business Farmers Markets

Hey -
 
I'm looking for basic stats on how successful or not successful hot sauce stands tend to be at farmers markets. I am sitll working on getting my company up and running. I have established the LLC, got my food handlers card, tested my main recipe at a lab, but I still have lots more steps to take.  I am assuming I have at least another $1,000 to spend before I can  sell my sauces legitimately at farmers markets or stores.
 
I am curious if anyone out there has a breakdown of their sales or an average of sales they would make at a market?  Since there are costs like, insurance for the market, rental of the space, making of a large banner to present at your space, etc etc....I'm assuming I'll have to sell quite a lot of bottles to break even and enter the profit.  I'm still going to give it a shot!
 
Anyone got any suggestions / feedback? THANKS!
 
Insurance for a farmers market?  Rental space?  A state farmers market should have none of these. I sell at markets and do quite well, Im in Alabama and exempt from cottage laws as state market lab tests products not legal to sell via cottage laws. $35 fee for the PH testing. Banner cost $24 at vista print.  Your going into full supermarket commercial sales mode. Whole nother ball game than farmers markets.
 
That being said, even commercial ready, markets are a good promotional tool. Dont expect to make a killing or even a living for that matter. If your going full commercial. get into the stores. Set a wholesale price for the stores, food margins are VERY LOW, so takes alot of stores to get the money coming in. Even then its not gonna come in till you do things like markets and such, taste samplings and such, be prepared to give away alot of your product to build a following.
 
I have products in only 4 stores right now and ill be honest, money aint rolling in with 4 stores but its coming in. I still do markets for my fresh peppers and sauces. Love them and NO BETTER WAY to get out there in front of the people.
 

salsalady

Business Member
The good part of a FM is....you get all the profits....as opposed to selling wholesale.


When restarting selling my fresh salsa at a new location, I did FM for a couple summers, selling 60 to 100 units in 3 hours on Saturdays. After the 2nd summer, I got the salsa into the 2 local...and only...grocery stores in our rural area in the fall and thru the winter.

Next FM sesson, sales tanked. Every one came by, grabbed a chip and said, "I love this salsa! Its the Best! I just bought some at Hanks!!!"

And then they'd walk away.....


For me, in this isolated location, getting into the stores killed my retail sales. In a larger market, maybe your store sales wont impact the market sales do much.

A benefit of doing the markets is that people will taste and hopefully buy it at the market, then the repeat buys will be at the local stores.
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
You don't need to worry about stats. Bread, jam, hot sauce. It's not the product it's the hustle or I will just walk on by. You have to have a great personality or hire someone. It's all about the hustle man. Call me over. Tell me why. Let me taste. Convince me. Laugh. Make a joke. Make it awesome. I buy. You win. Boom.
 
The Hot Pepper said:
You don't need to worry about stats. Bread, jam, hot sauce. It's not the product it's the hustle or I will just walk on by. You have to have a great personality or hire someone. It's all about the hustle man. Call me over. Tell me why. Let me taste. Convince me. Laugh. Make a joke. Make it awesome. I buy. You win. Boom.
Agreed, the man sells the product, if its good they come back,see it in a store even better, sure i dont make as much in stores as in person, but some money is better than no money.  Aint gonna sell sitting on home shelf waiting on market day.
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
The product must be awesome but I ain't gonna sell it to myself, that's your job. Been to many a FM/street fair, etc... the showmen and women win. Hands down. With the products to back it up.
 

salsalady

Business Member
amfarms17 said:
Ah but they said i bought some at........bet it wasnt on a market day, so therefor a sale.
Absolutely was a sale, at wholesale price. It got to the point where my kid was selling $100 in lemonade and I was selling $20 in salsa. :lol:

At that point it was a ...why bother..for me to continue selling at the market. And that wholesale market sells throughout the whole year, not just in the summer.

In my location, the people at the FM are also the people who shop at Hanks and the iga all year long. After they became loyal customers at the market, they continued to buy. To the point where their habit was to buy at the store not the fm.
 

salsalady

Business Member
The Hot Pepper said:
The product must be awesome but I ain't gonna sell it to myself, that's your job. Been to many a FM/street fair, etc... the showmen and women win. Hands down. With the products to back it up.
I had it easy, my sales pitch was..."would you like to try some fresh salsa? " then they just had to taste the flight to get what heat level they liked.




Until that one time I was sampling in a store in Bellingham wa in the mid-90's...college town...and some dweeb replied..."I dont eat salsa because I dont agree with the political policies of the Mexican government "

What the ?!?!???...:bandhead:
 

salsalady

Business Member
On the other hand, Scott Zalkind of Lucky Dog HS fame, does 3-4 markets a week. He is in the San Francisco area, so there are lots of market options. It seems to be a big part of his sales. If I were in a metro area, I would seriously look at utilizing a few markets for retail sales.
 
amfarms17 said:
Insurance for a farmers market?  Rental space?  A state farmers market should have none of these. I sell at markets and do quite well, Im in Alabama and exempt from cottage laws as state market lab tests products not legal to sell via cottage laws. $35 fee for the PH testing. Banner cost $24 at vista print.  Your going into full supermarket commercial sales mode. Whole nother ball game than farmers markets.
 
