Selling at farmer's markets
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
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    189

    Default Selling at farmer's markets

    There's lots involved with being successful selling honey at markets. Some things I've picked up on is to be friendly and polite towards other vendors, smile and talk positively to people, express my passion for bees and honey, not to sit down to stand and make myself look busy, to have my stand either have lots of products, or a few, not a moderate amount, offer samples.

    One thing that I've noticed is, many customers seem to assume that I'm not a beekeeper, and become pleasantly surprised when they discover that I am indeed, a beekeeper. Being able to visually communicate such is then profitable. Customers are first exposed to the visuals of ones stand before any other stimuli, so that visual look is crucial for one's first impression.

    I've created myself a "local honey" sign with some pictures of my bees to help visually communicate such. I've read other people taking their smokers, to act as something to attract visual interest, though I'm not sure how people would respond to it. I've read some people attending in their beesuits, but I figure as a young person I'd look really rather out of place doing such. I've also heard of some people taking observation hives, but I'm concerned for the welfare of the bees and doing that, and concerned I'll give sensitive people a fright with such.

    One thing that I'm really unsure how to approach, is selling honeycomb. Honeycomb seems to attract a lot of interest, I figure people it's a rare sight for many. Many people seem to become quite put off by the price of it. Now, I've been selling honeycomb all at the same price, even though some honeycombs weigh a lot more, or a lot less than others. It's gotten to the point, where I'm hiding the very small, and very large honeycombs from customers. Last market I went to, I divided my honeycombs into two sections; the ones on the left had a going price of $10, the ones on the right had a selling price of $12. Most people bought the $12 and I felt the person who bought the $10 wouldn't have done so if it was $2 more. I'm wondering if I should have a third pile, or maybe individually price each comb with a marker on them. I see that the ones I sell, look a lot more raw and natural and there's more comb and they're sold at less, or an equal price to more professionally packaged combs, that to me look weird with how "perfect" they are.

    Does anyone have any tips to be more successful selling at markets?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    frederick, md
    Posts
    840

    Default Re: Selling at farmer's markets

    We sell honey comb, run out pretty fast. This last year we had around 60 pieces. We put it into those plastic comb containers. Any pieces that are too small, go into jars with honey and is sold as chunk honey. We offer 10 oz chunk and 16 oz chunk.

    We offer tastes of comb honey, cut into small pieces, with a toothpick. We get the samples from burr comb, poorly drawn comb comb honey. People love to taste.

    We sell a lot of creamed honey, usually someone tastes it they buy. We offer 5oz, 10oz and 16 oz creamed, 8 oz, 12 oz, 16 oz liquid honey.
    We have a lot of people buy the 5oz creamed, then they come back and buy the 16 oz one and get hooked. We do get requests for honey over the winter, keep some jarred up in the freezer for requests (liquid) and also have creamed jarred up and ready to go in the basement, nice and cool.

    Here we have to pay for a tasting license, good for the season. Well worth the money.

    I have some bees wax candles on the table, price 5 or 6 dollars, small bars of soup made with a bit of honey, sold for 50 or 75 cents.

    I have pictures of our bees collecting nectar from flowers in our back yard. All attracts attention. I might save a good frame of capped honey to have as a display on the table this next summer. Some bee keeps take a frame of bees, but I don't want to disturb the bees every market to collect a frame to haul to the market.

    I just made a banner via vista print, 2.5 x 6 feet, the banner just says local honey with pictures of our bees on different flowers collecting honey. Cost 32 dollars (on sale lol)
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    Last edited by missybee; 12-27-2017 at 06:24 AM.
    Zone 6b: 27 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    189

    Default Re: Selling at farmer's markets

    Are the honeycombs in the jar popular? Do you sell those jars for more?

    How do people respond to the honeycomb? Does offering samples lead to more sales? I figure that, people want to try honeycomb as it's a novelty, and that giving them samples gives them that experience for free, which would lead to people not paying the money for the novelty experience. People then need to spit out the wax, how can you have them comfortably do that? I offer a bin, but it'd be awkward to spit it out to the bin on the ground.

