Basic Market Essentials to Help You Be More Market Ready
Whether you are just starting out or are a seasoned pop-up market vendor, finding the right equipment can be daunting. We know because we’re vendors, too. We’ve researched various market and festival booth requirements for the Greater Houston/Galveston area to find what we believe is the basic equipment necessary to help you with developing your pop-up market booth.
Starter 10×10 Straight Leg Canopy Tent
Where to Find: Academy Sports & Outdoors – Walmart
Cost: $75 to $100
White Top Commercial 10×10 Straight Leg Canopy Tent
Where to Find: EZ Up (Direct)
EZ Up Tents are used by many large festivals such as the ones held at the Kemah Boardwalk. They’re built for commercial use, are easier to set up/take down, and come with better storage/travel bag with side walls for the tent.
Many times, popular local markets require conforming white top tents for their market booths. This would be an economical choice.
Purchase EZ Up Tents directly from the manufacturer at www.ezup.com
Tent Leg Weights
Where to Find: Academy Sports & Outdoors
Cost: $29.99/20 lbs box (4 – 5 lbs weights)
These weights are found in the same aisle as the canopy tents in the camping section. Many markets and festivals in our area (and ours) require at least 25-30 lbs of weight per leg in case of windy conditions.
Many vendors are creative and will make their own weights or just use concrete cinder blocks to anchor a tent down with rope. These can work just as well or better, but these methods can be a process to create or difficult to haul. These leg weights are a nice alternative to get you by for now and you can still use other methods along with them for added security in windy conditions.
Best Option: EZ Up Tent Weight Bags – Get them from Amazon here.
These are one of the more commonly desired of the better outdoor markets. You’ll need to fill them with sand from Walmart or any hardware store. We wish for all of our outdoor vendors to start using these, along with tent staking when possible. One sandbag per leg of your tent is required.
Do not double bag 2 legs and leave the remaining 2 legs unweighted!
Commercial Folding Tables
Where to Find: Usually Walmart
Cost: About $40-50/per table
Walmart sells the same brand of “white” commercial folding tables as many other retailers do, but Walmart seems to have lower prices on their standard 6 ft tables. These “white” top tables seem to be of better quality than their black counterparts you’ll see them with in store. You’ll still want to make sure everything locks in place and will release prior to purchasing. You don’t want to find issues the day of your market.
Fitted Table Covers
Where to Find: Try eFavormart.com (recommended to me)
Table cloths seem like an easy purchase, but getting the right one for our weather conditions can be an expensive task. You want table covers to be long enough to hide your storage boxes, coolers, packaging supplies and anything else that may clutter your booth. You also need them to stay put in windy conditions and not to ruin if a rain cloud is overhead.
You definitely want to advertise who you are to market customers as they walk by and a nice looking banner that clearly states who you are and what you sell is key. Many markets have size maximums that are around 2×10 ft to 3×10 ft.
A 2×10 ft banner is usually hung from a canopy tent top on the inside back frame or outside front frame. The ones at Sign Quick are more affordable and with a pretty quick turn-around time for standard orders; Standard 2×10 ft Vinyl Banner: About $80.
A 2×6 or 3×6 ft banner is usually hung from a front facing table. Sign Quick 3×6 ft Banner; About $72.
EZ Up has a custom banner printing service that’s pretty reasonably priced as well and their banners are designed to be hung from their canopy tents. You’ll want to talk to them about pricing first.
Do’s & Don’ts of Setup:
The vision for The Gypsy Rose Market is an upscale local shopping market with a fun, casual environment for customers and merchants. Our market is basically like a pop-up mall for local shopping. We want to keep an open and free-flowing feel for customers to shop, as well as maintaining safety.
These do’s and don’ts are a guide to help you setup your booth to be successful at our markets! More details about equipment can be found in our policy here.
Dividing curtains or drapes shouldn’t be used for our indoor venues. They hide neighboring booths and pose a safety hazard to property and people in smaller venues. It’s also harder for customers to see beyond them in small areas creating a purchasing barrier and stops the free-flowing feel of the market.
Small, easily portable clothing racks and sign stands or easels are a better choice for hanging clothes and displaying signs, books and more, for our indoor venues than large retail grid and shelving systems and they pose less of a safety risk to property and people.
They also allow customers to easily see neighboring booths and the rest of the market which helps keep the free-flowing feel of the overall market, and customers buying.
It is absolutely important for vendors to have the proper weights attached to their tents when at our markets. We are in a VERY windy area along the coast. Some days we get luckier than others, but realize Galveston Bay is just a few short miles away and the Gulf of Mexico is a short 30 minute trip south.
Our southern coastal breezes are felt more strongly here than they are 60+ miles on the other side of Houston or west of town. It’s only a matter of when for your tent to be lifted. Not having the proper weights, poorly placed weights or relying on staking alone will increase the risk of damage to property and people getting hurt.
Concrete Cinder Blocks are sometimes used to help support other weights used on tents. However, they need to be used responsibly and we rather them not used at all.
The photo below shows unapproved weighting on the tent (left arrow) that is only at 5 lbs on the leg. It also shows unsafe use of the concrete cinder blocks (right arrow). Look how close this man was to a broken foot!
Selling outdoors can be a lot of fun! At our markets, you have a lot more flexibility in your outdoor 10×10 booth space, too! Here, you can use your large grid and shelving systems, sidewalls as dividers, larger signage and more!
When we, as vendors, show our customers how organized and well designed our booths are, we are telling them they can be confident shopping with us. It will payoff in the long-run when we do things right.
I hope these Do’s and Don’ts help visually explain our policy some more. We want everyone to have a successful and safe market experience.
Do you have any tips or lessons learned? Leave a comment below!