While many are busy planning their vacations, camps and activities for the summer, we encourage all customers to consider doing several shows this summer -- even if that is something you have never done. Craft shows, street festivals and fairs can be a great way to improve your sales for the entire year if you choose the right show and do everything you can to maximize the event. In this issue of the En-light-ener we will outline how to approach this in three steps.
Picking the correct show is important and, unfortunately, there is not a full proof method without doing extensive homework. By doing some preliminary homework you can pick the better shows for your line. Always contact the event's coordinator/promoter and get as much preliminary information as possible. Find out things like how many people attended last year’s event, theme of the show if any, what things they have added, who exhibited and contacts for past exhibitors so you can call get their experience with the show. Also, if they have a preliminary list of exhibitors for the upcoming show, you can cross reference the repeats. If a large list return, this will tell you the show was very good for them.
If possible make sure your target price for candles will be consistent with the show. If your line uses upscale glass and you want to cater to the high end candle purchasers, then the "flea market" show is not a good fit. If you want to clear out old inventory on your candles, then a flea market might be right. If you have the list of exhibitors and they include candle companies, research their general pricing or type of candle line they offer.
"Google" the event to see what type if any pre- or post- press took place. Make sure all cost of entry are clearly outlined and you know the rules of the show. If you can’t park too close to your booth, you may need extra time to set up or a hand dolly or wagon to get your candles to the booth. If the show is outside and you can’t set up a canopy, then the candles may melt.
If you want to minimize the impact to you for a potential bad show, try and tie in with a vacation, visiting friend or relatives, or close to a vendor (hint, hint, hint) where you can tie picking up materials after or before the show. This way if the show is not successful it help defray the cost of getting to a place you were planning on going.
Preparing for the actual show can be the most important aspect of having a successful show. By doing your research on the type of show and what type of exhibitors can help determine what type of candles to bring. If the show is "Country Themed", be sure to bring fragrances best suited for that audience. While it may go without saying, we do want to note if there is a theme be sure to heavily stock up on those type of fragrances, i.e. Apple Festivals, Peach festivals, Strawberry and etc bring your best fragrances for that theme.
The hardest part of any show is knowing how much inventory to bring to the event. You definitely do not want to bring too little and loose out on potential sales, but at the same time you do not want to bring too many candles because you will have to carry them to and from the booth. If the show is close enough have a back up plan where the candles are easily retrievable for someone else to grab for you.
Another important aspect of preparing is having a "Plan" for maximizing the event. Selling your candles is always the primary focus but the event should also be used as a great opportunity to gather email addresses or mailing addresses for people who stop by the booth. Be sure to offer something like a "Basket", free tea lights, or other promotional ideas to get this information.
If you have a data base be sure to let your Customers know where you will be and be sure to stop by. Maybe have incentive if they say we got your newsletter or something offer "free" or discount at the show. If you have followers on Facebook be sure to promote where you will be.
"Showtime" starts early in the day of the event. Be sure to have your car packed early and give yourself extra time to arrive. Bigger events do limit how close you can park to your actual booth and will make setting harder and longer. Smaller shows may let you drive up to set up but will require you to move the vehicle well before people starting arriving so be sure to leave yourself time for this.
Make sure you have as many different fragrances as you have available for potential customers to test. Use the entire show to interact with anyone walking by or into your both. The direct interaction with potential customers can be priceless. Find out what they like and dislike about candles, what fragrances they may be looking for and ideas for new glassware. Don’t sit behind the booth waiting for people to walk up, stand in front and make yourself available for any questions.
If you have people helping out be sure to walk around and possibly talk with the other vendors find out what shows they like. Look at the other booths and get some decorating ideas and layout on what seems to be working for them.
While the inclination will be if the show is going slow to pull out your book or phone we encourage ignore this temptation and interact if possible.
While there is no guarantee the show you will pick will work out exactly as you planned but preparing can help make it as successful as possible. As mentioned earlier if you can use the show as another platform can definitely help you feel productive that day.