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Terry and Tony in South Africa. Two South Africans working from home in East London in South Africa since early 2008.

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Make a Living at Flea Markets in East London – Is it Possible?

Is it possible to make a living at flea markets in East London – or at flea markets close to East London? There are not that many flea markets or craft markets in and around East London, and they’re not big markets, so, is it possible to make a living selling your products at these markets?

Let’s have a look at our own flea market earnings at flea markets in and around East London in the past 3 days:

Our Flea Market Profits in the past 3 days

Friday 9 August East London Zoo Open Day flea market
Took:
R300
Costs:
Petrol R20
Stand R80
Profit:
R200

Saturday 10 August Yellowwood Forest Campsite Morgan Bay craft market and farmers market
Took:
R325
Costs:
Petrol R150
Stand R25
Profit:
R150

Sunday 11 August East London SPCA open day and flea market
Took:
R410
Costs:
Petrol R10
Stand R100
Profit:
R300

Total Profit for the 3 days: R650

Any other costs I didn’t mention?
Well, some minor amounts for materials to make and present our products, but we mostly upcycle, using old items or natural items we didn’t pay for, so the materials costs for the items we sold in the past 3 days are pretty minimal – perhaps R30.

Grand Total Profit made at East London flea markets in the past 3 days?
R620

Anything still missing with regards to our costs?
Time – time spent making our products, time spent sitting at the markets while selling our products, and time that we could have spent doing something else.

Can we make a living at flea markets in East London?
Let’s see: if we had 4 long weekends every single month, and if we could go to a flea market or craft market in or around East London on all 3 days, and if we made the exact same profit that we did in the past 3 days, then that would be an income of about R2 480 each month.

No, we cannot make a living at flea markets in East London – not yet, or not currently, anyway, but it’s certainly a handy extra income to add to other work we do during the week, and selling at flea markets also has certain advantages that can help us earn more money in general.

Can others make a living at flea markets in East London?
Perhaps. It depends on what you’re selling, how badly people want or need it, and on how well you market your products – at your stand in the presentation of your products, and away from your stand through advertising

Will we be able to make a living at flea markets in East London in the future?
Perhaps.

Read on to see why it may very well be possible to make a living at flea markets in East London – for you, and for us in the future:

Advantages of trying to make a living at flea markets

a)
you make new friends and connections
b)
you get to hear about other regular flea markets or craft markets and how the sellers do at them, and also get to hear about once-a-year markets for example at some schools or at some organizations etc
c)
you get to market your products – people can phone you, email you, or visit your website if they want to order and buy products from you during the week as well
d)
you get ideas on how better to present your products, enhancing their presentability to your potential customers
e)
you get to market (even if just by speaking about them to the other sellers and to the people who visit your stand) other things you do for a living too – and thus may gain new clients or customers for that work too
f)
you get to hear about bargains or about where to get some of the items or services that could enhance your products or improve your sales
g)
you get a feel from your customers as to what products you should have more of, or as to what related products you should also be offering
h)
you get out and about in the fresh air
i)
you are likely to make a little more money at flea markets during the run up to Christmas

Advantage of selling food at a flea market:
Everybody likes to eat at a flea market
Disadvantage of selling food at a flea market:
a)
There may be too many people selling similar food items – and you have to have a better quality product or beat their prices – or you may not even be allowed to sell at a particular flea market if you weren’t the first food seller (of that particular type of food) to book your flea market stand
b)
The food you are selling may only be wanted by people visiting the market at the time – because it’s hot, or smells good etc, and may not be something that people would want to also order from you during the week

Advantages of buying ready-made products and selling them at a flea market:
a)
No time spent making the products
b)
The items often include things kids like and convince their parents to buy for them
Disadvantages of buying ready-made products and selling them at a flea market:
a)
Having to have the money to buy a decent amount of stock
b)
Not being allowed to sell your items at a craft market that caters only to handmade product sellers

Advantages of making and selling handmade products at a flea market:
a)
You can sell your products at both flea markets and at exclusively handmade craft items craft markets
b)
You may be able to use the time that you sit at a flea market or craft market to make some more items
c)
Being unique: It is often unlikely that somebody else will have the exact same handmade products that you do
d)
Workshops or tutorials: you can make extra money from tutoring other people how to make some of the things you make and sell – in the form of giving workshops, or in the form of selling a booklet
Disadvantages of making and selling handmade products at a flea market:
a)
Handmade products are not always appreciated by everybody – you may have less buyers than others at a flea market
b)
Spending time making the items – it’s no use spending 4 hours to make something that you’re going to sell for only R40 – that’s only R10 an hour, and, depending on what the products are and their size and tools needed, you may not be able to make more of the products while sitting at a flea market or craft market

Conclusion:
When trying to make a living from flea markets in East London – or elsewhere – think carefully about what type of product you’re going to try and sell: how expensive it is to buy or make, how much time will be spent on buying it or making it, your presentation and marketing, and if it’s something you can sell during the week too. If you get the balance right, it may be possible to make a living at flea markets in East London.

© Copyright Teresa Schultz 2013

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TANT © 2015 AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. If you click on a link and then view, join, purchase, or perform other actions, I will receive an affiliate commission.
AMAZON ASSOCIATE Teresa Schultz is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com
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