It’s market season here in the Fraser Valley. From now until January you are guaranteed to find some sort of Autumn or Christmas market happening throughout the Fraser Valley area. What better way to get in the Christmas spirit than to check out some of the local artisans that the Fraser Valley has to offer! You might even be able to get some Christmas shopping done early this year.
Before figuring out which markets you plan on attending, there are a few things you need to know that will help make your market experience successful. We’ve come up with the top 4 things you should do before attending your first market this year!
Start following and interacting with vendors through social media
Typically event hosts have websites or Facebook events that provide you with a list of the participating vendors at the market. Doing some light research a week or two before the event by following and interacting with vendors through social media. You can scout out which vendors are going to be a priority for you to visit. You will get insider knowledge on any sales or special items they are bringing to the market through their sneak-peek posts leading up to the event. You can even start brainstorming and creating a wish list for yourself and people you are trying to buy gifts for.
Don’t be afraid to make small requests or inquire about products! Sometimes vendors will help you out and save certain products for you, or even bring items that are requested to the market. You never know until you reach out.
On the day of the market, try to arrive right when the market opens for the day
Most markets happen on a weekend, usually for both Saturday and Sunday. Some markets even kick things off and open for a few hours Friday night to get things started. Try to arrive as close to the opening time on the first day of the market! Many vendors team together and create little goody bags with samples and discounts that are handed out to the first 50-100 guests. This will help you out with your shopping, and it’s a lovely little pick-me-up to start the day!
If you have any highly coveted items on your shopping list, arriving early will hopefully ensure that the products are still available. Many vendors bring a limited stock to their markets for ease of set-up and liability. This means that supply is low, but demand is certainly high. I’ve been to so many markets over the years and I’ve seen firsthand how quickly some vendors sell out of their most popular products. I can’t repeat this enough: Arrive. Early!
Make sure you bring cash!
Paying for products at markets can be tricky. Many vendors are starting to understand the importance of accepting more than just cash as a payment method. If you’ve attended markets in the past, you’ve probably seen vendors advertising that they have a “Square Reader”. This is an easy and safe way to pay with your credit card. Some vendors who have been around longer might even accept debit!
My strategy for purchasing at craft markets is to pay with credit whenever possible, and to save my cash for vendors that only accept cash. Then you won’t accidentally limit yourself later on in the day if you want to buy something from a cash-only vendor.
Bring a reusable shopping bag
Shopping bags, whether they are brown kraft bags or white plastic grocery bags, are expensive for vendors to buy. You will find that many vendors don’t provide shopping bags with your purchase. This can be a little frustrating, but it’s hard to blame them. Shopping bags are upwards of $0.50 or even close to an entire $1.00 for the vendor. This is a big expense for a small business. Help them out, be environmentally-friendly, and bring your own cloth bag.
If you do luck out and purchase from a vendor that has shopping bags, you can use that to store all of your goodies from the day. You’ll probably run out of room though after an entire day of shopping. Cloth reusable bags are the way to go. And don’t forget to caffeinate!
Let us know in the comments which market you are looking forward to the most! We are super pumped for market season and we can’t wait to explore the talents of the Fraser Valley.