|Refunked Junk's booth at the January Mount Dora Renninger's Show|
I met several of my blog and Facebook followers this past weekend who want to sell at shows so I thought I would share some tips. They are in no particular order and I'll probably add to this, but here is a start.
- Get your feet wet by selling at a flea market or something similar. You'll learn what really sells and make invaluable contacts. It's painful to see someone sitting at a table in the hot sun not selling when everyone else is because they're at the wrong event for their product. Running a booth will also prepare you for when you're mobbed and handling three transactions at once. You need to keep a clear head and keep track of the money.
- Be sure you really want to put in 12 hour days during the show even if the hours are "8 until 5." Because I run my booth my myself, this tends to be the case. Maybe it's less hours with more people but I'm thinking they just have more time to make their booths spectacular.
- Get a tent and allot plenty of time for set-up and take-down. Both will take longer than you thought. Know where you will park once you unload. Bring a flashlight- just in case...
- Contacts and courtesy matter. Always keep the other vendors in mind when parking or arranging your merchandise. It's always better to do the right thing especially if you'll be blocking the view of a neighbor's booth.
- Only hold items if they are paid for. If someone really wants something they can pay for it and you can keep it for them. Otherwise, the items should be out and for sale.
- Have a bad weather plan and a pile of tarps and clamps in case of rain. Tent stakes or weights are essential. Equally important is to dress in layers. It's pretty cool at 7 am and after dark. Between times it might be hot.
- Bring sunscreen and plenty of water. It's a good idea to pack a lunch as well. Generally the hungrier you are, the more people want to come in your booth and chat.
- Bring lots of change. It's not uncommon to have someone whip out a $50 or $100 bill. Read up on how to detect counterfeits and know that smaller bills are more likely to be counterfeit than the larger ones.
- Have bags and newspaper wrap for purchases. This is obvious but many veteran vendors forget them. I also bring a few boxes to give with glassware or delicate items.
- Decide how you will handle people who want to haggle. I try to set my prices fairly. It's not uncommon for someone to come back and buy something they walked away from upon hearing the price.