So I’ve been a vendor in many many many craft shows since the inception of Elle Belle. The vast majority of the shows are put on by big organizations or promoters, and not by people who are crafters/artists or have ever been a vendor themselves. So, I decided to try my hand at organizing and promoting a vendor centric show. I partnered with a vendor I met at a “mass manufactured” show last year and pitched the idea of hosting a new brand of craft show to the owner of a local fabric shop, Fiberologie. She was excited about the idea and we made the arrangements to transform Fiberologie’s parking lot into the Handmade Holiday Bazaar. It was a labor of love that came together last Sunday. Among the various vendor centric approaches we took, was a survey we distributed to each vendor the morning of the show and asked them to provide their feedback (anonymously) by the end of the day. I found quite a bit of it interesting, not only with regard to the Handmade Holiday Bazaar, but also just about craft shows in general. Even if you weren’t a vendor or didn’t go to HHB, I hope you’ll take a minute to peruse the feedback and weigh in on the poll on the right margin. So here you have it - the good, the … well not too, but for the sake of this little pun… the bad, and the crafty:
The survey consisted of 16 questions in “strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree” format, 5 essay style questions, and a place for general comments (we were super happy that all the vendors except 2 worked that hard to give us their review!).
- The million dollar question – Are you happy with your sales during the event? 68% of the respondents strongly agreed or agreed. Interesting fact: of the vendors in the “disagree” or “strongly disagree” category, 25% wrote a note in the margin to the affect of “not in the control of the promoters”.
- The questions pertaining to the promotion of the event were: I am happy with the number of customers in attendance, the customers in attendance were in my target market, the event was sufficiently promoted/advertised. 78% strongly agreed or agreed. Note: the bazaar was promoted on multiple web sites, in print in 4 major local publications (TBT, St. Pete Times, Creative Loafing, and Skirt!), a month long ad ran in Skirt!, 600 full color glossy flyers were distributed throughout the community, and two road signs were displayed the day of the show.
- Here’s that vendor centric stuff I was talking about: I am happy with the diversity and type of vendors in attendance, I liked the arrangements made for lunch, the packet of vendor information I received in the mail was useful, the demos/make-n-takes enhanced the show, I am glad there was live music, the vendor features on the blog gained exposure for my shop and/or the show, the goodie bags were a worthwhile addition to the show. 98% strongly agreed or agreed.
- How did all that planning come together? The questions were: The event was well organized, I think the booth/table fee was reasonable, I liked the location of the event. 97% strongly agreed or agreed Note: table fees were $40, booth fees $60
- And now for some constructive criticism, the question was: What could’ve been done differently to better ensure your success as a vendor at the show? Here are a few of the responses: Larger signs on the street corners and at the park. Bigger locale. Hold the event closer to Christmas time. These responses prompted the poll I added to the right margin of my blog. I’d like to know, as a vendor - What you think is the best way to allocate your marketing/advertising funds?
- What did the vendors like the most about Handmade Holiday Bazaar?: It was very well organized. Location. Great mix of crafts. I liked the fun, trendy vibe. It was not your typical traditional craft show. Diverse crowd that was willing to spend. Wonderful selection of vendors. Stacey & Julie Rock!
- For all of you who are planning or would like to plan a show of your own, here’s what these vendors say would help them decide to do your show: Cost, location, dates, past history, advertising/exposure, diversity of vendors, size, the toss of a coin.
It was a really fun day, there were a ton of wonderful handmade items for sale (I made the comment a couple of times that it was like walking through my Etsy favorites page), and I met some of the nicest most talented crafter/artists. That’s definitely a success in my book!