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What Goes Into Organising A Market Event

Jul 20, 2017

by Reana McCourt handmade and vintage goods

From the handmade wares to the chance to meet makers or customers in real life, markets have good vibes aplenty… but have you given thought to what goes into making one a success? What exactly goes on behind the scenes to make it all happen?

We talked to Adelaide Etsy Captain Colin Capurso for the low-down – and gained some takeaways for organisers and sellers alike.

Meet the expert

Say hey to Colin. The Adelaide-based jack-of-all-trades is a software developer, graphic designer and maker in his spare time. Oh, and he also captains the Etsy Adelaide community team, and has organised more than 100 market events.

“I’ve been organising markets since 2014,” Colin says. “My first ever was a Christmas market for the Etsy Adelaide team. I didn’t have any formal training; I learned everything by talking with other market organisers and just getting in there and doing it.”

Colin Capurso

How did you first get involved in organising a market event?

Our Etsy team’s initial idea was to host a pop-up shop, a small retail space that we could show off the best of our local Etsy sellers. That would be nice, but then we had a different idea: if we hosted a market, we could include ten times as many sellers, we’d be able to help them get exposure, grow their business and connect directly with customers. 

Why would you encourage Etsy online sellers to get involved in a real life market?

Markets offer a unique opportunity to speak directly to your customers and be discovered by people who would have never otherwise seen your products. You can spend time and meet with so many other artists, designers, makers and curators.

Everyone has an interesting story! You might discover like-minded people doing things that resonate with you, and most often, people are happy to share and help you in your selling journey.

What’s the process of organising a market event?

First, you need to come up with your concept, there are a huge variety of markets that cater to different products for different folks. I’d recommend choosing something that you really care about. For me, it’s often focused around art and design, because those are the things I love.

From there you need to find a place to host your market. I would encourage people to keep an open mind, there are the obvious locations like a convention centre or function hall, but then are some less obvious ones like a quiet back alley in the city, or an underused car park, or even a local sports field.

Next step is to find your sellers, which is best done in collaboration with your local Etsy team.

All that’s left from there is planning your budget, decoration, market layout, invoicing and collecting payment from sellers, logistics of getting equipment to and from, safety plans and paperwork like permits and licenses.

Video from 2016 Etsy Made Local, hosted by Colin and his Team

What are your top 5 tips on organising a market event?

1. Get a team involved: you don’t need to go it alone- it’s best to organise a market with at least two other people.

2. Write down your metrics for success. It’s important that they’re realistic and measurable. An example might be: I want 1000 customers through the door and average sales over $100. There’s no such thing as a perfect event, they can always be better in some way, but at the end of the day, you want to be able to say, yes, I reached all my goals and this event was a success.

3. Focus on getting the critical things first. Decoration is fun, but your market will still happen and will be a success without it. Your market probably isn’t going to happen if you haven’t got a venue.

4. Have fun and enjoy the market day. Once a market is up and running, spend some time as a shopper, talk to sellers, invite friends and family to come along. Markets are a fun experience, and you should enjoy your creation.

5. Safety for everyone should always be number one priority.

Any other words of wisdom?

Personally, I take the day before the market off. Just spend some time with the family or go to the beach. You’ve been working so hard up until this point, it’s good to start your market day relaxed and with a fresh and clear head.