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Thread started 24 Aug 2013 (Saturday) 21:15
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Selling at the flea market?

 
Jarvis ­ Creative ­ Studios
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Aug 24, 2013 21:15 |  #1

I have always had a thought in my head about selling prints at the local flea market. We have a few to choose from around here and they are very busy on the weekends. Recently, my brother approached me about the idea (I had never shared my thoughts on this with him before.) He told me he had recently watched a documentary type show on flea markets and on the show there was a man who sold his prints, and made around $50,000 a year off of it. He asked if I had ever considered doing this. I'm not planning on making that much, but I still think it would be a fun way to interact with people and get your name out there. Of course normal business smarts would apply, but I know those. Any thoughts or people who have tried this?


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Aug 25, 2013 10:24 |  #2

Does "made around $50,000" mean "sold" or "cleared"?




  
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Aug 25, 2013 10:45 |  #3

moose10101 wrote in post #16238261 (external link)
Does "made around $50,000" mean "sold" or "cleared"?

Im sure it means sold, but my brother watched the show so I couldn't tell you dorm sure. I do know the guy made enough to quit his full time job. However that wasn't the point of this thread.


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Aug 25, 2013 13:04 as a reply to  @ Jarvis Creative Studios's post |  #4

I guess it would depend on the clientele of the flea market. The ones that are in my area would probably not support fine art sales. Hunting dogs and chickens would make you some money though.


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Aug 25, 2013 18:18 |  #5

My sister used to sell her shots at the local Farmers Market. That ended quickly. The cost of the booth rental and the cost of actually having physical prints done and framed for sale was far more than the price the prints were selling for.




  
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Aug 25, 2013 23:02 |  #6

the flying moose wrote in post #16239326 (external link)
My sister used to sell her shots at the local Farmers Market. That ended quickly. The cost of the booth rental and the cost of actually having physical prints done and framed for sale was far more than the price the prints were selling for.

That's what I was thinking about too. But here a booth or table rental is around $20 per day. I'm pretty sure they can supply you with electric if you ask. So I was thinking of taking a monitor for people to preview the images and printing them right there. May look into frames but I thought it a needless expense. That way you only print what you sell.


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Aug 25, 2013 23:04 |  #7

Old Coot wrote in post #16238584 (external link)
I guess it would depend on the clientele of the flea market. The ones that are in my area would probably not support fine art sales. Hunting dogs and chickens would make you some money though.

It's a bit different here. There is a whole car audio store, people who sell statues, paintings, even a tanning bed/lotion store! We also have a large indoor flea market. Of course there are some "typical" flea market stores, but not as many as you would think.


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Aug 26, 2013 09:29 |  #8

Jarvis Creative Studios wrote in post #16239951 (external link)
That's what I was thinking about too. But here a booth or table rental is around $20 per day. I'm pretty sure they can supply you with electric if you ask. So I was thinking of taking a monitor for people to preview the images and printing them right there. May look into frames but I thought it a needless expense. That way you only print what you sell.

I've never done flea markets but years ago I spent a little over a year on the Art Fair circuit. We sold silk screen prints and I had photographs for sale as well. We had great success with the silk screens but not a lot with photographs. :( Your market could differ so I don't mean to discourage you.

If you're planning on manning the booth alone I would suggest that you establish some rapport with the people in the booths close to you. You can keep an eye on their booth when they have to take a potty break and they can do the same for you. This might not sound important until you're standing around cross legged and really needing to go. :lol: It can also give you a chance to go around the other stalls and pass out business cards, you might not get business from them but it could be a chance to network. People know people so they could give you leads or pass your card on to someone who might need your services.

It might be a good idea to have some examples of your portrait and wedding work in the booth too, along with a supply of cards. Never pass up the opportunity to promote yourself.

Frames would be a good idea but they are an added expense and most people don't realize how much framing costs. Look into matts as an alternative, it makes a better presentation than a print alone and can be a lot cheaper than frames. Not to mention the hazards and hassles of glass.


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Aug 27, 2013 00:40 as a reply to  @ breal101's post |  #9

When I hear the phrase "flea market" my mind conjures up a large building with people selling their kids toys that they don't play with anymore and other useless stuff. I know there are some higher end flea markets but also some that fit my original line of thought. I think it depends on which ones you choose. I have never done flea markets but similar to breal101 we did the local art fairs that are in fall period and those were quite successful. I chose some of my favorite and popular images and had them framed or mounted in 5x7, 8x10, 11x14 and 16x20. I had a limited supply of larger prints. It has been my experience that people want to be able to walk away with their product and are not keen on ordering a print at this event to be delivered at a later date. Of course you have to spend some money up front to get the prints and presentation of them done but it can be done successfully. I also had an album with other images of mine that could be ordered but the results from this was meager at best.

We have a farmers market where I live each Saturday morning. It is predominantly local people selling their produce. Then I went and visited my daughter and she took me to their "farmers market" and it put the one we have to shame. In her city there is everything for sale and even a few photographers hawking their prints. My point is I think it depends on the type of event and one cannot always go by the generic name. A flea market can be a low end facility that will attract the same kind of people and others will be held in a more upscale location which will draw a wider range of people and products. I think you simply have to weigh each one on its own merits and I would visit them once or twice before committing to participating in them.


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Aug 27, 2013 06:09 |  #10

Why do YOU go to flea markets? To buy top quality, top notch things? Or do YOU go to flea markets to get low-priced stuff? 'Nuff said.


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Aug 27, 2013 16:27 |  #11

ssim wrote in post #16243200 (external link)
When I hear the phrase "flea market" my mind conjures up a large building with people selling their kids toys that they don't play with anymore and other useless stuff. I know there are some higher end flea markets but also some that fit my original line of thought. I think it depends on which ones you choose. I have never done flea markets but similar to breal101 we did the local art fairs that are in fall period and those were quite successful. I chose some of my favorite and popular images and had them framed or mounted in 5x7, 8x10, 11x14 and 16x20. I had a limited supply of larger prints. It has been my experience that people want to be able to walk away with their product and are not keen on ordering a print at this event to be delivered at a later date. Of course you have to spend some money up front to get the prints and presentation of them done but it can be done successfully. I also had an album with other images of mine that could be ordered but the results from this was meager at best.

We have a farmers market where I live each Saturday morning. It is predominantly local people selling their produce. Then I went and visited my daughter and she took me to their "farmers market" and it put the one we have to shame. In her city there is everything for sale and even a few photographers hawking their prints. My point is I think it depends on the type of event and one cannot always go by the generic name. A flea market can be a low end facility that will attract the same kind of people and others will be held in a more upscale location which will draw a wider range of people and products. I think you simply have to weigh each one on its own merits and I would visit them once or twice before committing to participating in them.

I have visited all the local "flea markets" in my area, many times actually, and they are not people selling kids toys. I would not have even made this post if I was not educated in the market I would be doing business in :).

I would not be doing an "order and I'll mail it to you" service. When I said I would bring a monitor to preview images on, that was so they could pick which one they wanted, and I could print it for them right there, so they would have a print to take home with them. My printer can do up to 13x19 prints which I think would be large enough for most clientele. Of course I would have a few prints in frames already, but they may be used more as an example to sell the product, than be for sale themselves. I find most people want to choose their own frame based on the colors and style their house is decorated, so buying frames would be too much of a stab in the dark.


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Aug 27, 2013 16:31 |  #12

Picture North Carolina wrote in post #16243597 (external link)
Why do YOU go to flea markets? To buy top quality, top notch things? Or do YOU go to flea markets to get low-priced stuff? 'Nuff said.

Hardly enough said, because you have no idea why one person would go to something vs. why another would go to the same thing. The local flea markets are not just piles of old shoes and decapitated dolls for .50 each. If you would have read above maybe you would have realized this. :rolleyes:


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Aug 27, 2013 16:54 |  #13

I have to agree with PNC.

The crowd that most people associate with flea markets are those who are looking for bargains. Since its only $20/day you can check it out and see how it goes.


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Aug 27, 2013 17:03 |  #14

Picture North Carolina wrote in post #16243597 (external link)
Why do YOU go to flea markets? To buy top quality, top notch things? Or do YOU go to flea markets to get low-priced stuff? 'Nuff said.

You seem to have a similar idea of flea markets as I had held for many years. As was pointed out above they are simply not a collection of tables where people are wanting to get rid of their old household items. To some degree one could look at some of these as a short term indoor mall. I don't have any in the city which I live but in the next largest city to me there are some "flea markets" that operate every weekend in the same location. In essence they are a mall for small business owners to hawk their wares. I'm guilty of this too, but I think we are getting hung up on the name "flea market".

I know many people, myself included, that go to these not to pick up anything in particular but to just browse. I'm as equally guilty of coming out of these places with something that I had done an impulse purchase of. You have to play to the consumers heart and while I can't say that this will be a huge success I know of some photographers that have a high quality display booth and travel these types of events and do quite well at them. If we look at them as a simple selling opportunity rather than getting hung up on the terminology then one can make sales. It is up to the person on how they portray themselves that will attract people to your booth/display and ultimately their salesmanship on pushing their product.


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Aug 27, 2013 17:24 |  #15

Jarvis Creative Studios wrote in post #16245146 (external link)
I have visited all the local "flea markets" in my area, many times actually, and they are not people selling kids toys. I would not have even made this post if I was not educated in the market I would be doing business in :).

I would not be doing an "order and I'll mail it to you" service. When I said I would bring a monitor to preview images on, that was so they could pick which one they wanted, and I could print it for them right there, so they would have a print to take home with them. My printer can do up to 13x19 prints which I think would be large enough for most clientele. Of course I would have a few prints in frames already, but they may be used more as an example to sell the product, than be for sale themselves. I find most people want to choose their own frame based on the colors and style their house is decorated, so buying frames would be too much of a stab in the dark.

I have seen prints for sale at these sales. I would go for it, but I would consider having 3 or so of some of your best at least matted and stuck inside a cellophane wrapper. Should be cheap enough to source that stuff.




  
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