Last month I did my very first show as a vendor. Let’s just get real for a second, I was STRESSED OUT. I had no idea what to expect and, well, I’d never done one! However, once I had the products I wanted to complete done and all my branding was ready, I felt much better. Going into a first time experience is always nerve racking so here are a few tips I learned that I hope can help if you’re headed into your first show.
1. Know your space.
Find out what is available to you. Does your booth come with tables? (more than likely not) Are there tables available to rent? Do you need an electric outlet? These are usually few and far between so be sure you place a request as soon as possible.
Another thing to consider is if you will be up against a wall. If not, having a backdrop is a good way to section yourself off and give more of a shop look. My dad made mine from PVC pipe and it worked great!
Have a layout in mind for how you’d like to set up. If you leave your set up open, people can walk into your booth. If you set the table in front, they can see all of your product but there will be a barrier between you and your customers.
2. Shop your house.
Having extra design elements definitely helps with the appeal of your booth. However, if you’re like me and most work out of the home artists, you don’t really have the budget for this added expense. All I did was go from room to room and looked for little things to pretty up my space as well as larger objects to create dimension. Chances are, you like your own style and it will mesh well with your shop’s aesthetic.
3. Have an email sign up list.
Whether you have one person or ten people sign it, that’s more people on your list than before! Any traffic to your site is good traffic and this way they stay up to date with any other shows you’re doing, new products, or just random info you care to share.
I also suggest having an incentive to sign up like a giveaway. Who doesn’t like the chance to win some free stuff?!
4. If you do custom work, have examples.
This sounds like a real “duh” piece of advice but I honestly thought that my display with pictures would be enough. Turns out, not so much. People need to see something physical. Most people just breezed right past my custom order display or hadn’t even seen it when I talked to them about custom work.
5. The first and last hour are SLOW.
It is what it is. People are out doing family stuff on the weekends and you’ll usually get your rushes after that first hour.
BONUS TIP: Branding is everything. Be sure you always have your business cards on hand and your social media info visible!
I had a great time at my first show and it was a great learning experience. Definitely looking forward to my next show in couple weeks!