How to have the perfect market stall

We have wanted to do a market in the UK for quite some time now, I mean it’s only been just over 3 whole years since we started Dough Animal and it has also been 3 years since the last Barnes Fair (due to COVID), the fair that sparked our thirst to have a market stall of our own.

We checked the Barnes Community Associations website every week for months at the start of this year, waiting to see if they’d be announcing the return of the fair this year, and we were delighted when we saw that they were, and that they were open to some new small businesses, given the scale of the fair grew to over 300 stalls this year.

It was go time, we spent every late night after our 9-5 creating stock, making dough, labelling, packaging and thinking about all the things we might need for our first fair.

We were a bit worried, would we have enough stock, will our decision to go cashless effect our sales, will our stall look on brand enough, will we attract customers…all the questions, worries and thought spiralled through our minds ahead of the fair – but we can tell you now, 2 whole days after the fair that it all went smoother than we could have imagined, there wasn’t a single hiccup, our store looked beautiful and we attracted every passer by.

Here’s what we packed:

  • Foldable trestle table (for storage after and easy to transport)
  • Pop up gazebo (for easy installation – min 2 people required)
  • Large sign to tie onto the back of the gazebo – this was the only signage we had and loved it – also reusable
  • Stand for our products 
  • Table Cloth
  • Bunting – this really made the whole stall stand out
  • Some storage bowls, boxes and stands from IKEA
  • Card reader as we were cashless – this was SO easy to install, setup and use – we really loved it and it changed the market experience, we also found that every single customer expected to pay by card so we made the right decision to go cashless.
  • Gift bags for purchases – people were quite surprised that we had gift bags – we also popped in a card into each bag with our details website and 10% off their next order.
  • Kids play table, chairs and some play dough – we’ll talk more about this.

Our best idea ever?

We added a kids play table and chairs to the side of our stand which had loads of play dough and play tools on it, we also made a rather large sign using our Cricut that said “PLAY AREA” and this really drew people in. The play table was busy the entire day from 9:30-5:30 with loads of kids playing play dough, parents relaxing on the bench and families meeting each other.

95% of the parents who’s kids played at the table, bought products, and some whose kids played for 20+ mins even came back to buy more dough as they never realised just how much their child would enjoy it.

It was so lovely to see so many little ones engrossed in play, learning through play and communicating with each other and their parents about their interesting builds. This is exactly what our brand is about, helping kids learn through play, how important play is, and for their parents to have time to sit down, breathe and relax, but also to take in their childs interactions and understand their processes.

Will we be doing a market again? Most definitely. We learnt so much, met such amazing people, and had a great day.