What I Learned From My First Vendor Event

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It’s close to the holidays and I was thinking of different ways to get my shop out there. I recently got invited by a good friend Kris who sells coffee and tea with Great Mornings Coffee and Tea to a Holiday event where they needed vendors. I decided to accept the invitation and do my very first booth. It’s an exciting feeling to know that your jewelry, Anabella’s Jewelry, will be a part of this holiday event and many more events to come. As it being my first event, I did a lot of research as to what I should have, visited several craft events in my area to get ideas of set ups from other vendors. I read a lot, I mean a lot, and also Pinterested ideas like crazy. Let’s just say I was pretty happy about the outcome. Here’s a few tips on what I learned about setting up my first booth and how to get ready for your first event. 
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How I got ready for my first event. 

For months I have been looking for ideas online and visiting local events to see how other jewelry shops set up their booths to get ideas. I didn’t want to just show up at my first event without knowing what to expect or how to set things up and walk out without a single sale. The first thing I recommend is to find a unique look for yourself that will stand out. Get creative. I set up my booth in my family room to get an idea of what it will look so I can play around with my items and find the best way to show off all my pieces and attract buyers. I used Pinterest to get ideas. I wanted small wood pallets, wood boxes or baskets, chalkboard signs, burlap, flowers, ceramic bowls, glass bottles and beach finds on my table as part of the decorations. I had several pieces of sea glass that were very unique finds on my table which help attract sea glass lovers that attended the event.. I found on Pinterest several ideas on jewelry displays. Once I had all my ideas gathered up together I decided to go out shopping. What girl doesn’t love shopping? Well let’s just say it was a stressful shopping day for me. I didn’t want to spend loads of money on my displays but I also wanted something unique so I decided to buy the materials and make my displays myself. Play around with your displays and set up the table before attending your first event so you have an idea of what works for you and what doesn’t. Trust me it helped me out a lot. I ended up making one of my earring displays into a bracelet display instead and everyone that came loved the idea. You don’t have to spend hundreds on good displays. If you have a crafty business that means you are very creative so use your creativity and work your magic on your booth as well. Trust me. It will attract more people. 

Banners. Well I wasn’t going to spend $20 to $40 on a banner so I decided to make my own unique sign for under $10. Yes that’s right. Something unique, creative and yet simple and it went perfectly with my booth. Another thing I made was wine bottle displays for my bracelets and anklets. I love wine and have so many empty wine bottles laying around my kitchen that I figured I’d use them for my table. Easy. I just washed them out and glued burlap around the bottom of them. Now I can stack all my bracelets and anklets on them. Saves room on my table and looks super cute. Goes super great with my glass bottle necklace displays as well. 

When packing up your stuff make a checklist and check each item off. This was a mistake I made and won’t make again. Write down everything you need like tape, blocks for your tent, chairs, drinks, displays, etc. Everything, even the smallest most pointless stuff cause once you’re there and you’re set up there’s no going home to get the stuff you need. It’s better to have more then to have less. 


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Things I learned for next time:

From this first event I learned a few things for next one and I’m sure I’ll keep learning throughout each event. One thing I learned is to have signs and attract attention. I don’t mean stand in front of your booth and drag every person in there but be friendly, say hi to those who look at your shop, handout a business card to those who show interest in your booth, give them discount codes. Anything to attract a buyer. I was offering a 10% off to any sales during the event and even handing out a 10% off coupon code to everyone. If they don’t buy from me then, they may do so later through my Etsy shop. I learned this pretty quick and stepped up my game. The first 2 hours or so I was just sitting behind my table waiting for someone to walk up to my booth. Several people would walk up and I will say Aloha to them and then they would walk away. I started to get a little frustrated so once I stepped up my game a little I started to see more people coming in to see and even started to get sales. Don’t annoy people either but at least show them that you’re nice and are willing to work with them. For example, this little girl came to my shop and fell in love with everything there. Her mom walked up and told her that she can’t afford anything here and she got sad. I then told the mom to not worry that I will work with her. She fell in love with some green sea glass studs and only had $5.00. I didn’t want to take the little girls money so I gave them to her as a gift. Another little customer I had was a little girl that wanted to buy her sea glass loving mom a necklace for Christmas. She only had $30 and the necklace she wanted to get her was $35 and she wanted to pay for it so I just asked for $20. Yes I was loosing money but I didn’t care. Seeing a little girl so excited about having the perfect gift for her mom was just priceless and that’s something that money can’t buy. Offer little things to people. Work with them. If they order several items give them a special discount or something. You are giving them a business card and the last thing you need is a bad reputation or miss out on a sale just cause they can’t pay. I rather miss out on $10 then on a whole order. 

Another thing I recommend to have is signs. I’m going to get little turquoise stickers to put next to each item on my display such as earrings. I can’t really put a tag on earrings like I do with the necklaces and bracelets so putting a sticker next to them beats having people ask over and over again the different prices of each.. Also if you have different payment options, have a display. I plan to get the stickers and create my own unique display showing that I take Paypal, debit and credit cards, and cash. Make signs for everything. Even sale items. If you have any sale items post a sign that stands out. People love a good sale. 

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My over all booth went pretty well. I’m guessing cause of all the previous research I had done but it comes in handy. Take your time. Don’t rush it and be creative. Make the best of your first experience. Even walk around the event for a few minutes and look at other booths and introduce yourself and send them your way. You never know if another vendor would love to buy one of your items. Be friendly and handout business cards, especially if you have an online shop. 

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The sunset behind my booth.
PS: If you have any other tips or advice feel free to comment below and don’t forget to SHARE with your friends on Facebook or Pinterest. 🙂 #sharingiscaring 
Update: My shop’s name has been changed from Anabella’s Jewelry to The Walking Mermaid Shop. I have done a few updates to my shop as well. Still currently selling on Etsy but soon will be selling on this website once I get my website shop completely built and set up. 🙂 Stay tuned for more updates on our Instagram account @thewalkingmermaidshop

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