Things I’ve Learned from Vending

Farmer’s Market, Artisan Markets, Craft Shows, or however else you know them as. They are all similar in the sense that either a farmer, artist, artisan, or creator-like sets-up shop at an event and sells, sells, sells. Or at least that’s the objective.

Thus far, we (my beau and I) have been to two events. An event in La Feria, TX and the Rodeo Artisan Market here in my hometown of Los Fresnos, TX.
We also set up at the flea-market, but that is more general merch which doesn’t have to be handmade/homegrown etc.

And although two isn’t a lot if we compare to others who been at it for years, it has been enough to learn from them.

It could be my pickiness or my always striving for bettering myself, or I don’t know what is within me that makes me this way, but I have a list of things. Kind of like do’s and don’ts that I’m picking up along the way. And I’m sharing it on my part of the interweb because maybe it will benefit someone else. Sort of like a learn from my misteaks. 😉

Scope the Place Prior to Becoming A Vendor There

Because maybe you’re like me. Maybe you like to just take the bull by the horns and vamonos. But for these kind of events and markets don’t be like me. You’ll save yourself from disappointment when you realize there’s not enough traffic at that event. It happened to us our first time ever. We heard about the place having free spots so we took our chances and it just wasn’t as I had invisioned it. We made a few sales, but not worth the distance and hauling of items. So, unless you’d like to take your chances and hope for the best, scope it out to see what to expect and decide from there whether or not it is worth it for you.

Take Inventory

Lucky for me, I’ve been taking inventory of my stuff since I was a little girl. I’m used to it. I like doing it. Yup, I was 8 years old when I started my book inventory, which then led to vhs and other items here and there. If you’re unlike me, don’t worry it’s not so bad. It’s actually very beneficial. You’ll be able to track things much easier. You’ll know how much of what you take and what is selling and what isn’t. Write it out. Type it out. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, unless you’re like me and have to have everything categorized and precise. As long as you include the item, qty, sales, price, and a check off box to mark if it sells out, you’re pretty much good to go. Just thinking about it makes me want to create a simple inventory file for others if they need help in that area. I just might. Let me put a pin on it. Trust me, keeping this in hand and marking it as you make sales, is a game-changer. You’ll save so much time after. You’ll know what you have and what you don’t by simply documenting it as you vend.

Take Pictures

Okay, this is not a must, but it’s a plus. Don’t be like me and regret not taking better/more shots of your booth or items. It just helps, plus it also serves as advertising if you have a site or page, or even flyers. And it’s pretty neat to do.

Place Signs Strategically

By signs I mean both your company’s logo and pricing signs. Even those signs that let customer’s know that you accept debit/credit cards. Place your name/company’s name where it is visible. Make sure it’s eye-catching enough to let them know who you are. Pricing is iffy. Some vendors don’t have these signs, but from experience, I’ve noticed when I post the price on my items, I generate more sales. And this doesn’t have to be done individually, although you can, more power to you! You could simply place a sign that shows the amount and what it refers to. Keep it simple. You can list all the items you have and pair it with their corresponding prices, but people don’t really want to read a long list. Personally, it’s best to display your items in a way that all the dollar items are together, and so on and so forth. Signs go along a way and they go even further when they are placed strategically.

Set-Up 

Before the event do a mock set-up. To see how things will look when displayed and tweak it. It will save you time the day of the event and you won’t be jiggling with where to put what where. This is very helpful!

At the event, if something doesn’t seem to be working, don’t be afraid of switching things around. To make it more appealing. Plus, fixing things a little here and there works as a magnet for people to come to your booth somehow.

Also, I took note that displaying your table in the front instead of in the rear also generate more sales. That could just be in my case, maybe it works different for other people, but having a table in the front and an opening for them to come in to the tent has worked better for me as opposed to when I place them on the sides or in the rear.

I know different things work for different vendors. What works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you and vice-versa. It’s all a learning process. The more you practice it and do it, you’ll see what works best and what doesn’t.

20190215_164124 Take this set-up for example. We tried to display it all, but it ended up being too scattered. We wanted it to look inviting and cozy-ish, and display the different models we have to offer, but not many people went in as opposed to the second day when we put our table at the front and left an entrance on the side. More people felt comfortable coming to our booth that way. This picture (one of few) is from the Rodeo Artisan Market we participated in. Just by having this picture and the experience itself I was able to come up with a list of things to do better. Some which I was able to change that same day. Others which I changed the second day, and the rest which I will take with me for future events. I’ll post about that on Friday. I am my best constructive critic. I like to think of it that way.

Back to the list.

Find a set-up that works for you and take it from there.

Keep Hydrated

That only sounds like common sense, don’t it? Because it is, but even then you might sell yourself short when in a hurry trying to get everything else ready for the event. We did take enough water, but it was as if water wasn’t enough. We must have sweated so much the first day what we needed were electorlytes as well. So the next day we also packed sports drinks and that seemed to keep us replenished.

Have Enough Change

Make sure you have more than enough change on hand. You don’t want to be that annoying neighbor who constantly asks for change. It’s okay if you must ask once, but more than twice is already too much. I like to prepare for the worst case scenarios, so I take a lot of change. But we had a neighbor once who kept asking over and over. And I didn’t mind helping him the first couple of times, but by the fourth time I was already irrate. Plus, the heat and hunger don’t help ease that situation. Just please, have enough change on hand. You never know if you’ll have to help a neighbor out or want extra to buy yourself some things too. 😉 Where you decide to put your money is up to you. Just make sure you don’t leave it out in the open where anyone could snatch it. Because you never know.

There’s other things I may not have covered, but overall have fun and learn from the experience. There will be many other things you’ll learn as you go and that’s one of the beauties of it. No two events are the same, even if it’s on the same weekend and the same venue.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Feel free to do so in the comments below.

Thank you for reading.