For the past four Sundays, I have been in Mercato Centrale @ BGC, but what made the last Sunday extra special was that I was one of their concessionaires. I belonged to the other side of Mercato Centrale.
I remember asking one of the concessionaires during my first visit, what time the ingress was - since it was an early weekend market. I was told that it started at 4:00 in the morning. I was shocked and impressed, but then it dawned on me that that was the normal call time for mall ingress, right? So it was just but normal.
On my fourth Sunday - I found myself manning a booth with my sister in law selling gingerbread trees! We got to Mercato at about 5:00am - I think we were the first ones who were setting up at Tent 1, we looked very eager since we were really early! Hahaha.. But since it was our first time, I thought - why not go early to see what we can do. We honestly did not have any idea on what the tables looked like or where we could place the rack that we brought along. But we managed to fix our booth nicely, I think our early call time worked as we didn't look harassed and panicky while setting up. We were able to take our time and decided on how we wanted the booth to look. We were actually done setting up before the market opened its doors.
We had our first customer at around 8am - a mother and a daughter. They bought two trees because the daughter thought it looked really cute! She didn't know who to give it to, but she thought it was really cute! Our sales was surprisingly slow for the few hours after that - it started to pick-up towards lunch time. People were all smiling and saying 'thank you' whenever we offer them free samples to taste, some took a taste while some declined saying they were still full.
Being on the other side of Mercato and selling/sampling goods is not as easy as it looks. One has to be friendly, smiley and cheery! I had to change my lines a couple of times to see what worked! I started out with the following lines:
- 'Please try our gingerbreads!' This line just got me smiles and curious looks on the products that we wee selling
- 'Gingerbreads for sale!' This got me nowhere
- 'Free taste! Gingerbreads!' This I think was one of the most effective - when they hear the word free, they turn their heads!
- 'Free taste! Try our gingerbreads!' Another effective line that got people to try and buy some trees!
I think I used the last two lines the most! I was seated inside the booth the whole time, since I'm pregnant I easily get tired when I am on my feet, good thing my sister in law and her staff were on their feet selling out products to people! I was the resident order taker and the cashier (love being the cashier!!) Even if I was seated the whole time, I never got tired of uttering the lines and encouraging people to try our product! One tactic I used was to entice a child to try the gingerbread - I then ask if the like it, and when they do - I tell them to ask mommy and daddy to buy for them. This tactic worked like magic! The parents couldn't resist buying for their kids - and when my SIL tells them that the gingerbread trees are all natural and do not carry any kind of preservatives - the parents are more eager to buy them for their kids! I was actually impressed that the kids loved the gingerbreads - I never thought that kids would appreciate the taste of it, but I'm super glad that they do!!
At the close of the market, my SIL and I were able to sell all of the gingerbread trees that we brought with us. And I think that's very successful - because we didn't get to bring any gingerbread home with us! You see, my SIL was skeptical at first that we'd make good sales, me on the otherhand was the complete opposite! I knew for a fact that any number we'd bring, we'd be able to sell out - for me, it was just a matter of time. And I was right all along! Had we brought more trees, I think we still could have sold more BUT to be honest, we'd never know because we didn't bring any extra!
Selling with my SIL made me realize that we could do business together. I had so much fun manning the booth with her. I wish that my condition was a little bit better and different because I think that I could have been more comfortable selling trees outside the booth rather than being stuck inside the booth. But no regrets, no regrets at all!! :)
The performance of our booth made us both realize that we could do this regularly - because there's a market. We'd love to join Mercato Centrale next year!
Thank you Anton, Rache, RJ, and Mommy Mundo for opening the door ajar for us. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to join Mercarto on the last Sunday of 2010.
Happy Holidays!! :)
P.S. We were so busy that we failed to take pics of our booth!! To those who took shots of our booth, we hope you can share with us your photos!! Thank you in advance!! :)