Markets are a great way to showcase your creativity, to educate and support the community, and also to generate extra income. More and more people are investing their whole business model into this pop-up trading style, and heavily rely on the market-style arena as their main source of income.
Some products can sell themselves, but as the popularity of local markets increases, so does the competition. Focusing only on selling your product isn’t enough anymore, which is why it is important for all marketeers to learn how to sell their brand.
What many people don’t realise is that there are a lot of different marquees out there that serve different purposes. Your local neighbour who runs their stall on the side will have very different needs to a food catering business that sets up nearly every day, and also to the touring marketeer exhibiting their niche products all over Australia.
From market tents, to folding marquees, gazebos and portable shelters, there are many names for this product. It may seem confusing, but you can be assured that they all lead you to the same place.
A marquee is more than just a thing you need to tick off your list. For many people, it is their shopfront, and their business’ home. This is why it is important to invest in a good quality product; one that provides positive impact inside and out. There are many factors to consider when it comes to things like proper installation, design, care, and storage of your market marquee. Like… lots! We have designed this guide to help not only educate you on marquees, but to open you up to a world of new possibilities you never considered, and give you the step ahead you need to run a successful market stall.
Being successful and selling lots of products isn’t just for the marketplace, there is often a lot of work involved behind the scenes to help you expand your marketplace audience before you actually set up your stall. Before rushing aboard the marquee ownership bandwagon, there are many things to consider that you may not have even thought about, such as:
This isn’t just about providing a quality product or service, it is about knowing your audience. People aren’t just going to come looking for your stall if they don’t already know about it, you need to capture their attention and make them feel like they will miss out if they do not visit your awesome stall!
Getting feedback from people will help you think about how your product or service can meet their demands, and in turn, help you with marketing your brand to the right audience.
Spending time on getting your design and presentation right is also important, as you want to create an environment people feel comfortable and confident in. It will speak volumes about your brand.
As well as networking and having an online presence, you want to put a lot of effort into how you present your brand. While not everyone has an acute awareness of marketing and design, there are a few easy steps to follow that will help you stand out:
These steps show that you respect your brand, and as your following grows, people will notice. If you had to have one take away from this: don’t make any big decisions until you know who you are selling to.
A market tent, commonly referred to as a folding marquee, is a portable shade structure that is an “all-in-one” frame design that’s really simple to use and carry. The main benefit of a folding marquee over, say, a pole marquee, is that it doesn’t require any manual assembly of the framework.
The frame and roof can be packed up together and carried in the car as effectively a “complete unit”, meaning that when you arrive at your market site, it only takes a matter of minutes to set up the shelter, giving you more time to focus on setting up your display underneath.
There are four core functions we believe that a market tent should do, and all of these are encompassed in our “brand promises”. Regardless of whether you buy a Technishelter, or any other folding marquee, you want to ensure that it ticks off these four basic properties:
A marquee’s primary function is to protect you from the heat and harsh UV rays of the sun. You don’t want to put the health of you, your staff, or customers at risk, so it is worth investing in a marquee that offers guaranteed sun protection. It is also important to consider what marquee to purchase if you are selling anything with a low melting temperature, such as: certain foods, soaps, and candles. With the wrong marquee, things could get very messy!
Most of us don’t mind getting a little wet, and for regular market goers, a bit of rain is something to expect. What you don’t want is to have a leaky shelter that leaves you feeling constantly sticky and your stock taking on water damage.
Many markets allocate you a maximum space of 3x3m, meaning you are often in close proximity with many other stallholders. We have previously seen stallholders with one hand serving, and one hand holding onto their market marquee frame in windy conditions. You shouldn’t have to worry about your frame picking up and impacting the safety of yourself or anyone else in your immediate area.
Our 3x3s are engineered to withstand over 100km/h winds, conditional with the use of 90kg iron (or equivalent) leg weights per leg. Cheaper grade marquees on the market are lucky to withstand winds at half that speed.
At the end of the day, a recognisable brand will keep people coming back and remembering your name. Stand out in the crowd of 1000 stalls with something out there.
The pop up style marquee works perfectly with the market lifestyle. It gives you the opportunity and the flexibility to bring your business to many different communities, giving you an advantage over businesses in a single location, as well as establishing relationships and trust which is something that is more difficult to achieve for online vendors.
Markets create a sense of community between stallholders, making it a positive atmosphere and buying experience. You will often see frequent stallholders have built a trusted network with other stallholders, as a way of directing new customers and sharing business.
