Handmade Music Clubhouse

Cigar Box Guitar Headquarters - CBG HQ

I'm here to say that after trying a number of events, craft fairs, art shows, etc... I have found that the consistent presence of being in a flea market booth every weekend has been working the best for me. Last August I moved from being a street vendor under a 10 x 10 tent, to a small 10 x 8 booth. As of this week, I relocated to a larger 10 x 16 booth. I needed the room for growth, and now I can have more potential customers browsing my displays.

I found that having an informative, eye catching Marquee helps draw customers, and give them basic info on what is going on.

Have your instruments displayed in a simple, un-cluttered fashion. Go the extra effort to look well represented.

Set up near the front so that you can play to the crowd, and demonstrate the instruments while being able to keep an eye on what's going on inside the booth.

Put your best "Eye Candy" together in the back of the booth. This draws customers into the store and out of the walkway. Be knowledgeable of your instruments, be professional, and you will begin to get regular customers and repeat business. 

Well, enough for now. I have to get back to work :D

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sounds like a formula for success.

In the flea market seen. What is the average sale, Are they impulse buys. or are you finding people return for your product. Do you ever see higher end sales. I have been concidering setting up and have been wondering if it would be worth it. We have a high volume flea market with in a hour of us.


Here's what I think.  A flea market can be successful if you play all day so they see/hear what they can do.  But you still lower your prices.  Flea market people have no idea about the cigar box guitar revolution, they see something cute, then you blow them away by playing.

I found that you can get better money online.  Folks that are familiar with cigar box guitars and entered a search.  When I set up a stand among non cbg folks, my prices get cut by a third.  Something I can easily sell thru my site or eBay for 175, I'll let go for 50...  And its hard to sell a serious build for $400 - 900 at a flea market, 

They just dont know.  

I try to have a tiered approach to my inventory so that I can leverage both the impulse and the high end buyer. The market that I'm at has easy access to the Interstate and is between two large population centers ( Orlando & Tampa Bay ). I advertise in both areas within my "Target" community of Ukulele, Blues, and Bluegrass musicians. That way I'm not as dependent upon the Flea Market's customer base. I actually have become a draw to the market. I've had repeat customers come from up to 100 miles away to purchase from me. 

Sure, the High End sales between $400 - $900 are rare, which is no surprising in the current economy. But I recently sold a hollow body Jazz Guitar for $1,200. My "Sweet spot" tends to be in the $120 - $175 range with my teardrop strummers and cigar box guitars.

And don't underestimate the lowly canjo... those are my largest volume and my highest profit margin. 

At the end of the day, Ebay Online is a "Below Wholesale Auction House", my prices are set about 25% above that and my customers can come look, handle and try before they buy. If you don't look and act like a junk booth, the customers don't treat you like a junk booth. At this market there are many mid to high end vendors.

It's been a while now, but here is the update.

The Flea Market booth is closed. I did well for almost a year and a half, but over the last few months it failed to make rent. The 2 issues that I observed that caused it to ultimately fail....

1) Over saturation of the local market. The customers that I saw every weekend for a year simply had everything they wanted, and I couldn't keep them interested.

2) The Economy of Florida is mostly Tourism. This year, so far, the Northerners have just not arrived. And the Canadian exchange rate is a bit unfavorable. The economy overall is also down from last year. 

So.... Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome....

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