Lessons Lettered from Markets: SLOW Market Case Study

The purpose of this post is to act as a north star to small businesses looking to sell at markets. These ideas/processes are based on The Azure’s strategy when choosing where to sell our Head Hammocks. 

Since The Azure was born in June 2023, the Head Hammocks have joined over 15 markets/events. Over this timeline, there are a wealth of lessons lettered about what we believe makes a strong market match for our business. The market that is closest aligned to our vision/mission of a company is the SLOW Market (Sustainable, Local, Organic, and Whole) based in the Orange County Area of California. Over the next handful of paragraphs, we will walk you through: 

  • Our Criteria Selection for understanding "Return of Investment" when going to markets
  • Why the SLOW Market succeeds in this Criteria Selection

Criteria Selection: When selecting a market to join, we look for various items that help us ensure the investment (market price to enter + time (markets are a lot of work + time)) is worth it. We measure our “Return on Investment” in a much deeper way than just looking at our balance sheet for that day. Here are the items we look for when selecting a market to apply for + attend, we hope this list may help build your own Criteria Selection:

  • Marketing: What marketing will the market do to promote the market/our brand? Will this marketing result in high numbers of potential customers? Are influencers involved? Is there buzz about the market?
  • Foundation of the Market: What is their reputation based on other vendors we know? What do customers attending the market say about the market? Is the market clean, is it organized, is it in a cool venue, is it going to be fun?
  • Purpose: What is the purpose of the market? What is the value proposition of going for a vendor, going for a customer?
  • Community of Vendors: Who are the vendors, are they our size, larger, smaller? What are their products? Are there opportunities for cross-brand collaborations?
  • Customers: What demographic of customers do we anticipate going? Does this fit into our demographic target? If not, is it an opportunity to reach new audiences?

Why The SLOW Market Succeeds:

Marketing: When choosing a market to attend as a small business, it is critically important to understand how the market is marketing the event. Are they posting on socials, are they engaging with local businesses to put flyers in their stores, are they sending out newsletters? Furthermore, are people excited to come, what is the value proposition? SLOW Market creates a sense of “wanting to go” because it is not only a market, it is so much more. It is a community that is focused on living in a slow way. These pillars are sprinkled throughout the beautiful marketing material to the physical look and feel of the actual market. From the Sustainable locations they host the events at, last time was an Ecology Center, to the Local artists, performers, and vendors that come, to the abundance of Organic food options to munch on, to the Wholesome experience market goers receive... they live up to their values and purpose through marketing.

Purpose: We always ask, “what is the purpose of this market?” before accepting the invitation or applying. SLOW Market’s purpose is crystal clear: A sustainable market for the community to support local earth friendly businesses. A SLOW Market focuses on the slow living values: Sustainable, Local, Organic, Whole. This is everything The Azure tries to embody like sourcing sustainable inputs to our Head Hammocks that are good for the earth, good for you, for example. It is a direct match and has helped drive sales for us at these markets. Attending markets that share purposes and values with our business is of the utmost importance to us.

Customers: The above two make a cocktail of opportunities for like-minded and health conscious consumers flooding to the markets. From families to influencers to the local baker, the customers that come to SLOW Market are fantastic. They simply “get it”. What does it mean to “get it” as a consumer of a small business? Not jabbing about the prices, not challenging a company’s idea or vision, buying into your company, literally and figuratively, a positive attitude, asking you open-ended questions, connecting you with their network for future work, collaboration, or initiatives. We have met tons of amazing people at SLOW Market that has not only turned into positive gains for The Azure; there are new friendships that are forged each time. Lastly, the vendors are an incredible piece to this equation. The vendors are supportive and want everyone to succeed, which makes the experience more positive and healthy.

These are some items your small business may implement based on our experience to help you navigate new waters regarding markets! Happy times ahead for you and your business, onward and upwards. 

Find SLOW on Instagram and join the market if it suits your business needs!

@aslowmarket // @thegreatloveclub