Tips For First Time Festival Vendors – or Learn From My Mistakes…

Today is Monday, May 11, 2009. Back the clock up a couple of days and that’s where we’ll start.

As some of you know, I’m vending at the Lucama Spring Fling Festival on May 16.

This is my first festival as a vendor. Ever.

I’ve been aware of this since, oh, I don’t know…about early February, I think. Since then I’ve been selecting and obtaining art prints to show/sell at the festival. I have acquired show-packs to mat these images, as well as donated a couple of framed prints to the festival (one for the silent auction, and one for the winner of the car show).

After I put all the prints in the mats, and then mounted them on the backer boards and poly-bagged them, I realized – this past Saturday – that I hadn’t put my company sticker on them. Um, whoops? That’s not cool. Fortunately, the poly-bags are resealable, so no harm no foul. I printed up a couple of sheets of labels and un-sealed the poly-bags and put my info on the back of the backer boards, and resealed the bags. This should have been done earlier. (Make a mental note of this, people…the devil’s in the details…)

Friday night, May 8th, I think to myself, “Oh! I really need to put a couple new pictures on my brochure, and get those printed up.” I have known about this for weeks and weeks, and KNEW I would need to update my pictures, but, holy cow! I hadn’t printed and/or used those brochures since a year ago, and guess what? Prices have changed. Portrait packages have changed. Long story short? This should have been done earlier. (Yes, you’re on target if you are detecting a theme, here.) Questions you should be asking yourself if you have literature and hand outs at your festival:
  • Do your price lists need to be updated?
  • Have you added or removed services and/or products?
  • Has any of your contact information changed?
  • Have you added any selling points since you last handed out your literature? (In my case, we built a stand-alone studio that has ZERO traffic because we are by appointment only, which is a definite upgrade from shooting portraits in the dining room, as we did a year ago.)
  • Do you have updated or new graphics to add to your fliers, pamphlets, price lists, etc.?
  • Do you need printer ink in the right colors so that you can accomplish what you need to do?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you really need to think about making the changes and printing all of your literature a little earlier than a week before you need them, especially if you have a full time day job, like I do.

I had a printer driver issue yesterday, just when I needed to print out 50+ double sided, high-quality brochures on fancy, glossy brochure paper. It took me all of two hours to resolve the issue, but that was two hours that I lost. Now here I sit, in the studio, waiting for Johnny to get back with more ink, getting ready to print the remaining 32 brochures this evening, after having worked an 8 hour day at my full-time job.

I believe, if you look up the meaning of the word, “fragged” in the dictionary, you may very well see the following picture:

Yes, that’s me, in more relaxed times. You might also find that image if you were to look up, “procrastinate,” as well.

Lesson learned? Get it done as early as feasibly possible, even if you think it’s only going to take a second. Guess what? Not only did I build a studio, the economy took a serious dive, and I eliminated some portrait packages, added some new ones, and pricing changed all the way around. Translation? All of my Info-Pak literature needed to be updated, as did my brochures.

Always expect the unexpected. My printer has never given me a lick of trouble. Until I needed 50 color, high quality brochures on a Sunday evening before I had to go back to the day job in the morning. Not a fun feeling.

Until next time, y’all! 🙂