Whether it’s a farmers market, craft show, or street fair, setting up at vendor fairs is a great way to grow your business and get your name out there. Despite how effortless vendors make it look, a lot of work goes into pulling off a market booth. If you’re a first-time vendor, use this checklist to ensure you have everything you need for a successful event.
The Basic Setup
Most outdoor events require a 10-foot-by-10-foot canopy. While not all markets regulate tent color, some require white tents, so buy white to be safe.
2. Tent Weights
Remember, market tents are basically giant umbrellas, so you’ll need weights to keep yours secured to the ground. Twenty-five pounds per leg is plenty for most events.
3. Tables and Vertical Displays
There’s no one way to display your wares at a vendor fair. Folding tables dressed up with a nice tablecloth (long enough to graze the ground) are a great starting point for any booth, but many seasoned vendors prefer vertical displays to increase product visibility.
It’s important to ensure that shoppers know exactly who you are. Printed vinyl banners are popular and affordable, but handmade and custom signs may offer more appeal. Banners can be hung on market tents, tables, or freestanding frames.
5. Cash Box and Change
With luck, you’ll be earning good money at your first vendor fair. So, make sure you have somewhere safe to put it with a locking cash box. Some vendors also use aprons for collecting payments away from the cash box.
6. Receipt Book
Some shoppers will want receipts for their purchases, so be prepared with a basic carbon copy receipt book. You can also use a receipt book to track sales.
7. Credit Card Reader
Don’t count on customers carrying cash, especially when it comes to higher-priced purchases like artwork. Cell phone readers that plug into smartphones are the most popular choice for markets and fairs, as they’re highly portable and don’t require vendors to purchase new technology (providers like PayPal provide magstripe readers at no cost).
8. WiFi Device
Since credit card readers rely on the internet to operate, a stable WiFi connection is a must for market booths. Since WiFi at vendor events can easily get overloaded, invest in a hotspot device with a long battery life and phone-charging capabilities — you can find reliable models through providers such as Verizon for as low as $29.99. If hiring staff for your booth, you’ll also want your mobile hotspot to support multiple devices.
Other Booth Must-Haves
9. Price Signs
If a customer has to ask what something costs, they may opt to walk away instead. The prominence of pricing depends on the business — while large-print signage is ideal for farmers markets, discreet signage may be better for high-priced artwork. Either way, it’s smart to have.
10. Shopping Bags
Whether it’s paper, plastic, or a branded tote bag, make sure your customers have something convenient to carry their purchase away in.
11. Business Cards and Email Sign-Up
The best part of vendor fairs is the opportunity to turn first-time shoppers into loyal customers. With that in mind, have business cards handy and keep an email newsletter signup sheet by the checkout area so you can follow up with customers.
12. Water and Snacks
Vendor fairs can frequently last for hours, and there’s not always time to step away for a meal! So, remember to pack plenty of water — especially if the event is outdoors — and snacks you can eat between customers without worrying about sticky hands.
13. A Helping Hand
Depending on the size of the event, one person staffing the booth may be plenty. However, consider hiring an extra set of hands for high-traffic events or if you’re not much of a people person. Just avoid overcrowding — if you need more than two people, consider a second booth.
Are you worried about how you’ll remember everything for your first vendor event? Instead of leaving it up to chance, use this checklist to pack a dedicated market tote with all the essentials you need. That way, all you have to do is pack up your car and go!
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