Our insights and experiences are the result of our 2+ years of being vendors at various shows and markets, and from my 20 years in the retail industry; albeit as a health care provider but in the retail
So you’re an artist…..
One of the things that give us artists the most satisfaction is having someone be so connected with your work, that they express how much they love it! Am I right?
And often enough their expressions are in the form of verbal praise or as financial praise (ie: they purchase your work). I like both of them together! And the praise doesn’t necessarily have to occur in my written sequence! Haha…
So you hear everybody talking about craft shows, farmers markets and other exhibitions and you want to get involved in the chaos aka fun! J It’s the beginning of a new year and you’re currently thinking of which shows to apply for in 2013, right?
But let’s face it, we’re all busy people and while it’s satisfying to just be out there making a connection with the people, it’s even more satisfying when the shows are financially rewarding! Am I right? After all, you are investing your busy time into these shows, so why not make it efficient?
So, how do you decide on which shows are right for you and your work (product)?
1) Know your producta. Who is my product intended for?b. Look at your past sales on Etsy. Reflect on your previous shows and ask yourselves who buys my product? What gender? What ages? What socio-economic status? Married? Single? Kids? Gay? Straight? This is called demographics and demographics are very important, read on and you’ll see why!c. Does “b” match up with” a”? Are you and your customers on the same page? J Knowing yourself and your product is probably the most important step in finding the right shows for you.2) Search for shows viaa. Word of mouthb. Facebookc. Twitterd. Googlee. Alberta Craft Councilf. Alberta Craft Alertg. Grouponh. Etsy teamsi. Etc….3) Review the requirements of the show/market:a. Time commitment – Will you be able to last for hours and/or days?b. Location – is the show in town our out of town?c. Cost (Table Fee) – Is this cost prohibitive for you? BUT, before you automatically dismiss the price of the show apply the rest of our criteria. Read on…d. Expenses – what expenses will you incur to participate in the show? Travel? Gas? Hotel?
So with #1 and #3 in mind, assess the show. If the show you’re thinking of applying for meets the following criteria, then its’ definitely worth your time, the table fees and the expense of doing the show.
You can find your answers to my following criteria by inquiring with the show’s organizers, speaking to other vendors and by visiting the show yourself!
1) Assess and inquire about the show’s demographics.
a) What age groups attend the show? Are they young adults, baby boomers, senior citizens etc.
b) What about gender? Is your product geared for men or women? Are those genders there?
c) Socio-Economic Status. Are your customers’ affluent, middle incomes, professionals, etc? Are these customers at this show?
d) Urbanites or Ruralites. Is ruralites even a word? Lol.
e) Does a) to d) match the demographics of your product? Are these the type of customers who shop at your Etsy shop, visited you at previous shows, and who you intended your product to reach? This is why it’s VERY important to know yourself and your product!
2) How many people attended previous shows? The more people that attend the show translate into more sales opportunities for you! Woot woot!
3) At the show, are there a lot of people buying? Are there lots of shopping bags? Are the shoppers in the booths engaged in their shopping experience? Are they excited?
4) What is the vibe at the show? Do you feel good as a shopper there? If you’re not feeling good about your own shopping experience, imagine what it would be to be there for hours or days? Seriously! Ugh…
a) Are the organizers having a good time?
b) Are other vendors having a good time?
c) Are you having a good time as a shopper?
d) Is there music playing? Music generally enhancers a buyers mood and experience!
5) Is the show well organized?
6) Is the show professional looking? Does it look like a flea market, a bazaar, and, is that what you’re looking for? Are the booths nicely laid out?
7) Is there adequate aisle space at the show, will anybody get trampled or ran over?
8) Location of the show. Is there lots of parking? Do you have to pay for parking? Is the location easily accessible? What’s around the location?
9) Organizers. Do the organizers have a good reputation for putting on good shows?
10) Other shows. Are there other craft shows and farmers markets going on that weekend?
11) Advertising. What type of advertising is being done to promote this show by the organizers and the vendors? NB: Do NOT expect the organizers to do all of the advertising for you. When you are a vendor at a show it is in your best interest to help promote the show. Spread the word to your friends, coworkers, Etsy teams, pass out flyers, Tweet it, Facebook it, and/or blog about it! The more customers at the show the better! Teamwork = Success!
Everything look good so far? Great! Are you ready to apply for the show and make lots of money?
Well hang on…why not answer a few more questions first:
1) Product mix. Are the other vendors’ products complimentary to yours? Does it look like the organizers picked a nice variety?
2) What kind of price points do the other vendors have? If the shoppers are all buying inexpensive items, does that match your prices?
3) Competing Vendors. Competition is a fact of life and business. So before you get discouraged that there is gasp…competition at this show ask yourself if your competitor has similar products to yours. How about their price point? How many competing vendors are at this show? And if there are other competitors, how busy are ALL of them put together! Does it look like they’re experiencing good sales and traffic? And for all of you feisty vendors out there…Do you think you can “take” them on? Lol.
4) Are there any buddies there? Having other vendors as friends at the same show definitely will enhance your experience! And you can pump them for information! Note…if any of our friend vendors visit us at shows…I like coffee and Christina likes hot chocolate or lattes…I’m just saying!
So as you can see finding the right shows for you is a little more complex than just filling out an application. The more information you have, the more confident you can be with your decision.
Well I think that covers it. If you have any questions about what I’ve written then you can always convo me on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/j2studiosphotography
In the meantime, I wish you all the success in your shows; get lots of sales and above all have fun! And, who knows…maybe we’ll see you at an upcoming show!
All the best,
Guest Post by Larry Jang of J² Studios (aka as j2studiosphotography on Etsy)
A huge thank you to Larry for putting this post together for us!