that time of year friends! The holidays are coming up and vendors, crafters and
local businesses are all looking for ways to get their name out there. Vendor
events are an amazing way to showcase your product and gain new customers, but
there are a lot of organizers out there who are not on the up and up. It’s
important to protect yourself and do your due diligence to ensure you aren’t
getting scammed by someone who has no intention of doing anything but ghosting
you once you have paid them. Knowing that people never expect to be surprised
by an event that doesn’t hold, I have created a list of questions/advice
detailing the red flags to identify and questions to ask.
in Wisconsin, we’ve had some … ahem… newsworthy situations on this topic and it’s
become super important to me to share these tips to ensure that you are booking
with a coordinator you are confident in.
many years have you been organizing events? Do you have some examples of previous
events that you can share with me? If this is their first event, it doesn’t
mean it will be bad. A newbie organizer may have things to learn when it comes
to organizing, I know I still do, but if they check out in other areas, give them
a try. They are only bound to get better at what they do.
have the contact information for the sales office at the venue? This is an immediate
way to verify that the event is legit. If the venue has them on their books,
then it’s a good bet the event will hold.
kind of event is it? Make sure For example, if you are a crafter looking for an
event and the majority of the vendors are in direct sales, that type of event
may not be your niche of event. Some coordinators will offer spaces to a wide
range of businesses – from local businesses, to crafters, antiques, direct
sales, handmade, etc… while some will drill down to a specific niche of vendors
in a category. For example, handmade vendors who only feature gothic style creations.
will you be advertising the event? Will you be advertising in the local paper, a
sponsored Facebook post, TV ad, billboard, yard signs, fliers, etc. While this
is a standard question, it’s important to note that advertising is the
responsibility of the vendor and the participants to ensure a great turnout.
There are a ton of ways to advertise the event but there should be an advertising
budget for the event. That’s a fair question to ask.
many vendor spaces do you have and how many spaces remain? Some organizers coordinate
an event close to the event date and others plan out over several months to a
year in advance. This could vary, but if it is within a month of the event and
half of the spaces are still open, you may want to ask additional questions to
get more information as to why so many spaces are still open.
many vendors are returning from the previous event? This could vary on the organizer’s philosophy
of cycling in new vendors per event, but in my opinion, I like to see vendors
who book with a coordinator time and time again. It lends credibility to the
vendor that they are doing a good enough job that the vendors choose to come
there a fee for shoppers / guests to attend the show? This is a personal choice
at the discretion of the organizer. It may be to lessen the costs of the
vendors or to raise funds for a specific cause. Most of the time it is $5 or
there any additional costs for the event? If you are a food vendor, you may
need a food license, or need insurance, etc. Those additional costs may make or
break your bottom line.
event specifics –
is the size of the space?
tables and chairs provided?
an additional charge for electricity?
set up the night before?
someone be available to help load/unload inventory?
any plans in place of inclement weather?
can I pay? Check, Square, Paypal, Money Order?
if I book the spot and can’t be there? Can I be refunded?
event is cancelled, what is the refund policy?
have a list of references you can use to reach out to current / past vendors
often do you communicate with your vendors leading up to the event?
is a long list of questions, but don’t be afraid to ask them until you are confident
that you are working with a great organizer.
that you’ve booked the event, have a great show!