Fudge in all its forms is a candy that originated in America in the 1800s. Legend has it the name came about when a batch of caramel came out wrong, prompting the cook to cry “Oh, fudge” before he realized he had accidentally discovered a delicious new candy. Today, making fudge is a hobby that many people have turned into a profitable business. Marketing your unique style of fudge at flea markets can be a lucrative way of getting such a business started.
Obtain any permits required in your locality. At a minimum you’ll need a local business license and probably a health permit since you are selling food. Your city or county department of taxation can tell you exactly what documents you must have. You will be required to get a state tax identification number if your state levies a sales tax. A federal identification number isn’t necessary unless you hire someone to help you. Some local governments require a zoning permit if you are making food for sale at home.
Find one or more flea markets where you can sell your fudge. Typically, flea markets are weekend operations, although some are open all week long. Do some research and compare prices for renting space and the amount of customer traffic at different flea markets. You can find information about flea markets, festivals and similar events in local magazines, craft newsletters and newspapers as well as local online events calendars. The Chamber of Commerce and local business organizations are also sources of information. Talk to other vendors who market their products at flea markets – they’ll often be your best source of information.
Create an attractive and eye-catching booth to sell your fudge at flea markets. In addition to one or more tables, buy a canopy to provide protection from rain and sun in outdoor locations. You’ll also want display cases or racks for your fudge and storage containers for additional inventory and supplies. Signs and decorations are important because they can catch the attention of customers and draw them to your booth. Strive for a neat, professional appearance.
Keep everything spotlessly clean. You are selling food, and a clean booth is not only necessary for food safety, it’s vital to giving your customers confidence in your product. Keep cleaning materials available at all times. Provide your customers with napkins and paper plates for samples along with a trash can for waste.
Advertise your fudge. For marketing purposes, a distinctive booth and signs are only a beginning. One strategy is to have a helper hand out fliers in the flea market parking lot. Set up a website and Facebook and Twitter pages where you can tell people when and where you’ll be selling your fudge. In addition, with a website you can provide online coupons and e-mail notifications. When you design signs, fliers and packaging for your fudge, include your web address. As you build your reputation, regular flea market customers will start looking for you, and you’ll build a solid customer base.