The first thing you need to look at is what you have to sell and what price you want.
It is good advice to take the time and see what others are charging for similar work and how they are presenting the product. This will give you an idea as to what the current market is like and will help you decide how to display your wares. You will find both ends of the spectrum in pricing while out looking. Some will be overpriced and often this is due to the artist’s personal attachment to the piece or you will find work that is way too low and often indicates an artist that is either just starting out or simply just wants to sell something.
Try to find a happy medium with your idea of pricing.
A good formula that has worked is taking the price of your materials needed for the piece and then double that amount. This is my base price and if a piece is more time consuming you add a bit more. For example; $5.00 in materials, then double it to $10.00. If it took you a bit of time add a few more dollars. But keep in mind while pricing the item, what you would pay for this if you were the buyer. If you could find similar items, such as a pair of earrings for $7.00 made with the same type of stones, as a consumer would you pay $15.00?
Often it is tempting to try to add in a reasonable hourly wage.The reality is you will not get that in most cases and very rarely when just starting out. Think of your craft as piecework. It is hard to get to that point but finding a happy medium with pricing is a good start. Once you have that figured out, price your wares by marking them clearly.
Also decide if you are focusing on one type of item for sale or more of a variety. You may have your hands in several types of mediums. You can focus on just one type of product or a variety of themes.
Try to think about the type of customers you want to patron your booth.
Do you want to get the festival and art walk type of crowd? Or perhaps the tourists that venture to your local farmers markets and street fairs. This will take a bit of research on your part but many events will have blurbs online and contact information about vending booths.
If you’re not willing to haggle with a patron, you may want to avoid the flea markets and swap meets. Most customers of these places want a great deal at rock bottom prices. For less haggling and a better chance for selling your wares at the price you want, it is a good idea to go with the previously mentioned options.
Plan on paying a booth fee and these can vary from event to event.
These will be expected to be paid up front. Often event coordinators will want to see your booth display before agreeing to rent a space to you. You may have to submit pictures of your presentation of the product. They will also tell you about any needed licensing you may need to acquire for your vending. These could be a county or city vending license. This is where having a plan comes into play.
Take the time to set up your booth, even if it’s in your front yard, just as you intend to during the event. Here are some things to look at when your booth is set up.
Overall visual display. Is it catchy or gaudy? What is the first thing you notice when you look at it? Is this where you want the customer’s eye to fall first? You want to draw attention to your booth and attract the customer’s eye to your product.
Approachability. Is it cluttered? Is the client going to need to maneuver too much to get a closer look? If so, rethink the booth layout. Make it accessible and don’t over crowd your product.
Are your products displayed to show them in the best light? Don’t just toss things in a pile, use boxes or stands covered in cloth that will best accentuate what you are selling. Don’t be afraid to come up with unique ways to display things.
Include things such as a mirror for the customer, so they can try on jewelry or other wearable art. If you are selling clothes you may need to provide a curtained off area for them to try things on in with a bit of privacy.
Are your prices clearly marked? As a consumer, it is my pet peeve to have to ask about the price. It makes me think the seller is sizing me up and then comes up with a price. You can always change them later but at least have your base price marked.
After you are set up and like the way your booth looks take a few pictures from several angles. Keep copies to submit to event coordinators if asked to do so.
Take plenty of business cards along to the event and if there is something that needs special care, please take the time to include the needed information. Print out a card to slip in their bag about any special care that an item may need. It’s a small touch that goes a long way.
Packaging is a small touch that is very important as a general rule.
This is a small investment but a very important one. It doesn’t matter how wonderful our product is, if you toss it into an old sack. Get some nice tissue paper to wrap your item in or a gift box for small things and put them into a little gift bag. With large items you will need to find appropriate packaging as well.
Include your card with current contact information just in case they wish to re-order. If you have a website it is important to include that information on business cards, receipts and any other literature that you give them.
On the day of the event make sure you have a few of these basics with you, both for convenience and your comfort.
Have at least $50.00 in change. It is a pain in the butt to try to break a large bill. Often other venders won’t have the means to give you change without cutting themselves short, especially in the beginning of the day.
Decide ahead of time if you will take personal checks. There is a risk of being out not only the product but the money as well.
Bring a chair and other comfort items. You will get tired and need to sit at times during the event. You also will get hungry and thirsty, so bring a little cooler along. If you are working your booth alone at least you then won’t have to leave it in search of a drink of water.
Decide ahead of time how you will secure your booth if you do need to leave it. Most other lenders will keep an eye on your booth for a bit if you run to the bathroom but I would still secure it before leaving.
A sad but true fact, you will need to keep an eye out for people stealing. Try to situate yourself where you will have a bird’s eye view, even if you’re sitting down within your booth.
The most important thing to remember is to have fun!
You will meet people from all walks of life and have the best conversations with total strangers. You will be tired but satisfied and each vending event is a new and exciting experience. Just wait until you sell your first item, you will be floating on air!