Looking for Advice on Setting Up a Stall?
How to Get Started?
Information for Farmers, Growers and Food Producers
Markets are an incredible resource for food producers to link in with consumers. As a seller of food, you can directly connect with your customers, gain valuable feedback, and directly educate customers. Having a stall can provide you with a simple first route to market and if it suits your business model; an ongoing relatively low-cost retail outlet, leveraging local support on an ongoing basis.
Here is some basic information about how to get started with selling at a market. We’ve put together a little information to help point you in the right direction when you’re starting out, but please note that this advice Is not by any means exhaustive and is just a starting point if you are interested in having a stall at a food market.
Step 1 - Identifying Markets
Your first port of call will be to identify markets in your local area – you can review our listing here
It is also useful to review the different types of markets – from Farmers Markets to Country Markets, Cottage markets, and Neighbour Food Markets See more here
2 - Travel
Consider how far you are willing to travel to take part in a market on a weekly basis. Take some time to visit a few markets and get a feel for how they operate. It’s also a good idea to roughly take stock of the other stalls in a market that you feel is suitable for you, as some markets will limit the numbers of specific categories for example limit to one butcher, one baker and so on.
Step 3 - Availability
Many markets do also have waiting lists so be aware that you will not be guaranteed a slot at your preferred market! For obvious reasons to ensure the viability of a given market; organisers often ask for an ongoing commitment from stallholders to come every week on an ongoing basis, you need to consider whether this fits with your business model and availability. There are also some markets that will allow you to take a stall every so often or on a short-term basis.
Step 4 - Making Contact
After some basic research on markets, you should then contact the organisers. You will normally be able to get details by asking at the market or online, most of the longstanding or larger markets either have a website or operate on social media channels.
Step 5. Marketing Advice
A Simple holding page website is a great idea so that everyone can find you easily. It is possible to run such a website for a very small annual fee. Your LEO is a great source of information for getting online and also provides supports in some cases for same.
Keeping times, locations and any other info as up to date as possible across all channels such as social media and a website will save you a lot of time in the long run (answering queries etc) To make sure you reach as many people as possible – ensure that you link all your channels to each other.
You should ensure to engage with all local and national bodies to ensure that your listings are up to date.
Step 6 - Equipment
If you are going to be part of an outdoor market you will likely need all of your own equipment from a sturdy all-weather canopy to tables, as well as a vehicle capable of transporting your goods and equipment. If you need refrigeration or cooking facilities, you will need to consider access to electricity.
You will need to have insurance and ensure that your produce complies with food law (some useful links below)
Step 7 - Review Your Business Model
If the market is a stepping stone to growing your business for other market channels, it is vital that you consider future costs when setting a price. For example, if you plan to sell through third-party retail or supply to restaurants or go on to use a distributor there will be other margins to build in going forward and a realistic price should be set if this is the case to gauge the price point that consumers are willing to pay. A little market research and advice from bodies such as your LEO will be invaluable here. On the other hand, if your business model is aimed at selling locally and direct to the public you will have slightly different considerations. Do ensure that you build all of your costs, including all of your time into the price to ensure that it is feasible on an ongoing basis.
It is also a great idea to engage with your Local Enterprise Office (LEO) where there are a variety of supports available as well as the chance to network with other businesses in your locality.
If you need to update a market listing on the Bord Bia website, please contact us at the link below.
Additional Resources & Related Content
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland is the inspectorate body for food business operators and for stall holders selling at markets. There are a host of resources on their website and a great starting point is their specific page with resources specific to home businesses and food stallsLearn more
MAST Market Trader Handbook
MAST have created a helpful handbook that is essential reading when you are starting outLearn more
Markets Alive Support Team (MAST)
MAST (Markets Alive Support Team) is an organisation which provides support and information to Markets and Market traders. MAST also organises insurance for members.Learn more
Setting up a Food Market
Markets provide a vibrant hub in the community and act as an attraction for towns, supporting local food producers, and encouraging social interaction as well as adding to the local economy.Learn more