We all had been to flea markets and be fascinated by the array of goods and services available there. The sights of home made products, varying in colors and shapes, always made the experience so much more enriching.
Have you ever wondered the amount of mammoth work it takes to organize a typical mid to large size flea market?
Well, fret not. It is quite simple to organize one yourself. In fact, you can organize one, right in the comforts of your own home!
About four months back, a group of ladies, toyed around with the thought of just gathering at each other’s places, with home cooked food and perhaps just showing and selling some of their wares, whilst at it.
Upon hearing it, I threw in a spanner of an idea and asked, “Why not have a few more external people to partake in the activities?” They bought into the idea and was thrilled by the prospects. While they were deliberating on what to call themselves as a group, I just quickly quipped in with the name “Go Jer Gerls”, a local slang used to indicate, “Just Do It”. They latched onto the name gleefully. And so began their first foray into organizing their own home flea market.
Allow me to list the following steps I initiated and suggested to the ladies as an organizational guideline to get the initiative up and running.
1. Register a Facebook Page
The first thing I ensured was the availability of the username (ie Go Jer Gerls). Once it was available, I made sure I registered it first. This is important as Facebook would be the main platform for all marketing and branding activities.
2. Register a Gmail account
Next I got my partner to register an email account to facilitate administration and liaising scopes. Obtain an email address that is similar to your branding.
3. Add all your other partners
The next logical task was to ensure that everyone involved get the same access. All the other partnering ladies were made administrators of the Facebook page and given access passwords to the email account. This was done to ease transparency and facilitation processes in the event anyone had to take over the job scope.
4. Create an eye catching logo
Every great branding name needs a great logo to be visually appealing. I made one using Canva. It was just basic typography. Simple and of course free. Make your logo to be in .png format and transparent. (You need to be on Premium Canva to do this)
5. Come up with a tagline
I came up with the tagline, “Sistas. Share. Shop”. This was to be aligned with the initial intentions and values the ladies wanted as their identity. Where ladies could come to share their products to prospects and sell. For consumers to shop and also feel the sisterly bond within their female circles. Find a tagline that is simple and identifiable.
6. Creat a Google form for registrations of new vendoring partners
As the concept of the home flea market included external participants, I suggested my partner to have a stringent selection process. So as not to have unnecessary duplications in terms of products or services provided. With a pool of registrants, I thought that we will be better served in selecting and scheduling the interested vendors based on possible location and products criteria. Furnish your Google form with the needed questions that will ensure you know specifically the type of partnering vendors you want.
7. Start marketing
As we planned to have it quickly, (I prefer executions over planning), I asked the ladies to pick a suitable weekend within a month from the moment we decided to market. We started sharing the page with our friends and families. A member of group invested a bit in sponsored ads. Another member who was proficient in Canva designs and grammar correct copywriting handled the social media postings. We started pushing out contents on a daily basis. The idea was to have at least 2 posts a day. We also created an Events tab, for the home flea market. Within two weeks of marketing the page, we had garnered over 250 organic likes.
8. Manage and liaise with the registering participants
This was perhaps the most strenuous task in organizing such events. As the location for the event was a home, we had to ensure the right amount of vendors were involved. Too little and there would be no variety in terms of shopping experience. Too much and there will be confusion. And so we opted for a mixture. 5 anchor brand names (the organizing ladies) and 4 partnering external vendors. A partner of mine handled the extremely meticulous processes of sieving through the Google registrations, liaising over Whatsapp for details and finally selecting stringently based on the products and services we wanted to make available. She had to also be updated and asked for the profile of each vendor as we had also promised a certain bandwith of marketing and exposure for them, leading to the event.
9. Manage the anchoring vendors
On our end, we had to ensure that the anchoring vendors are well and ready too. (Duh). I helped designed the needed marketing collaterals for the event. (Standing banners, flyers, etc) One of the organizing ladies did not have a product to sell at that moment. We quickly brainstormed, and once she decided on a product she was happy to sell, I suggested a brand name, created a logo, registered a Facebook page and helped sourced a packaging style complete with printed stickers. And just like that, she had her own branded apparel line in her own name. We also decided to have a door gift as an enticing initiative to the event and so, we asked for complimentary products from each anchoring vendors to be placed as part of a 20 door gifts to be given.
10. Keep marketing and sharing the event on a daily basis. More frequently, as the days draw nearer
I need to emphasize the importance of marketing religiously. We knew that we had a great event. We knew it will be fun. We knew that the customers will enjoy it. But nobody knew it yet. So each partnering and anchoring vendors were encouraged to share the posts that my partner curated. We also featured our partnering vendors faithfully because we recognized that each vendor had their own personal followings and customer base. Keep your marketing short, sweet and enticing.
So in a gist, that was how I got round to assisting the ladies in organizing their very own home flea market. Amazingly, after we successfully launched the event, we saw several other similar events popping up within the month. Just goes to show how simple it is to organize one, when you have initiated and interested individuals involved.
There are many other factors that determine the success of such events, like location and the presence of perhaps a powerful and influential vendor. However, the basic framework of organizing one, still needs the aspects I shared above.
For those of you who are perhaps asking if there should be any fees imposed on partnering vendors or such, I will say, keep it affordable and minimal. Nobody will want to pay anything in excess for just a few hours of a day, and not knowing the outcome of their sales activities.
Personally, I don’t believe that this is a profitable project per se. This is strictly a labor of love and passion. There is not much revenue to be derived from overcharging vendors or in wanting remunerations from the organizational aspects of things. The essence of a flea market, is still about affordability.
So, go ahead. Call your closest entrepreneurial friends and family members and ask if they will like to organize a home flea market. It is fun and memorable, I assure you.
Disclaimer : As of December 2019, my partner and I had withdrew ourselves ffrom the mentioned organizing group, as we are exploring other adventures. We wish them well in their continuing efforts.