One Stall, Eight Days, Zero Budget

Eight DaysYou may have read in this post that we are taking Quirk to the next level by branching out and finally bringing our own products to the market. So quite literally, in July we took our prints to market, the Kensington Arts and Craft market to be exact.

It’s a great little local market that is fast becoming a hub for showcasing the areas talented artists, crafters, musicians and foodies (seriously you need to try the coffee and hotdogs). It’s a relatively new market turning one this month but things are run so smoothly and effortlessly that you would think they’ve been running the show for years.

The market is a nice an easy walk up the road for us, and since we’ve been a few times and enjoyed it, we thought it was time to take a gamble, put ourselves out there and what better way then at a local market.

We applied in July to have a stall in August thinking that July is too close from the day we applied and it would be fully booked. Lo and behold, the day I applied someone had cancelled so there was a spot open for July. Uh Oh! this is when we suddenly realised that we had only 8 days to print and pack all our stock, design and put together a full display and generally try to make it look like we had more than eight days. To make things a little more fun, I managed to get sick, with my face so puffed up that I couldn’t open my eyes for two days, and we were also super busy with other custom graphic design work. So clearly, perfectly timed!!

On the friday morning we had confirmation about the stall, we set to work designing a stall. We could have gone down the simple route and hired a treacle table, got some boxes and made a display from that but no; the designer in us decided that we needed something different, something unique, something a little “Quirk”!

We had all sorts of grand plans but in the end we decided that whichever solution we came up with it needed to cater to the following:

  • Storage! Storage! Storage! – Since we would have plenty of stock, some snacks, money box, cameras, etc we needed some decent storage. Something that would also be able to be stored at home easily not just at the market.
  • Quick Set Up – This was essential, neither of us wanted something that would take us hours to set up and pack up. Half an hour at the most is what we were aiming for, that way, since we were allocated 2 hours for set up, if something went wrong we’d have time to sort it, once set up we’d have time to step back, check it out, make sure it’s perfect, then have a chance to talk to the other stall holders, get a coffee, a seriously awesome egg and bacon roll, then by the time customers arrive, you’re ready to roll.
  • Light & Space Efficient – Another essential. We didn’t want to have to hire vans, do more than one trip and more importantly we don’t have a huge amount of space at home, so it needed to be practical enough to store at home.
  • Cheap – When I say we had zero budget, we really did have zero budget. We weren’t crazy, we knew that there would be some things that we would have to buy to stock and display but we needed to keep the costs relatively low. Plus there was a little negative nellie in the back of my head thinking that spending a huge amount of money only to have it turn out to be a failure would make it feel even worse.

With these four major points in mind, we talked, planned, talked more, looked through Pinterest, books, magazines, everywhere to find a solution. In the end it was staring us in the face.

Whilst sitting in the lounge room, enjoying the 100th rendition of the alphabet as played by Harrison on his car toy (currently his favourite song, followed closely by Rainbow Connection sung by either Kermit the Frog or Mum), we looked over at our hallway table and display shelf above it and Ding Ding Ding, we had a winner!  Essentially we needed to build a wall, put shelves on it, use our actual hall table and then get some boxes to put under it to store our goods. Perfect!

Since I knew I already wanted to get some IKEA frames, the ones with the plastic fronts (no glass incase with packing and unpacking any get broken) I checked out their website and put together a list of any other items we would need so we could do a quick run in, buy stuff, have meatballs and be back home to carry on building, printing, etc.

We started with a plan, but soon ended up stopping at every single item and saying “Oh, that could work” “Why don’t we use this?” “Have you got the measuring tape”, etc, etc. Three hours into the shop and it was time for a break, regroup and some food while one little man fell fast asleep in his pram. After all this, in the end we decided that our original idea was still the best so we shopped our original list and were out of there in no time.

The next big challenge was the wall. How do you create a wall that’s strong enough to stand up, hold frames but is light enough to carry and small enough to fit in the car? Thank goodness I’m married to an engineer! We knew we wanted the wall in a nice plywood that would show off its grain but not take over the display. Since the frames we bought are super light and the picture shelves aren’t too weighty either, the wall itself didn’t have to be super strong. As for it’s size, we decided it would be in two parts that would attach together in the middle.

Frames, prints and few decorative pieces later, we had a “replica” of our hallway wall.

Since it would look a little weird both of us sitting in front of a wall of frames with nothing in front, we also grabbed our trusty Expedit storage cabinet, removed one of the boards, making a great spot to house the packaged prints and two additional boxes for all the extra things we brought on the day, snacks, extra business cards, money, etc. This also gave us a good spot to set up the iPad showing off some of our other work, a mailing list  sign up sheet and a couple of other bits and pieces.

The end result…

Quirk Design Market Stall

Overall, we were pretty happy with how it all turned out, it looked like a little design studio which is just what we wanted.

Was it successful? Did we do enough to engage people? Stay tuned we’ll have a follow up post shortly with the good, the bad and the so-so of the market.

In the meantime, don’t forget we are giving back this September. Head on over to the shop, buy a unique print and $5.00 from every sale goes to The Heart Foundation.

Lisa Lloyd

I'm a graphic designer, blogger, print maker and lover of food. I love working with small businesses and making their branding shine.When I'm not in front of the computer, I'm hanging out with the coolest people I know (the hubby, the toddler and two puppies).

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