    Why do you keep honey in the freezer?

    I've been wanting to experiment with bees wax candles and honey soap. Are they popular? Is there much involved in making them? Are they profitable?

    What sort of pictures do you have available? Is it bad for the honeyframe at all to be carting it around like that? How do you store it? How would they take a frame of bees? Like in a glass display box? Does seem distressing to the bees. Cool banner! Is it laminated to be protected from the elements?

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,130

    Default Re: Selling at farmer's markets

    You might consider selling the odd sized comb honey as bulk. Have a small scale and sell it by the oz. Somebody wants just 2 -3 ounces, no problem. I was at a Yankee Candle store in Williamsburg last month. They had comb honey for sale. 12 oz for around $22.00 Yikes! It was pretty though.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    189

    Default Re: Selling at farmer's markets

    Ended up selling the comb by the weight! Worked well.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Liberty Hill, Texas
    Posts
    696

    Default Re: Selling at farmer's markets

    Trick to selling anything is you have to talk about it. Either you get them hooked on it or not. I mean does anyone really need "HONEY" or go to a Farmers Mkt with a grocery list? My bro-in law sells roasted peppers and a line of like items. Believe me, I sat at the x-mas bazzar in our local town where a guy walked up. He said at the start of the pitch "I'm not interested in the gift baskets" Didn't take but 4 minutes probably and that guy walked away with 2 gift baskets and $32 poketed by my Bro in laws pitch. You gotta cater the the individual.

    Jackass Honey Farms- Look her up on Facebook. She sells locally and will talk your ear off. She's sold to sailors on the west coast is a pitch due to something to do with weight loss. Soldiers come home get a load full of mommas cooking and get fat and something about honey prevents it from happening. She has the 2008 study on store bought honey that 90 percent that was tested wasn't even honey as a pitch. You can use it on wounds. Heck! Give her a call and ask her. She has some outlandish techniques all while "HER HONEY" is the greatest thing on the planet. How could you "NOT" buy it? It's in the sales pitch. You can't just sit. You stand and "Hi" or "How you doing?" to get the customer walking by your booth to turn and confront you. Farmers Mkt here are $40 to $60 day unless you do a yearly membership. This is why it's really important to sell out of product.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    189

    Default Re: Selling at farmer's markets

    I've been learning more by selling at markets. People at farmer's markets tend to favour buying larger quantity items, they like to buy a full kilo of honey whereas people at more community events, like fundraisers (church fetes) or festival type events, tend to buy the smaller, less cost effective honey jar. I believe the former are about to celebrate, they like to contribute and might fancy the notion of a small jar of honey to use here and there. People at farmer's markets are there to consume, they are more serious customers that want less to support and more to simply get high quality cheap produce to consume.

    Since Australia is quite a multicultural country, and that many ethnic people value good quality produce, I often barter with a large type of audience. I've noticed that, Asian brown people (sort of India area) are more inclined to haggling, many other Asian demographics take stronger consideration of the price of goods and are more insistent at buying at the lowest standard honey will go for.These types seem to almost culturally value competitively standard cheap priced produce, whereas the brown Asians tend to be more inclined towards haggling to undercutting degrees.I was wondering whether honey is simpler more popular amongst caucasian and Asian demographics, but it seems like that's not the case, seems like honey is quite popular amongst a variety of ethnicities and it just seems like there's more caucasian and Asian interest due to them being the highest population demographics present.

    The haggling is something that I'm not good at. I experimented with adding some honeycomb to some jars, and early on in the day someone ended up buying all 9 of my experiment, he haggled me down to a price though that I regretted afterwards. I need to work out beforehand what's the lowest price I'm prepared to sell x at y quantity, which I'm not that sure how to do.