You may see some people using umbrellas, robian marquees (frame assembly), and pull-out awnings. While most of these offer a relatively simple set up, it comes down to how professional you want to be, and also if it will provide you with enough shade for yourself and for your customers.
Across the industry, marquees can range in cost anywhere from $50 to $5000+ depending on what your priorities are when it comes to buying one. Pricing factors in not just the marquee unit itself, but additional accessories, printing, design services, and shipping.
There are a lot of marquees that are sold are the major retail outlets that sell for anywhere between $99 and $249.
When customers contact us and speak about these, we generally refer to these as “retail grade” marquees. Typically, the way that these are designed is starting with a target price in mind first, and then working from there to design a product to fit that price point.
The challenge with these products is that they don’t necessarily meet any type of performance target as they are designed to a price, rather than a quality standard.
A good comparison of these cheap marquees would be comparing authentic $500 Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses to the cheap $2 knock offs you can buy. If you are just after something to use once and throw it away, you might buy the $2 version. However, no one buys the knock off with the expectation that it is going to last many uses for years to come.
The question you need to ask yourself is, do you really want a marquee that’s designed to a price point? Not only are you standing underneath the product yourself if it collapses, but you’ll also risk your setup and stock underneath, which could cost you thousands of dollars.
And then, not to mention the public liability risk that is associated with a marquee that picks up and flies off to then hit someone. That’s not something anyone should have to deal with.
The next tier of marquees that you typically find in the market are those sold by businesses that have either gone to a Chinese factory, or been contacted by one, and thought “Hey, this is a good product, there is an opportunity to make a buck” and then started to sell marquees.
We’ve been in this business for almost 20 years now (est. 2003) and we’ve seen many sellers come and go in that time. Typically, this is because they don’t sell their own product and don’t look to make improvements to the products. As time goes on, and they sell more and more products, they realise that there is also a lot of risk that comes with selling marquees because of the type of weather events that customers expose them to.
There are however some good brands out there, and these are the ones that design their own products, and either manufacture them themselves, or have them made to spec at an overseas factory.
This is where Technishelter fits in. Our frames, tops, walls, everything are designed by us. We didn't just contact an overseas factory and ask “what do you have” and sell that, we actually used our experience to design products that are supposed to last, and are built to a particular performance standard.
We understand what customers expect from a marquee, and we build ours to match that need. This is why our frame is rated to 110km/h. This is why our fabric doesn’t fade for 5 years. This is why we back our products with a 20 year warranty.
The thing with a marquee is that it’s not about buying something that’s suitable for 99% of the time, it’s actually about buying something that’s suitable for that 1% of the time when something unexpected occurs, and you end up with a damaged marquee and in need of a new one.
Just like it’s a wise idea to get travel insurance to protect you from any unexpected incidents on holiday, it is also wise to invest in a strong marquee and proper hold down weights for those unexpected wind gusts or rain storms. We always say to our customers “Be prepared for the worst case scenario”.
So let’s do some maths about how a cheap marquee compares:
This means that in 10 years, you’ll have spent a minimum of $199 x 5 = $995 or more. Plus not to mention the environmental waste and landfill of these cheap marquees that are part of a throwaway culture. The lack of durability in these goods leads to a significant increase in landfill which is terrible for our planet.
Now let’s do some maths on a Technishelter. For less then $995, $795 to be accurate, you can buy a 3x3m Technishelter:
So not only is it cheaper over the first 10 years of life, but because the product is designed with much better materials, and much more durable components, it’s life should really be 20 years, or more. And at that point, it actually turns out to be half the price per year!
There are always people who still, despite all this, say that they cannot justify the additional spend. Think about the impact it could have on your brand should your market gazebo break on you while in use. What about any stock that gets damaged? What about if someone gets injured? How much money are you going to lose by missing one, two, three markets? The initial amount saved can just as quickly and easily be lost.
A marquee isn’t something that you should have to worry about when you’re there to sell your goods!
A lot of our customers ask us the question “what do you recommend” and although we do have a lot of experience in the area, we always ensure that we communicate to customers that the right thing for you isn’t necessarily going to be the right thing for everyone else. So it’s important to consider your individual circumstances, but also to consider what compromises you are willing to make as often our own bias can blind us from making the right decision.
Although we do have our Technishelter range, we also have a sister brand called Canopy Outdoor which offers a similar product but targeted toward a different customer segment. Canopy Outdoor marquees are more in line with “consumer grade” solutions, whereas Technishelter is built for “commercial grade” applications.
