Thursday, 13 December 2012

School Christmas markets

'You won't let me have fairy floss Mummy, so I'm buying it with my own money!'
Every year, my son's school has a Christmas market. It is a lovely idea that takes place in the evening a few days before school finishes for the year. Anyone who wants to (from the school community) can have a stall for only $5. Lots of children get busy making things or finding their old toys to sell. Mums and dads also get busy, sometimes making traditional food from their country of origin, making crafts (guess who) and helping the children get their stalls ready.

I have had a stall for the last four years selling children's clothes, jewellery and other crafts that I have made. This year, my boys were keen to get involved for the first time so half of my table was donated to their cause. We had a whole load of fart bombs, practical jokes in little packs and plastic cockroaches (as you do), which we had accumulated somehow, mostly as surplus goodies from the little bags we gave to friends at birthday parties. The boys were super-keen to sell these and also made some paper ninja stars to supplement their income.

Learning from experience, we got everything ready beforehand. We made the labels and packed things into containers which could just be opened and displayed on the table.

My merchandise consisted of simple bracelets, necklaces, baby tutus, baby ruffle pants and vest sets,  girls' clothes, fabric flowers and Christmas fairies (get the tutorial here). The best sellers at these school markets are things that appeal to children spending 50c to $2 of their pocket money. The mums sometimes buy a more expensive item, but mostly it's just the cheap rubbish stuff that sells. 

In the past, I have used a proper clothes rail for my display. This time I wanted to be able to set up and pack away quickly and carry things easily to and from the car, so I used my camera tripod. I adjusted the legs so it sat on the table perfectly and it packed away to nothing.

I covered a cork pinboard with fabric to display the jewellery and other knick knacks. This could be taken straight out of a bag and propped up on the table.

So, once all the merchandise was ready, I just needed a sheet for the table, a float in a lidded container, spare labels, sticky tape, pens, scissors and a money belt. At the last minute I grabbed snacks and water and I borrowed a trestle table from a friend. I didn't bring a chair as you tend to be standing up at these things anyway.

I used strong bags with handles, bought very cheaply from Ikea, to pack everything into so it was easy to carry.

We only had about 15 minutes to set up the stall as we were rushing there from the boys' guitar lesson. All the preparation paid off. We carried everything over in one trip and set up with time to spare. Stress-free marketing!

Here we are in business! Despite a rainy evening, the market was packed with people and we sold lots of stuff. As predicted, the fart bombs were the biggest hit. We had crowds of boys, girls and dads (!) around the stall buying them up. Later in the evening, loud bangs and dubious smells were emanating from all corners of the market!!

The boys earned $20 each for their hard work. LJ did ten minutes of busking with his guitar and was thrilled to get $3 from that! I sold a few things and generally had a fun time watching the children and soaking up the atmosphere. All in all, a very successful evening.

Quote of the day:

JJ (aged 7): 'What happens if Father Christmas is watching you on the toilet?'
Me: 'Oh, he doesn't watch people on the toilet. He doesn't want to see that'
JJ: 'But what if you are being bad on the toilet??!'
Me: 'Errr, well....(help!)'


Marianna said...

What a lovely post, full of festive cheer!

I'm a big fan of the school fairs: I love how the kids get into a mini shopping frenzy and how this gives them a chance to make choices with their pennies!

We never had fart bombs when my son was at primary... I'd hate to think we missed out! But I remember what did sell really well: tattoos.

Er, I do mean temporary tattoos...

Megan O said...

You are never too old for fart bombs! I love watching the children deciding what to buy too - so sweet. I'll definitely keep the tattoo idea in mind for next year. Thanks!


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