My first every show was Duxbury Art Association Craft Showcase
Things were so much different then. To even apply was a phone call, a mailed application with printed photos and then wait until you got a call or letter of acceptance. Now, the process is so much faster.
I've learned A LOT over the years. I don't know exactly how many I have done, but over 27 years I would say I've done at least 250. One year I remember doing 14 while doing wholesale. Too much. I do know now to work smarter, not harder. I was also a co-founder of a multi vendor market that ran about 20 events. I have experience on both sides on events.
This will be a three part series. I wanted to cover a lot and couldn't squeeze it in one blog post. So, lets start at the beginning. Choosing the right show for you. Number one thing is DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Research the show. Look at attendance numbers, fees policies for vendors, size of spaces they offer, see who has done it before and if they are repeat vendors, and most important, go to the show you are interested in doing to see it for yourself. But, if you do go, NEVER ask a vendor about how busy or how much they can make. Do not bother them with that at a show. They have done their homework and are there to make money and work, not answer show questions. Be observant. Are people shopping, carrying bags? or just going for the entertainment and food? How is the layout ? Is there parking, an entrance fee? Bathrooms? Check everything out, take notes.
It's important to pick the right show so you have a successful, profitable one. There are those times where you do all the homework, make the best looking booth, come ready to sell and make money, but are fails. That's okay. They don't all meet your expectations in profit goals but should always leave you with lessons learned and maybe future sales.
So, picking the first show shouldn't cause stress. You have to start somewhere. Try selecting one close to home, a one or two day show and I suggest one that's inside so you are not dealing with weather and a tent. Ask around to see what's coming up and allow yourself at least 6 weeks to prepare (that's my timeline). Once you research and choose a show, apply, and if selected, you are now on your way to attending and selling at your first show. Congratulations !! Now, you have six weeks (or more)to plan, design and create. Process should be the same whether it's your first or tenth. Set yourself up for success by choosing a good fit show.
The next three blogs will cover branding, displays, product, set up and what to take with you the day of the show. It can really be a fun and profitable experience as well as a way to connect with your customers.
Part 2 coming next Wednesday.