10 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Became Vendors   2 comments

  1. Our first booth. Santa Clarita Street Fair, March 22-23, 2014. We were so young then.

    Our first booth. Santa Clarita Street Fair, March 22-23, 2014. We were so young then.

    Finding good events is a constant challenge. Big events often have long lead times. Local events are often volunteer affairs with minimal marketing and no online presence for the coordinators. The best way to find events is to network with vendors you like. The reality is that every vendor is different, every show is different, and it’s impossible to predict with certainty which event will best fit your products. Networking with seasoned pros will get you the best information on what events are coming. You’ll meet a lot of nice people in this people-oriented business, too.

  2. Some shows want pictures of your products with your application. Some handcrafted shows want pictures of you making your products. Some shows only allow you to sell the products you put on your application. In all cases, keep photos on file and keep copies of every application. Get organized with dedicated folders. I keep track of our event schedule on a spreadsheet … it’s now 9 pages long for this year.
  3. Your display is very important. People only buy what they can see, and making a pleasing to the eye display is the 2nd most important thing (after having great products!).
  4. You need good lights in your booth if you’re doing nighttime events. Here are the FANTASTIC lights Mrs. M found that everyone raves about. I combined the light fixtures with these 60w LED daylight-colored low wattage bulbs to deliver bright lighting for a total energy cost of only 100 watts per booth. People only buy what they can see.
  5. You only make a good first impression once. What do people think when they see your booth? It better be pretty, organized & professional. The first time & every time.
  6. If you don’t have weights on your canopy, it will fly away. Have your canopy weighted at all times, from when you first put it up until you take it down. Good events require 100 pounds of weight on your canopy. (A gallon of water in an old milk jug is only 7 pounds, FYI.) When we started doing events, we carried concrete blocks for weights. Simple, effective … ugly. We found a better way (Humor! Coming at you!). Here are the best DIY canopy weights made out of PVC and concrete. Three tweaks I used when I made our second set:
    1. Cut the PVC for the weights short enough so the finished weights with end caps will fit under your table,
    2. Make sure to use flat end caps, so the weights will stand on their own, and
    3. I’ve found the best handles to use are exercise handles attached to the screw eyes.
  7. This was our booth at the California Poppy Festival, 4/18-19/2015. Six months later, our booth is very similar ... but will be totally different in 2016!

    This was our booth at the California Poppy Festival, 4/18-19/2015. Six months later, our booth is very similar … but will be totally different in 2016!

    Get enough space for the products you display. We started doing single booths (cheaper!) for two very different products (Mrs M’s lotions & Mr M’s cutting boards). Though we are connected, the products are not. At all. When we converted to double booths, we had enough space to show everything … and sales went up significantly.

  8. Control your display space, or other people will. If you don’t use walls, your neighbors might put up really ugly things that are the background for your beautiful tabletop displays. For some shows, you may want the airy, open look … but for other shows, that will not work, and you need to be prepared.
  9. A cash drawer is so much better than making change out of your cargo pockets.
  10. It’s good to have a buddy with you in the booth, so you can get lunch, go see other vendors, and find the bathrooms. However, don’t have too many people in the booth, or you’ll sacrifice space that is better filled with shoppers.

Bonus: be a good neighbor, and follow the rules of the show (know the rules before you get there!). Not everyone will be as kind as you, but that’s OK. After the show is over, you still have to live with you.

More

Dasken Designs 10 Tips For Outdoor Craft Shows

 

2 responses to “10 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Became Vendors

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Excellent tips! You are so right about the display. Also building up is very effective. It’s especially helpful if you’re limited to one table.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: