Finding the right event!
So you want to apply to craft markets? Can’t decide which is best? Here are a few guidelines to follow based on my experience with craft markets or events. For the most part, I gained this knowledge through many failed events. It’s crushing to attend an event with high hopes only to leave having made no money. People browse your table but don’t buy anything. They may even compliment your work. My favorite is that they don’t even stop at your table. That may have something to do with the persons taste or your table setup. Let’s save that for another article. What I’d like to discuss is picking events or markets that suit your business.
Whether you drive or take public transportation. Travelling to an event needs to be included in your cost. If the event is too far or out of the way, I generally don’t apply. I have applied to a few that were far to travel but these events offered something special or a lower table cost which I’ll get to later in this article. Just remember that your gas and bus fare count against your profits for the day (s) of your event. Also, if the location is out of the way and customers can’t reach you then that also affects your profits.
Amount of visitors:
I always investigate events that approach me or ones I’m interested in before applying. Are they established? Is this their 1st year hosting a market? If this is their 2nd time hosting a market, then you can always check out how their last event went. You can also check with Facebook groups dedicated to artisans and ask around. If this event can’t drive people into their market, then you won’t be able to pay for your table. The event should be advertising on the web, television and radio. They need to get the word out. Expecting their vendors to drive all the business is a bit silly.
Cost of your space:
This is what I look at most, cost! How much will it cost me to set up at this event? Is the cost of the space worth the event? If this is an established event, like an Etsy event, the table costs are higher because more goes into the planning than smaller events. This doesn’t guarantee you’ll sell enough to cover the cost of your event though. They won’t be selling your products for you. They are just selling you the opportunity for you to sell your products. This is why investigating the events, seeing who attends and how much it’ll cost you is very important. Smaller events can be good if they can draw in the right crowd. Sometimes they are more lenient with table costs if the event wasn’t a hit. Make sure the cost of the space is also in your budget. Don’t bankrupt yourself and let everything ride on one event. That’s a gamble you don’t want to take.
This is probably one thing I struggle with a lot and maybe most of you do too. Who is your target market? You can’t say everyone! It’s a lie! There’s one type of person that buys your products and you need to sell specifically to them. When people aren’t your target market, they won’t even stop to look at your products. Figure out who buys your things and how you can better market to them. Set up your table to appeal to them. If your event is located in an area that appeals to new moms and you sell baby items, then you should do well. In my experience, new moms or moms to be do not buy tote bags. Price point is also key! If you are attending an event that’s a sidewalk sale, expect a few old ladies in electric scooters to make bugged eyed shocked looks at your prices. They are not your target market. For sidewalk sales, it’s always good to have a couple smaller price point items. People are looking for bargains at these events. Those who appreciate handmade goods want to support you but they may not have the budget for pricier items. That’s why having lower price point items comes in handy. Also, a smile is much more inviting then a frown. Customers don’t approach a grumpy Gus!
As I mentioned before, advertising and marketing are important for events to draw customers in. Organizers should also be creating a fun environment for the vendors. You don’t want a scornful vendor on your hands, we all talk to each other! If an organizer sets up the space but there’s no atmosphere, generally this doesn’t appeal to potential customers and makes vendors unhappy. You want to choose a market that will be fun, one that the time will fly by and give you opportunities to network with other vendors. Good music is key! Perhaps not blasting, vendors need to talk a lot during events and screaming over your crochet mittens is not becoming. Having food and coffee on hand is also essential. Customers will take their time if they can snack and slow down the pace of the crowd. If the organizers chose a venue that is large enough for all it’s vendors in an accessible location then all should go pretty okay. For the most part, a good organizer wants their event and vendors to be successful.
I hope some of these tips are helpful to you when choosing your next event. Applying to an event doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll accept you. Be ready for some rejection. Some events cater to a particular kind of look or individual and your products may not meet their standards. That doesn’t mean they aren’t any good though. Good luck out there! Stay strong!
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