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Markets, Pop-ups, Events & Festivals

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Market/pop-up, events, festivals etc. can be an extremely lucrative way to make money, but as most know, they cost money just to get into and the ultimate goal is to not only make that money back but flip a profit!

So today let’s talk about one of the ways to make sure you make that $$!

Set ups

One of the biggest mistakes I see vendors do, is not put enough time and effort in their set up. Displays are important for a few reasons, #1 it’s your store front. You want to come across as professional as you can, looking like a hot mess won’t get you far. #2 Bigger festivals and marketplaces will ask to see your display and set up. If they don't feel like you will fit their vibe, you won't be approved.

When I talk to newbies the most common issue, I see them running into (myself included when I started off) was budget. When you look at all the stuff stores have for market displays, it adds up, and becomes a massive investment. But what if I told you, you could have both a streamline beautiful set up and not have to invest your child's college tuition?!

There are tons of DIY projects, as well as items you can repurpose. Throughout all the events I have attended, one thing I have quickly learned is most people’s sets ups are just random things thrown together to come off looking cohesive and on purpose, you just must get a little bit creative!

Let’s start from the very beginning of the process though. What are the things you will most definitely need to invest in.

MUST haves

#1 Tables. Get yourself at least a single 6-foot table. Most events are based off two sizes: 6 foot "table" space or 10x10 "tent" space. If you are just starting out and don't have a whole lot to invest with, starting at a 6-foot table space might be the perfect size for you, or if you have a very low inventory/need for space.

Tables can be costly though, so my recommendation is look on places like offer up or Facebook marketplace, but if you want something brand new, high quality and on the lower end of cost, check out these tables from Walmart: Tables

#2 Tents and umbrellas. With the smaller spaces keep in mind that investing in an umbrella might be important to keep your skin safe from the sun, but also to keep your items protected, however some markets don't make it mandatory or might supply them/rent them as well so you might be able to push off this investment if you just can't afford it (I do highly recommend investing in it though, as it does end up paying themselves off). For 10x10 spaces a large majority of markets will be "white tent" markets where you are required to have a white tent. I personally tried to start off with a blue tent to go with my blue vibe, but I quickly learned how many markets I was immediately eliminated from just because I didn't have one. So, my personal suggestion would be to invest in a white tent, and if you end up wanting a colored one in the future, you can always buy new coverings.

For umbrellas, you will still want to start off with something white, as a lot of markets require it, however most of the time you can get away with getting beige or light tan as well.

Here is the umbrella I personally use: Umbrellas

When it comes down to tents, this is where you want to make sure you don’t go too cheap, because you always get what you pay for. They break easily or blow away with the smallest of gusts. I personally have gone through the cheapest Walmart, comes in poles you have to set up by yourself tents, and have gotten expensive $400 tents. I have now gone through 5 tents and there is only one that held up through everything, rain, shine, beach trips, winds etc. and has stayed sturdier than ever: Tents

#3 Tablecloths. Most events don’t have a requirement on what color of table coverings to get, however most do have a requirement for it to be long enough to hit the floor. A very common table covering is the elastic fabric. They are lightweight, affordable, and do the job. The reason behind them wanting long tablecloths is because you will want to use under the table for storage and they don't want to be able to see that stuff. When it comes to choosing colors, sticking with your brand colors is great, but if you feel yourself stuck, you can never go wrong with black or white!

These are the tablecloths I personally use, and they come in so many different colors: Table Cloths

#4 Carts. This lesson was one I learned the quickest. My first pop up was a pull up spot, where you can pull your car right up to your spot and could drop all your things off before moving your car. but then my second pop up was NOT like this and I quickly regretted not investing in something to move all my stuff back and forth. Instead, I had to leg it with the tent, tables, and heavy buckets. Do yourself the favor and invest in a cart!

This is the cart that I personally use, but again, this is another thing you might be able to find cheaper on offer up or Facebook marketplace. When I first got one, I got mine last minute so I was only able to look at places like sporting goods stores etc and the cheapest one I could find was this one. I got it on sale for $75 and it has gone up since, however they have a plethora of choices and with a bit of shopping around you might be able to find one more suited to your budget: Carts

#5 Buckets! Buckets to hold all your stuff is so important! Not only for organization, but to make packing, unpacking and traveling much easier! When it comes to organizing, buckets come in handy especially if you have several tables because you can pack one table into one bucket and the other table in another bucket. That way when you go to another pop-up unpacking and set up will go much smoother!

These can also be found at places like thrift stores, Facebook, offer up etc. but it may take some digging. If you don’t have time to shop around, Target and Walmart are always my go to. I personally have two large buckets, and several small ones, but the amount to get depends on you and your inventory and what is needed.

#5 Money boxes or fanny pack. There is nothing more stressful than showing up to a marketplace with just you and a wallet. Bring something that is accessible for all your money, but also one with a lock or to keep on your body to prevent anything from being stolen.

This is the money box I use: Money Box

#6 A place to sit. I have made this mistake so many times, it is honestly embarrassing. Make sure to bring a seat! Some people don't mind standing for 8 hours, but I personally have terrible knees and standing the entire time just isn't an option. Most markets are okay with you bringing things like beach chairs, however there are some pop ups that require nicer chairs, I personally got mine from Ross which are a couple of cheap wood porch chairs. You don't need to invest a whole lot and you can get away with bringing beach chairs to most events.

These all are the most bare minimum of what you will need to get into the game of pop-ups! You might be able to get away with skipping things like the buckets and carts for your first few events, but after a while you will figure out their importance and invest in it.

Nitty Gritty

Okay so now you have all the bare minimum of what you'll need for a pop up, what now? Well, you can go with just those things and check out other shops and see what they have going on, but lets take it up just a notch.

