What I learned from the Flea Market

I recently had my first experience selling some of my handcrafts at the local market.

The Saturday fleamarket is $50 per week, so I went with the Sunday at $20 per week.

I made a $15 loss.

But here is everything I learned from that day.


My first goal was to churn out recycled hand crafts to create an income to buy art supplies. From the start, I was aiming to sell at a physical market, but then I got screaming from all directions that I had to sell directly from Facebook. So in this blog, I’m also going to compare the two.

I’ve used the FB market place, I’ve also spammed my FB artist page about selling items. I have used trademe.

Facebook market place: Free

Physical flea market: $20 per week

So far the only thing I have sold online are used video games and DVDs. However, any of my pieces that may have taken days to create have 10 views in 2 months and no comments after dropping the price three times. Meanwhile, my fiance chucks up an appliance, stating that it is broken and has three messages within minutes asking when they can pick it up and they will even give him $50. For a broken appliance. $20 for a painting that can fit in the palm of my hand that I spent hours on? TOOOOOOO MUUUUUUUUCCHHHHH.

I have found FB market place is great if you want to get rid of stuff. I will be using it to sell stuff locally. But for selling something you created, or to build a business it is a complete utter FAIL.

Do be warned: Some of FB marketplace groups attract bludgers with their hands out expecting free free free. If you want to make an actual profit, aim for the actual marketplace groups, there may be specific groups for actually selling created work, but I’ve never used them because selling on the internet nearly gives me a seizure or something. If you are just looking to get rid of crap and don’t care about making any money, local marketplace groups are great, so are garage sale and pay-it-forward groups.

The difference between this and a physical boot market is day and night.

You are there half the day and you are getting FAR more eyeballs than you got on FB for months. I’ve also noticed people actually commenting on my work, which is the very first time after those same objects sat on FB for weeks. I got a lot of ideas for further markets, while my FB market remains stagnant in complete silence, no feedback.

I made a $15 loss. But I actually sold something. How much did I sell on free FB again? Apart from 2nd hand DVDs that still sat there for a week? Nothing.


And before the shrieking winges of but maaaaaaaaarketiiiiiiiiing you’re not tryyyyyyyyyyyyyyiiiiiiiiing. I was haemorrhaging energy spamming FB for months and got radio silence. All I did at the book market was sit there and say ‘hi’ and got an immediate response. IRL communication is vastly superior to social media. Sometimes I didn’t even need to look at people, let alone say anything, to be communicated with about my product.

I did try. Didn’t work. Why shouldn’t I continue what did work?

Trying the same thing over and over that doesn’t work, isn’t entrepreneurship, it isn’t business, it is stupidity and insanity. And you would have to be even more stupid to chuck out what did work in favour of what didn’t.


I’ve only done this bootmarket once but I guess results can vary depending on the day. If it’s raining, good luck lol.

It pays to have a variety of stuff. I would recommend a few big things and many small things. I got that tip from many other artists and it seems like a really good idea. Your smaller cheaper things will sell like hotcakes because most people will be looking for something small and affordable. Don’t have too many bigger things, they are less likely to sell. Folks who go through markets expecting to blow a lot of money on a big piece come in very small numbers.

What you will need for a day at the market:

  • Table
  • Table cloth
  • Chair (“I’ll just stand” for at least four hours? Bring a chair!)
  • Tarp (optional but very useful)
  • Tent (semi-optional, you can buy it later with your profits. Never had one but I can see how they are worth every cent. Especially in the summer and when it’s raining.)
  • Food and drink (not optional! Must bring an entire picnic of your favourite snack foods! And a hot drink or two! And maybe wine!)
  • Container for cash (Important!!!!)
  • Trays & containers to hold small items
  • Price tags

I made my price tags out of cut up cereal boxes, cardboard tags from clothing and cheap twine I had lying around. My goal was to spend as little as possible on packaging. I assume there are no rules for price tags in most boot markets. Get creative. I’ve seen someone selling earrings stuck through playing cards. I’m tempted to buy some next time I see her.

Also, again, you are there for half the day. That’s hours. You need to be prepared for that.


In conclusion, I would recommend a physical market over an internet one. You might make a loss, but at least you will be actually selling. It’s also good experience and you can learn quite a bit (as I did!) which is why this one time was so valuable even though I made a loss.


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