Finders Keepers Recap Debut Stall


It feels like a million years ago now, but we had such a good time at Finders Keepers that I wanted to write and share what our experience was like as a debut stall. To start with, we did the Autumn market in Sydney, which was at the Cutaway in Barangaroo, a new venue for FK.

Having been before as purchasers, we were really excited, but also worried about having enough stock and how to make our stall stand out a bit. Since we launched in October of last year, our table has been different at each market while we were figuring things out. The debut stall is really good value, but it's small and that presented a challenge for us. First, we brainstormed and came up with some crazy ideas including a stall that looked like an island, or sawing a boat in half to use as shelves. But with a limited budget and time, we eventually settled on having a nice table display and a paper cut out arch of animals behind us.

We bought a new table from Ikea and fitted the front out with a matte black towel bar to hold the tea towels. In the past we had them hanging behind us, but we really wanted people to be able to feel the fabric and pull it off the bar to see the whole pattern. Then we split up the display - Amy would do the table and I would do the animal arch. We measured and taped the size of the stall onto the floor and got to work.

The animal arch was something I had wanted to do for a while, but didn't have a good reason to until Finders Keepers. I thought it would show some of the elements of our items from a distance and let people know what to expect from our stall. We had scavenged some wooden bases outside of a scout hall on garbage night over the Summer, so I thought I would start with those. Originally, the plan was to put the bases on the table, but since it crowded them too much, we moved them behind. I then found the perfect stick during a jog to put on top the arch, bought wood and drilled/shaped holes at top with a dremel (to get the right angles) and screwed the wooden pieces together. The animals were printed and glued/taped to foamcore that Amy had found at Reverse Garbage.

By the time Finders Keepers had rolled around, we had done mock-ups and photographed the table display so we could reference it at the market and quickly put it together. Our plan worked and the bump-in was easy for us. We loved being at the new venue because it was partially open (although the stalls are under cover) and allowed cool air to circulate, which is good because we heard there were 20,000 people that came through over the weekend (that's a lot of body heat!)

Being in the debut section was really nice and we got to know our neighbors well by the end of the weekend. Everyone was lovely and when there were slower times, we really enjoyed being there with fellow makers. Overall, the vibe of the market was great and time passed quickly. Since the stall size was small, Amy and I alternated who was behind since it was a bit crowded with both of us. Often, I would stand in the aisle outside of our booth, which worked well since there was always a bit of adjusting to do at the front of the table.

All in all, I would say to someone thinking about doing a debut stall that it's totally worth it. To summarize a few things that we learned by doing it that I would give as tips are:

  • Remember to charge your devices - phones, eftpos readers, etc. every night! We forgot to charge our Square reader one night, but luckily had a back-up power source with us that was charged.
  • Make a mock-up stall. The space is small, so we really benefited by measuring and taping the size of it beforehand so we knew what we were working with. We photographed the display and replicated it for the market.
  • WATER - drink water, do stretches and get a good night's sleep before the markets. It's physically tiring to be on your feet all day and it helped us to stay hydrated and rested.
  • Bring a hand-truck. For our first few markets, we carried everything individually by hand. Then we invested in a hand-truck from Bunnings and never looked back.
  • Have help at the booth - I couldn't imagine doing it alone. My bladder's just too small to think of three days with no help. Plus while one of you is at the booth, the other can walk around and see the market.
  • Take advantage of the press kit that Finders Keepers sends including the hashtags. We found this to be really helpful during the market and also leading up to the market. Also read all the instructions they send you so you can know about bump-in and height requirements, etc.
  • Bring extra supplies. Amy and I have a an extra bag that always has: scissors, tape, twine, screwdrivers, pliers and some extra tags for product.

We will definitely be applying for future Finders Keepers markets!