Sunday, October 21, 2018

Flea, Cart, and Kiosk Vendors: Finding the Right Venue for your Business

March 31, 2016 by mbrophy  
Filed under Flea Market & Swap Meet News

By Meaghan Brophy

Carts and KiosksIn a fluctuating market, flea vendors, mobile carts, and stationary kiosks offer greater flexibility with fewer start-up costs than traditional brick and mortar stores. However, if your dream is to prosper in brick and mortar, starting out as a vendor first is a great way to build a following and gain insight into what it takes to succeed in the retail market. Follow the tips below to determine which venue and products are a best-fit for you and your business aspirations.

Leveraging Flea Markets for Success

Flea markets serve a variety of purposes for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Many markets have a yard sale section with inexpensive day-to-day cash booth rentals. Maybe you have a fun idea that you want to test out, happened upon a stock of merchandise, or want an alternative to hosting your own yard sale. The first-come first-serve booths at a flea market are great for people who have never sold at a market before, or just have a temporary supply of merchandise.

Weekly rentals for steadier vendors also serve a variety functions. Some sellers start their business at flea markets to see which products sell the best and to gain a reputation. From there, they may expand into multiple markets, or to an independent store or kiosk. Many vendors find they love the atmosphere and community environment of flea markets, and decide to make them the permanent home for their business.

Existing storeowners also leverage flea markets as a way to boost sales for their retail business. Community flea markets are typically well advertised and receive steady traffic. This is a good way to make community connections, profit from ancillary sales, and advertise your main business at a fairly low cost.

Test the Waters with Kiosks

L&V CreationsKiosks are a great option for vendors looking for higher-volume sales, and also willing to invest additional time and money into their business. Unlike flea markets, which have the option of being a part time job or a supplemental income, kiosks typically require full-time attention.

Mall kiosks are the most popular option for flea market vendors looking to branch out, but who may not be quite ready to commit to a brick and mortar space. In fact, malls typically use flea markets as a recruiting space to find new kiosk vendors. Before making the decision to expand into the kiosk business, there are a few elements to consider:

1) Space

Choose your mall based on demographic, not traffic. It is easy to pick the most upscale mall, or the one with highest traffic volume, but you have to think about who is buying your products. Luckily for you, if you’re starting out as a flea market vendor, you already have a good idea of who your target audience is. Don’t be afraid to visit several malls just to get a feel for the demographic. Make sure to speak with the leasing manager at the mall to see if they think your product would be a good fit. Discuss with the manager if they have monthly leases available, or if you have to sign for a full year.

2) Cost

Renting a kiosk space is significantly cheaper than renting a storefront. However, you should still be prepared to make a deposit of several thousand dollars, if not more. Malls have higher operational costs than a flea market. Your deposit and rental fees will go towards offsetting those expenses. Be prepared that your rent may fluctuate depending on the season. Especially if your rental is month-to-month, expect to pay a higher fee during the winter holidays.

In addition to the physical space, you will also need to invest more in products and staffing. The mall will have set hours, and as a kiosk in the mall where you lease will likely stipulate that you need to be open whenever the mall is open. Your kiosk will need several employees to help cover all shifts, and to double up during busier times. Longer hours and more shopper traffic also mean more product inventory. You will need much more of your product on hand at any given time.

3) Time

Operating a mall kiosk is more than a full-time job. Between staffing the kiosk, managing inventory, advertising, and training employees, be prepared to invest at least 40 hours a week, if not more, in the beginning.

4) Supply

LuvALampsLonger hours and higher traffic volumes will hopefully mean more sales. Make sure you have enough inventory stocked ahead of time, and you have the cash flow to place larger and more frequent orders.

Also consider your merchandise sources. Are they able to handle larger orders? You may need to switch or have multiple product sources to be able to meet your demand. Similar to a brick and mortar store, stationary kiosks provide somewhat predictable traffic so you can develop and maintain a consistent ordering process.

Depending on your product, a mall kiosk might not be a best fit. That does not mean that you are out of luck. Airports, travel centers, sports arenas, fairs, and festivals all have semi-permanent or seasonal vending opportunities

Expand your Entrepreneurship with Mobile Carts

If you don’t like the idea of being stuck in one location, a cart might be a better option for you. Kiosks tied to a specific location require more staffing and potentially higher staffing and utility costs. However, they have a guaranteed customer base. Venturing out on your own to sell at fairs, street markets, and busy intersections provides more flexibility, but can take a lot of legwork to get started. Either renting or buying a cart on your own could be more expensive than a mall space. states you should expect to pay at least $600 per week for a cart rental. Depending on where you are looking to sell, you might need additional permits and licenses than if you were operating inside a mall or existing market. If you are transporting your cart like a trailer, you will also likely need a license from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Once you have your cart, product, and the technicalities taken care of, you can operate your business according to your terms. You pick the hours and locations. The best part about having a mobile business is if sales are slow in one area, you can just pick up and move.

Finding the Right Product

Whether you are looking to offer entirely new products with your new venue, or simply beef up your inventory, Merchandiser Group has selected several suppliers whose products have successful track records in the flea, cart, and kiosk businesses.

L&V Creations

Natural products and essential oils have become increasingly popular over the last several years as consumers are becoming more conscientious of harmful ingredients. L&V Creations are the creators of the original plug-in aromatherapy lamps. The lamps come in many unique, colorful designs and are all equipped with a dimmer switch to control the light and heat intensity of the lamp.

L&V has also developed a reputation for their quality fragrance oils and incense sticks. Their incense sticks are all soaked in fragrance for 24 hours. They also carry decorative night-lights, incense burners, essential oils, lotions, and soaps. L&V’s products can be found in mall kiosks nationwide. Called “The L&V Concept,” their cart and kiosk system is a tried and true method that has brought retailers a lot of success.


LuvALamps are a unique Danish design, whose pieces are constructed from 100% recycled post-consumer plastics. LuvALamps are a self-assembly lighting system made up of interlocking translucent puzzle pieces. The pieces are a lightweight, high-quality, heat-resistant material that is durable and easy to clean. Each lamp kit includes 30 puzzle light pieces, a lamp cord, and instruction manual to create 30 different shapes and designs. The lamps come in a variety of colors and sizes, making them great for accent lighting, night-lights, parties, and commercial uses. Their attractive design catches the eye of customers of all ages.

Olympia Gold

Olympia GoldOlympia Gold has been a supplier of fashion and costume jewelry since 1989. They offer gold and silver by the inch, along with colorful jewelry chains, necklaces, bracelets, charms, jewelry accessories, and layered gold and silver chains by the inch. Peggy Bermudez, Customer Service with Olympia Gold says that their 1.5, 1.75, and 3mm open link chains are some of their best sellers. Olympia also offers a free display for retailers with purchase of their chains. Bermudez says their products do best at mall kiosks because “you can start up with a small amount of inventory. The sales are also much, much higher.” To reap the benefits of the high sales, Bermudez says kiosk retailers need “an attractive product to catch the customer’s eye and employees who are go getters.” To get personalized recommendations for your kiosk, call (800) 395 – 7774.

L&V Creations
5415 NW 161st
Hialeah, FL 33014
Tel.: (305) 430 – 9700

Tel: (866) 544 – 7554

Olympia Gold
1861 Banks Rd.
Margate, FL 33063
Tel: (800) 395 – 7774

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