We chose to attend this particular event for a couple of reasons. It was within our pre-determined distance we were willing to travel for an out of town winter craft fair and it was on a weekend we were free to do so. One added bonus was that it was a shorter event, running from 1:00 – 4:00 PM, so we did not have to be on the road very early.
Both George and I have been viewing our first full year of vending JamBusters! products as an experiment of sorts. We both know that the product sells and typically sells well. What we are finding is that we need to be at events that are actually promoted better. After the first two vending ‘off-season’ vending events I came up with a series of questions I am now asking organizers to help us determine whether or not we will attend the same event again in the future.
So far, the three out of town craft fairs we have attended have been promoted exclusively on social media and one used posters around town where another added one print ad in a free neighbourhood newspaper. One had a listing on an online community calendar. As much as we enjoy attending these events, we are finding that attendance just isn’t what we have been expecting. Sure, part of that has to do with other craft fairs happening on the same dates elsewhere in the same community, but without a lot of promotion, none of these events are going to be very successful.
We look at it from a different perspective than the organizers. In our case, we have a lot of stock available but we still need to determine what we are taking and travel at least an hour to the venue. It’s not an issue as we are prepared to do that part. Where the issue exists is that if vendors travelling any kind of distance do not do well at an out of town event, they will likely not return.
The positives still outweigh the negatives here. For George and me we still sell probably more than any other vendor on site or at least in the top two or three in bigger events. We also enjoy the interaction with potential customers. We have fun at our booth and it shows because we have yet to have attended an indoor event where other vendors have not come around to see what the big deal is about JamBusters! We also have not attended an event where we have not sold product to other vendors. We get many compliments on what we do and how we do it. That makes us feel pretty good about our ‘experiment’ and gives us the incentive to keep at it.
Our next two indoor vending events we know have been widely advertising online, with posters and in traditional advertising sources. We expect them to be better attended. George says it’s not just important to the vendors, either. He sees successful events as being good for the organizers as it helps them to get better at doing their part as well.
Plus, as he keeps reminding me, if the numbers are not as good as we hoped, we are still coming home with less jars than we packed earlier in the day. People are also learning more about JamBusters! and are following us on our Facebook Page and visiting our website. It’s all part of the process. Even this morning over breakfast we were already planning our summer vending schedule!