The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Step right up! » » Has anyone Sold magic effects at a flea market? (13 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
silksock
View Profile
Regular user
111 Posts

Profile of silksock
If you have please comment. Thanks
sethb
View Profile
Inner circle
The Jersey Shore
2691 Posts

Profile of sethb
Flea markets are a good place to start pitching, practice your spiel, and learn how to pull and turn a tip (get them to buy). Usually the table fees are low, so there's a better chance of making good money. If you can keep the table fee around $25, and certainly no more than $50 tops, you should do OK. Plus, you will likely be the only "magician" at the flea, as opposed to the dozen or so jewelry folks that usually show up to compete with each other. If the flea is well advertised and foot traffic is good, you should have no trouble pulling solid tips.

Now the downside! Fleas usually involve used merchandise and haggling. You are selling new merchandise, and hopefully without haggling over the price. To increase your chances of success, I'd keep the price of whatever you're pitching at $10 or less; that seems to be about the limit for an impulse buy. To avoid hagglers, you could offer a "deal" (such as 3 Svengali Decks for $25), and/or explain that you don't own the booth, you're just an employee and can't offer any discounts [thanks to "pitchman extraordinaire" Don Driver for that one!]. It also helps to have a sign with a price list on it -- it looks more "official" for some reason, so people usually don't question it as much.

Have a good location (near the food stands or somewhat near the bathrooms) with good foot traffic. Have an attention-getting sign or banner, and have lots of merchandise on the table (but nearer to you than the crowd, to avoid the folks with sticky fingers). Wear a clean shirt (you'd be surprised at some of the so-called vendors), and bring a few bottles of water to lubricate your throat. If the flea has a concrete floor, bring a carpet remnant or something soft to stand on -- your feet and legs will thank you. Make sure your table is about waist height, so you don't have to bend over constantly to demo or make change -- your back will thank you.

Get a short three-pocket "waiter's apron" at your local uniform store to hold your change (1's on one side, 5's and 10's on the other, and either 20's in the middle or a Magic Worm/Squirmle, if you're pitching that). Routinely remove a bunch of the larger bills from the apron and put them in your pants pocket, where they will be safer. Protect yourself and don't take anything larger than a $20 --- who buys a $10 item with a $100 bill, anyway? Don't forget to ask your neighboring vendors for tips on other good fleas in the area --- they have been there and will know the good ones from the duds. Have business cards ready to give to other people who may want you to do other fleas; but don't just put a pile of business cards on your table -- kids will take them as souvenirs, which does you no good. Offer to watch a neighbor's table when they need to use the bathroom, and they will do the same for you.

Hope these suggestions are helpful, and good luck to you! SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
DonDriver
View Profile
Inner circle
1792 Posts

Profile of DonDriver
Quote:
On Apr 16, 2016, sethb wrote:
Flea markets are a good place to start pitching, practice your spiel, and learn how to pull and turn a tip (get them to buy). Usually the table fees are low, so there's a better chance of making good money. If you can keep the table fee around $25, and certainly no more than $50 tops, you should do OK. Plus, you will likely be the only "magician" at the flea, as opposed to the dozen or so jewelry folks that usually show up to compete with each other. If the flea is well advertised and foot traffic is good, you should have no trouble pulling solid tips.

Now the downside! Fleas usually involve used merchandise and haggling. You are selling new merchandise, and hopefully without haggling over the price. To increase your chances of success, I'd keep the price of whatever you're pitching at $10 or less; that seems to be about the limit for an impulse buy. To avoid hagglers, you could offer a "deal" (such as 3 Svengali Decks for $25), and/or explain that you don't own the booth, you're just an employee and can't offer any discounts [thanks to "pitchman extraordinaire" Don Driver for that one!]. It also helps to have a sign with a price list on it -- it looks more "official" for some reason, so people usually don't question it as much.

Have a good location (near the food stands or somewhat near the bathrooms) with good foot traffic. Have an attention-getting sign or banner, and have lots of merchandise on the table (but nearer to you than the crowd, to avoid the folks with sticky fingers). Wear a clean shirt (you'd be surprised at some of the so-called vendors), and bring a few bottles of water to lubricate your throat. If the flea has a concrete floor, bring a carpet remnant or something soft to stand on -- your feet and legs will thank you. Make sure your table is about waist height, so you don't have to bend over constantly to demo or make change -- your back will thank you.

Get a short three-pocket "waiter's apron" at your local uniform store to hold your change (1's on one side, 5's and 10's on the other, and either 20's in the middle or a Magic Worm/Squirmle, if you're pitching that). Routinely remove a bunch of the larger bills from the apron and put them in your pants pocket, where they will be safer. Protect yourself and don't take anything larger than a $20 --- who buys a $10 item with a $100 bill, anyway? Don't forget to ask your neighboring vendors for tips on other good fleas in the area --- they have been there and will know the good ones from the duds. Have business cards ready to give to other people who may want you to do other fleas; but don't just put a pile of business cards on your table -- kids will take them as souvenirs, which does you no good. Offer to watch a neighbor's table when they need to use the bathroom, and they will do the same for you.

