What We’re Looking For In A Vendor
With every show my main goal is to connect shoppers to amazing local and handmade artisans which means I actually have 2 very important jobs.
- Attract amazing shops/artisans who want to be in my show
- Attract amazing shoppers who want to shop handmade and buy local
In order to do this I have to be really selective about who I accept into the markets as this greatly impacts the number of shoppers that come out, which greatly impacts the success of ALL vendors! And I only succeed, when you succeed!!!
So in order to make the selection process a little more streamlined and transparent, I’ve decided to share some of my “look fors” with you here so you know how my decisions are being made.
1. Location, location, location
I don’t want this to sound rude or mean or dismiss any of the hard work you’ve put into growing your business and exposure – but if you can be found in multiple locations around the vicinity of my markets, especially in the 30ish days leading up to the market, I am going to be less inclined to approve you. WHY? You ask? Well remember my 2 goals up there. One of them has to do with drawing a lot of amazing shoppers. And part of how I do that is in curating a selection of top-quality, in demand, makers that picks shoppers NEED to shop at! However, if those same makers are available to shop from any day of the week, then they may not feel the need to attend the market as they can just pick up with they want next week, just up the street. Make sense?
Remember – I only succeed if you succeed!
2. Product Selection
I get it. You’re multi-passionate and love all things self-care which means you sell jewelry and bath bombs, and face masks and candles and the list goes on! However, this makes it extremely difficult to accept your business into the market as your one business takes up many different product categories, which I strive very much so to keep evened out fairly to give “like” business’ equal opportunity. My advice? Select the product line your most passionate about and stick to that when applying for the market. This will allow you to have a more focused promo for what you’re bringing and be able to cater to this niche at the market! My ultimate goal behind these markets is to help grow the participants’ shops into real life money making businesses.
Social media is THE NAME OF THE GAME in terms of marketing PAG markets and with that comes something very unique and very special – LEVERAGE!!! The shows that have done the best with the highest level of traffic came when ALL the makers were sharing the branded collateral (I provide MANY branded images/posts with each show) on their Instagram and Facebook feeds! I do put many hours and lots of money into paid ads and getting the word out – but nothing compares to when all 40-90 makers are leveraging their upwards of 17,000 followers to increase that expose!!! And – as a business – it’s important to let YOUR fans know where YOU’LL be so they can come shop from YOU! So, as part of my selection process, I will be reviewing social media presence and quality of product images. Notice I didn’t say following – I’m not just looking for high follower business’ but I am looking for business’ who have an active, cohesive feed which exhibits their time and energy into building their business.
4. Be A Resourceful + Respectful Maker.
As you can imagine I receive hundreds of emails in the weeks leading up to a market and as a one-woman show there are just days where I can’t do it all. This is why I’ve created a Private FB group for makers in the upcoming shows to help one another in preparation and to ask/answer questions! It always makes my job easier (and my heart sing) when I see makers supporting one another by giving advice and answering one anothers questions, as it takes the load off of me! I also provide a TONNE of info regarding the shows within the Facebook event pages to ensure that shoppers and makers have the most up to date info – so my advice to you is when in doubt (and before you hit send on that email) is to read the event pages, post a question in the FB group, or check my website for FAQs to help in finding your answer! It’s also important to note here that how you handle yourself the day of the show matters too! If you’re late, tear down early, rude to your maker neighbours or just plain grumpy then more than likely it will be your last show with us.
5. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!
Perfect advice if you’re not accepted to a show. Please don’t take this personally. I literally have 300-400 applications come through my email for each 40-90 booth show. The only thing that will guarantee you NOT getting accepted into a PAG market is your attitude! Applying late and expecting to be considered, being declined and then sending me a nasty email demanding to know why, or spreading shade about me to other makers will not be tolerated. Oh – and if you’re not handmade (as in you touch every part of the process) or not local (as in made/designed in Canada) as those are 2 pre-qualifiers for all business’ who apply to the PAG series of markets! But other than that, I urge you to keep applying. A no at one show does not mean a no for all shows!