This post is part of Getting Started series and is meant to be read after Getting Started III: Applying to Shows. As with all posts in this series, this advice is based on our experience, and, like all things, should be taken with a grain of salt.
Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to be a vendor at a show! That’s awesome! Whether it’s your first show or your 100th – the excitement is tangible and the little happy dance is definitely justified.
So, now what?
Read The Contract & Note Important Dates
Most acceptances should come with a contract of some sort. These can range in levels of officialness: some shows have lengthy contracts that get right into the fine details with legalese. Other shows will be more relaxed and have a list of expectations for and of vendors in a plain language document. If organizers do not include this by default, it’s possible it was included in the application documents. If not, my recommendation is to ask them for their terms, rules, and expectations.
If the organizer does not have anything like this, it may be worth considering why. If you haven’t already check out this blog post for tips on keeping yourself protected.
Sign the Forms & Pay Your Table Fees
Don’t make organizers chase you. Or worse, don’t leave organizers hanging to the point where they assume you’re no longer interested and start looking for replacements. Either will leave a bad taste in their mouth. As with anything, interpersonal relationships are key. If you’re no longer interested, or can no longer attend a show, tell the organizer as soon as you know. Maintaining good relationships is key and will benefit you in the long run.
Make sure to respect the dates and deadlines. Get your forms in, pay your table fees. Make your organizer’s life a little easier. They’ll love you for it.
Tell Your People!
Once you’ve confirmed you’re for sure attending, tell your friends, your family, your fans, your neighbours and your dog too! EVERYONE!
But more realistically, make sure to add the event to your social media accounts. Adding the event to your Facebook page and posting about it on your Instagram (and whatever other social media you have) is key. This benefits you, the organizer, and all the other vendors at a show. Promotion is huge, and while the organizers should be working to promote it themselves – vendors spreading the word benefits everyone.
Ensuring to post as the date approaches to remind your followers to come and see you and will also show organizers that you’re committed to making the event a success. This is a win for everyone.
Of course, don’t forget to mark yourself as attending on ShowWiz as well! This adds your name (and logo if you’re a Vendor+ member) to the event page and adds the event to your business profile!
Plan for Stock
Check your inventory and make sure you have enough stock. If this is a reoccurring event the organizer may have statistics on the number of people who attended in previous years. Asking other vendors who have done that show in previous years is also a good way of gauging traffic. There is no magical formula to know how much to bring: it depends on so many variables. What is key to remember is that you can’t sell what you don’t have – but you don’t want to put yourself into debt (time or financial) bringing far more product than is realistic.
Be Mindful of Your Schedule
It can be tempting to take the success of getting into a show and want to chase that feeling. Applying to more shows, looking to fill up your schedule – it’s a natural urge to have. This, by itself, is not a bad thing. Shows are awesome (at least, we think so). However, it can be easy to overcommit and overschedule. There is an extra risk of this when you are starting out. Due to both your production/ordering processes not yet being streamlined and the fact that you do not yet have a good idea of how much will sell, a doubleheader weekend might leave you with a mostly empty table on the first day. This is disappointing for you, the organizer, and most definitely shoppers.
Our advice is to resist the urge to over-commit at the beginning. Save your sanity, keep it enjoyable, and prevent having to pull frantic Saturday night all-nighters to create/find stock for your second show on the Sunday.
Be kind to yourself.
ShowWiz.ca is an online resource that offers a comprehensive calendar of craft and vendor shows and a vendor directory. Currently serving Eastern Ontario and the National Capital Region, ShowWiz.ca works to connect vendors, organizers, and shoppers with opportunities that work for them.