Hope these suggestions are helpful, and good luck to you! SETH

DITTO...DITTO...DITTO !
Don
sethb
View Profile
Inner circle
The Jersey Shore
2691 Posts

Profile of sethb
Thanks, Don!

As you know, I learned from the best --- 1) you, and 2) all the mistakes I made by not following some of your suggestions in the first place!

Take care and be well!! SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
thomasR
View Profile
Special user
701 Posts

Profile of thomasR
I have tried it. I sold Svengali decks, coloring books and ball vases. Let me rephrase that... I sold Svengali Decks and Coloring Books... I brought Ball Vases to sit on the table and do nothing for me.

I didn't lose money... but I didn't sell enough to make it feel real worthwhile either. Location is very key... you want the highest foot traffic possible. As Seth mentioned... you are competing with people selling used and super cheap items, brand new magic tricks are a bit of an odd item. Kids at a flea market seem to rarely have a lot of spending cash.
silksock
View Profile
Regular user
111 Posts

Profile of silksock
Thanks for all of the help.
sethb
View Profile
Inner circle
The Jersey Shore
2691 Posts

Profile of sethb
As Thomas mentioned, you need to limit your stock to one or two things, tops. And they need to be something that has a solid history of being a good pitch item. DON'T try to be a magic store, with a whole bunch of tricks. That only increases your inventory costs, plus the kids will want to see EVERY trick demoed before they decide which one, if any, to buy. That's just a waste of your time and your money. You are there to sell stuff, not to give free magic shows all day!

The Svengali deck was at the top of my list, followed very closely by the Squirmle/Magic Worm. The deck appeals to older kids and teenagers as well as adults, while the worm is great for the younger set (and for grandparents who are buying toys for them). In addition to being a good pitch item, the worm will help you draw big tips without saying a word. Once people see that purple worm crawling all over your hands and jumping from one glass to another, they stop dead in their tracks to watch. All you have to say is "Have you seen my friend Willy, the famous magic worm?"

BTW, don't use real glasses for the worm pitch, because they can break and spread broken glass all over your case and the floor. Get a couple of 32-ounce plastic cups from WaWa or 7-Eleven that they sell the Slurpees in. They won't break, they last forever, and they look unsuspicious and "real" because they are. Best of all, the smooth plastic lip of the cup is gentle on the gimmick and also makes it very easy for the worm (and you) to navigate. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Frosty
View Profile
Regular user
Texas
188 Posts

Profile of Frosty
Some good advice given by Seth and ThomasR... It seems that lately flea markets is what I work the most but that will be changing soon. Around here in San Antonio and Austin the spaces run about $40 for the 2 day weekend. I work 5 different outdoor fleas and they are all priced around the same... My advice for someone just starting out is to bring some good flash. A large banner is best but if not possible at least print a sign on the computer or better yet buy a poster board and paint a sign with magic in it. Then have plenty of merchandise on your table. That alone will bring marks in front of your joint. Your goal should be to start your pitch to the first one who steps up and then work them to build a larger tip (don't wait for them to ask). If no one walks up you can bally them by calling them in or like Seth said to use a trick like the squirmel... I prefer using a large table as that will build a bigger tip. I use an 8 foot table but a 6 foot will do just fine. A tent/canopy is also a must unless your already provided a roof. Just remember to have fun and joke around and you'll see that in itself will bring you more sales. The best way to learn is by just doing. As you continue pitching study how other pitchmen make their turns and learn from them. Its ok to be bad at first. Everyone starts there. You'll get better the more you pitch. Break a leg....
Frosty
View Profile
Regular user
Texas
188 Posts

Profile of Frosty
Forgot to mention, if you haven't purchased Don's DVD yet, all you need to know is in there.... also learn from all other sources you can find and try what works and your pitches will keep getting better.. My pitch is different than Don's but his pitch I would honestly recommend to everyone... its that good!
sethb
View Profile
Inner circle
The Jersey Shore
2691 Posts

Profile of sethb
Frosty has some great ideas, and I especially agree with his suggestions about getting some flash and buying Don's pitch DVD. Why not learn from the best and get started on the right track?

I also agree that you will improve with practice -- and you will know whether you are improving by the size of the bankroll you bring home! In the beginning, I thought a $100 day was pretty good. Then it rose to $200, then $350 and $500, and finally I was making some $750 and $1000 days. While you can't hit a "home run" every time you go out, that's basically how you will know you are doing everything right. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
DonDriver
View Profile
Inner circle
1792 Posts

Profile of DonDriver
Maybe I should have sold my DVD for 5% of gross sales. The honor system of course as I know pitchman never tell a lie.

