Selling soap at the Farmers Market

I've mentioned the Farmers Market a few times in these posts, but the market has been on my mind a lot lately as it is summer and I am attending as many as possible. Yet as wonderful and outdoorsy and eco-friendly these markets are, there is sometimes a thread of unhappiness.  I've been attending these things for years, all over the place, and here are a couple of things to consider.

When soap is fairly new, in the 1 - 3 month stage, it is susceptible to sunlight.  Oddly, not so much heat, but direct sunlight.  I will leave soap in my van for days till the next event, and this extreme heat will not soften the bars.  Yet if I have the same soap in direct sunlight at a market, it will get a little softer, especially at the minimum cured age. 

So when I go to out of town markets, I explain that I will want a north facing booth so that the sun does not ruin my product.  And they always say sure, that they will make a note of this.  Yet when you get there, half of the time you are not facing north.  I will find the market rep and ask about this only to be told that they didn't really know which way was north.  (I think I was speechless the first time I heard this, I have since taken a poll and only about half of people seem to know which direction is north, or south, etc.)

Another super important fact is location.  For some crazy reason, my local market has some strategy known only to themselves.  Our market is in a parking lot corner, clearly visible on the main street, can't miss it.  But when people come to visit, they enter from the other side, and they do not always walk around to the outside row of booths, the booths that actually face this road.  They do walk around the center, which is U-shaped with a large canopy in the center to sit under.  From this center vantage point, they see a surrounding of booths, and perhaps they think these interior booths are the same booths they spotted from the exterior.  But they are not. 

We have talked to them about having a large U-shape around the perimeter of this area, with a row of booths up the center, then everyone could be seen.  But they don't do this.  A couple of weeks ago, I got stuck on the outside, and made probably the worse sales ever.  A week later, I have an inside space, and get sales 20% over my average. 

A friend of mine, a soapmaker, went to an event where they had agreed on a particular space, upon arrival, it was an in-the-sun and less-traffic space.  She gave it some thought, said no thanks, she wanted the agreed space, and maybe she'll come back next week.  Then Presto, they just happened to have a better space for her. 

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