Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes? Well, here is a first look. (Just a little taste)
THE SET UP
For example, an event can be opened to the public at 11am. Guess what, vendors are usually at the venue 3-4 hours earlier. Some booth spots are first come first serve, while others are reserved. Even if a booth is reserved, a vendor must consider getting to the venue early just in case they might want to switch spots (to get optimal customer traffic) or be unknowingly switched due to a fellow vendor complaint to the promoter (who would rather switch than argue) or lack of physical help to off-load their merchandise. Some vendors need 2 hours to set up, while others need 1 hour. But WAIT just when you think your booth is great here comes a fellow vendor selling similar merchandise and the promoter puts you 1-2 booths away. Well, thank you event planner(s), the selling opportunity has been cut in half.
So, a vendor may decide to book an event based on a special holiday, a desire to support a cause, did research and everything meets their requirements, or would like to try a new area or town. Everything seems right but wait the promoter forgets to advertise. A seasoned vendor knows if potential constomers do not show by a certain hour..... IT'S A BUST! Some vendors will request a refund while others chuck it up to being a bad day.
The promoter can either make or break a vendors day. Some are honest and open about the possibility of sales. Others just want to make money. Beware of the fast talking promoter. The one who talks about where they promoted, how much was spent to promote, loves your product BUT falls short and doesn't buy. So short that no potential customers show up, the area has no signage, will not buy your product (which really means they could care less about you and more about using your rent to pay their bills).
A vendor depends on a customer for a few reasons:
1. To help offset the cost of the table
2. To communicate why/how their product is worthy of their purchase
3. Just feels good knowing that someone loves your craft
4. Continue creating whatever it is they provide
Here is a perfect example of how a beautiful day can turn into a long and dragged out.
1. The person who looks you in the face and ignores even with a simple hello
2. The person who walks by as if you're harassing them (well you did come to a craft fair, festival or market right?)
3. The person who raves about how great your product is but still does not buy
4. Sorry I do not have money. (Again, you did come to a craft fair, festival or market right?)
The vendor life is exciting, fun and adventurous. You meet and make great friends. Like anything, it is a full time business for some, hobby for others and even a second job for those who want to transition into entrepreneurship. If you are a customer, continue to support vendors. If you're a vendor or wanting to become one, know it is hard work, takes time to grow and you should not give up if things do not go your way.
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