Flea markets are an inexpensive way to sell your products directly to the public. Most table rentals are little or no cost per day, and they usually attract heavy foot traffic, because of the promise of low priced items.
Be careful which flea markets you choose to vend at, because some specialize in “cheap” merchandise, so consumers may not respond to you if your products are more expensive than other vendors, even if they’re handmade or unique. the focus with most flea markets should be items you can make a profit with, and have low wholesale cost. Of course, if you’re attending a crafts fair, or market that caters to higher end shoppers, these rules change.
Visit fleamarketguide.com to find a list of flea markets throughout the U.S. The website also has detailed information on the type of items sold, number of available tables, days and location.
You can also do local searches on AOL, Google or newspaper websites to find cultural and civic events in your area. Depending on your product or service, this could be a good source of potential buyers. Local bands for example, can perform at an event, and sell their CDs, but they can also collect email addresses for a mailing list and sell tee-shirts.
Another option, that takes more planning, but can be very lucrative, is to plan an event in your community yourself. You can do this through a local church, organization or newspaper.
Online Bulletin Boards and Auctions
Amazon.com has a vendor program called Amazon Advantage, that allows anyone with any book, DVD or CD, sell on their website. Amazon.com is one of the highest trafficked websites on the internet, so this instantly widens your audience to potentially millions per week. The program a small yearly charge of $29.00 (as of 12/2007) and that fee is taken out of sales only, so you have no up front costs.
You can sell virtually anything else on Amazon as well. I have links to both programs below.
There is a similar program at Half.com, which is owned by Ebay.com. The issue I have with this program, is it’s limited to products, currently in their inventory, and seems to only include DVDs, CDs, and books. But it’s definitely worth it to contact them.
Also try Overstock.com. I don’t have any personal experience with the program, but it’s another potential place you can sell your products.
For books, you might try Powell’s Books, which buys used books. (See my tips on Powell’s)
Also try Craigslist.org. That’s right Craigslist. How many ads have you put on that great website to sell your old furniture, cars, or even to find a roommate. Why not place ads for your products, or create notices about your upcoming events. The best thing about Craigslist is it’s local, so you can use it multiple ways.
- You could post an ad for an upcoming exhibit, performance or craft show.
- You could sell your items outright.
- You could list a service in their service listings.
- You could join the industry-specific blogs they have, and simply create a signature with a link to your website.
For Craigslist to work for you, you really need to make it a part of a routine. Try to post ads at least every 2-3 weeks. You should join a blog discussion on the site at least once a week also.
Another free online classified ad service, that’s growing in poularity is Kijiji.com. Ebay’s Kijiji was started as a competitor to Craigslist, and works in a similar fashion. However the focus of Kijiji is classified ads for goods.
Of course, the biggest online flea market out there is Ebay.com. Ebay is another site that seems to require a lot of time to see success. Adding items is somewhat time-consuming for my tastes also. With Ebay, you have the option of selling individual items, or opening your own store, and selling items that way. Ebay also has seller and buyer blogs that you can tap into, to help get visibility for your products. Visit the website for costs and guidelines on selling.