Rather than looking at a marquee as an expense, think of it as an investment. You wouldn’t want to buy a cheap house that requires a lot of repairs, you would want something that is structurally sound, a place you can feel comfortable, and you want it to look good. The same thing goes for market marquees.
Marquees can come in varying shapes and sizes, but there is a reason many companies offer a very similar range of sizes. As well as limited space for many of these events, larger marquees are heavier and less convenient for a quick set up/pack down. Larger marquees also have less structural integrity than smaller units, as there are more weak points.
In total, we have 6 sizes of market stall tents for sale, with four being popular amongst market stallholders.
This size is a legacy from times gone past of car boot sales and markets from the 90’s.
2.4m is the width of a carpark space, where many markets used to take place (and still do); that’s why this size exists. In saying that though, many markets have moved to 3m x 3m as they are now more readily available.
We still produce 2.4m x 2.4m marquees because we still have many customers needing something to sit a fraction smaller than their allocated 3x3m space. For example, some people like to incorporate flags and stands outside of their stall to allow for more space inside.
The most common and readily available size, 3m x 3m marquees are considered the “standard” size of market tents Australia wide.
The 3x3m marquee is relatively easy to transport, and can easily be erected by a single person. Additionally, 2.4x2.4s and 3x3s are the strongest available size because they have greater structural integrity compared to their larger brothers and sisters.
A single 3x3 can typically fit into a standard sedan or station wagon, not only from a packed up size perspective, but also when it comes to your vehicle’s weight loading capacity.
An increasingly popular size, a 3m x 4.5m marquee is commonly used for people doing a majority of their markets in fields and open markets with more flexible space, rather than weekly markets to allocated sites.
They are a great size marquee because they provide the greatest “clear span” for those looking for an unobstructed space out the front of their gazebo.
In saying that though, some customers do choose to use the 3m side as the front, and prefer to have a “deeper” stall, as opposed to a “wider” stall.
A common size again for those that have “double” size stalls.
A 3x6m market gazebo is bigggg, and you can definitely fit a lot underneath it. Typically we only recommend this size if you have multiple people available to set it up, and also a generally large vehicle to transport it in as it’s fold down size is 160cm x 55cm x 30cm.
In fact, our genuine recommendation in most cases is actually to purchase two smaller marquees instead of one because that kind of set-up is easier to set up, easier to store, and generally more versatile.
Rare to be used for markets but sometimes used for organisers etc. We won’t go into much detail about them, but you can check the 4m x 4m marquee and 4m x 8m marquee on their respective pages for more info.
Portable market gazebos are designed to be easy to use, but everyone’s tolerance is different. Anything larger than a 3x3m is generally not achievable for a solo setup, even some 3x3s can be a challenge for one person.
The bigger the marquee, the harder it is to use. While the frame can fold down compactly, you cannot break it down into more manageable units, therefore it’s worth checking on the weight of the marquee to ensure it will be something you are comfortable with. If you have any existing health conditions or back problems, we would first recommend visiting our showroom if you are local in Melbourne, or testing out someone else's market gazebo so you know what your limits are.
For people requiring a 3x6m space or larger, we recommend purchasing multiple smaller marquees. It may take a bit more time to set up two 3x3s, however it comes with benefits such as:
It is also important to consider your transport capacity. Marquees take up a fair bit of space in a standard car, so if the boot is already full of your stock, you may need to rethink either the vehicle, storage arrangements, or the marquee size you purchase.
Some important questions to consider are:
We have had people struggle to fit their marquee in, as they underestimated the amount of space they had left. You need to consider how much space you need for things such as your stock, trestle tables/display equipment, vendor equipment, appliances, decor, and other accessories that go with your market gazebo. You could easily be looking at a load of a few hundred kgs, so make sure you have a vehicle that can accommodate your needs.
Location, location, location. Even marketeers who frequent the same markets will often get shuffled around and set up in different spots, and sometimes you won’t know where you are until the morning of your market!
Here are some common questions that are good to think about before setting up for markets:
Perhaps you are used to setting up in a sheltered, built up area. You may not have thought about that one time you will have to set up on an oval, an open car park space, or perhaps near the coast. Sometimes, all it takes is for a freak storm or wind to come along and upend your routine.
This is why we always say to prepare for the worst possible conditions. Not only to protect your marquee, but to protect yourself, the people around you, and public/private property.
