• How a Small Business Works a Large Event

     

     

    After a wild weekend being at a vendor event, I thought all of the vendors deserved a shout-out. I always love an event and meeting new people and our supporters. Sometimes we meet people who have been shopping with us online and it’s great to put a face to a name. I also love seeing all of the other business owners and the hustle they all have. No one is whining. No one is just moseying around. Everyone is loving what they are doing. They are on a mission to have their booths how they need them to be for all of the shoppers. If you are considering being a vendor at an event, perhaps our experiences will help.
     
    The first step to to purchase a calendar; for this year and next year. These events are usually around the same time every year so  it’s nice to be available without having to change up your schedule last-minute. Once you know you are available, go to the event’s Facebook page or website and send in your application as soon as possible. Sometimes these events book incredibly early. You will most likely be required to pay a 50% deposit upon applying. I would recommend having event costs in your budget. I like to have a goal of about 10-20% of my monthly sales go towards my marketing budget. 
     
    Gather help! You invest too much time, effort, and money in these events to have something come up and you have to cancel. Some events can get wild and you want to be able to step away for a break, to eat, and to shop (because we must support other vendors, right??). 
     
    Don’t stress too much on your booth set-up. This one is important. I’ll be honest. I have never just loved our booth until recently and it’s still a work in progress. For us, we have had limited space as far as for our inventory and our vehicle. So I use these IKEA clothing racks, a $10 table with a sheet over it that I screen-printed our logo on a while back and a few other display items. You don’t have to be fancy! I think the most important thing is just doing the event and not waiting until your booth is “perfect”. Most people don’t pay that much attention anyway. Now that we have a larger vehicle, we have been able to add to our display. And we pack the car down!! And whoever is helping you can bring items that you can’t fit in your own car, too. Some people have large trailers and that is probably what we will end up doing, but not right now. Think about transporting and loading and unloading all of your items when you are planning your display. What if you have to lift by yourself? What if there is no ramp at the venue? What if it’s raining? Do you need a dolly? There are just so many factors to consider and five years of doing vendor events later, we are still learning what works.
     
    And my most important tip: connect with other vendors and the staff coordinating the event. Connections in life are everything! Even if you don’t make a sale at all, the connections are what are most important. I also think that if you believe and know this, nothing else will get you discouraged....like slow traffic, rain, forgetting items back home, or someone being sick and not getting to help you, etc. We love talking (and shopping) with other vendors. It’s so enlightening for me usually because someone is teaching me something! I’m a nurse, okay?? Sometimes I feel like I have no clue what I’m doing. My motto is just “fake it ‘til you make it” so here I am...trying to take notes from all my friends! And I love telling our story, too, because you never know when it may help someone learn something or validate something they are experiencing. We know there will be ups and downs and events that are busy, and some that aren’t. But the perks to those events are being able to connect with others. The coordinators of the events are usually always around and you could always ask for information about upcoming events or give them feedback of your experience. Because at the end of the day, we all have the same goal of growing something for ourselves and our families no matter what it takes.
     
    We met so many sweet, smart, talented people this weekend at our event and I’m so appreciative. The Midsouth Media Group staff is phenomenal and these events are huge, but flow so smoothly and simply thanks to their efforts and experience. You can find more information at TheMarketShows.com. We look forward to our upcoming show in Memphis with them in October. As a business owner who doesn’t have a business plan for a brick & mortar location, events are incredibly crucial to growth. Even if events seem scary or take time away from your family, they are worth it. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Succcessful people will do what unsuccessful people won’t. We would love to know which events you love as a customer or a vendor and your experience! Teach me something, because I will take all the tips I can!
     
     
    The Midsouth Media Group coordinators are amazing and so willing to help! This was our first experience working with them and I was extremely pleased. We currently have three more shows booked with them! We definitely recommend working with them! You can find more information about their events at TheMarketShows.com.
     
    We are so thankful for our friends, Meg and Steve Saunders, with Furniture-Ology and their building skills. They built our display for us and we love it so much! Go follow them on Instagram for all the decoration inspiration!
     
     
    We met Lauren and her husband with Ashton & West at the event. They create awesome signs and decor in Hendersonville, TN. Their website is ashtonandwest.com and you can find them on Facebook and Instagram.
     
       
     
    Penny owns Sweet Knox and designs all of these sweet outfits for children. She is from Memphis, TN. And look at sweet Claire, from Kenton, TN, in this little dress! Their website is SweetKnox.com.
     
      
    Doodles by Rebekah is a brand from Kentucky that we have looked up to for quite some time. Their apparel and products are awesome! You can find their items here. We loved meeting their friend, Matt, too! He is actually a singer in Nashville and you can check out their music on Instagram, Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music by searching Koziol Kennedy. 
     
     
    Gandy & Co. has the best decor and the best taste when it comes to putting it all together! They have a years of experience and attend numerous events! You can find them on Facebook and Instagram!
     
     
    My husband and I loved meeting the owner of Limit Out Supply Co. and their dri-fit tees for the kiddos!! Their website is LimitOutSupplyCo.com and they are based out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
     
     
    We are so thankful for my sister-in-law, Melissa, and our best friend, Mary Ruth, who spent the weekend with us and helped us with everything, as usual! We couldn’t grow our brand without help. 
     
     
    I am thankful for a husband who is always ready to help in any way. He spent the weekend making new friends, loading and unloading, and dressing mannequins. And shopping. 
     
       
    It’s always a good feeling returning home to the kiddos!!
     
     We appreciate the community we are a small part of and love the support and encouragement we receive! Y’all are the best!
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