If you currently own your own business or are thinking of starting one up, a vendor fair is a great place to promote your product, and crank your sales up a notch.
Sometimes, there's only so far you can go with a work-at-home business.
You don't have thousands of dollars set aside for advertising, nor do you have unlimited resources to generate income. And if you're in a direct sales company like me, there's only so many parties you can do before they drop off and you're left without any leads.
But at a vendor fair, you're able to meet a ton of people – especially if the event as been well advertised in local papers, community bulletins, and online.
Your type of business will depend on what kind of vendor fair you want to attend.
Craft fairs vs vendor fairs
If your a crafty girl with mad sewing, paper, knitting, or crocheting skills, you'll definitely want to snag a spot at a craft fair. If you're a direct sales business with Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, or Uppercase Living, you'll want to stick more with a vendor fair that is open to all type of companies.
FYI – crafties get really possessive of their handmade products and may not treat you as well if you represent a larger company.
Plus, the type of customers who frequent craft fairs are looking specifically for crafty items. Because I sell vinyl decals that can be purchased from a higher up, and not made personally by me, I find I do better at a non-exclusive vendor fair.
It's all about the networking
Creating contacts is truly where the magic happens. Even if you don't have a product conducive to cash-and-carry items, you still have the potential to make an impression and create future orders.
Let me give you a personal example.
My Uppercase Living vinyl decals are, first of all, not allowed to be sold as cash-and-carry per the company, but I can sell them if they are on something else, like this project I did a few weeks ago.
Second, Uppercase Living customers want to go home, browse the catalog, look at their wall space, measure, and decide on a color before they order. Because of this, I'm really lucky if I make the sale right there at the fair.
As you can see, my business isn't really about sales that day.
If I'm to succeed, I have to keep my business on the front of their brain, so I hand out catalogs, run a giveaway, and make sure I place a business card or sample in the hand of every person I meet.
Do I ever hear from these people again?
Is it truly worth it?
Like I said before, it depends on your type of business. For me, it's worth it if,
- I book a party off of it
- I have people call or email a couple weeks or even months later when they're ready to buy a vinyl expression for their home.
You never know who you'll meet and you never know who will contact you later down the road. But you have to start networking now, to generate cash flow in the future. (aka those dreaded phone calls and emails!)
Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Or at least get your name out there? Start browsing your local classifieds for vendor events, contact local businesses to see where they market their goods, and search the internet.
Now is the best time to get involved – you can take advantage of the Holiday shopping season!
I found these sites to be really helpful in finding a vendor fair near your town:
If you try a fair, hate it, and aren't seeing the benefits, then don't force yourself to continue with an event that isn't bringing you business. You may have to meet your customers elsewhere.
But if you truly need contacts, and a place to start promoting your business, a vendor fair can be a really good opportunity for you.