Tips for Vending a Show SUCCESSFULLY!

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Original Post

RockLove says

Summer brings vending season right up through Christmas... so it's time to share a few tips of the trade. I travel all over the country doing shows, but be it a craft fair down the street or a 300,000 person convention in Las Vegas, there are a few tricks that will help ensure your success no matter your experience level or product!

1. Make sure the cost is in ration to the attendance. If there are 30,000 people coming, the booth should be between $1-$200 tops. If it's 10,000 people then $50. Don't get muscled into a really expensive booth fee with only a few thousand attendees because in all honesty, you can expect only a handful per thousand to make a purchase.

2. A show in which I can make 5 or 6 times all my expenses is a GOOD SHOW. Don't do a show to pull even... it's not really enough "exposure" for the money and effort. It wears you out fast, and you lose out on all that money you invested in your booth, tables, displays, and a full inventory.

3. Don't be embarrassed to ask the coordinators questions as you consider doing the show or not. How many attendees do you expect? How many years has this show been running? What type of advertising campaigns do you have to let the community know about this event? How many vendors do you have?

4. Be sure to greet and interact with everyone. It's madness, your voice will sounds like a dilapidated drag queen by the end of the day and you won't have a moment to eat or go to the bathroom... but it's worth it. You'd expect the same wouldn't you? If you were approaching a booth, you'd like a friendly "Hi, how are you, my name is so and so, I make all my whatchamahoozies by hand and I'm happy to answer any questions."

5. Look the part. Wear comfy shoes but reflect your work. If you make delicious colorful soaps, don't dress like a goth. If you make rock n roll fashionista jewelry, don't dress like the Omish. Customers like to see you as a part of the whole package. But don't be OVERLY fashionable or sometimes you can come off as snobby or at least unapproachable. If you makes something you can wear, be sure to wear it!

6. Interesting touchable displays. I find that when my stuff is out, I do far better than the vendors who lock their jewelry behind glass. If you can pick it up, smell it, see it, try it on, you develop an emotional attachment that drives you to purchase. Yes, things get stolen once in a while, but they are casualties of war. Better to make $1000 more by having a tactile experience than having a $25 piece stolen.

7. Don't put on a full face of makeup and then stand in the hot sun. By the early afternoon your eyeliner will be melted to your chin, with lipstick in the cracks of your dried mouth... it tends to freak out potential customers. And small children.

8. Stand as much as you can, do not wear sunglasses (eye contact!) and never look idle/bored. Adjust your display, tidy up, hand pieces to people, pick up and smell your own good smelling things, hold up your own pretty necklaces to yourself... these actions give body cues to customers approaching. Chances are they will smell the soap too if they see you doing it. Monkey see monkey do.

9. If dogs are allowed at an outdoor fair, have some dog treats and a water bowl under your table. Whoo boy, it sounds cheesy but can I tell you how many people have purchased my jewelry while letting their thirsty pooch take a needed drink of water? But if you have dog treats, ALWAYS ask the owner's permission first.

10. Tie down your tent. Did a show in Vegas this year, it got windy, and about 4 tents flew up and over into a parking lot of vintage classic cars. Let's just say it wasn't pretty. And this is NOT the first time I've seen EZups take flight... One trick is buy 4 gallon sized water jugs and bungee them to each leg. After the show, take the water home and drink it. More convenient than sandbags.


And there you have a ginormous list of advice.

PLEASE ADD YOUR TIP! WE ALL CAN LEARN FROM IT!

Posted at 7:02pm May 27, 2010 EDT

Responses

RockLove says

no one else has a tip to offer?

Posted at 7:17pm May 27, 2010 EDT

kambriel says

Actually, I do tend to enjoy dressing over the top as much as possible. For instance, recently I vended at an event and on a whim I styled my hair HUGE, and without my even intending it to be, it ended up being a fun conversation starter for a lot of people who enjoyed how over the top it was. Drag queens seemed ~especially~ impressed ;)

Posted at 7:20pm May 27, 2010 EDT

GREAT post!! other tips:

bring a snack.... it's hard to run off to get some munhcies
bring a friend... in case you have to run to the bathroom
try to get next to other vendors you know/like, it's easier to convince people to buy each other's goods!
BRING A LOT of business cards!

Posted at 7:21pm May 27, 2010 EDT

comment on your customers clothes, jewelry, etc.

get them talking and connect with everyone you can

Posted at 7:22pm May 27, 2010 EDT

ImJewelee says

Ask open ended questions.... don't say can I help you find something.. they will say no and walk away. You could say something like .... what have you found..... how long have you been here... but don't bombard them either.. just be you and I LOVE the dog water bowl trick how cool is that???

Posted at 7:26pm May 27, 2010 EDT

crochetgal says

Always pack plenty to drink and lots of small snacks to snack on. You never know when you will get a break.

Take the sunblock with you. Looking like a lobster on the 2nd day of a show is NOT fun!

Have a great time during the summer season. We've packed up for the summer (temps over 100F are not fun) and will set up again in the fall and winter.

Posted at 7:27pm May 27, 2010 EDT

BRING BUSINESS CARDS!!!

I went to a show in Henderson (next to Las Vegas, heheh). I was surprised how many people did not have business cards, or did not have them accessible to the public (okay, it was starting to get windy, so that might have been the excuse).

Windy tents, Windy displays...come up with ways to hold them down, or you (or customers) will be chasing them down. One girl stood mostly helpless, as her 3-fold wall thing fell...and she couldn't lift it back up by herself.

Posted at 7:27pm May 27, 2010 EDT

RockLove says

Yah Kambriel, you don't count :P You're expected to dress over the top... it's part of looking like your creations. I would be pretty disappointed meeting you in a beat up t-shirt and sneakers. Just like how you probably don't imagine me in a rainbow colored floor length 60's dress!

Posted at 7:28pm May 27, 2010 EDT

RockLove says

any more tips to share?

Posted at 7:46pm May 27, 2010 EDT