After months of preparation and, now, the execution of a weekend market out of state, I can share about the successes and failures from the experience.
First of all, it's essential to travel to markets hosted in places you want to visit. Although my family and I have been to Jacksonville, Florida before, the Markets for Makers event there afforded us time to visit with friends and to sightsee in nearby St. Augustine.
Secondly, the investment for travel, lodging, and the market entry fee must come with a confident return. Research the expected attendance and the demographics of the attendees to determine if you'll encounter the ideal customer for your product and/or service. After being in business for a few years and knowing my ideal customer, I sensed no risk in the financial investment needed for an out-of-state market.
The few months leading up to an event require inventory building and booth designing. I thoroughly enjoy this part. In fact, I envisioned a larger booth space and began accumulating the finishing touches for it soon after I returned home from my first Markets for Makers. To plan for the next event and a walk-in space granted me more creative liberty, so I set it up like a small living room. We rented a small U-Haul trailer to transport a settee, a ladder shelf, a faux wall, a side table, a mini Christmas tree, and area rugs. The product was displayed at eye level for the shoppers, and that's always the goal.
My successes above make me pleased with the decision to return to Jacksonville for the Holiday Market. My one failure is not realizing the mass appeal to Nomad Wreath Gallery, a design that inspired the reinvention of my booth. Although I set up with the goal of creating a focal point with the Gallery, it did not generate any interest in the product. So to do it all over again, I would have opted for a smaller booth space.