Selling at Summer Markets and Festivals
Boost your Sales at Summer Markets and Festivals
When you own your own craft or Indie Beauty business,summer can be a hectic and busy season. By selling at summer markets and festivals you can boost your sales, add new customers and increase brand awareness. But there’s a lot to consider when getting yourself and your business ready for the flurry of activity and events that get packed into that short time frame. There are forms to fill out, registrations and reservations of booth space, making sure your space has room for your tables, displays and of course, you! Many outdoor markets and festivals have already begun to fill up and just as in real estate, location is the key to attracting shoppers so getting your space early is important.?
No doubt, there’s a lot to consider and plan for to be prepared and it can seem overwhelming but early planning is the key to making summer fun and profitable. One trick I use when planning events is to build a repeatable and comprehensive checklist that will work for every event. I also use my calendar to note due-dates and deliverables.
Choosing Where to Exhibit
To plan your summer schedule, research the markets and festivals in your area– and don’t forget to think about festivals in other cities where you may have family or be planning a vacation trip. Picking up a new market will give you more customers and perhaps,a tax write-off (consult your accountant or attorney). Once you have your master festival list, start researching registration details and deadlines for each festival. These usually start to come out in February, although the larger events sometimes let you register sooner. I like to record the earliest date that I can reserve a booth space. The earlier you reserve your space, the better. I add each date to a calendar so I can visually see when I need to complete my registrations and if there are any conflicts in market or festival dates. Narrowing down your choices will mean deciding which ones are right for you.
- Which festival or market will your target audience attend? For instance, you might not want to go to an art fair if you cater toward urban farmers. But you want to hit the local Lavender Festival if your products include lavender.
- Which dates are best for your schedule? You may or may not have enough team members to do more than one festival a weekend. Or even two weeks in a row may be more than you have time for.
- What products can you sell at each event? If you are introducing a new product, which market will be best for that?
- How many people attend? Do you have staff and inventory to handle a big event? Or is a small local farmer’s market more your size?
- How much will the event cost? How much will you have to sell to recoup your expenses and turn a profit?
Prepping for Summer Market Success
Once registered at all the summer markets and festivals I plan to attend, I can put those dates on my calendar and begin the real nitty gritty detail planning. As you plan your market strategy, get those checklists out and start working through them. You’ll need to make some decisions about HOW you will serve the market audience:
- What inventory should you bring for each market? Work backwards to ensure you have enough time to order and create your inventory. Don’t forget to think about packaging and how you will bag items your customers have bought.
- Will you accept credit cards? Will you use Swipe and your iPad?
- What special promotion will you offer?
- Will you have samples to test? Or to give away?
- What is your bad-weather plan?
- Do your competitors typically show at the same events you will be attending? What is your competitor strategy?
- Do you have seasonal helpers who need to be trained?
- Will you have an email sign up?
- Do you want to update your website to support your festival calendar?
- Will you email customers about your festival schedule?
Thorough planning includes very detailed checklists. The better you plan, the less likely you are to run into unexpected problems. Start with your first event. Visualize the day of the event from beginning to end. Include everything from loading the car to the breakdown and storage of your booth. As you visualize the day, write down what it is that needs to be done each step of the way. This helps get everything out so you can start to break it down into manageable tasks. You can then start to detail each task that needs to be completed.
Depending on your event, you may want separate checklists for each stage of the day. To start, I strongly recommend a dry run where you set up your booth at home. From there, you can create your detailed task list for every aspect, including loading your car. There is nothing worse than arriving at your event and realizing you’ve forgotten an important piece of equipment or a small item that would have made the day more comfortable like a water bottle. Having a checklist will help ensure that you don’t forget anything and your day goes as planned. Of course, things can and will go wrong that are out of your control, but planning ahead helps eliminate problems that are within your control, and it makes dealing with any other problems easier.
Creating your Inventory
As you plan your summer festival sales, do your best to estimate how much product you will need for each event. Then work backwards to know when you have to order which parts — raw ingredients, packaging, labels, shopping bags, etc. March and April tend to be busy months as you create and build your products, but you still have ample time, especially if you plan to replenish inventory throughout the summer.
You may want to consider adding special items to your festival inventory that are unique to the season or the market that you don’t create. This can save you time and time is precious during the summer season. It’s also a good way to see if your customers are interested in a product before you invest fully in the inventory. Essential created Ready to Label products to make it easier for you to add products and boost your inventory. You’ll find a selection of our most popular products pre-packaged, and ready for your label.
We created Ready to Label products to make it easier for you to add products and boost your inventory without a significant cash outlay. You’ll find a selection of our most popular products pre-packaged, and ready for you. Sold in easy to manage 12 packs, these pre-packaged, travel size products are the perfect way to easily stock up for your summer markets and festivals. We even have tutorials on how to print your labels and how to apply labels to your bottles and jars. Whether you’re a seasoned summer festival seller or just starting out, planning is your best way to make this summer fabulous!
Do you have tips and tricks for summer market and festival sellers? Please share them in the comments, we’d love to know how you make your season successful!