how to become a market vendor

When I first started my watercolor business, one of my goals was to sell at markets. But I had no idea how to begin doing that. 

Since I've started selling at markets, I've had several people interested in knowing how I became a vendor at the markets I frequent. 

So I thought I'd write a little post for those interested in knowing how to become a market vendor. Good news: it's not that hard.

I got my start on the market scene by having market managers reach out to me on Etsy. I know that won't happen for everyone who is interested in selling at markets. So if no one reaches out to you, here is how to take the first steps. 

First, you have to research the markets you'd like to attend. If you don't have a list of markets, there are lots of places to start.

Personally, I would begin on Instagram. Find some other artists that you admire, not necessarily in your field of art, and see which markets and fairs they attend. You may also be able to find similar artists when you tap the small downward arrow at the top of their profile. 

From the artist's Instagram page, you may be able to find the accounts of popular markets and fairs, which will link you to that market's website. 

Another place to browse for markets is Pinterest. Searching "Art Markets in Portland" might bring up some popular searches and markets available in the area. 

And last check good old google. A search for "Portland art fairs" will likely bring up a great list of markets and shows in the area.

Once you've found 1 or more markets you're interested in, do some more research. Make sure these markets have great reviews. I've attended markets that are terrible and I don't want to repeat that. 

A few tips:

Make sure the buyers and sellers leave happy reviews.

Check that it's a well-established market. 

Make sure your products are appropriate at the market. 

So you've done the research and have found some great markets you're interested in. Now what?

Visit the websites of each of these markets. There will be a link at the top of the page to apply as a vendor if applications are open. Follow the link and you'll be able to read more about what is required. 

Applications usually require a fee, plus you'll have an additional booth fee. I've paid anywhere between $50 and $600 for a booth. If it's your first time or the market is brand new, I don't recommend spending a ton of money on booth fees. You'll learn a lot from your first market and you don't want to have spent a ton of money without making back your booth rental fees.

Along with the fees, applications will typically require tax paperwork, photos of your artwork or products you're selling, a bit about yourself, and a photo of your booth. If you haven't set up a booth before, most market managers will be lenient. So don't worry about that. 

Finally, once you're in the market, you'll get lots of opportunities to meet other vendors and buyers who will recommend successful markets. I've met some of my best friends at markets and many of them have pointed me towards other markets. 

Markets are a great way to build your business. They do require lots of preparation, but they're so worth it if you're willing to do the research to find the right markets for you. Hopefully this post was informative and answered some questions on how to become a vendor.



AnnaLiisa Moss