It was also during April when we decided to amp up our marketing with some paid advertising in a newspaper that services the Oliver area. The idea is to promote both JamBusters! and the Oliver Indoor Flea Market in a slightly higher profile manner using a traditional form of promotion. George designed the ad, which he enjoyed doing having not done much in the way of design work since we closed our newspaper business in July 2016.
The month also saw us vend at two different venues away from Oliver. It won’t be as frequent for us to take JamBusters! on the road, but we do have a small selection of annual events we like to participate in and will continue to do so. It was also in April we ventured away from Oliver for the first time leaving our booth there open for business when we were gone. It basically allows us to be in two different places at the same time which is very new to us.
We get asked every now and then for something that would be considered a traditional jam or jelly. The main reason why we started JamBusters! with the focus on spicy, fruity and boozy products (although we did not have that slogan at the time) was to produce unusual spreads. We wanted to be considered an ‘outside of the box’ type product and we have most certainly accomplished that. So, to fill the gap within our existing product line we have introduced a few traditional jellies. At the moment we have just a Lime Jelly and a Blackberry Jelly (plus one known as Blackberry Butter Jelly – containing butter extract for additional flavour). There is room for a few more to be added.
Weekly advertising online has been effective for JamBusters! but we know we have to do some more in order to reach those who are not on social media. For George, the natural choice was print media. JamBusters! will be running a weekly print ad in a local newspaper throughout the summer months in hopes of pulling additional traffic into the Oliver Indoor Flea Market location. The promotion is a partnership with the Indoor Flea Market and cross-promotes the market as well. Our thought process is that whatever we do to promote ourselves will also benefit the venue we are promoting JamBusters! as being at. That’s why we have always promoted the events we attend as if we are co-sponsoring them because we know more traffic for us means more traffic for all other vendors at the same event.
Another marketing tool we have been using since April is our Jar-A-Day Giveaway. What it is, quite simply, is a draw. Customers who buy product each day we vend at the Oliver Indoor Flea Market will be asked to enter their name in our draw. At the end of each vending day we pull a name and the winner receives one of our small jars of product of their choosing. It has started to catch on and so far, our winners have been either talking up JamBusters! or are becoming regular customers. We couldn’t be happier with how this is turning out.
In April we attended two other vending events. On Saturday, April 14 we were at the Crafters & Vendors Market hosted in the Princeton Legion Hall in downtown Princeton. It was nice to be vending in our hometown and support was great. Attendance was a lot lower than most of us had hoped for but it was still a good vending day for us. In addition to JamBusters! I had my Sparkle By Bee! Hair silks on site and had a couple of customers for that. We were lucky enough to end up with an extra table and it gave us the room we needed to spread out and promote the hair silks.
On Sunday, April 22 we travelled to Merritt for our first-ever market event there. We have been at Lower Nicola, which is about ten minutes from Merritt, but we have never been able to find a date to be in this community. The event was a Home-Based Business Market Showcase and was in the Merritt Community Centre located virtually in the centre of the downtown core. We had a great location in the larger hall and the variety of vendors was impressive. However, attendance was low. JamBusters! did well regardless and we have booked another event here which will be in November.
While we are away vending elsewhere on a weekend, we have to keep our booth in Oliver open and manned due to some new regulations that have been enforced recently. We support the rules simply because we know they are meant to enhance the shopping experience for customers. Our first two dates away in April saw our JamBusters! booth remain open in Oliver. We did some business although we were not there and expect it to pick up once the advertising starts.
Our schedule is slowly filling. In addition to our regular Saturdays and Sundays in Oliver, we have another Princeton Legion event in early May and a first-time event in August. September is our busiest vending month with a few tentative dates outside of Oliver and December will have a few as well. There is no doubt that we are really defining our efforts with our vending business and are still enjoying it. For both George and I, we look forward to working together each weekend and having fun as we do it.