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Bee-hind the Scenes: What it takes to go to a market

I enjoy shopping at local markets for many reasons. Before joining markets as a vendor, I didn’t think about what goes on behind the scenes. Do you know happens in the background?

Here’s an example of what it takes for me to prepare for a market:

1. Research and apply for markets (can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours depending on the application process, previous experience at the market, and how much research is required). This is frequently done months in advance!
2. Receive acceptance, review contract, and pay for the market (and there are many rejections too! Takes 10-15 minutes)
3. Check inventory. Create a list of any product that needs made. (usually 20-30 minutes)

Checking tealight inventory

4. Make inventory (this fluctuates – usually 2-3 days minimum up to 2-3 weeks if inventory is low, it’s a big market, or a multi-day market)

Making lotion bars (and tealights)!

5. Prepare the display (I don’t do this for all markets, but for special setups or when I revamp my display, I take 2-4 hours to set up a mock)

Mocking up a new display

6. Pack for the market (20 minutes – 2 hours depending on the market and inventory levels)
7. Pack the car (20-30 minutes)

Packing the car!
Packed to the brim (and a bit snowy too!)

8. Drive to the market (varies and can take quite awhile, especially for out of town markets and bad weather in the winter!)

Nasty winter roads!

9. Unload the car (usually 15-20 minutes, longer if I have a long walk to my space)
10. Set up the display (1-1.5 hours, more if I need to set up lights)

Setting up the display…let chaos reign!

11. Enjoy the market day!

Ready to go for another day!

12. Pack up (30-45 minutes)
13. Drive from market (varies and can take quite awhile, especially for out of town markets and bad weather in the winter! )
14. Unpack the car (20-30 minutes)
15. Put inventory away (10-15 minutes)

Whew! That’s a lot of work! Considering some markets are only one day and a few hours long, it’s quite a commitment! Totalling all the hours (excluding the hours spent driving and at the market itself), here’s the time investment:

Market preparation: about 2 days to just over 3 weeks
Setting up and tearing down: anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 hours
End of day unpacking and putting inventory away: 30-45 minutes

Total time: 2.5 days to 3 weeks and a half day or so plus travel time

Pretty crazy isn’t it?