    Something that I'm unsure about is allowing myself to drop in price. I sell my honey at a price slightly higher than the lowest standard price, I figure because my honey is better quality than most and many people are willing to pay that. Whenever people ask to pay the lowest minimal standard amount for honey, I've just been agreeing, because I want the sale. One of the problems is, people will come to expect that lower price in the future. A stronger move in general is, let's say you're selling honey at $11 a kilo, and someone wants it for $10, to then offer them two kilos of honey for $20. That is, to offer them the discount that they desire, but at a greater quantity. If someone wants them for $9 for a kilo tub, I can tell them I can sell them 4 for $36. This plays into their desire to haggle, it doesn't just blow them out or shut out the bartering exchange, it doesn't reveal weakness or allow oneself to develop the reputation of just agreeing to dropping the price if asked, it instead offers them the discount price, at a condition that oneself is happy with; a greater quantity of sale. One thing I'm unsure about, is when if I should ever agree to lowering my price, or just insist on selling it to them for a lower price at a greater quantity only. Some people have haggling bartering styles but some are just straight forward, seemingly open and honest and are direct about wanting to buy it a cheap competitive price. I'm not sure if they ask to pay $10 instead of $11 for one kilo, then I offer them two kilos for $20, then they express that they just want 1 kilo and offer me $10.50 for it, whether I should accept that offer, or decline.

    A lot of people have been asking me "do you add sugar"? I'm not entirely sure what people mean they ask this and I'm under the impression that different people are asking different questions when saying this, and one needs to try and best gauge what they're asking this and what information do they want to hear. Some believe adding sugar to beehives is unethical, some believe it creates a poor quality honey flavour and healthwise. Some seem to believe that people stir in sugar into honey to make it sweetener, that people dilute honey with sugar and possibly other stuff. Some seem to be uninformed diabetic or other health people. Either way I struggle to navigate these interactions well and figure I need an effective way in communicating with these types and relay the information they want to hear. I even had one person point to the crystals in my sample jar and ask me if there's no sugar added, then what's those crystals then, and apparently wasn't convinced when I told them about honey crystals and walked off.

    I had a weird interaction where one person asked if my honeycomb was real, he then told me that some people are manufacturing fake honeycomb that looks real and attempt to sell them as the real deal. I did my best to convey that was not the case by talking about my practices and bees and well frankly I was surprised that he even thought that because I hadn't heard of that before, he asked if he could try a piece to be sure and I said sure, he took off the smallest bit and tried it, looked unsure and he eventually said that he couldn't tell so, unconvinced, he wandered off.

    I'm coming to learn that, people are quite suspicious about honey products. They often know that there's a difference in quality with honey, they might have some ideas as to why that might be the case, they might not, but my products will be under scrutiny; people want to be reassured that, what they're buying is a pure, raw quality product and my ability to believably communicate such to people is directly related to how much I can sell.

    I've had people ask me for beepollen. I haven't looked into that but apparently it's sweet, popular in certain regions in the world and with health people. There seems to be a decent demand for beeswax also, and I can't really tell but people seem to be willing to pay more for wax than they do for honey.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
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    4,130

    Default Re: Selling at farmer's markets

    In many cultures, haggling is a normal part of the shopping experience. You can avoid some of it, but not all, by posting a small sign that says all prices are firm, volume discounts available. Be prepared to offer something inexpensive, like a tube of lip balm, at a discount if they buy the honey full price. Haggling can be fun. Talk about how your kids have no shoes or your wife wants a new dress. Its all a game. You should also advertise that your honey is 100% pure and natural and locally produced by your bees. Have tasting spoons. Since it takes about 4 kilos of honey for the bees to produce just half a kilo of wax, it stands to reason that the wax is more expensive. Wait until you are culling comb to sell wax. The good comb is too valuable for you to sell.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    189

    Default Re: Selling at farmer's markets

    My default line that I say to people is "it's pure (mention the floral type of honey it is) honey that I get from (local location). Seems to work. I sell olives as well, I did wonder that I could offer people a discount on the honey if they buy cheap olives as well, but then again they taste a lot different and many people aren't interested in them, but it still could be an effective way of bartering with haggling types. When I have things like beeswax, lip balm and candles to sell I'd imagine I can do this more so.

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