With the new season of Festivals, Craft Shows and markets coming up, let’s talk about being a good vendor and co-ordinator of events.


There are a lot of different people that make up a good market for customers. If you follow a few simple guidelines, you should be successful.


First: Arrive early enough before the show to get set up properly. I know there are already unforeseen things that could hamper your timely arrival but striving to be on time is important for the co-ordinator of the show, other vendors, and your customers. It isn’t a pretty site when vendors are trying to get through the people to get set up after the doors are open.


Second: When you are finished unloading park AWAY from the main customer entrance(s). We went to check out a market and all the spots right up against the building were taken up by vendors. Customers had to park either across from the entrance or further down.


Third: Talk to your customers!  I see many vendors sit behind their table and read a book, play on their phone, or do the craft item they have with them. And they ignore people that are walking by their booth. It screams of “I don’t care” syndrome. Especially if you do a craft, you can talk about the item or items you make, how, why and whatnot. I come home exhausted from most events because I was on my feet all day talking to customers continuously. And my sales were great to show for my effort. I had a market space for awhile and one day, I was talking to another vendor when I noticed a woman looking over that vendors table. I stopped talking and said “You have a customer”. She looked over to her table and said “Oh she is just looking”. That statement just floored me. And on a daily basis, she complained about not making any sales that day, or most days for that matter. The first step to a sale is a customer stopping at your table or booth, it is up to you to do the rest. Attention! Attention! Attention.


Fourth: When you commit to an event, no matter how bad it turns out, stay for the event until the end. I see so many at shows that by 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon, things have slowed down and they think it is perfectly fine to pack it in and go home. And that leads to other vendors starting a domino effect. Some of the vendors that do this are the ones that didn’t talk to the customers that did come in, and are leaving because they didn’t get enough sales. Many times at a show, people will come in to a show at 3:00 p.m. and that show has been stated as a 9-4 event. They look at their watch, and start asking if it is over already. I always, and very loudly, tell them, no the event goes until 4:00 and I am still open for business. You would not believe the amount of people that come in during the last hour. I have had many last minute sales. People have lives, and they have other priorities to attend to before they get to the event. So why are you penalizing them for not coming earlier?


Fifth: Ask questions of the co-ordinator as to what advertising is being done, is there a charity or other group involved in this event, have you held this event in the past? If you are paying for table space, but none of your money is going toward advertising, then you are wasting your money. And beware of those co-ordinators that say they are advertising on social media and putting a little sign on the front of the building or lawn. If they aren’t advertising in the local paper, on radio, or plastering the surrounding streets, especially the main arteries to the event with signs, then decline to go. Ask if they have held it in the past, or if it is a weekly market then do they have a door count of customers. All co-ordinators will tell you lots of people are coming. I was at an event the other day, and although there were many vendors, there was no customer traffic. No body knew about the show unless they went to a certain site on Facebook or web for information. But if the general public doesn’t know about the web or Facebook page, they don’t know about the event. It was a two day event, and on the first day, vendors had decided not to attend the second day.

Several times I have done a show that had this little sign on the lawn saying “ Craft Show”. The paper was about the size of an 8x11 sheet of paper. I would get someone to cover my booth, run to the nearest store that sold Bristol board. I would buy Neon Pink or Neon Green, bring it back, write in HUGE letters “Craft Show” and go hang it. More people saw it. I once backed my car up to the road and taped the Bristol board to my back window because they had this dinky sign in the lawn.


So, go forth, and remember these tips. You should have a successful season of sales!