Last year I did a ton of Vendor based Shows. Some I loved and made tons of money (Iowa Comic Con was a big hit) and some I hated because I stood around and didn’t make one sale at all (Small Waukee, Iowa Show). All of the shows had their own uniqueness to them of course, but I started realizing a set of things about each show.
- There is a difference between Craft Fairs, Craft Shows, Vendor Shows, Tradeshows and Expos
Craft fairs/ Craft Show
A craft fair is an organized event to display crafts. There are craft shops where such goods are sold and craft communities, such as Craftster, where expertise is shared.
Tradesman/ TradeshowMain article: Tradesman
A tradesman is a skilled manual worker in a particular trade or craft. Economically and socially, a tradesman’s status is considered between a laborer and a professional, with a high degree of both practical and theoretical knowledge of their trade. In cultures where professional careers are highly prized there can be a shortage of skilled manual workers, leading to lucrative niche markets in the trades.
- A vendor, or a supplier, in a supply chain is an enterprise that contributes goods or services in a supply chain. Generally, a supply chain vendor manufactures inventory/stock items and sells them to the next link in the chain.
VendorFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaFor the unincorporated community in Arkansas, see Vendor, Arkansas.
A vendor, or a supplier, in a supply chain is an enterprise that contributes goods or services in a supply chain. Generally, a supply chain vendor manufactures inventory/stock items and sells them to the next link in the chain.
Vendor However, today it means a supplier of any good or service. A vendor, or a supplier, is a supply chain management term that means anyone who provides goods or services to a company or individuals. A vendor often manufactures inventoriable items, and sells those items to a customer.
Purchase orders are usually used as a contractual agreement with vendors to buy goods or services.
Vendors may or may not function as distributors of goods. They may or may not function as manufacturers of goods. If vendors are also manufacturers, they may either build to stock or build to order.
‘Vendor’ is often a generic term, used for suppliers of industries from retail sales to manufacturers to city organizations. ‘Vendor’ generally applies only to the immediate vendor, or the organization that is paid for the goods, rather than to the original manufacturer or the organization performing the service if it is different from the immediate supplier.
Trade fairFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
IBM stand during CeBIT 2010 at the Hanover fairground, the largest exhibition ground in the world, in Hanover, Germany.
A trade fair (trade show, trade exhibition or expo) is an exhibition organized so that companies in a specific industry can showcase and demonstrate their latest products, service, study activities of rivals and examine recent market trends and opportunities. In contrast to consumer fairs, only some trade fairs are open to the public, while others can only be attended by company representatives (members of the trade, e.g. professionals) and members of the press, therefore trade shows are classified as either “Public” or “Trade Only”. A few fairs are hybrids of the two; one example is the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is trade-only for its first three days and open to the general public on its final two days. They are held on a continuing basis in virtually all markets and normally attract companies from around the globe. For example, in the U.S. there are currently over 10,000  trade shows held every year, and several online directories have been established to help organizers, attendees, and marketers identify appropriate events.
Now that I have given you a little history, onto the lesson….
- Not all shows are planned well
- Not all shows are marketed well
- Not all Vendor Planners know what they are doing
- Not all areas are best to sell at
- Some shows are just NOT worth the drive
- Some shows provide a table some dont (Make sure you have your own set up just in case. Table, chair, tablecloth covers, business cards, a candy bowl, info about other shows you are going to, a newsletter sign up if you have one, at least $100 cash, your app for selling with a CC (Square, Pay Anywhere, Swipe, etc) and most of all your smile))
- Some shows are NOT worth the cost
- Some shows you barely make your table rent
- Some shows you will never make back your table rent
- Some shows are worth making NO money at the show, because you will make TONS of money in leads after the show
- Each show price seems to have it’s own meaning behind it
- A $25 show generally seems to be a craft or church show. Great for starting to do shows and get your name out there
- A $50 show is a set up. Generally you will make money at these shows and the planners generally know what they are doing
- A $100 starts becoming a risk. Some planners jump into these big shows and they have to have high rent to pay for their spaces. This does NOT necessarily mean they know what they are doing or that it will be a good show
- Anything over $100 tend to be an Expo. Expos I just found out last weekend as I just did my first expo is a catch 22. For me, I barely made my table rent but I got a ton of leads from others and handed out tons of cards. Of course being I JUST did this show, I won’t be able to accurately say at this time if I will make money off that show or not.For others, they were either in the same boat as me or they sold like hotcakes, doing very well. I seem to notice the majority of those were food vendors.So it would seem to me that if you are a food vendor, you will do well at any show as long as you have samples.
- Amount of spaces matter for certain types of business
- A small show tends to be about 20-25 spaces. This is best for those who do crafts, handmade items and want to start doing shows.
- A medium show tends to have about 25-50 spaces. This is better for those that have been doing shows for awhile and have established a following
- A large show is about 50-100 spaces and best for small business and direct sales teams
- An expo is best for companies, organizations and possibly a small business that wants to leap into the next step of shows.
- Vendor Drama. Wow I could write a whole series on Vendor Drama and I jsut might. Locally it has been crazy here. We have had people being taken by vendor planners left and right. We have had people stalking other vendor planners. We have had people bad mouthing other vendor planners. We have even had people pretending to be other vendor planners and steal their clients and money!!
- Facebook/ LinkedIn Groups for shows
- There are a variety of groups for shows so it would be crazy to try and list them all, especially since each are is different. I will tell you however, what to search for…
- Craft Show
- Stay at Home Groups who sell
- Direct Sales
- Small Business
- Business Groups
- Then search for anything that is in the field you do… like I do Fashion, Handmade, Local and Aprons so I would look for those groups
Lastly, I want to tell you to do your homework. On everything. Don’t just jump into a group. Read the rules and get to know how others do things. Check up on all Vendors and Planners and make sure they are legit. Search things out and check things before giving money. Make sure the planners can tell you where the money is going, how they are advertising, how many attendees they plan to have, is this their first show or do they have experience, etc. That doesn’t mean don’t go, it just means you now know what to expect once you have that info.
Try out a few shows. See what works for you. See what set ups you need. I have changed my set up over and over and am always looking for better ways to do things. I enjoy going to shows but it does get exhausting. Long Expos like I just did that are FOUR LONG DAYS wore me out, so my lesson there is for me not to do too many of those. All shows I feel are worth trying once.
Oh also, don’t be afraid to ask if there are other options, especially with big expos. They want the $$ but if you ask enough times you will find they might have a special handmade section of the show or All Iowa that is a cheaper booth rent and worth you being connected to that show!!
Hope this has helped you to know more about shows as a Vendor and a Vendor Planner. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
If you are a guest only at these shows, perhaps this has helped you see what chaos goes into these shows and might help you to appreciate them more! 🙂
Until next time,
XoXo Trisha Trixie