The Hits and Misses of Setting up at Events

Over the last 5 years we’ve set up a table at dozens of events around the south east. From sneaker shows, breakdancing competitions, album release parties, and hip-hop shows.

The one thing we have learned from every event we have ever done is…your sales are unpredictable. We have left shows in the negative, had broken even, or made a couple hundreds of dollars.

Here are some other things we have learned:

Set up where a lot of the traffic will be moving – If you can, request to be near the entrance, the stage, or where the host will set up. There’s nothing worse than being in the corner where no one will see you.

Majority of your sales will be within the final hour of the event – most attendees will show up a few hours after the doors open and their attention will be focused on the event itself. After a while they will browse your table, make sure to engage with them, hand them free stickers or pins.

Tell them to come see you before they leave if they were interested in any of your products. Majority of the time if they come back to see you, the sale is around the corner.

Have a presentable visual presence – this is one we have to get better at. I heard a podcast once where your vendor space should be the same as if you had a brick and mortar store. Have your logo presentable for potential customers so that can have a good first impression of your brand.

Biggie of Deli Fresh Threads, has done a good job with his vendor presence theming it around his sandwich based brand.

Another good tip is to have an email sign up sheet, majority of them will eventually become customers. I learned this from James Watson of Kingdom Clothing Company

Refuse the sale from time to time – this might sound crazy since sales help us grow. There have been many times where someone will come up and offer a low ball amount for a shirt. One time someone came up to our table and asked if he could buy 2 shirts for $10. I respectfully told him that they were $20/each or $35 for 2.

He was persistent but I held my ground and refused the sell. We spend a lot of time and money to build our brands, we’re also selling our creativity and value. If they can’t respect that enough to pay you your asking price then they’re not worth it as a customer.

Evaluate your performance while it’s still fresh – I have left events with a 4 hour drive ahead of me with all of the mistakes from the day running through my head. Could I have done more with our presentation? Should I have engaged with attendees more?

It’s important to go home or back to your hotel room and write down all the positives and negatives from the day. If it was a bad sales day then there’s a lot to learn, if you had a good sales day there’s still a lot to learn from.
Let me know if you have any more questions of something that I didn’t cover.

Guest Post By: Mario Elizondo of Loud Silence Clothing