Abby has been vending her baked goods for nearly a decade. Over the years, she has become more skilled at choosing profitable events.
8 Essential Factors to Consider Before You Pay for a Farmer’s Market or Event
In today’s world, many people have a second job or side hustle. If you enjoy crafts or want to sell wares, events and farmer’s markets provide a venue to do it without the expense of a storefront or shipping costs. However, there are a lot of factors to consider when deciding which events or farmer’s markets to participate in.
1. Cost of Participation
The fee for a booth is an important consideration when deciding whether the event or farmer’s market is right for you. Consider the cost of your product and your average sales relative to the cost of a booth. If you are selling a low-priced item, you will want to participate in events that are reasonably priced.
2. Cost and Requirement of Any Additional Licenses
Some townships require additional licenses and fees, so make sure you know what the event requires and make sure you have it.
3. Number of Competitors Vending
I once went to an event that took money from eight vendors selling the same brand of clothing. They were all given booths next to each other, and although the clothing patterns were slightly different, they were all competing for the same customers. Be sure to ask whether the event limits the number of vendors that sell items similar to your items. If there is too much competition, you may be better off not wasting your time.
3. Number of Years Event in Existence
Ask the organizers how many years they have been running the event. Remember, farmer’s markets and events make their money from vendor fees. If the event does not provide enough business for vendors, they are unlikely to return. Thus, a show or farmer’s market that has been in existence for years is may be more lucrative than one that is new.
4. Method of Advertising
You cannot sell at an event if customers do not know the event exists. Before signing up, ask the organizers how they advertise the event. Some events rely on vendor advertising, but others advertise on websites and the radio, and they have signage.
5. Outside or Inside?
If you are participating in an outdoor event, remember that the weather forecast may affect your sales. A cold or overcast day can severely affect traffic.
6. Type of People Event Attracts
Certain events will attract females, males, families or couples. If you are selling items that may be more appealing to a particular group of people then you will want to choose events that they are likely to attend.
7. Past Attendee Count
Although there is no guarantee that an event will attract the same crowd as the previous year, asking about past attendance can help you estimate the size of the crowd. Nevertheless, keep in mind that it is possible to have a large crowd that is not a buying crowd.
8. Travel Distance to Farmer’s Market or Event
Everyone has a distance that they are willing to travel to vend. Often you will be traveling with a tent, tables, your wares and many other items. It may not make sense to spend several hours traveling to a particular show, but a lot will depend on the price point of your products and the expected sales.
5 Factors to Consider to Help Determine if You Want to Return to the Event in the Future
Even if you decide to attend a particular farmer’s market or event, it is important to evaluate certain factors to determine whether you want to attend in the future.
Usually, the more profitable an event, the more likely you will want to sell there in the future. Nevertheless, there may be times when this does not hold true. For example, for years I did an event that charged a fee for those who wanted unlimited wine tasting pours. Paid attendees got a band to identify them, but anyone could walk in the event. The third year I did the event, the organizer had volunteers chasing away non-paying, non-drinking attendees who were more likely to buy my items than those who paid for pours. I still had excellent sales, but I was annoyed and never returned to vend there again.
2. Convenience of Parking
In some instances, parking may be very inconvenient to your booth. If it is difficult to get your merchandise to your booth, you may decide to pass on the event in the future.
3. Organization of Event
The organizers can make or break an event. I have attended well-run events where organizers check on vendors to ensure that there are no issues. I have been to other events where vendors are in spaces that they were not assigned, and no one can find an organizer to resolve the issue. Well-run events usually have responsive organizers that reach out via email or phone before the event takes place.
It can be difficult to vend at an event that has a lot of steps, especially if you need to navigate the steps by yourself with all of your merchandise.
5. Bathroom Accessibility
Although some vendors do not leave their booths because they are alone, it is important to have bathrooms nearby when you are vending.
Choosing your events and farmer’s markets carefully will help rev up your sales. It only takes a few minutes to ask the right questions or pay attention to details when you are there. Also, do not forget to ask fellow vendors where they sell; some nice vendor may identify an event that may be very profitable. Happy vending!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2021 Abby Slutsky
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 12, 2021:
There are always considerations when it comes to selling items in farmer's markets or other types of venues. I have participated in several types of venues through the years selling art and crafts. Your tips are good ones.
Liz Westwood from UK on October 12, 2021:
This article includes very useful tips for vendors.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 12, 2021:
I miss the Farmer's Market. I use to go frequently but I cvan't walk far enough now. My son and I bought, grew and sole plants during one summer. It was fun, and I doubt we followe you well-written guidlines, Abby.