Preparing For My First Vendor Show

Wow! It’s almost been 15 days since my last post and the reason for that? I’ve been preparing for my first vendor show, Union City’s Alvarado Fall Fest!

Since this is my first show I have been working all month to prepare for it. I don’t know what the result will be, but my intention all along has been to give it my all. It’s been such a great experience to have the time to devote to this love project.

In this post I want to share what things I’ve done to prepare for the show. Now let me be clear that I have no previous experience in doing this but I have been to many an outdoor event. I’m also not a bad researcher.

One of the first things I thought of was having signage. If I have a booth, how are people going to know who I am? Since I like to keep my cost down as much as possible, I thought I would make my own sign. But then I started to consider what the time and cost of supplies would be if I made my own sign. Then I started to look into possibly getting an inexpensive basic banner from a place like VistaPrint. Could I get a good size banner at a good price with a good template? The inexpensive banners are not fully customized, so you work with a template. That can be hard depending on what your branding already is, i.e. colors, themes, symbols etc. Luckily, I found a decent little banner from Costco Business Center. I didn’t even know they had a business center. I just happen to see a small blurb about it in my usual Costco newsletter. Awesome! I’m sure there are more and better options out there, but this banner met all of my needs.

Booth Banner

The other first thing I started to work on was creating a checklist. This checklist helped me to stay focused on what needed to get done. It may have not covered everything but it did cover the major tasks. From those major, smaller to do’s were generated.

My checklist had items on it such as: get permits, get tent, get tablecloth, get banner, get booth decor and staging (this is is where it gets creative), get wagon (for transporting inventory etc.), get storage boxes for transporting, get Square for credit card payments, get cash box, confirm wi-fi access, get retail merch bags, create promotions schedule, research prices, create inventory and price sheet, create an email sign up sheet, create email campaign, decide on free giveaway, create labels for giveaway, find quotes to use in booth display, and get packing paper.

Like I said before, from these main to do’s many other additional to do’s were generated. If this checklist doesn’t seem like a lot, it does turn out to be. The details take time.

Without my checklist, I would’ve been all over the place. The second checklist I created is a Craft Show Check List. This is a long one that I’ll probably create a separate post for. It’s just very handy to have. Naturally, it does include some of the items from the Prep Check List above.

In my craft show check list I have things like: seller permits, folding tables and chairs, apron and cash box, business cards and other branding materials, promotional material, booth display items, inventory, price list, price tags, pens, chalk, notebook, tape, scissors, twine, bunjee cords, rope, safety pins, push pins, ice cooler for snacks and drinks, a book or craft to work on, camera, tent weights and more.

Oh before I forget, I also did a quick mock up of my booth. I thought this would be helpful for me to do because then I could get an idea of how all the parts would come together on the day of.

Booth Mock Up

Actually sitting down, writing down on paper what was in my head and thinking of other things to add was really helpful in the entire preparation process.

I’m now just a couple of days away from event day. Today I’m working on the free give away and tomorrow I’ll be working on the packing of inventory. So far, the time line has been smooth.

For the next post, I’ll probably share how it went. Until then, enjoy the little things!


  1. […] mentioned in the last post Preparing for My First Vendor Show, that I would do a follow up of how it […]

  2. […] promised in an earlier post [read it here], I am sharing the craft show checklist that I used for my first show. Having this list really […]

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