Ultimate event checklist for vendors

The prospect of selling or promoting products at an event is both exhilerating and daunting! Trust me, I know from personal experience, having sold my products at hundreds of shows! While we can’t control volume of customers or what potential customers will buy/engage with, but we can control is being organized and ready for the event to ensure the highest level of success possible.
Here is my checklist for vendors! Whether you’re an artisan selling your own wares or promoting a product, I hope you find this go to checklist helpful!

1) Signage! Have you ever gone to an event and awkwardly walked by those booths with no information out or worse, no price signs on their merchandise? After organizing events and selling my own items, one of the most common feedback from customers was that all vendors should have clear pricepoint signage
I can’t say it enough but having well thought out booth signage created in advance can make all the difference in sales. Signs that are short but to the point, such as what payment methods you accept, how much items cost, what it is that you are selling. Think about your goals before attending the event and then let your signage lead your customers! This leads us into our next checklist item!

A well organized booth by ghostly garlic at one of my Christmas fairs!

2) Draw materials. Pens and paper slips (see my template here) , container for them to go in. No matter what you are promoting or selling, a draw is crutial to attract new customers. Click here for an easy template. You want phone numbers and email addresses. Not phone numbers! Why? So you can add potential clients to your email list and continue to sell or promote your business. Make some clear signs “ENTER TO WIN a pair of tickets/earrings/gift card/product being promoted.

3) Change, credit/debit machine, bags, tape! Don’t forget to bring a variety of change. Usually $5 bills run out quick and I like to have a few hundred dollars of them ready, just in case! And bags for your products. Sure, many people bring their own these days but it’s nice to have them ready, just in case

4) Personal comfort: Snacks and water, sweater, lip gloss, chair, coffee!

5) Branding. Think well in advance, the colours of your tablecloths and display items, as well as your personal appearance-think about how you would like to be perceived and let that guide you in how you want to dress. For example when i sell my vintage jewelry and decor, I go to town dressing for the era!

6) Booth display:
Banner, Zip ties or S hooks, Tables, risers, tablecloths, extention chord, carpet, chair. Know in advance if your tables are included or if you must bring them. Will you do an inverted booth or stand behind your table? Would you like to have risers so your table can be higher? What display items will you bring to add various levels of height to your display? Are you required  to bring  a carpet for your booth, or do you simply want to? Customers like to see items at various eye levels and they will linger longer if this is the case! A simple idea is to cover shoe boxes with wrapping paper. But dig around your home and I’m sure you can come up with some borrowed display items!

7) Event promotion: As a vendor I believe we each have a responsibility to bring at least 10 or more potential customers to the event. A few weeks and a few days before, make sure you have shared the event to your email list and social media. Reach out to the organizer and see if you can take a few posters or hand bills to put up. Depending on the nature of the event, libraries and coffee shop community boards can be a great place!

Here’s an example of what I shared with my social media following leading up to this event. I would also hashtag all local local businesses and associations (local downtown association, tourism etc).

8) Ambiance: Make it cozy with plants, proper lighting (I like these LED lights from amazon) !
9) The night before make sure you charge your phone, lights, credit card machine and any other items you will be relying on!
10) Be social media ready! Bring your camera and take photos of your display with branding, customers shopping and perhaps a few cheery posing photos with you!
11) Notepad and pen to record sales or interactions (whatever is most important to you). At a busy event you won’t have time to record a sale on your phone each time so I like to have a small notepad where I can record my sales or important info from customer interaction
12) Business promo material. It never hurts to bring premade flyers around to all of the other vendors. Perhaps a coupon or a future event you will be attending? At a tradeshow or artisan fair you have a rare gift right in front of you- a captive audience! So use it to the best of your strategic marketing ability!
13) Promotional items: Promotional items serve 2 purposes: One, they encourage and attract customers to interact with your booth. How about a bowl of free chocolates or lolypops? You can always tape on a business card! Or do you have brandable material to give away, such as pens, magnets? Sites such as vistaprint do all the hard work for you!
14) Insurance -Do you need insurance? You can start by asking the event organizer who will have their own coverage. Many crafting vendors do not carry insurance but you may want to think about it. I have en entire article about why you may require insurance here!
15)  Sales licence- Depending on if you are in the US or Canada this may be required-read more here
16) Basic cleaning supplies-garbage bag, Glass cleaner and paper towel. I can’t tell you how many times customers have left a coffee cup at my booth or I’ve even spilled my own! Having cleaning supplies ready can insure your booth is always looking as professional as possible
17). And finally, relax and smile! You’ve got this. If you’re feeling nervous about the event, just remember it’s a great place to practice sales skills and your pitch with customers. If the event isn’t as busy or sucessful as you hoped, there is still greatness in collecting email addresses for your list, giving out business cards and putting a face to the name. As Oprah Winfey put it “people may not remember what you wore or said, but they will remember how you made them feel. That will go a long way for your business, well after the event!

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