That being said, even commercial ready, markets are a good promotional tool. Dont expect to make a killing or even a living for that matter. If your going full commercial. get into the stores. Set a wholesale price for the stores, food margins are VERY LOW, so takes alot of stores to get the money coming in. Even then its not gonna come in till you do things like markets and such, taste samplings and such, be prepared to give away alot of your product to build a following.
 
I have products in only 4 stores right now and ill be honest, money aint rolling in with 4 stores but its coming in. I still do markets for my fresh peppers and sauces. Love them and NO BETTER WAY to get out there in front of the people.
 
Yes, I have to have specific insurance to be covered by the famers market to be applicable. I need to rent the space for a booth. I need to take an acidified foods course, 420 dollars alone just for that. I need to mail 2 bottles to a process authority, 200 dollars for that.  This is all stuff that is to get into a farmers market, no matter how large or small scale I am.  Maybe its different where you are from - I am in Oregon.
 
WOW, do you have a link to those rules I can read?  Thats all commercial grade rules to me and not conducive of a farmers market. This a STATE RUN market right and not some guy renting spaces calling himself a farmers market?  We have markets too, some call themselves farmers markets when in fact they are not.  Commercial rental space falls under commercial rules.
 
If your market you sell at STATE RUN, damn glad i dont live there. PH testing for acidified foods should well be more than enough. Yes my state requires testing, OH testing they do at state lab. $35
 

salsalady

Business Member
Sounds about right for a properly run market and licensing requirements. Upside would be the number of customers coming thru the market.

Unfortunately, my local FM had a market master with the backbone of a daisy and at the time I was involved, a committee with the same. Same mm still not doing his thing, not sure when it will end.

Properly run markets require licensing and insurance for food products. Once you have that licensing, it is good for a lot of events. Holiday bazaars, 4th of July, fairs...lots of venues.
 
Yes I also have to use commercial kitchens. It's definitely a real market.  The application applies me for a city wide network of markets. I live in Portland, OR and there area bout 4 major markets.  I would just hate to spend $1k to get established, to only sell like $40 worth of sauce at market, which pays for the rent of the market space for the day. Hmmm...Just venting now.
 

salsalady

Business Member
amfarms17 said:
WOW, do you have a link to those rules I can read?  Thats all commercial grade rules to me and not conducive of a farmers market. This a STATE RUN market right and not some guy renting spaces calling himself a farmers market?  We have markets too, some call themselves farmers markets when in fact they are not.  Commercial rental space falls under commercial rules.
 
If your market you sell at STATE RUN, damn glad i dont live there. PH testing for acidified foods should well be more than enough. Yes my state requires testing, OH testing they do at state lab. $35
I dont think the markets are state run, but they follow state FM regulations. Cottage industry or pickle bill rules dont apply. Hot sauces and most condiments are not allowed under the Pickle Bill.

Most use EBt or some such for using govt links, they have to have the ducks lined up to not have unlicensed sellers.
 

salsalady

Business Member
Newks_Hot_Sauce said:
Yes I also have to use commercial kitchens. It's definitely a real market.  The application applies me for a city wide network of markets. I live in Portland, OR and there area bout 4 major markets.  I would just hate to spend $1k to get established, to only sell like $40 worth of sauce at market, which pays for the rent of the market space for the day. Hmmm...Just venting now.
And for good reason!

Have you posted the anonymous bottles at the picnic and listened to the comments? Have you offered free samples for really honest critical comments from some thp peers?

One of the best insights for new sauce makers came from Scott zalkind. Put your sauce out there and listen to the comments
 

salsalady

Business Member
If you dont believe in your product, noone else will.
 
I believe in my product - just trying to gauge what people make at markets on an average day, so I can get some kind of basic idea / expectation in my head.  I appreciate the feedback.  This forum has been extremely helpful, I have learned so much over the past couple months.
 
I wish you the best I honestly do, with all those regulations, your a commercial producer, use markets to build brand name.  You make good safe stuff as we all do, GOV isnt always right with the regulations and crap to jump through. Everybody clear out all ya lettus yet?  They licensed to. Gov paper dont mean much anymore.  Put LOVE into your product, eat your product. 
 
Mass production corp farms, if you even wanna call them farms anymore, they more a manufacturing operation anymore, sell to the masses, make the big bucks, I dont make my stuff with that mentality and Im sure everyone here dont either.  I grow 100% organic, no I dont have nor have i paid the money to prove it, I dont have to pay to spray chemicals, even the rules of label organic has changed so much organic dont even mean organic.  YOUR HEART makes it so, we all know when we short cutting or adding crap, or using chemicals,  
 
Lets get back to the ROOTS
 
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