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Why ‘kipper season’ is the perfect time to launch your first market stall (and 10 top tips on how to do it)

Why ‘kipper season’ is the perfect time to launch your first market stall (and 10 top tips on how to do it)

‘Kipper season’* is what many market traders call the period from January to March. It tends to be the quietest time of the year for stallholders - Christmas is over, customers are spending less, and it’s cold!

But it's not all doom and gloom. The kipper season's silver lining is the reduced rates and cheap deals many markets offer to stallholders - often as little as between £20 and £40 per pitch, per day.

If you’ve been thinking about becoming a trader, that means it’s a good time to consider taking the plunge and launching a stall, thanks to a lower startup cost, and the extra time to iron out any kinks in your business in advance of the busier spring and summer periods.

Below, we've outlined our top 10 tips for starting your stall during the kipper season.

1.  Invest in a solid stall which will withstand wind and rain - not something that will blow down at the first sight of it!

When it comes to purchasing your stall, it’s worth spending extra for something genuinely sturdy. A flimsy frame will be more trouble than it’s worth, as could find yourself plugging leaks and shoring it up rather than selling to customers - especially during the wettest and windiest months.

2.  Make sure you’re passionate about what you’re selling

Any market trader knows that it’s hard work - and that can be especially true in the quietest, coldest period of the year. If you can, sell something you love and that you’re passionate about. It makes getting up, getting to the market, and doing the graft that much easier.

3.   Take the time to ensure your stall is as eye catching as possible

While you’re looking for a pitch, think about how you’re going to use it. A colourful gazebo, lights, signage, and decorations that fit with the theme of your products can all help make your stall stand out to market goers.

4.   Position yourself carefully

It’s against the rules of many markets to position your stall too close to vendors selling similar products. Think carefully about where to place your pitch, and consider other nearby vendors’ products and stalls carefully.


5.   Practise setting up your stall and taking it down

Setting up your stall and taking it down will be something you’ll be doing frequently - so it’s a good idea to get some practice under your belt before market day. You’ll naturally find you get faster the more you do it, but you’ll have a significantly easier time if you’ve familiarised yourself beforehand.

6.   Test out new products regularly

Especially in the early days, testing and refinement is key to finding the right products and the right approach for your audience. Keep trying out new products, while retaining those that are already selling.

7.   Work on your sales pitch

If you can demonstrate your product at your stall, it’s a great way to engage potential customers and make a sale - as well as an opportunity to show that it’s of a high quality. If you are going to perform demonstrations, ensure that you’re well practised beforehand.


8.   Do your research, and seek advice

Local councils will usually have a market manager who can be a terrific source of advice to a would-be or newbie market trader. Seek them out and pick their brains. Markets themselves are also a good source of guidance - many have websites with detailed resources.


9.   Have a hook

Think about what will draw customers to your stall. If you’re selling food of some kind, can you heat it up, wafting tempting smells towards potential customers? If it’s skincare or makeup, perhaps consider offering to apply a free tester - and advertise clearly that you do so with signage.

10.   Wrap up warm!

It might sound obvious - but especially at an outdoors market, layering up can be the difference between a terrific day and a miserable one!

Kipper season might be cold, wet, and windy, but it can also be a time of opportunity for budding stallholders. Whatever you’re thinking about selling - and whenever you’re thinking about starting - ensure that you’re finally insured.


At Marketline, we’re specialists in helping market traders insure themselves.

Take a look at what we offer here.


*If you’re wondering about the rather strange name, it apparently comes from the idea that, historically, market traders would be forced to eat cheaply during these leaner months - with kippers being a favourite frugal choice!

Written by : Maddy Harris

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