How To Organize Your Very Own Home Flea Market In Under A Week

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.

My $30 Lesson On Authenticity

Authenticity

When I started out in my career as a financial planner, I was clueless about brand names or goods. To me, a pen was a pen. It did not matter to me if it was embossed with a Mont Blanc motif or the initial of a Parker. As long as it served its basic function, it was great enough.

Which brings me to a story. I bought a great looking brown belt when I was in Bangkok. This was when I was in my second year as a rookie planner. The buckle of the belt bore the initial H. I loved it, cause it was the letter of my name. It also struck a familiar chord with me as I was crazy on the movie Hitch (starring Will Smith). In that movie, I saw that he wore such a belt. Thus I was so elated when I got my hands on one. It cost me less than $30.

Wearing that belt, when I got back home and work, proved to be a revelation. Colleagues started looking at me, from waist down. Careless whispers were flying around, when I walked past. The office secretary seemed to treat me nicer. I started pondering if it was just the aura I was exuding, or was it the belt.

It became funnier when I encountered a stranger in the office elevator. He looked at me, and with a wry smile, commented, “Great belt! Must have costed a bomb”. I laughed heartily and said “Yeah balls. For $30!” He guffawed loudly. “You could have fooled me there mate,”he quipped.

I was intrigued. Why was everyone so “into” my belt. I did a quick Google the next day, and found to my amazement, that the belt I was wearing, was a replica of a brand name called Hermes. And it turned out that an original Hermes belt would have pushed my budget back to say, $300 – $400. “Wow…” I thought to myself.

An overwhelming sense of embarrassment came to me. Seemed that I was carrying a replica branded belt on my waist all the time. A blatant case of worldly ignorance.

Nevertheless, thinking back on that anecdote these days, makes me wonder, if I would have carried of a different personality, should I had known that I was wearing a replica.

The point is this. External enhancements may give people a different impression perception about you. You may be perceived differently, should you be wearing something that carries a great namesake.

Which gives rise to that old maxim, “Fake it till you make it”. To be honest, I do not really subscribe to this adage. Cause in my scenario for instance, I was definitely not faking the idea that I was wearing something expensive on me. The ignorance on my part, just kinda made it sounded more like , “Be it till people believe it”. In my mind, it was just another affordable belt on my waist. Which was true by the way.

So in summary, do understand that while expensive things may make you look “upgraded”, it still boils down to the level of confidence you have in carrying it off. You do not necessarily have to be crazy about authentic branded goods. Just work on being an authentic you.