I did my first show show last weekend in the East Bay at the Alvarado Fall Fest. The show was great, especially for a first time seller like myself. It was a small show so foot traffic compared to other shows wasn’t a lot. Since I took this as a learning experience, it was perfect for me.
Not being a huge fan of crowds, this would’ve been a great event for me to attend as a visitor.
For my own purposes, I was able to calculate how many visitors I had. Approximately 6 – 8 booth visitors per hour for 5.5 hours of booth time. I made a few sales and collected a few email addresses.
I mentioned in the last post Preparing for My First Vendor Show, that I would do a follow up of how it went.
Below are 9 points to summarize how it went
1. Scout Out The Venue
It turned out that taking the time to scout out the venue was a very good thing. On the day of the event it saved time because we were familiar with the streets and the parking. It gave me some peace of mind because I knew what to expect. I’m not a real early bird, so the less thinking I have to do the better. I know that this won’t always be possible. In those cases, I will study a map of the surrounding area and print it out to go over ahead of time.
2. Do a Mock Set Up of Vendor Booth
This was really helpful in saving time. There was so much unpacking to do on the day of that there was a point where I wondered if I would be able to have it all up on time. The pictures I took on my phone of the mock booth set up really helped. I was able to work in a more focused way because of it.
3. Double Check on Booth Order Extras
For this show, vendors had the option of adding on to their booth space order. You could order chairs or tables. At other ones you can also order tents. I was able to borrow a tent and I already had chairs. I was lucky that the show offered tables as an add-on because I’m not sure what I would’ve done.
The add on option for a 6 foot table was a small charge. I ordered it early on.
Just by chance one of the show organizer’s emails just a day or two before the event sounded like only sponsors had tables. I wouldn’t have thought to double check on my order before this, but something nudged me to just be sure.
Good thing I did because I found out that the table size had been changed from 6 to 8 feet. On the day of there was some chaos around who got tables and missing tables.
Because I verified the day before with the organizer, I had no trouble in getting my table as per my order. If I hadn’t, I think it would’ve stressed me out to think I might not have a table.
4. Don’t Forget a Tent
Luckily I was able to borrow a tent. We tested it out prior to make sure we could easily and quickly set it up on the day of. Since it was early in the morning we weren’t all awake. We forgot to pack the tent. 🙁
Luckily, we got their early enough and lived close enough that my husband could go back to get it. It was so warm that without the tent we would’ve not made it past a couple of hours. Don’t forget a tent.
5. Have a Complimentary Gift Promo
I think this could be whatever you want it to be. It’s like a give away gift or a chance to win something for free. It’s basically something that you can use to promote yourself and make yourself memorable. If it can serve other purposes I’d love to know.
I had a handmade cookie for my visitors. The cookies served the purpose of: 1. being memorable 2. thanks for shopping 3. and intend to cross sell. The cookies were made by a friend who wants to get into baking. So, we labeled the cookies with contact information should anyone want to order some.
Everyone loved receiving a surprise free gift. They were surprised and delighted. I loved seeing them smile!
6. Be Friendly With Other Vendors
One of my favorite things about this event was being next to all of the other vendors. They were positive, energetic and helpful. It was great to be “one of them”. I made some contacts, too. It felt like a great way to meet people who do similar things. You just never know how relationships can develop!
7. Sales Aren’t Everything
When you’re new to the game, sales aren’t everything. While I would’ve loved to make more sales, I set out to gain more that just sales. I set out to learn something and grow on it. If I would’ve just been focused on how many sales I would make, I think I would have missed out on a whole lot of other valuable feedback. Sales are great, but one thing I learned is that pricing online is different than pricing at a show, and each show is an entirely different market place. How to price accordingly is a new question to consider going forward. Hopefully I can figure that out. If anyone has any experience with that, let me know.
8. Tape Rules and Ice Cooler is King
There were some unexpected things that came up with putting up the banner. Having duct tape on hand was very useful when it came to putting up the banner. Duct tape = no worries.
The Ice Cooler was great because it kept my breakfast, lunch and snacks cool. I was so hungry after setting up and talking to people that it was a relief not to have to go anywhere to pick something up to eat. Ice cooler is a must.
9. Be Open to Learning
In other words, want to learn something. I think if you make new things about learning they are more enjoyable. Sure, there can be less than desirable moments, but overall you remember mostly what you took away.