You’ve decided what items of clothing, shoes, accessories, and so on, to move on. Fantastic – that will feel quite cathartic. The next step is to ensure your transition to stall is smooth (aka stress-free) and doesn’t undo all the great feelings that come with having made some amazing progress.
The difference between a smooth bump in or a struggle-start can affect how you feel as the market doors open on your big day.
Over the years, I’ve observed stallholders arriving at market venues and setting up. I’ve also been that person myself on countless occasions. It’s fabulous to watch as stallholders create their space, their collections coming to life with colour, texture and frivolity. But it can also be painful to see some struggle, traipsing multiple times to and fro from their cars – weighed down with an eclectic mix of stuffed bags, random items, boxes, and bits and bobs piled high in their arms. No rhyme or reason to the whole affair. Why does it matter, one may ask? It can.
The difference between a smooth bump in or a struggle-start can affect how you feel as the market doors open on your big day. If you’re exhausted and feeling under the pump before the day kicks off, or you feel like your stall’s not quite ready as the doors open, this invariably shows on your face. It can also have you not coping with the small hiccups (realistically, there are bound to be a couple). And, this can then go on to affect your market experience – which is a shame, as your market day ought to be great fun! There’s absolutely no need to spin out of control.
So, how do you breeze through to market day setup like a pro?
It’s tempting to start off with the usual and irritatingly obvious first tip – Be Prepared! But I won’t because this may mean very little and can be equally stress-inducing if you don’t quite know where to begin.
One:Taming your pile of clothes
Hang as many clothes as possible. Choose hangers that won’t let your clothes slide off in transit. Displaying quality items on a rack is appreciated by shoppers who want to see what you’ve got at a glance.
If you are selling items at individual prices, label everything before the day. Your customers will generally be more comfortable knowing the price without needing to ask. This also gives them a starting point to bargain with you. Choose labels that are least likely to fall off or come unstuck in transit. Safety pins and jute through hole-punched cardboard works wonders.
If you’re hanging clothes in price brackets, tie grouped hangers together or place each group in the car so they’re easily identifiable at your destination. Make your signage at home so it’s one less thing to have to prepare before the doors open.
Sort loose items into $5, $10 and $15 lots (or whatever prices work for you). Again, prepare any and all signage at home.
Place these items into individual containers – ideally whatever you’re going to display them in on the day. Or, if they’re being displayed on a table, place them in individually marked containers ready to unpack efficiently.
Look cool, calm and collected (even if you don’t feel it)!
Two: Getting clothes from A to B
a) Clothes on hangers can be placed in a suitcase or simply laid in the back of a car (wrap in cloth such as a sheet to protect if necessary)
b) Place containers of other items in next, and to one side if possible.
c) Locate your rack, table and props in the car so they’re first out.
Three: The 30-minute setup
Check in with the market organiser and find your spot. Whilst you’ll have selected your stall off the venue floor plan and may know roughly where it is, it’s advisable to check in just in case it’s been moved for any reason and you want to avoid wasting energy moving your gear from place to place! Your name will be on the chair in your space.
Unload and set up your rack, table and props first. If you need to move a car away from the venue straightaway, set up racks as you bring them in and then hang all your clothes straight onto the racks (in price groupings if that’s how they’re sorted) as part of the unloading. This avoids double handling. Finally bring in your boxes of accessories, etc.
Now have some fun shifting your props around in your spot until you feel you’ve made the best use of your space whilst being mindful of, and even complementing, your neighbours’ display.
If accessories etc are in pre-labelled containers display them ready to go. If not, place containers to one side (such as under your table) for now. Remember that preloved clothing markets are primarily about the clothing so think an 80:20 or 90:10 ration of clothing to accessories.
If you are grouping your hung clothes into price brackets, do this now if you couldn’t earlier and attach your previously made signage, accordingly.
If all your hung clothes are labelled, they’re done and ready for market opening. Now relax…you’re in control and looking ready.
Make sure your money belt is on and full of some coinage. You want to be well ready to accept those sales!
Four: The home straight
The last bit can be done at your leisure and it won’t matter too much if the market opens and shoppers are looking because they have a fab rack of labelled items to check out already, and possibly self-explained containers on tables to rummage through.Give yourself a mental high-five as you’re all set with change in your money belt and looking cool, calm and collected!
If you’re unpacking loose items do this now, and place related signage as you go.
Five: Finishing touches
Finally, have fun dressing your props (mannequin etc.) and laying out smaller items like jewellery, shoes, belts, bags and hats.
This can all take less that 30 minutes. Believe me, I’ve got it down to 20, tops!
Your chest of drawers is still bulging and you are nowhere near closing in on a really serious clothing declutter. But, market day is looming. Count down has begun…7 sleeps to go! Yikes!
Stay calm and go quick-fix
Exclamations might run through your head..why did I say I’d do this, why did I think I could do this (no doubt peppered with some colourful swear words!). but you know you’ll have fun once you get sorted and lighten your unwanted clothing load. So, try a quick-fix approach to get started – try a declutter in bite-sized chunks. For your first market, start small but specific.