Pegs and ropes are also a good tool, however they are often not enough on their own. For some event spaces, pegs and ropes are not allowed as they are considered trip hazards. We have also heard of people being allocated a strict amount of space (e.g. 3x3m), and cannot even have ropes extending beyond their 3x3m marquee.
Regardless of where you are setting up, we recommend investing in some proper leg weights. Our weighting guide will provide you with in-depth information as to how much weight you need in varying windy conditions.
Just like events, every marketplace will have different rules and safety regulations. For example, St Kilda markets require marquees to be weighted for 70km/h winds.
Whether you plan on frequenting one market, or multiple, it will save you a lot of hassle and perhaps even money if you ensure you are prepared well beforehand. Market organisers should provide you with all the information you need, so it is important to read through their documentation and ask questions, so you don’t find yourself in a compromising situation.
Without getting too philosophical, our different life experiences mean that not all of us are able to comprehend all the potential risks when it comes to trying something new... until it happens. Being in the industry for close to two decades, we have seen a lot. When we get things wrong, we fix it. When other people get things wrong, we do our best to educate them and others to help avoid these things happening again. Marquees are solid, weighty constructions, and can certainly cause severe injury and damage if they are not properly installed.
Here are a few questions you should ask before setting up your market tent:
Check the weather forecast; is it expected to have 80km/h winds or perhaps a year's worth of rain in a day? If you wouldn’t want to be out in those conditions normally, reconsider setting up on that day.
Each day will be different, so if you can only bring the bare minimum, ensure you at least have enough weight according to your marquee size and to the worst weather predicted for the day (refer to the weighting guide in your manual). Keep in mind that accessories such as side walls trap wind inside your marquee, so you may want to roll up the walls part way, or invest in multi walls to allow for ventilation.
Be prepared to pack down at the first sign of bad weather. You should have a plan in place to ensure that your marquee and stock can be quickly and effectively packed down. If you have to leave your market marquee onsite, at least unextend the frame's legs to provide additional stability to your marquee.
New challenges may present itself on the day, but you should always be monitoring foot traffic to see if there are any potential hazards in their way. Sometimes components of marquees or accessories are left exposed, and all it takes is for a curious child to accidentally release a marquee pull pin and jar their finger. Consider zoning off areas in your marquee to avoid any incidents/accidents occurring.
With digital printing, we can print pretty much anything. It all depends on what look you are going for, and what appeals to your audience. Sometimes keeping things minimal works, but if you can go all out, why not?
We offer free mock up services to our clients (including 3D mocks), and can colour match where required. All we need from you is your logo files (preferably in vector), and a rough idea on what you would like. Alternatively, our design team can get their creative on if you are lacking in ideas.
If you will be mostly setting up in the same location, you will find it easier to determine how you will be seen. However if every market you attend is different, you need to take advantage of every possibility. For example, some markets could require you to be all in a row, bunched together. Other marquees could be in a more open space such as an oval, where you can be seen from nearly all sides.
Think about how your design can be eye-catching from all angles, setting up where you expect the most foot traffic (sometimes there is a balance here too), and the type of audiences you’ll face (younger, young at heart, hobbyists etc.).
Typically our experience is that if people attend markets where marquees are set up in rows, they’ll focus their design on the front side of their marquee, because that’s the only direction that is visible. However, if people attend markets that are open, and can be viewed from all angles, they’ll consider printing the whole roof. In all seriousness though, we recommend to consider printing the entire roof because even though you could be buying for today, you never know what tomorrow holds and nothing will be worse than having a beautiful printed marquee, with no branding on one side when you need it.
A big part of putting an awesome design together is understanding the visual impact of your marquee. The triangular roof panels slope down by nature, distorting the appearance of the print the closer you get. This is why it is important to keep the design on the roof simple (like a single logo), so that it can be as big as possible and recognisable. The best viewing position of your roof panels is from 10m+, or from higher up.
Valances (the skirting roof panels) act as your “street sign”. Most people use the front skirt to display their business name and occasionally their contact information (i.e. website, phone number). It tells your audience what your business is about at a glance, as well as the chance for them to find your business online for future sales opportunities.
Your market marquee should be a tool to attract and intrigue prospective customers, so it is important to utilise the panels as to how they get seen. Using your marquee to display excessive information and details can become a bit of a sensory overload for many people, and actually deter people from visiting your stall.
