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First Time Jitters

Feel the fear and do it anyway

“Eek! I think I’m ready to have a stall at a market… But how on earth do I start?”

I think we have all been there with something or other – that feeling of nervousness, wondering if you’ll make the grade, is anyone besides your mum going to like what you do…? It’s nerve-wracking.  I’m still nervous the night before a market after over a decade!​ ​But it gets better.

​So, how do you get past that and into your first stall?

Let’s look at the 5 principles of Copper Catkin stall display – Dress, Fresh, Layers, Flavour, and Hook. Choose the easiest one, and work from there, until you have the whole thing covered. 


​Dress is actually quite an easy one, and most people have already thought a bit about how they want to set up their stall – tablecloth, price tags, business cards, a sign with your name on it… But how about you?

  • How will you present yourself?
  • How does your personal presentation integrate with your stall display ideas?
  • Will you match? Do you want to?


Well, you’re new to the scene, so you automatically tick the ‘fresh’ box. But how do you make people say “WOW – I’ve never seen that before, I have to have one!”

What’s your point of difference? Why are you doing this market stall, and why should people come and see you?

Does that sound like an intimidating place to start?

It IS.

Selling yourself and your work is HARD.

So, start with this statement: “I am awesome, because not only am I brave enough to bring my work to this market for your to see and buy, but also…”

​Write yourself 6 or 7 sentences like this. Bring them to the markets with you as comforting reminders that you are awesome. Try to incorporate them into your patter when you talk to customers.


This one is an easy one to overlook. You brought your beautiful creations, right? That should be enough for anyone, right? It’s your first go, they won’t expect anything fancy, they should just be happy to look at what you made, right?

Well, no. Not really.

Here’s a secret: people don’t want to hear about the bad stuff, they want to celebrate the good stuff with you. So, they want to see your brand-new creations displayed to their best advantage, not excuses about it being your first time. Think about that new waiter who got your order wrong – you might have been nice to him about it at the time, but you still felt like your experience was changed by his inexperience.

So… Use shoeboxes, mug stands, bookcases, cushions, drying racks, ladders, folding screens… what have you got around the house that you can cover with a sheet and make pretty, to give your stall more height? What interesting fabrics can you drape it with, to give visual interest? Do you have some cool props? Driftwood, soft toys, home decor, stones, a vase of flowers…

Dress your stall like a window display or a house you want to sell.

​Show your love for your product through your pride in your display. Make it special and inviting and visually textured – colours, shapes, height, and depth. You owe it to yourself and your products to make every market the best you have ever done 🙂


All our principles are interlinked, and Flavour ties back to Fresh and Dress in particular.

What makes you, you?

What makes your stall stand out from the rest?

It’s tempting to go with the current decor trends at Kmart or wherever and simply use them as they are to decorate your stall… but you will look like a mini Kmart, the same as 100 other stalls.

Paint things, use interesting fabrics, build your own displays, use a vibrant hero colour, dye your hair – stand out. People should go home after the market and talk about your coolness.

So… what’s your favourite colour? How can you express yourself with a pattern, or a slogan, that people will go WOW about?


So when you combine all of the above, there’s one thing missing – the element that ties it all together and makes people stop and shop with you. The hook – the bit that catches and holds their attention long enough to look at your products and buy. 
This could be the colour of your hair, a clever catchphrase, a stunning display cabinet, a clever company name, an interesting material… But it needs to be something about you, your display, or your product, that grabs them. Do your thumbnail test and see if you can get their attention from afar. 

Need more help?

Start with my free email courses, and then book for a one-on-one session where we can help you get where you’re going, or join a caterpillar workshop.
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