Stalling: First Timer Survival Kit


Haha ok so maybe not that dramatic, but if you’re a newbie like me – it can be a little nerve-wrecking.

Over the bank holiday weekend, I was given the opportunity to sell my pieces along with many creative people as part of an event hosted by ‘New Youthquake’ celebrating the youth of the arts industry in Portobello Market.

Once I had the thumbs up that I would be setting up shop at the event, my mind went into overdrive and the countless hours of stall display inspiration on Pinterest began..(although I ended up going with none of the ideas I had saved).

As it was my first time on a stall, I had to rely on my noodle to work out exactly what I would need, what would be suitable for my products and gather all the tools I would need to make sure I didn’t go out there a confused disorganised mess. I’ve compiled a list of items that saved my life during my time trading in the hope that it could help some other newbie traders too.

  • Money tin – nothing more annoying than having to rummage in your bags for change, only to eventually find your coins covered in crumbs…ready to give to the awaiting customer.
  • Fold up chair – Even though you may be buzzing, there’s only so much adrenaline one can have bursting through ones body before the innate need to sit down takes over. I purchased a tripod chair from eBay for £3.50 (here)
  • Float – as a rule of thumb, I went with £40 as a float. My nearest bank is around 4,765 miles away – so I ended up going into a couple of shops, breaking a new note with each visit. By the time I had finished traipsing in and out of shops, I had an array of coins and notes to work with. Depending on the prices of your items, you may want to increase/decrease this.
  • Card reader – I for one, hardly ever walk with cash. Some of your potential customers may operate this same way, so it is advisable to set up shop to accept both card and cash payments. There are plenty of options available with one off payments from as little as £30. iZETTLE is a personal recommendation.
  • Price List – even though you will still get the “how much is this?” question, it will be asked a thousand times less if you have a price list in clear display. On this price list, it would be an idea to specify what payment options you accept.
  • Bum bag – or is it called a fanny pack? Meh. Whatever it is, it’s incredibly useful. You can keep all your valuable items on your person at all times, without worrying about leaving it behind on your stall every time you need to go to the loo.
  • Postal Tubes – if you’re selling any artwork, it might be an idea to bring along some postal tubes so they can be transported home in one piece and not end up looking like a pile of crisps by the time the customer takes it home.
  • Mailing List – this one I forgot to take with me. This is a great opportunity for you to keep in touch with people and create a database of potential customers.
  • Business cards – pretty self explanatory, similar reasoning to the item above.
  • String/Scissors/Cellotape – basically every item from your stationary inventory. Strings and pins are great for hoisting artwork into public view – varying heights of display is likely to attract more attention than keeping everything at low table level
  • Tablecloth – if you’re fortunate, you may already have some cover provided to block the view of all the boxes and merchandise stuffed under your stall, but you will still need to bring something to cover the surface. I went to IKEA and bought a few metres of plain fabric for under a tenner, and used this as a cloth.
  • Calculator – Is it just me, or does it take anyone else forever to open the calculator app on their phones? Save some time and energy by taking a standalone calculator with you.
  • Thick skin – you will always get people who may not be all for what you’re selling, they may question your prices, or ignore you when you say hello – (I think some translate ‘hello’ as ‘I’m about to try and sell you something now’) so they scuttle off quickly, but don’t take any of it to heart. It’s all part of the experience, and there will be plenty of people out there you can interact with from all walks of life who will love what you have.


The rest is up to you! How you want to present your display and make it look pretty, or well presented is all on you, so have fun with it! This list is exhaustive and only based on my first experience selling on the market, feel free to message me anything you think I’ve missed out!

I’ve included some images from the event for you guys 🙂