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Rain can really change your weekend. Especially when you are running a market/s!!
If there’s rain about, always check the local area forecast (but take it for what it is – an educated guess). Meteorologists are often wrong, or ‘out’ by a day when they predict heavy rains. Sometimes the rains will fall in isolated showers & will miss your market entirely. Sometimes it will bucket down during set up & be fine the rest of the day. There have been several market days that we have kicked ourselves, having pulled out for fear of getting rained out – when it has turned out fine. There have also been plenty of days we’ve turned up, stood in the pouring rain for hours & questioned our sanity!
So…from experience, we’ve learnt:
1. Stay in touch with your market operators, so you can be informed of possible cancellation / last minute changes. Make sure you know their policy on wet weather, i.e. ‘the market runs rain hail or shine & you need to turn up / pay your stall fee regardless’ – this is the most common. You need to keep on the ‘good’ side of the market operator wherever possible – if you consistently bail when the weather is poor, they can & will allocate your position to a more ’all-weather’ type. When you sign up for a market – you generally sign up to deal with the elements too!
2. Have a wet weather kit & alternative ’set-up’ figured out BEFORE you get to market. It may be still dark & raining when you’re setting up your stall, trying to figure out which way will keep everything dry. Best to have it pre-planned & come with a few extras.
Handy to have the following in case of heavy rain:
-a few towels or extra hand-towels (to wipe down things that do get wet)
–tarp (to put down on the ground so all your gear doesn’t become soaked instantly – & for you to stand on. Also handy to throw over your pile when setting up / packing down.
–gumboots in winter, or thongs in summer
–rain jacket / poncho (can get disposable ones at $2 shops, good to have one in your kit.
-clothes pegs or extra clampy/ clippy things (great for making ‘gutters’ with your neighbouring gazebo roofs – stops all the water running off at the sides – you can direct it somewhere less annoying by making a slope using your clamps / pegs to join the gazebo sides together.
-remember the walls – use solid where the rain is heaviest / in the direction it’s coming in from mostly (usually it’s one side). You can double up & hook 2 walls together on one side if needed also.
-remember the umbrella / awning (keeps the front rain out & gives customers a welcome place to linger).
–keep an eye on the gazebo corners. Do not let too much water accumulate there (big heavy puddles will stretch your tent cover / wreck it). Use something to reach up & ‘poke it’ to empty the water regularly so it can’t build up. *Be careful, VERY easy to saturate yourself or your neighbour doing this! It helps to make sure your gazebo cover is taut on each corner when you are first erecting it (water runs off easily from tighter tent roofs). Anyone with the weird green plastic fork-like things in their kit, they are designed for keeping the corners puddle – free.
–bring the tables in from the edges (don’t be right at the front as usual. Choose the side away from the wet, or stay away from the edges entirely
-keep minimal stock on tables if it’s pouring – no point getting more wet than is necessary! Watch your flyers too.
3.If the odds are too high that you’ll be rained out at market, let the operator know you can’t make it (tell them you’re sick / injured / away / the dog ate the gazebo…something other than you’re scared of the rain). Remember – running a market is often very stressful for the operators, stallholders can be a tricky bunch – & the last thing they need is everyone bailing out when there are a few ominous clouds. It should be a last resort to pull out – do so only if you are sure it’s gonna be a total washout. You can’t always make the right call – but there are some crazy-rainy days when it’s best to use your energy elsewhere!
4. If you do pull out, make a plan to call / visit some new likely resellers you’ve been thinking of approaching, or offer to run a tasting day at an existing one (at least you will stay dry, & will be contributing towards some future income). Use the time to convert stock to cash somehow. Make a big batch of balls & take jars of them to gyms, cafe’s, coffee shops etc – ask them if they’ll stick them on the counter & give them a trial (helps if you provide a set of tongs & some paper bags, plus an ingredients list).
5. Don’t be disheartened if you guess wrong & a) end up standing in the rain for hours selling nothing (it happens to everyone sometimes)! b) pull out of the busiest, most perfectly cool, overcast & profitable market ever. You & your stuff will dry out, & your missed customers will come back in force to the next market (the market after a rainy week is THE BEST)!