That First Bazaar Experience

6:43:00 AM

I haven't been selling any items online from Miggy's Baggets Shop for a few months now ever since my husband got a better job. For some reason, being provided for has made me lazy. So I decided to join The Mind Planet Two-rrific Anniversary last Sunday, March 1, 2015.

I immediately learned a lot of things from that single day of bazaar-ing and I must say, I was such a noob people had no difficulty in haggling with me. To help anyone who would like to know what it's like to sell products at a bazaar, here are some of the things I immediately took notice of and are definitely in my list of lessons learned. That is, if you don't mind hearing some pointers from a bazaar first-timer.

Bring Necessities!
Water, food, diaper for your toddler and extra clothes for sweaty pits. Seriously, bring water. You probably have an idea already that it's not that easy to get up and leave your booth whenever you like, or need to. It's gonna be boring but also tiring just being at the booth, waiting on possible buyers and warily glancing for possible thieves. You will get hungry, you will get extremely thirsty and your son will unload at some point. You will be spared a lot of stress if you bring the right provisions, and wet wipes (in case the restroom doesn't have water).

Theme/ Uniformity
What I immediately noticed when we arrived at the bazaar was how uniform or whole the idea and theme of each booth was! I came with a gamut of products that did not all fall into the same category. I had brand new, pre-loved and also imported items. I had clothes to sell, shoes, toys, bags, wallets and books too. When I looked around me everyone was either selling just food, just clothes, just beauty products or just fashion accessories. Almost none of the booths around me sold more than one category of item. When we set up my booth, it looked like a mini "tiangge-an" on its own, and looked messy.

Fair Prices with Additional -for Haggling Insurance
If you want to sell at the bazaar, sell your items at very reasonable prices. If you think that the people who will be visiting the bazaar you're joining will be haggling their way to happiness, add around 10% to your items' normal price. That should keep your head above water. When haggling ensures, no matter what, don't let the haggler buy your item below the normal price. Let the 10% you added be the arena for you and your customer to settle the price. In this way, you won't have to get "lugi" (lose profit) and make "uwi" (go home) all sad and full of "pagsisisi" (regret).

Table Space
Before diving in with all your items, it's probably best to know how big the table for the booth will be and how many items it can hold. We got there and realized a 2x2 ft table was not enough to showcase our "great-great-finds" items. We had to get a folding table from our house and harbor two mono-block chairs just to set-up some of the bags. That made our booth a lot messier in appearance. I later found out you could actually ask the coordinators for an extra table, sheesh.

Don't Over-Sell, Give Customers Some Space
Personally, as a customer who is just looking at a shop, I find it irritable when the sales person follows me and keeps talking about every item I touch. I saw the same discomfort with the people who passed by my booth at the bazaar when I tried to encourage them about my items. What do I know after all? So... I changed my strategy. Instead of approaching them I merely stood up from my seat and displayed my most sincere smile, ever. It didn't make me more approachable as a person, but it seems that it made me a harmless seller. People seem to prefer that, someone who wouldn't pounce on or aggressively pursue you just for the opportunity of selling.

Booth Presentation
Seryos-ly... it matters. People passed by our booth like it was a garage sale, only kids were ever really so interested with our items. I rearranged our booth at least 4 times that day, just to make it look presentable.

Because of little table space, no hangers and hardly any solid category to fall on, our items looked messy no matter what I did. It was obvious people couldn't tell which items were pre-loved and which ones were brand new and often get mixed reactions about prices.

Don't Bring a Kid With You
The Mind Planet's bazaar was fun and kid-friendly, but any other bazaar wouldn't be an ideal place to bring your kid to. Mind Planet's bazaar started at 9am and closed down at 7pm. It's not that long for regular bazaars but it's long enough to bore your kid or get him exhausted. The Mind Planet prepared their event for this by setting up a small activity table where kids could color, draw and play building blocks and shape sorters. That helped a lot of parents with their active kids.

What to Do When You Have to Bring a Kid
If you do decide to take your kid with you, well, invest in a nanny. I, on the other hand, used the power of the Ninong/ Ninang obligation and took advantage of my sister's kindness by asking her to accompany me at the bazaar all day. We swapped places every now and then. Sometimes she stayed to guard our items for sale while I pay other booths for food Miggy snatched. Another reason why your kids shouldn't stay with you at the bazaar: you'll purchase more than you'll sell.

Advertise Yourself through Business Cards, Calling Cards and Brochures
So when you are at the bazaar people pass you by, a lot, probably more than you realize. Maximize the benefit of that kind of traffic. If you are an entrepreneur print a bunch of business cards or flier with your contact details and professional site.

Hand your business cards to people who intentionally visit your booth. Even if they don't buy, give them a card. Who knows, maybe they just didn't have money to spend at the moment that's why they didn't buy anything, but your card will certainly entice them to check your site. Being such an unprepared first-timer, i handed out these handmade bookmarks. I feel like a high0school kid selling bracelets at school on foundation gaaaahd!

If You Can, Sell Your Most Affordable Products
Bazaar in tagalog is "tiangge" and people go there for great great finds, which equates to affordable items. People like to go home from shopping with enough money left for some surprise expenses the next day. They also expect to acquire more items for less than the usual store price, so pre-loved items could be a hit, if not wholesale ones. My bestsellers were Miggy's own pre-loved items; his cute slippers, shoes and some pajamas he was never able  wear. Even those darn "bigkis" bundles sold out quickly.

Have Fun
Being a booth vendor is not all that fun, especially when you're alone, but I promise you that if you try and see the positive of it you will have fun. Talking to your booth neighbors should make the whole experience better and less, well, boring. You may make new friends or customers, but you certainly won't be dozing off and risk losing profitable items.

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