It’s my favorite time of the year…it’s time to start booking fall and holiday vendor events and shows! The heart of my Origami Owl business is Jewelry Bars but I find that vendor shows, especially around the holidays, can really increase my sales, sponsoring and booking numbers. I often get asked how to find vendor shows by team members so I wanted to share the places and ways that I locate these shows. Later this week I’ll share my tips on choosing the shows that are the best fit for your business and how to make the most of a vendor show or event.
There are two types of shows that I search for when I’m wanting to fatten up my calendar. One is small, local shows that are within 1 hour drive time and under $50 per table fee. The second is large, expo or convention style shows which can be up to 6 hours away and cost several hundred dollars. Each has it’s own benefits and also has it’s own requirements and planning needed.
Don’t worry, if you aren’t ready to start booking large events and expos for your direct sales business that’s okay! Starting out with smaller shows will give you the experience and confidence you need to invest in a larger show. When I first started in direct sales I waited a few years before I committed to a larger event so that I had plenty of time to fine tune my display, customer interaction and strategy.
Let’s start with the smaller local shows! Here’s a list of all the place I find and book smaller vendor shows and craft fairs:
- Local newspaper
- Community bulletin boards
- Chamber of commerce or visitors bureau
- School district website or meetings
- Church bulletins
- Library community happenings
- Word of mouth
- Fellow vendors (I always try to coordinate a calendar swap with the other vendors during each show)
- Fundraising contacts
- VFW, Legion, Elks, etc room rental calendars
- Animal shelter or Humane Society
- Dance or gymnastic facilities
- Nursing home or assisted living facilities
- YMCA or community organization
- Day spa, hair salon or nail salon
- Lions Club, Rotary, or other local group
- Hospital lunch room
- Job fairs
- Local, county or state fairs
Now let’s chat about the larger events and expos. These shows take a little more effort in researching, planning for and scheduling. Be sure to check out my post about how to best decide which of these types of shows might be right for your business and how to best prepare!
- Convention center event calendars
- State fairs and extension offices
- National sporting events and tournaments
- National conventions for hobby groups
- Dog shows
- Dance competitions
- Beauty Pageants
- Store openings
- College or university festivals & events
- Holiday shopping expos
- Websites and directories
I hope I have given you lots of new places to seek out vendor shows and events. Remember, your business should be multi faceted and diverse so don’t solely rely on one type of inflow, like only doing vendor shows or online shows. Use vendor shows to boost your sales and customer contacts, especially during peak times of the year!
Be sure to share this post with your team when they ask how to find vendor shows and events to fill their calendar!