Pick out 15-20 preloved items – clothing, handbags, shoes, hats, belts and the such like. Bear in mind that preloved clothing market stalls are more successful if they’re 80:20 or even 90:10 clothing to accessories. Mostly choose pieces that are at the upper end of your quality preloved collection. Tag them from $20 to $30. (Next time, you can move onto your $10 and $15 items).
Is this you in the mornings?
Safety in numbers
Call a friend. Persuade (cajole, beg) them to do the same. Maybe they call a friend (or you call a second). Now two or three of you have joining forces – and between you, you’ll have collected up at least 30 to 45 items = a decent start-up rack or table of goodies. And, if you share the cost of a $40 stall, the 4-hour market day is shaping up to be one of minimal outlay each for what promises to be a good little earner. And you’ll get to share the load, the experience and the fun with friends!
It’s daunting. Picture this…
Every morning, racing to keep up because the day is happening all around you. You need to get out the door, still in your pj’s but don’t know what to wear. The weather doesn’t help because it’s chilly right now, but it’s very likely to warm up – or could it snow? (after all, this is Hobart!).
You fling open your wardrobe doors and you’re instantly neck deep, arms flailing as you rummage through, impatiently pushing aside that gorgeous dress you’ll never wear again (how was my waist ever that small?), flicking past those red pants that aren’t ‘my colour’ anymore, and pausing momentarily to (guiltily) contemplate finally wearing that skirt you bought on a whim (it’s bound to go with something, surely….). Then, glancing at the clock, you curse under your breath as you frantically toss it across the floor. With an exasperated sigh, you resign yourself to chucking on that safe and comfortable favourite…again.
And, then, you’re off. But as you swipe up your keys, you swear to yourself that you WILL sort that wardrobe out this weekend and have done with the daily chaos of it all! That was me most days.
Sound familiar? So, the weekend rolls around (much too fast this time) and your bulging wardrobe beckons (coat tails and scarves tauntingly sticking out door cracks, refusing to be tamed).
But where to start? This is equally daunting.
Here’s my quick and easy 7 step approach to taming your wardrobe.
Step 1 Delay tactics – make a cuppa.
Step 2 Stand staring at the open wardrobe, and whilst sipping on the cuppa, contemplate what’s in its deep dark depths
Step 3 Decide on your motivation
Mine was two-fold: to reduce the clutter and make some dollars to refresh my wardrobe (whilst recouping something on those spontaneous over-spends)
Step 4 Get serious.
Step 5 Do a quick first sweep (don’t be tempted to try anything on, just place in six piles)
Keep. Keep, with some alteration or mending. Maybe. Donate. Throw. Sell.
For many, even making these ‘cull’ decisions can be hard – and that’s a whole other conversation for another day.
Step 6 Have a break, maybe another cuppa (and a chocolate biscuit this time – for the energy to go on, you understand), or take the dog for a walk (oh, wait, I don’t have a dog…but, of course, you might), or go for a brisk walk on the local beach.
Step 7 Back at it – second sweep – revisit the piles in more detail, maybe trying on, but be ruthless!
Keep. Really, absolutely – I wear it often, it will be great for the upcoming dinner/meeting/Christmas party or whatever … If it’s none of that – move it along to another pile.
Keep, with some alteration or mending. Maybe…actually, I’ll never get around to it. Move it along.
Maybe. Nope, I’ve said ‘maybe’ too many times. Move it along.
Donate. Is it good enough to donate or is it pretty worn out/marked/damaged? Over it goes to the ‘throw’ pile.
Throw. Pretty straightforward – but consider recycling first – can it be used as rags, etc.?
Sell. Here’s where preloved clothing markets come in!
Gearing up (excuse the pun!) to sell your preloved clothing.
How I started was by selling some items on eBay – still do and love it. It started off as time consuming and there’s a bit of setting up before it becomes a quick, easy and smooth operation. Mavis the mannequin comes in very handy for this exercise. I’ll present a quick and easy process in another conversation. But always consider, there’s bound to be something that you may want more for than you might get at a preloved market, and eBay can be just the place.
Over the years, I’d sold bits and pieces at markets and garage sales – usually alongside other household goods or knick-knacks. Most of us probably have. But now I wanted to seriously turn my ‘fash into cash’ .
So, one day I dusted down my two clothes racks and assembled them (after the obligatory rummaging around for all the necessary bits and bolts – I always think I’ll remember where I put ‘that thing’. But who am I kidding these days!)? And, ready to go, I did a test run of hanging up all the items in my ‘sell’ pile. Stress-free prep for a preloved market stall.. yet another conversation.
Once the ‘sell’ items were hung on both racks, I found I had an amazing collection of clothes for sale! And after a few ‘oooh, that’s fab, maybe I willkeep it’ false starts, I re-grounded myself (by revisited my motive) and looked up local preloved clothing markets. Then, before getting cold feet, I immediately signed up for a stall. As market day approached, I got washing, ironing and tagging. I thankfully had the terrific help of my very enthusiastic entrepreneurial teen daughter, who, amongst other things, volunteered to write up an extensive inventory! Ready to go…
Away we went and haven’t looked back!