Many Momprenuerers elect to work with direct sale companies to supplement income or have flexibility of schedule and do so by attending a vendor event. In contrast, in the 1980’s and 90’s, home parties were all the rage. It was fairly easy to find a hostess to have an in home party and invite friends to purchase products. As a result, it wasn’t uncommon to book an additional 4-5 parties from each home party. Now is very different. Most ladies feel that hosting an in home party is difficult because it is too time consuming, they don’t have enough friends to invite or don’t want to push the products onto their family. So the next option is participating in direct sale vendor events. But how do you find events and which ones will work for your direct sale company? Here are a few things to consider:
Who does the vendor event benefit?
First of all, many Mompreneurs like to support a cause and often vendor events are to raise money for a charity or non-profit. Schools in which the PTA or a similar organization is in charge host some events. Hospitals also offer direct sale vendor events to benefit their own foundation or research centers. Sometimes there is an individual in the community who partners with a local cause to raise funds for a family or group.
Bridal Shows are obviously shows to entice brides to come to see the newest trends in wedding attire, decorations and food. They may be hosted by a bridal store, venue or an party event planner. Often bridal shows do not want an overwhelming number of direct sale companies at their shows.
Many communities have direct sale vendor events for holidays or celebrating a local celebrity or historical setting. You will find many events on weekends such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. Other communities opt for non-holiday weekends for covered bridge festivals, fall festivals, canal days, apple dumpling days or whatever pertains to their area.
While some people attend these events as vendors or customers to donate for the cause, I have not found that the type of event is the major factor in the success of the event for the direct sales associate. The exception to this is a bridal show. Attendees for most events come with the intention of purchasing products. Bridal show attendees come with the intention of winning prizes. Therefore, there is much more follow up because they usually do not purchase the day of the event.
Booth Price at Vendor Events
Originally, price is the deciding factor for many direct sale associates when considering vendor events. You will find some small local direct sale vendor events starting at $10 for a few hours. Or you can also find specialized events costing up to $1000 for a few hours! It can be very confusing when trying to make a decision. So here are some other points to consider.
Length of Event
Will the direct sale vendor event be a one day show for a few hours, last all day or last several days?
You will find that most events will fall into the one-day category. Events may be morning, afternoon or evening and vary in length from two hours to eight hours.
There are also events that offer multi-day booth rental. Some are willing to divide the contract into smaller time allotments but many require you to be present for the entire show. The Indiana State Fair is one of these types of shows. The booths are open from 10:00 am until 9:00 pm for 14 days. This is a huge money commitment as well as time. While the sales can be rewarding, being a one person team at direct sale vendor events with this length may not work for you. You may want to consider working this type of event as a group with your down-line.
Secondly, consider the space you will be renting for the cost. Although 10 X 10 is fairly standard, I have seen lots of other sizes. Before committing to any event, I would suggest setting up a mock show in your home. Determine what must be included in your booth and what is optional.
After size, see what other items are included with the booth. Will the venue provide a table and chairs? Will electrical outlets be nearby? If the event is during lunch, will food be available? Does the facility have free WiFi? These can all be negotiable items. Some events will have a smaller fee for the space and then add extra charges for each additional item. Initially, the event may look like a good price at $20 for a booth but ends with a $60-$80 charge with all the added items. Or if all the items are included and you do not require some, you may be able to ask for a discount.
Vendor Selection of Direct Sale Companies
You will also want to know how vendors are selected for each direct sale vendor event. Most events will only allow one vendor for each direct sale company. If you are not a direct sale company, this rule may not apply. I once showed up for a bridal show with five DJ’s and three bridal stores. This was not the ratio I expected for a show with approximately 20 spaces charging $450 per booth.
Direct sale vendor events can be tricky because each company has different rules for how many vendors can attend each show. Also, the promoter of the event may have certain restrictions on the number of direct sales booths.
In other words, ask in advance if you will have competition at the show or other vendors who will complement your own business.
Attendance at Vendor Events
Lastly, you will want to know who will be attending the direct sale vendor event. Or more importantly, how may will be attending the direct sale vendor event. This can be a tough question for a first time show but events that have been happening for several years should be able to give you some idea of attendance. If an established direct sale vendor event is unclear about attendance, I would be checking other sources before committing to a space. For instance, find someone who either was a vendor at a previous show or someone who attended the previous event.
Additionally, ask about advertising. Usually, attendance is directly related to the type and amount of advertising for an event. As a prior bridal show coordinator, the booth rental I received was primarily used for advertising. This could be a combination of newspaper, radio, mailings or placing flyers in public places. Now days, advertising must include social media and email which can also be much less expensive. Consequently, this allows event coordinators to reach more people but can also be more time consuming. Some coordinators don’t plan accordingly to get the word out about the direct sale vendor event and attendance suffers.
WOW! That is so much to think about and consider! And that is exactly what you should be doing before committing to a vendor event. I have hastily signed up for a show based on date, time, cost or location and forgot to think about the other needs to make a show successful. Occasionally, it has turned out to be a fantastic event. But I have also had several that were not so great. Hopefully, the following checklist will help you to decide on which direct sale vendor events will be the most successful for your business. Here is a link for a Direct Sale Vendor Event Checklist. Feel free to make copies if you find it helpful. Also, send any suggestions to make it better!