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2511 East 6th St, Bldg 4 Unit A
Austin, TX 78702

Austin's favorite stationery shop and workshop studio.

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The Paper + Craft Pantry blog is home to our latest DIY projects, current inspiration sources, and small business advice. 

Small Business School: Finding Pop-Ups + Markets that Work for Your Small Business

Pei Sim


How to Know Which Pop-Ups and Markets are Best for your Small Business

In a world where there are pop-up events, shows and markets every weekend (or at least so it seems), it can be a little daunting trying to navigate and decide which ones are best for you. As a small business owner, finding the right pop-up can be tricky because there are so many things to consider.

How do you decide which pop-ups to apply for? We're sharing 5 things to consider before saying "Yes!" to your next market.  

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE SAYING 'YES' TO A POP-UP + MARKET FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS:

Attend one of their events

There's no better way to know if something is right for you than to see it first hand. Make mental notes on the location, who the fellow attendees are (are they your target customers?), who the fellow vendors are (are they up to par with your business? are they too similar? would your business fit in with the vendors there?). 

If the event is out of town, ask a friend who lives there to go to the event on your behalf. You can also consider reaching out to a fellow small business friend who may have participated in a past event. 

Vendor deadlines + fees

Well planned and usually successful events prepare well in advance which means they'll announce a vendor call or open applications months before the actual event. They'll also have a cut-off date for applications and typically will not accept last minute applications. 

Your booth fee typically just covers the physical space at the venue + marketing/coordination of the event behind the scenes. A well planned event will at the very least provide vendors with a graphic to share on social media and a Facebook event to generate interest. 

A good way to see if it's worth your time is to divide the booth fee into the duration of the event (hourly) to see what the "rental" cost of the space is to you. This will help you see if you are able to recoup the booth fee based on hourly sales! 

*Pro-Tip: Some events include additional perks like electricity, wifi, tables etc. But usually, these cost extra. 

Location + Calendar

Where is this market held? Is it in a part of town that already has a ton of other happenings that are similar? Here's a great example: during any given weekend there is likely some sort of fair, market, pop up going on in Austin. That's one of the things we love most about the city... but as a small business, it could end up diluting your customer reach if there are just too many events to choose from. 

Do some research to see if the market or event you are interested in is going to be held on the same weekend as another event going on in town. Does it coincide with a major holiday or some larger standing event that may potentially draw the community away from this particular event? 

Well put together and thought out market coordinators typically do a ton of work making sure that they event doesn't fall on the same date as another event! But, overlaps DO happen and it's important for vendors to do their own research before signing up for a market. 

Bigger doesn't always mean better

There are incredible markets that have been around for years that have a vendor list of over 100 and smaller events with vendor lists of under 10. Find the one that's right for you! Larger events with a bigger vendor list means more eyes on the event itself since ever vendor is likely sharing this with their individual communities. Smaller events means that customers attending have a more curated array of vendors to shop from. 

There's perks to both! 

Vendor relations + communication

When you peek at an events or market's website, they should have a clear description and expectation set! They should have an application process that's clearly communicated so that there are no surprises the day of the market!

Leading up to the event, they should be communicating with you to make sure you have all the information you need to have a successful day. They should also be responsive to your emails and queries! A vendor email + load-in packet/info should be provided to you before hand. 

If a market organizer isn't responsive or can't answer your questions, it could be a little red flag indicating how the event will go...

AUSTIN'S TOP 5 HOLIDAY POP-UPS & MARKETS

The Fine Goods Market

Austin's first and only handmade + vintage evening market. Small and intimate, set up as a showcase and happy hour. Curated from only Austin based businesses. 

Venue: The Paper + Craft Pantry

Date(s): this is a bi-annual market hosted in the fall and winter. September 1, 2017 + December 6, 2017

Cherrywood Art Fair

One of Austin's oldest 2-day art fair with over 90 vendors! You'll find a huge array of vendors both local and from all over Texas. Note that there are two booth options, indoor and outdoors! 

Venue: Maplewood Elementary

Date(s): This art fair is held annually, right before the holidays. December 9 + 10, 2017

Origin Designer Market

Organized and coordinated by a group of local makers, this market is the only one of it's kind n the Mueller neighborhood. You'll find a huge mix of local vendors and they usually have incredible goody bags for the first group of attendees! 

Venue: Browning Hanger (next to where the Sunday Farmer's Market is held) 

Date(s): This is a once a year holiday event held in December. December 16, 2017

Laissez Fair

This is the only exclusively vintage market in town. You'll find the largest group of vendors who specialize in vintage clothes, home goods, jewelry and other wares!

Venue: Space 24 (next to Urban Outfitters)

Date(s): This is a bi-annual event (spring and winter) with a mini version in the fall. August 13, 2017

Renegade Craft Fair

One of the biggest and oldest fairs in town with over 130 vendors. You'll find local vendors and even vendors from out of state (and even sometimes out of the country!) . 

Venue: The Fair Market 

Date(s): This is an bi-annual market hosted in the spring and fall. November 25 + 26, 2017 + May 20-21, 2017

 

After you've applied to a pop-up it's time to start planning your booth! For tips and tricks on how to elevate your product display, check out this past blog post. Have additional questions on how to know which pop-up markets are best for your business? Reach out in the comments below! 


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