Last weekend I was in Tampa for SQLSaturday #168 and made sure to make some time for family. The most interesting thing we did this time was to go to the Ybor City Saturday Market. Ybor City is on the north side of Tampa, and the market is maybe a mile from the event venue. It’s a smallish event, guessing 30-40 vendors, all set up with 10×10 tents. It’s part farmers market and part bazaar, not much flea market. Lots of crafty stuff there, much like the stuff you find on Etsy.
There was a greyhound rescue group there with some dogs. One of the dogs was wearing a “donation vest” which seemed like a smart way to accrue some funds so I gave my daughter a dollar to donate. That lead to a strange look when she explained to my wife that she put a dollar in the dog. Good to have at least one story from the trip!
I saw a lot of the Square devices in use and it was the first time I had used one for a transaction. Pretty easy, they enter the amount, then you sign with a finger and optionally enter your email address. I may have to order one just to see the other side of how it works. I think they’ve made credit cards approachable for the micro-business and it’s a win for the consumer too, unless you count spending more than you planned.
The most interesting strategy I saw was around hula hoops. For a dollar you could hula hoop for 10 minutes. That’s an easy spend as a parent, let them burn off some energy. I’m standing there watching – because you know they had to get all of their 10 minutes! Near the end the woman running the booth mentions that she sells them starting at $15. Nicely done. For 10 minutes I’ve watched the kids enjoy the product, kids are bonding with the new toy, and now there is potential for a decent upsale. I can see a lot of people doing it the other way,saying here,try out these hula hoops I have for sale. Kid tries it for a minute, parent gets impatient, drags the kid on. I paid them a dollar (well, $2 since it was two kids) to get marketed to!
I looked to see the cost of being a vendor, its $35-$50. That interests me too. Has to be something we can make or bake that we could sell on a Saturday. Not thinking about making a lot of money, but what an experience for a child! Kind of a grown up lemonade stand.
I spent about $30 over the course of an hour, a lot less than I spend in the same time at the mall and somehow more satisfying too.