If you're someone who wants it to look nice, but don't have a whole lot of money to invest in some elaborate set up, this is for you. If you want to go for the biggest bang, scroll to the next set up ideas!

To make yourself stand out, you truly do not need a whole lot. You can get things done with making things minimal! #1 signage. I have purchased a big huge banner from staples to hang on the back of my tent, as well as a smaller table top logo. I personally recommend the table top one just because it is more cost effective, takes up the least amount of room, and is the easiest to set up (banners that go on the back of the tent need special holes on the sides to keep from ripping, as well as something to hold it up, and it can still end up wrinkling and not coming off cute, however if done right they can be pretty cool, stand out well and get the job done). I got the table top one done from a local small business, but there are plenty of other websites that provide great table top banners for affordable prices. Here's where I purchased from: Banner

Another way to spruce up your space with doing it minimally is table runners! I got mine from Hobby Lobby (however I do not promote shopping with them and highly recommend going elsewhere). They bring a little flair and attention to the table without putting out a whole lot of money. If you crochet, this is also another great way to show up your skills and make yourself a runner!

Along with runners, placemats also give it that extra oomph without putting out too much money. I really like the woodsy look so I got some woven wooden placemats, but you can explore with your own creativity and look!

One thing I do recommend though that is a bit "extra" but I feel makes a world of a difference, is at LEAST one thing that is taller than the tables. This can be a stand on your table, necklace or bracelet stands, chalkboards, anything that stands out and calls people into your space. If everything is laid down face up and requires people to actually come into the space to view it, people may just walk past you because they are unable to see what you are offering. Call them in and get things hung up and seen!

Michaels just released some acrylic stands that are around $7-$14 and they're worth the investment!

Now for my extra baddies

These are a sure fire way to ooo the crowd! None of it is necessary, however it will set you apart from the crowd!

#1 Curtains! This photo is from Table and Hearth and you can't deny it, these curtains give their booth so much pizzazz, it looks like they spent thousands on their set up!

Curtains for some reason make things look so much more put together and special, I personally love it, and you can find cheap curtains anywhere! It also helps if you get some long enough to pull along the sides and give your tent some extra shade.

#1 Racks and stands. I personally haven't gone over the top with my own stands, this one being the most notable. However, I do have to say it is the one thing I feel like I am lacking. They give so much added texture and flow, add ability to bring more inventory, as well as calls people in. After I got this guy up, people really started coming in since they were better able to see what I was offering.

My stand is another HL find, and again I do not recommend shopping with them. It was way over priced and I could have found something with the same vibe for much less.

If you have a drill and some screws, you can go out and make yourself a perfectly customizable stand or rack for pennies on the dollar for what you can find them from any store.

For instance: This peg board set up by Peg Vie Boheme is absolutely beautiful and something you can totally do at home! I also like them because you can do so much with them with customizations, from different shapes, sizes, colors, make them standing or make them completely foldable.

All you need is a piece of wood cut to the size you need (I know Home Depot & Lowes will cut wood for you. From there you can paint it any color you'd like, or keep it as natural wood and sand the sharp edges (sand paper or even a small hand sander is pretty cheap), drill some holes, and if you want to be extra extra you can paint your own designs onto it, including your own logo! To keep them from falling over, you can use a hinge to create a foldable pegboard with multiple panels, and keep them folded out but angled so they don't fall, your you can create a stand for the back with a long piece of wood to come out as a leg from the center to keep it standing, screw it down to a box. There's so many different ways to create a peg board, but there's even more ways on how to present it. Just get creative!

Check out The Skunk Pot for some more design inspo!

#2 Sidewalk stands: Another great display idea is chalkboards. I love chalkboards because you can put a current sale or deals you're having, write cute and funny puns, write something about your shop that makes you stand out from the rest.

You can also make your own chalkboard as well! There is chalkboard paint, get a piece of wood and an art easel and you have a cute little table top chalkboard, or you can go much bigger and make (or buy) a sidewalk chalk board. I personally used one of these:

I put my QR code which took customers to my website landing page with the story about my shop, and how I donate to World Wildlife Fund then on the steps I put my crochet items and some seashells. Kids LOVED the stuffies and it always helped bring the parents in and shop around.

If you want to go really extra, there are flag banners you can put right outside of your tent. I forgot the shops name, but I went to one pop-up where there was a little girl selling her bracelets and her banner had a photo of her on it with her story and goals. Seemed to work well!

#3 Rugs: I LOVE rugs in tents, I even put one out when I have umbrella spot. People seem to really like them as well, it feels more welcome. They can get pretty expensive, but you can easily find some at thrift stores or Home Goods, and if you cant find one of the color you want, you can always dye them!

Check out how Clean Coast Collective has theirs!

#4 Garland: Garland seems so simple, but it can really change up an vibe. It doesn't matter, whether you're going to clean or if you're going for grunge, there's all different types of garlands you can easily (and cheaply) create. shows how you can use fabric strips to make a beautiful garland backdrop

#5 LIGHTS!! Not only are lights important if you want to do night markets, but they are so versatile, and come in so many different forms. Definately play around with what kind of lighting you like, whether it be dimmed romantic feeling or bright and well lit. Here is a couple links to lighting I have used

Rechargeable Magnetic Strip Lights

Rechargeable Desk Lamps

Battery operated hanging lamps with fans (these are great during the summer when its hot)

Large Tent Lamp

String lights

And now here are some inspo pics!

The Boutique Hub

Cheltenham Road

Photo credit unknown:


Besame Botanicals

Noble Light Co.

Have any additional pop-up ideas or inspo?? Feel free to comment or make your own post! Sharing is caring!



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