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BRING OUT THE 'AWESOME' IN YOUR MARKET APPLICATIONS!

Yes you marvellous makers, it's THAT time of the year again where you are planning your markets for 2017.  YIKES!
There're some newbie markets to try out, some ones you've been trying to get into and ones you want to return to.
What makes your application stand out from the bazillion* (may be a slight exaggeration) others that stall holder managers receive?
How you sell your biz to them is crucial to possible selection so here are some key points to consider:

  • Quality & Diversity of Your Product
    Have a point of difference with your product. Stall holder managers get truck loads of applications- make sure yours stands out. If you're a returning stall holder, it's always helpful to tell the stall holder manager what new products you have - they are trying to diversify, meet the needs of their target audience and it's good for PR too.

  • High Quality, Clear & Recent Product Images
    Please, please, PLEASE make sure you send images through AND of the best quality possible- shot on a white/light surface and background! Oh, and no filters either! This can alter your product and be misleading. 

  • Online Presence and Social Media Activity
    How's your online presence? (Do you have a website, Instagram or Facebook page that you update regularly?)  Markets like to use social media as a form of marketing/promotions- reposting, tagging, liking, commenting etc is good for all of us. Check out your fave makers' online accounts and see what they do to promote their biz. Interact online with markets on their social media accounts and build a rapport with them - it's a new business network for you to tap into.

  • Triple Check That Market Application
    Have you filled out the form correctly?  Check each section again - often ace applications are relegated to 'not so ace' because of an incomplete form.

Websites, online stores, promotional material, publications and market applications are demanding more clear, quality images in order to use these in cross promotional opportunities, which is important for you and your biz.  But not everyone is a photographer though....so how can you amp up your own rad photography skills without spending yonks on setting up a shoot at home?

Natalie Carter of Light My Fire Melbourne and whiz-bango co founder of Melbourne Makers Meetup explains further:

1. Sell yourself, your product is awesome so put that across. The worst thing you can do is undersell your business. Your job in the application is to get the person reading it excited about potentially having you at their market.

2. White paper can be your best mate, grab a poster size sheet, a nice piece of wood, a slab of marble, hell even the floor will do and turn it into a mini photoshoot. Just keep an eye out for too much shadow, shadows take away from a photo.

3. KISS keep it simple sweetheart, you don’t need to go crazy... in fact the greatest photos are usually simple and well executed. Having 30,000 props don’t work in your favour. It’s about you and your work!
— Natalie Carter (Light My Fire Melbourne)
LMF collage.jpg

Awesome Nat!

Now, here are some cool photography tips to try out. Of course there's a bucket load of tutorials on YouTube but to save you time, we've asked some more fellow fab makers to share a few easy tips to try out at home on your mobile phone or compact camera....

Lauren Williams of Lauren Williams Jewellery suggests these tips on your mobile phone (Lauren uses an iPhone):

1. Use natural light, near a window or outside in the shade
2. Never use a flash- it’s too bright and harsh
3. Lay your products on a white or light background to photograph
4. Try taking shots from different angles
5. Experiment with props
6. My favourite App for editing using your iPhone is Snapseed- best bit is it’s free!
— Lauren Williams (Lauren Williams Jewellery)

Bree Johns of Sir Trouble Handmade is another maker killin' it on product visuals! Here are some helpful insights into creating more effective visual content for your applications....

1. Use Photography Apps
You don’t have to be an expert on photography to take some great photos by just using your phone! I take 99% of my photos with my iPhone, not just because it’s convenient but because there are so many apps available to edit and transform your pics into the bright, clear photos that we’re all looking for!

2. Lighting
Let’s face it; bright, light photos catch our attention when scrolling through social media and for small business, we want our products to stand out. By finding the brightest room in the house to take your photos & using natural light instead of the flash, you can make a huge difference to the outcome of your image.

But sometimes even the brightest room doesn’t give us the exact look or colours we were after, by using outside apps you can brighten, sharpen and contrast to fake the perfect shot! Some of my favourites apps to edit are Snapseed & VSCO Cam and I would suggest editing your photos yourself rather than using a filter to change the look of your photos.

3. Whitespace
You can also help make your product the main focus of your picture by using a lot of whitespace. Not only will this help to brighten your photo, it will allow your product to stand out & not get lost in the background.

4. Crop not Zoom
Don’t zoom with your phone! If you want to zoom in on something, take your photo as you would and crop. Zooming changes the clarity of the image, but cropping afterwards keeps things clear and takes advantage of all those pixels.

5. Focus Lock
And my favourite trick is the AE/AF LOCK which is available on iPhone. Most of you know that when you touch your screen (when taking a photo) the phone automatically focuses on the area that you have touched but if you tap and hold the screen for a couple of seconds, the phone will lock the focus (and if you cant keep a steady hand like me) your focus point will remain unchanged!

With a few simple tips and tricks you can transform any photo into an Instagram worthy image that will demand a double tap :)’
— Bree Johns (Sir Trouble Handmade)
Sir Trouble collage (1).jpg

Thanks Bree and Lauren!  Our last words come from Natalie Carter (Light My Fire Melbourne) with some sage advice for all those applications you'll be putting in:

If you do receive a rejection letter be sure to read over what you did send, ensure you filled it out correctly. If all is well then reply and thank them for letting you know, visit the market to see the stallholders who did get it, and try again with a clearer mind of what the market represents. Sometimes it’s as simple as not being the right fit for each other, other times it’s having a saturation of the type of product you make. Don’t be discouraged and just keep trying.
— Natalie Carter (Light My Fire Melbourne)

Best of luck with your 2017 market applications!

- Seddon Makers Market Team :)

Mel E MMGComment