Don
silksock
View Profile
Regular user
111 Posts

Profile of silksock
Sounds great. Thanks for all of the help.
Frosty
View Profile
Regular user
Texas
188 Posts

Profile of Frosty
Hey Don, I see 5% would of been a better choice LOL, but pitchmen liars.... Now that's funny! I think pitchmen run circles around magicians! ...I only have a few of these left but if you buy now and I'll throw it in for free! You want want too?.... Later once there gone pull out a few more... oh! Also....and these decks sell at magic shops for $20 to $25 but were not going to sell them for 20 bucks, not even for 15... I'm going to let them go for the low low price of only $10...etc...etc.
sethb
View Profile
Inner circle
The Jersey Shore
2691 Posts

Profile of sethb
Hey, magicians lie too, in fact, it's part of their job! "Here's an ordinary card/coin/box/handkerchief/glass/egg/ball, etc., etc."

At least with a pitchman, what you see is what you get. Every single trick I ever did during a Svengali Deck or a Magic Worm pitch could be duplicated by the buyer --- that is, if they actually took the time to read the instructions and practice for ten minutes. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Frosty
View Profile
Regular user
Texas
188 Posts

Profile of Frosty
Hey Seth, now you got me thinking! I guess magicians do lie just as bad as pitchmen... The difference is magicians lie to entertain and use misdirection to make the effect much stronger and pitchmen lie to make the marks money disappear.... The pitchman entertains the tip as misdirection for the grand finale which is to pull money out of their pockets. LOL... but I agree with you, they do get their money's worth! Well sometimes... Some of the svens I pitch are really larry but as some one here once said, they just gotta last till they get to the parking lot... (I think those were Dons own words..) Hey Seth, you have some gold in your posts.. Ive really enjoyed your past posts here in the café! Have a good one!
Frosty
View Profile
Regular user
Texas
188 Posts

Profile of Frosty
Silksock heres a few more tips. Not sure what tricks you are planning to sell or pitch at fleas but they must have three characteristics:

1. They need to be very visually magical and amazing for them to see... (cups and balls, dice bomb, ball vases etc. do not make good pitch items. They don't look real magical and seem to require skill.)

2. They need to appear super simple for your buyers to perform (they won't buy if not).

3. They need to be slum tricks. (cheap tricks but appear to have a perceived higher value)

The rule of thumb is if you buy a trick for $1 you must sell it at between $5 to $10 minimum(and more if possible) A Svengali deck and a squirmel is a good example. I pay about 35 cents for my Svengali's (including shipping) and sell them for $10. A squirmel costs about 35 cents as well and you can sell them for between $4 to $6 each. (5x to 10x your wholesale cost minimum..) you can sometimes throw in the other as a kicker (as your cost is very little) to push them to buy a $10 purchase. My goal when I pitch is to pull $10 out of every person who gets in front of my joint. I can't get'em all but I do get plenty of takers...
Hope this helps!
JasonK
View Profile
New user
Ohio
25 Posts

Profile of JasonK
As Frosty and others have said, if you want some "flash" you should check out

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......392335#2 (banners design - thread by SideshowSam)

I also came up with this other one back when I had considered pitching Svens - but I never did. I'm going for kitchen gadgets instead.
JasonK
View Profile
New user
Ohio
25 Posts

Profile of JasonK
Woops.....last pic didn't upload. Here it is...

Click here to view attached image.
silksock
View Profile
Regular user
111 Posts

Profile of silksock
Thanks for all of the help I appreciate it.
sethb
View Profile
Inner circle
The Jersey Shore
2691 Posts

Profile of sethb
Frosty, I agree about the markups you mentioned. When I first started, I thought a 5x or more markup was way too high, but it really isn't.

The reason is that there are lots of expenses, plus a few other "hands in your pockets." You need to pay shipping on your stuff, which can get expensive, especially for a gross or two of Svengali decks. Then you have your table fee, your table, banner and tent, plus the car and gas to get you to the location and back. Next in line is your partner Uncle Sam with Federal income tax, then state income tax, plus state sales tax that you may have to collect and remit. And let's not forget the 15% Federal self-employment tax for FICA, Social Security, Unemployment Compensation, Disability, etc.

My worms cost $1 each and I sold them for $6, or two for $10. As Don explained to me, it's better to sell two pieces for a little less than just one for $1 more. People think they are getting a bargain while you are getting rid of more inventory! My Svengali decks were $2 each and I sold them for $10. Funny thing . . . . if you sell stuff too cheaply, people will think it's not worth it, and they won't buy it. On the other hand, if the price is too high they will also walk away. You need to find the "sweet spot" where people will buy and you won't starve to death from pitching!

I really enjoyed pitching; it's lots of fun and you meet all sorts of nice and interesting people, as well as a few crazy ones. Best of all, maybe five or ten kids out of a hundred will get interested in magic as a hobby, so you really are doing some good. I'd still be doing it if my feet and back would cooperate, but it doesn't look good! SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Step right up! » » Has anyone Sold magic effects at a flea market? (13 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2019 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.17 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL