plain one (similar to Arial).
A lot of the design work I completed a few years back (phewf!); all that is usually required of me now is clicking a few buttons and sending off a new order to Vistaprint (how GREAT is Vistaprint though?!). Some things I have been fiddling with lots lately include the "Product Care" Tags. With each year in the business, you'll find what fibers/materials work for you, and what doesn't. With that, you'll narrow down what product care is necessary. Prior to 2017, I actually had blank product care cards, and would literally write with a pen the exact instructions on EVERY. ITEM. Exhausting, right? Then finally, I had an epiphany: print some freaking stickers! Then came the measuring, the cutting, the sticking... then the realization that I was actually missing instructions specific to a different yarn, because of course! So to save THAT time and effort, this year I thought I'd pick my favourite yarn brands and STICK WITH IT. In doing so, I'm able to get good ol' Vistaprint to take care of all the product care info for me! Heck ya!
If you're more into the design & print yourself at home sort of thing, Canva.com is an amazing free design-tool! Super easy to use, with LOTS of templates. (I'll write a blog post about this soon). You'll want to pick up some cardstock, a sliding paper cutter, and a heavyweight hole punch.
Jumping back to picking your favorite yarn, another key market prepping tip is to Pick your Palette. Yes, you likely get special requests for every colour of the rainbow, but this makes it harder on YOU! If you instead opt to pick your favourite 4 - 10 colours, it's way easier to plan in advance. I myself have selected the following: White, Black, Grey, Eggplant, and Butterscotch. Easy-peasy. That being said, I do allow myself to vary within those colour regimes (think light grey - dark grey).
Another really cool branding tip is to keep your tags consistent with your market banners and bags, and prepare these items in advance as well! Vistaprint sells great banners for decent prices! I picked up a couple in 2017 for $15 CAD! You could likely find it cheaper if you wait for an amazing coupon or sale (which you probably already know they have a lot of!). I picked up around 250 Kraft bags in a few different sizes last year, and either stamped them with my logo or placed one of my circle stickers on them a few weeks ahead of time! This year, this is #2 on my checklist. So easy to put on a movie and just knock out this mindless grunt-work! (PS - the circle stickers in the photo are also from Vistaprint (shocker!)).
Lastly, match your tablecloths if you're going to have tables! I made the worst mistake last year - I matched the colours of course (white), BUT, I purchased one rectangular tablecloth and one CIRCLE. AND DIDN'T NOTICE UNTIL I WAS SETTING UP AT THE MARKET. HOW MOLLIE?! So - making sure that you have these items well in advance, and tested out at home, will save you a lot of heartache and debilitating embarrassment. Okay it wasn't actually that bad... (yes it was). *Inner perfectionist curls up and cries at the thought of it*.
Hopefully you've found this super helpful! Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any further helpful tips you'd like to add!