Beekeepers have so much knowledge and experience when it comes to honeybee behaviors, biodiversity, and weather impact on bees, and they’re often very passionate about sharing their knowledge with others. If you’re a beekeeper at the market, you want to make sure your booth will attract and keep customers’ attention so you can increase your sales, share information, and keep customers engaged. Read on for some suggestions to improve your booth at farmers’ markets.
1. Visual aid
If you have a lot of visual aid and interesting items at your booth, it’s more likely to draw potential customers in for a look. You can have a live example of a hive by bringing a plexiglass or glass honeybee hive. This allows people to observe a frame or two of nurse bees at work behind the safety of the glass and is a great conversation starter for you to explain your apiary and your products. Another option is to have a “Recipe of the Week” that you can make into a poster for your table. Print out a few extra copies to hand out to buyers, and let them know they can pick up a different recipe the next week, even without buying more honey. You’re providing options for them to use their honey. Try to find some that work with different fruits or vegetables that people might be buying at the market.
You can also have other products made from honey, such as candles, soaps, lip balms, and lotions, which increase the diversity of your sales and they are popular sales items. If you don’t make them yourself, join into an arrangement with another beekeeper that does produce them. Make sure if you’re selling on that person’s behalf that you try each product so you know them well and can discuss each with your customers.
2. Authentic products
Be sure to clearly mark and label your bee products and be very open and honest about what goes in them and your process to make them. Customers love to know what’s in their food and they’re increasingly interested in how they’re made. You may be asked if your product is organic, and it’s important to answer honestly, which is no (in the United States). There are no standards for USDA certified organic honey, so if a customer states that their honey at home is certified organic, it means it was imported from a country where that is possible. Instead, focus on the fact that your honey is local. Local foods are just as valued, if not more, than other foods. Put labels on your jars that say “local honey”.
What’s almost as important as the honey is the jars themselves. Make sure they’re not sticky and you’ve filled them properly. If there’s any honey on the threads of the jar it will slowly seep down the cap onto the jar. Make sure the threads are clean, dry, and free of all traces of honey before you screw the cap on. Try to offer different size jars, and consider offering wooden honey dippers along with them for attractive looking gifts. Bear-shaped jars are quite popular, as are inverted plastic jars which reduce the messiness of honey.
3. Share samples
Before following this suggestion, find out the rules for your farmers’ markets. If you’re allowed to give small samples, find an easy way to give this. It can be as simple as having small (biodegradable) plastic spoons or wooden sticks and a jar; make sure you’re the one serving them out, and keep water and a cloth nearby to handle drips. Bill Morrisson, a beekeeper expert at Sociology Essay and Boom Essays, reminds beekeepers that “it’s also important to consider how you’re going to dispose of your garbage to avoid attracting flies, yellowjackets, and more bees.”
4. Entertain the kids
Farmers’ markets are popular with families, and parents will appreciate booths that can also entertain their kids. Some recommendations from Natalie Parker, a blogger at Academized and Essay Roo, is to “check with your market manager if you can sell flavored honey straws, as these are quite popular with children. Make sure your visual aids (mentioned above) are family friendly and easy for kids to learn from and be engaged.”
There are many ways to attract customers, don’t be afraid to try different things and see what works best. The important is to be friendly and engaging and happy to explain your passion for bees to customers at farmers’ markets.