Markets are fun but somehow, they transform into something magical when under the moonlight. The lighted stalls, steaming food, joyful music, and happy people all come together to create a delightful experience for the shopper.
And for the market stallholder, night markets could mean more money - if done right. So if you are thinking of making the switch and brave the late nights, read on because we've got tips to help you prep for your night shift!
Marrakech, Morocco Night Market. Photo by YoTuT
Light 'Em Up!
Most night markets are held in the streets with nothing but lamp posts to light the way. That is why it is essential to have your own lighting system for your stall.
No matter how good your stuff is, people won't check it out if they can't see it! Nobody likes to venture into a poorly-lit stalls at night - it is plain creepy. And it is for your own benefit as well since we doubt you'd enjoy fumbling for change or tripping over your own display table.
Your best bet for lighting the interior of your stall would have to be fluorescent lights. They are easy on the eyes and won't distort the colour of your merchandise. This is especially true if you are selling clothes, bags, and other accessories that need to be inspected closely by the buyer before purchasing.
If you are selling food, it would also be wise to invest in a food lamp. Most food lamps available today are of the heating kind so you will be hitting two birds with one stone, really. These lamps emit an incandescent glow that makes food look more appetizing (read: more sales for you!).
Your lighting mission is not limited to the inside of your stall - you've got to jazz up the outside too. This is where the fun begins.
Fairy lights are common but they work quite well in attracting people's attention. You can also choose to go a bit old-school and surround your signage with incandescent bulbs. If you are worried about drizzles and sudden showers at night then you can opt for a rope light, which is a string of fairy lights inside a plastic tubing.
Colour is Power
We cannot stress this enough - do not bore people with a bland display. Night markets are not the time for minimalist setups. Instead, put your most vibrant wares on the display table.
Choose your most fabulous items and show them off. And even when you are selling a bunch of nude-toned bags, or mounds of pasty-white dumplings, there is a way to add in a pop of colour.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Add buntings in catchy hues on your walls, or even to the gazebo itself.
- Use colourful containers for smaller trinkets.
- Garnish food items with something red or orange (floral-cut tomatoes and carrots, anyone?).
You should also remember that table arrangement is an art that you should master. For more market stall presentation tips, check out this guide.
The importance of a readable and attention-grabbing sign goes for both daytime and nighttime market stalls. However you have to put in a bit more effort in creating a good signage if you are selling at night.
A Big and Readable Food Signage. Photo by Blake Handley
People's eyes have to work harder at night so keep these things in mind:
1. Bigger is better
We are talking not only about the size of the sign but about the size of the fonts as well. What may work in the daytime might not work at night.
2. Choose contrasting colours
Make sure that the colour of your font is in contrast to the colour of your background. For instance, use a red font against a yellow background, or black against white. This colour scheme makes your sign more readable. And one last word on backgrounds: go for plain; it is easier to read a word against a plain background than a plain one.
3. When in doubt, go bright
Pastel colours like baby pink, egg yellow, mint green, and sky blue are nice - in daytime. At night? Not so much. They will be quite difficult to read and are not catchy at all. Stick to basic colours, or choose bright neon colours.
A Non-Black Canopy
I bet you have guessed why we are suggesting that you choose a white-canopied gazebo over a dark-coloured one: yep, it is because it helps you stand out.
However if you visit night markets, you will see that almost all the other stall holders have thought of this. So here's what you can do to get one step ahead of the game: get a differently-coloured canopy.
The OZtrail Deluxe Gazebo 3m x 3m has been a favorite of many market stall holders for years, they used to come with a Navy Blue canopy but nowadays, White, Red, and even Yellow canopies are available!
White and Yellow 3m Sides Canopy. Photos by gazebosaustralia.com
Stabilize Your Gazebo
Night markets can get pretty crowded and nights can be quite breezy especially if you are situated close to the bay. Make sure that your stall can withstand the surge of the people (and of the wind)- stabilize your gazebo with sandbags.
OZtrail Sand Bag Kit Deluxe. Photos by gazebosaustralia.com
Mark Your Area
Although you are friendly with your neighbouring stall, it is still a good idea to create clear boundaries. This is when the walls come in handy. OZtrail Gazebos are designed to accommodate matching accessories like wall kits.
If you feel like a full wall is snobbish, you can get a half-wall instead. This will separate your space effectively while still allowing you to get chummy with the folks in the next stall.
Mesh Wall Protection. Photos by gazebosaustralia.com
There you have it. Once you have ticked off all the items on this list then you're ready to go. Need more ideas on how to setup your display? Check out this gallery for inspiration. Not sure of what to sell? "Green items" are getting popular these days. Have fun planning!