It is not uncommon for people to run multiple business streams, or sometimes they are required to evolve their brand for different events. Replaceable or detachable banners are a great way to give you that flexibility to adapt your branding as you need. It can also be a cost effective long term solution, to replace the banners rather than to purchase a whole new printed roof.
The banners can be customised to your requirements, but these are commonly made with thick velcro strips sewn onto the banners and the opposing side onto the valances.
If you’re just getting started in business or markets, you may feel a bit overwhelmed and scared of the artwork side of things. Coming up with a business name is often hard enough, but designing a logo? If you don’t know where to start, you’re not alone!
It’s easy to get that one person we know who has some hand drawing skills, or knows a little about graphic design to put a logo together. While you may be happy with what they come up with, the big challenge from there is seeing if this can be used on other platforms. This includes ensuring it is in the right format for printing.
Bigger companies will have their own marketing and design team to make everything look awesome. If you are just starting out, you can either:
A lot of people don’t want to spend money on artwork, but getting your design done right is an investment that all successful businesses make, and will put you a step ahead. It often doesn’t require a lot of money when you start out, but as your business grows, so will your design needs.
If you have your logo sorted, and you want your market gazebo to have all that pizazz, it could be worth hiring a professional designer. While we offer free mock up services, our expertise does not extend to professional artwork. A professional designer can often source amazing images, as well as creating and combining multiple elements to come up with an incredible out of this world concept.
Amazing printed marquee designs do come with a price tag, but many people see this as an investment.
You can always get in touch with us to discuss your design needs, and for whatever we can’t do, we can point you in the right direction.
There are a lot of marquee suppliers on the market, and we hear a lot of people say “All marquees come from the same factory” and “Your marquees are the same prices as X”.
It’s easy to get complacent when you’ve been searching endlessly for the right product, but it is worth knowing what details to look out for, so you can quickly determine what you need, and filter out what you don’t.
Here are 9 questions to ask any company that you’re considering to purchase from:
We’ve been in the business of selling market tents for many years, and market stall holders make up a HUGE portion of our clientele. From direct handling and manufacturing experience, as well as our constant conversations with fellow marketeers, we know which products to recommend for your needs.
Our Technishelter range of marquees are specifically engineered and marketed to be the only marquee that you will ever need to buy… ever. It sounds like a big call to make, and it is. We want to change a stagnant industry and offer a marquee that actually lasts. How did we do that? Simply from listening to people like you.
Experience 15 plus years - We’ve been in the marquee industry for over 15 years, and we’ve made a lot of discoveries and learned a lot of lessons along the way. We haven’t always gotten everything right, but we’ve set out to change that with our Technishelter brand.
Research and design - Technishelter is not just any other marquee brand. We have revolutionised the marquee industry with our aluminium Circulex frame, and recently innovated a new marquee fabric we call NextUV. These aren’t simply fancy names to grab your attention; these are products that have gone through rigorous testing to ensure that they are durable, and provide more integrity to the pop-up marquee as we know it.
Feedback loop - We’ve taken on board years of feedback from our customers, who have been left feeling dissatisfied with a product that has not evolved with the demands of the market. It’s an ongoing process for us, as we want to ensure our products meet the needs of our customers.
Quality - Quality definitely has a look and feel to it. For something to be quality made, it has to be: strong, durable, and still look great even after a lot of love. With our Technishelter marquees, we have tested and chosen materials that are designed to last a long, long time.
We have observed that there isn’t much value to our customers in trying to explain what materials are used if the customer doesn’t understand the properties of the material. This is why we have developed a new concept with our Brand Promises Program, which backs up the quality of our products by offering a set of guarantees and warranties that no one else in the industry has.
If this is your first time ordering a market gazebo or something equivalent, the whole process can seem a little daunting, especially when it comes time to making payment. With this guide, we have done all the thinking for you, to make sure that nothing is missed and that your expectations are met. Our sales service also continues long after you have received your order, as we want you to feel confident in how to use your market tent and that it will last you a long time.
We know that not everyone will need the biggest, heaviest, most expensive market marquee. We also know that all too often, people buy the wrong marquee for their needs and end up being disappointed, dissatisfied, and forced to dig into their pockets yet again. Our revolutionary Technishelter marquees are set to change the marquee industry by meeting the demands and expectations of its users.
We hope that you have found our definitive guide helpful. If you have any questions beyond this guide, want to provide feedback, or want us to arrange a quote for a market stall gazebo, we would love to hear from you.
We sell market tents Australia wide, with pick up and delivery services also available.