Craft & Vendor Shows
Craft and vendor shows are becoming a pretty common way to market a product these days. The concept is pretty simple, have a gathering where vendors pay for a table or booth space and customers come and shop the wares from a large variety of shops, crafters and other businesses. I have done my fair share of these events, in varying sizes, with various themes, and with extremely varied success.
Craft and vendor shows are very hit or miss. Sometimes, the show you are at might have very little traffic. Or there is a lot of traffic but not the good kind; they are not purchasing.
The weather impacts the outcome of a show; if the weather is not good, people might not want to come out. If the weather is good, people might rather be doing something else.
The location of the event impacts the show and the buyers; if the location is central and the event well-advertised, you might get a lot of traffic. If the location is too central and in a congested area, you might not get a ton of people because of traffic, parking and a number of other reasons. If the location is in a wealthy area, you might get a lot of people that are ready to shop or you might get very few people because they shop at more upscale avenues. If the location is in a less wealthy area, you might get lots of buyers that looking for deals, or you might get people that will not spend the money on your products.
I'm sounding pretty contradictory, aren't I? But this is really how craft and vendor shows are! There is no way to predict if a show will be a good one or not. I have been to shows that have been going on for years, with a ton of traffic and a great reputation...only for it to be a disaster of a show. I have also been to shows with no traffic, and made more sales that at an event with tons of people coming through! You just never know!
Why do I keep doing them? Well, it's all about networking. It feels good to be out there, sharing my products with the world. I love to share Jade Lilly with people; I love seeing the expressions on their faces when they try the products and are so surprised at how amazing it feels. I love seeing them grab their friends and bring them back, saying "You gotta try this! It feels so good!" I love chatting with other vendors, making connections, and learning more...about marketing, about events, about everything. Other vendors are a great source of networking, information and often, sales.
I especially love being able to be in front of people, sharing my story and why I'm doing this, learning about what they are looking for and seeing what moves them. I've made many changes in my offerings based on what I learn from visitors at vendor and craft shows.
So, will I keep doing them? Yes...I can get frustrated and say I'm not doing them anymore but I know I will. I enjoy them too much. And today, I took a step outside my comfort zone and had good results.
The event I was at today was very busy but the people were mostly not there to shop. I was also placed in a location that wasn't ideal, in a separate room from most of the other vendors. When the event was coming to a close, I decided if I wasn't going to be in a place where I could network with other vendors, I was going to bring Jade Lilly to them. I walked around to all the other tables with business cards and Jade Lilly Mango Coconut Whipped Body Butter in hand. I introduced myself and offered them a sample. I tried to make connections and it worked! Yay me! I'll be doing that again at future shows.
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