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As the nights draw in and we start to swap our chilled Savvie B for toasty mulled wine, small business owners are gearing up for their busiest time of the year. Christmas markets and pop-ups can provide a seasonal cash generating ‘bricks and mortar’ opportunity for many online businesses. Not to mention they are a fantastic way to feel more part of the indie business community, reach new audiences and meet customers face-to-face. Festive pop-ups can be great however they don’t come without their challenges. We sat down with bespoke online jewellery brand owner, Esme Rogers Evans to get her top tips to maximise sales during the most wonderful time of the year. 

1. Pick the right market. 

‘I’ve done fantastic pop-ups in central London which were amazing for social media content and PR, but we didn’t see the sales we would have liked,’ Esme explains. ‘Think about whether the market and location is right for your particular product and target audience. Also consider if you’re happy to take a risk for the PR, or if you need to save cash only sign up for the markets you’ll definitely make sales at.’ 
 
Many events use marketing buzzwords such as ‘sustainable brands’, ‘independent’ and ‘ethically sourced’ in their promotions. This may all be true, but this doesn’t mean it will automatically bring buyers to your fantastic indie business. Do some research and find out who else is going to be there.  
 
Considerations should include: 
● Price points - are you similar, way above or way below other brands with a stall? 
● Would your customers usually go to this or a similar location? 
● How long is the market there for, how well known is it and what reputation does it have? 

2. Cash isn’t king. 

Have some sort of digital payment system set up, especially if you have higher ticket items. Esme recommends Sum Up as it is easy to pair with your phone, straightforward to use and cost effective. If your items are priced at the lower end of the spectrum it may be worth simplifying or rounding up your prices to limit the amount of change, you’ll need to take with you. 
 
It is also worth noting here that you may want to take a portable phone charger with you. You won’t always be positioned near a power point. In the quieter moments of the market, it’s a great time to catch up on emails or make content, both will drain your phone's battery and might leave you in a pickle during the busier times. 

3. Presentation. 

‘Don’t spend lots of money on plinths or fancy display units when you’re just starting out,’ advises Esmé, ‘I recently invested in some lighting for my stalls, the reflection highlights the jewellery beautifully and the glow from the table draws people in’. 
 
It’s essential to do a test run of how you will set your stall up. Think about creative (and inexpensive) ways to display your products. Lighting is a fantastic and simple way to make you stand out. Remember about your plug sockets though and consider using battery powered lights. 

4. Parking. 

‘If your event is relatively close, I would always advise doing a parking reccy beforehand’, says Esmé. Many locations won’t have parking directly outside so consider how to transport your goods to the venue once you get there as well. 

5. Creature comforts. 

Markets can be long days, they can also be outside, and we all know how reliable the Great British weather is, especially in winter. 
‘My top tip is to take cardboard to stand on. It may sound silly, but when you’re outside all day on your feet it can be kinder on your soles, and it gives you that little bit of extra insulation from the cold floor which will provide much needed warmth’. 
 
Other top tips for the day from Esmé include: 
 
● Take your favourite warm drink in a flask for the colder hours at the end of the day. 
● Stay hydrated with water but don’t drink too much. You don’t want to miss customers because of frequent bathroom trips. 
● Wear layers. 
● Make friends! Talk to your fellow stall holders, this can be an informal way to build new connections and you can have someone look after your stall whilst you pop to the loo. 
● Have a fold down chair. 
● Take a craft with you. If you can make your product on the stall, that’s fantastic. Alternatively if this doesn’t apply, take a hobby project with you. It will keep you occupied during the quieter moments and will showcase how amazingly creative you are! 
● And if you use interesting tools when making your work, consider displaying them alongside your products in an interesting way. People want to know how things are made and it’s a fantastic way of sparking a conversation that isn’t directly about selling your products. 
 
Find out more about Duxford Studios here and follow them here. 
 
Want to see Duxford Studios in real life? Catch them this Christmas at: 
Cardiff Indie Collective’s Christmas Market at Big Moose Café, Cardiff on the 2nd December. For more info, head to their site here or visit their Instagram @cardiffindiecollective. 
 
Seekd Christmas Pop Up at One New Change, London, EC4M 9AF from the 6th December – 24th December. Seekd is the marketplace for unique, chic, eco-friendly jewellery & accessories that give back to people and the planet. Visit their website here and follow them on Instagram @seekdfashion 
 
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