Updated: Apr 29, 2021
A kind word from the blog author: This Checklist was created to assist novice to advanced event coordinators and participants in creating and cultivating their very best possible vendor experience. Vending can be rough and there's always some risk involved, but knowledge is power and I hope that by reviewing the tips & tricks below you may get the most of each event you decide to participate in! Happy Vending! - Lauren Elizabeth of Altar Ego Design
Selecting the perfect event and vetting your event host: - Ask fellow artists who have participated in this event in the past to ask what it’s like as both a customer/vendor? - What is the event and how does it fit into your demographic? - Do your research on their social media platforms to see if the event is a good fit for your audience. - Does the host and event have a strong website/social media presence and following? - Do you have booth mates/fellow known vendor allies you can vend with or next to? - Do the hosts respond to emails and questions/concerns punctually? - Do the hosts answer questions professionally and thoroughly? - Do the hosts take feedback well, or even better, openly invite vendor feedback? - Do the hosts spend time and money on social media sponsorship and promotion?
Manage Your Fees: - If you can afford it always go for the best deal (typically highest price) fee if there are tiers with more benefits. - Check deadlines and see if you can afford them and be sure to balance your finances closer to the deadline. - Always pay before the deadline when possible to show you are serious/get priority. - It’s good to have at least two notoriously lucrative events lined up before paying for prospective fees just in case. - Ask if they can accept a layaway or payment plan and get it in writing/notarized if possible. - Once a layaway is accepted stick to it.
Handle the Basics: - How big is the space you paid for?
- Are they indoor/outdoor? - Do they provide table(s) and tablecloths? - Do they provide lighting for indoor or outdoor for evening events? - Do they provide shelter such as canopies (if outdoor)? - Do they provide electricity (if needed)? - How many days does the event take place? - Do they have helpers for set up/break down? - Will there be wifi available? - How much space is available?
Always Think of Lighting: - Is the event indoor/outdoor and during what time of day/night? - Will the event be well lit? - Will I be expected to bring my own supplemental lighting? - Will I be provided power? - If outdoors/during the dark are generators allowed? - Will I need battery powered LED lighting and if so, how much for how long?
Manage Your Finances: - Price items to sell based on the venue/audience/popularity of event. - Come up with a good general range such as $25-$60/ $50-$100, etc. - Price range for different items such as art is between $80-$130 and jewelry between $40-$80 etc. (You alone can make this call better than I could!) - Do not under price your items! This undermines the fair prices and living wage prices of your fellow vendors and is considered bad vendor etiquette! - ‘Over price’ things you may not want to sell right away such as new items or items that may sell better at other events or do not include them in your vending inventory at all. - Stay set on your prices. Hagglers are for flea markets NOT indie art creators. Someone is always willing to pay you for your goods at the price you deserve to be paid. - Feel free to have free little swag items to toss in such as postcards, stickers and the like. People love good swag style items with their purchases!
Manage Your Sales: - Create a ‘checkout’ area in your booth. - Keep petty cash in a box and some in a money belt on your person. - Keep a money belt for your square reader(s). - Keep a physical receipt book as well as a receipt book app for clients as well as for personal book keeping. - Use a number sticker system or wholesale guide for easy tracking/receipt keeping. - Write number of item on receipt, price and method of payment. - Keep either boxes or bags with and without handles and bubble wrap if necessary. - Never let your client leave without a bag or box for their item(s) as well as a business card (or three) as well as a flyer for your next event and/or their email address for sending email notifications of future events. - Let clients handle pieces as much as possible. Human contact can establish a connection and clients are more inclined to buy something once they have had that physical contact with the item or design. - Always let people try things on (whenever traffic allows) and have mirrors present and ready. - Always ask first, but try to get client photographs whenever possible.
The Value of Networking: - Make sure you have a booth mate so you can go around the event and create connections with fellow vendors and ask them valuable questions about their experiences, how long they have vended (here/in general). - Use your petty cash belt to purchase from fellow vendors and write them down in your receipt book as ‘negative’ sales ex: -$30 and the name of the vendor bought from. - Take as many business cards from fellow vendors as possible. - Follow up with fellow vendors after the event to share experiences. - Keep up with events they will be participating in (especially if you are invited!). - Most importantly: Maintain relationships with fellow vendors and stay in touch!
Are you an artist or designer? If so, please feel free to post your own checklist tricks for easier more meaningful vending experiences! If any of these are helpful, please let me know! I am so grateful to be part of the vending community here in Humboldt County as well as the surrounding areas. I look forward to hearing from you! Helpful Links: Is it Worth the Vendor Fee? Vendor Success Tips The Economics of Vending