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If you haven't already read "Part 1: How to Present Yourself At Vendor Shows" go ahead and do that! You don't have to, but it's good information if you're going to vendor shows, craft shows, or festivals.
Presentation is everything.
Your booth should look nice! What does nice look like? Uncluttered, themed, and easy to browse. Use neutral colored table cloths that are floor length. Space your products out on your table or rack. Don’t put too much or too little on your table. And read my 5 tips below!
1. Practice Setting Up
Practice setting up in your house, garage, or driveway. I started my business when I lived in an apartment, I didn’t have any of those things. So I found an empty parking lot down the street and that’s where I did my first set up. It helped me nail down how much space I had, what my displays should look like, and how much stuff to bring. Play around with the display, placement, and spacing. Make sure there’s enough space for customers to browse products. Use your vertical space when floor space is limited. Don’t put anything on the floor instead put things at eye level or above. When you have your booth completed, take a few pictures and send them to a friend or your business coach and get their feedback. While you’re practicing, time yourself. When you first get started it’ll probably take you a lot longer to get everything set up until you get the hang of things. At live shows, you only have a limited amount of time to set up your booth. You want to make sure you arrive with plenty of time and are set up 10-15 minutes before the show starts.
2. Have a theme or a niche
This is good general business advice: have a strong theme or niche for your service or products. You do not want your booth to look like a garage sale or a “little bit of everything”. Just because you can make something, doesn’t mean you should. Just because you can make crochet pot holders, can koozies, dog leashes, and watercolor paintings doesn’t mean you should put them all in one booth. Your niche can be of subject matter (i.e. everything related to dogs), use (i.e. things for the kitchen), material (i.e. wood burned signs, keychains, & decor), era (i.e. vintage goods from the 50s & 60s), or even color (i.e. everything sunny yellow). You want a niche that attracts the people who you want to sell to. When people look at your booth they should say “ah! I know what they are selling and I want it.”
3. Make some signs!
Use “on brand” signs to tell people what it is that you’re selling and who you are! You never want your customer to have to ask you for the price. Customers are lazy and don’t want to search for or ask for the price on something they want. They just want to know if it fits into their budget or not. So please, make sure everything has a clearly written and legible price. You can tag each item or have larger signs for categories of items (i.e. “All Keychains $10). You should print signs out on nice paper ahead of time, but a clear and legible handwritten sign will do in a pinch. You also want to display your business name and brand clearly and prominently. Your day at the vendor show is half about selling products and making money, and half about getting your name out there. If you don’t have your name on display, people won’t remember it.
4. Keep the table manned at all times!
At the 27 vendor shows I was at last year, I cringed every time I would see a customer go to a vendor’s empty booth. I’d apologetically say “sorry! I think they went to the bathroom, they should be right back!”. Almost always that vendor lost a sale. Bring a friend to man your table when you can’t be there. So when you need to go to the bathroom or step out for a phone call, your booth is never empty. That being said, don’t sit there and chit chat with your friend all day. Make sure you’re available to your customers. Read my article about presenting yourself here.
5. be prepared!
In addition to having your items priced, you should also have backup products for when you sell out or if they’re handmade then perhaps things to fix anything that might come loose in transit. I bring string, price tags, scissors, a tagging gun, and markers just in case. Also bring nice bags to send home with your products. Remember you’re not a garage sale, don’t send your products home in bread bags or Walmart bags. If you’re profitable enough you can even get your own bags custom made with your brand logo and information. I use plain bags and attach a sticker with my logo. Bring business cards or flyers so that people can find you online after the show. These small details elevate the customer’s experience so they’re more likely to remember you and tell their friends about you.
When you’re at your show, take some pictures of you and your booth at all different angles and orientations so you can use these pictures later on social media and your website. Ask a neighbor to take a picture of you and your booth and offer to do the same for them. You went through the work of setting it up and making it look nice, you might as well use that for more than just the day!
All of these small things can add up to a big success. Let me help you take your next business steps with clarity and confidence.Schedule a free one-on-one coaching session today!
Hey! I'm Christine, I'm an entrepreneur and small business owner who has learned by trial and error. I write helpful articles that help you take your next steps in business. Occasionally I like to mix things up and dash in a bit of lifestyle topics. Thanks for being here!