making vendor shows work for you (part 2)


Last week I posted about how to decide whether to commit to a vendor show. Making an informed decision about the viability of an event is an important skill to have. In order to maximize the success of a vendor show, there is one more skill I wanted to write about: strategic goal setting.

It is so important to approach this business with intention. Be intentional about the kinds of activities you complete during your work hours; be intentional about the conversations you have when you're on-the-go; be intentional about your actions at every trunk show. You also want to be intentional about your approach at vendor events.

Think about it. You're in a room with sometimes 70+ other vendors. Event guests are walking up and down the aisles, briefly looking at your goods (sometimes avoiding eye contact with you) for juuussst long enough to make a snap decision about whether it's worthwhile to stop for a minute and browse longer. Of course, when they stop to browse it means that they'll be approached by the rep and pulled into conversation - it's just a risk they have to take. In most cases, guests will only give you 60 seconds to talk before they have judged you worthy (or unworthy). You better make those 60 seconds count!

When you start preparing for your vendor show, consider your goal. Do you want to book, sell, or sponsor at this show? Let's talk about each one of these in a bit more detail and what your strategy might look like when you choose one.

Don't forget, your underlying objective for this type of event should always be to collect contact information. It will do you no good to set up for 3+ hours and walk away with no phone numbers to call for follow up! Print out (or make your own) these cute Tell Me More ballots and ask everyone to fill one out. Offer a little contest prize or incentive to increase interest.
My display at the Milton Street Festival 2013

Book: I have had a fair bit of success getting bookings at vendor shows. The trick is to hook them with the prospect of earning $100s in free jewels! No stylish woman in her right mind could walk away from that many free accessories!!


  • 'Get this for free' signs. Use a cue card or something similar to make some bold labels to say 'Get this for free - ask me for details' and stick them near your statement necklaces and bags. This is a perfect way to open up the hosting conversation!
  • Give away a 'catered' trunk show. When you're having your guests fill out those ballots, let them know you're giving away a trunk show catered with wine (or coffee) and cupcakes. Pssst... here's the secret: call and offer the prize to everyone in your ballot box!

Sell: I haven't found much success selling at vendor shows but that doesn't mean it can't be done! Vendor events that accept handmade goods will inevitably have a handmade jewelry vendor. That's just the way it is. Let's face it - handmade jewels can be sold at much lower ticket price than our S&D goods. I know, the argument is in our favour for quality but I've found that craft sale attendees are more often looking for a bargain.


  • Add price tags to your display pieces to save time. You only have 60 seconds with them - don't waste it looking up prices.
  • Offer pieces for cash sale. Bring a tray of retired or older pieces and offer them for cash sale (at deep discounts, if you're willing).
  • Consider offering a sale incentive. Let event guests know that it's advantageous for them to order for you today (vs. online later) - offer free shipping or $10 off an order of $100+.

Sponsor: It is so rewarding to build your team and help other women start successful businesses. If you haven't already started growing a team, I highly recommend it. It's not only a great way to layer your income and earn more but you'll also find that teaching others the ins and outs of the business will help you be better too! Use these vendor events to expand your network and offer the stylist opportunity to women in your community.


  • Have a 'We're Hiring' sign. Be sure to put this in a highly visible place. You'll get questions. Be sure to grab contact info for anyone who asks about it and follow up with a coffee date later.
  • Listen for cues. Did she ask you how long you've been in the business? Is this your full-time job? Maybe she started talking about how much she loves jewelry and fashion. Jump in there and talk about the opportunity!

As you can see, there are many different ways you can be intentional about your approach at a vendor event. You may find that you want to try a few of the different tactics I listed here - that's totally fine. Tailor it to suit you and your event.

I'd love to hear more about what things you've found successful at vendor events. Leave your tips in the comments below!

Till next time, stay stylish :)
making vendor shows work for you part 2

1 comment:

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