Posted on 11, April, 2023
Last Modified on 24, April, 2023
If you’re a small vendor looking to get your products out in front of a crowd outdoor fairs, festivals, markets, and trade shows are a great place to start. Maybe you make jam from your garden, or hand-craft jewelry as a side hustle. Maybe you’re a small business that’s not quite ready to commit to a brick-and-mortar location, or are a business looking to expand into a new area. No matter what your reason for wanting to connect with customers at one of these events, your best shot at success is an eye-catching, memorable vendor booth that will grab and keep the attention of passersby.
What is a Vendor Booth?
A vendor booth is the area in which you set up during a market or event. It isn’t a massive space – generally a 10’ x 10’ area – but you can still maximize it to get the most out of the event experience. Some events might allow you to reserve the exact location of your booth, giving you the opportunity to place your business where it will get the most visibility, such as on corners or near entrances, restrooms, or food vendors. Even if you’re simply assigned a space, there are plenty of ways to get noticed.
Where to Begin
As soon as you decide to book a vendor booth space at an event, it’s time to get planning. The opportunities for directions you can take your display in are endless, so how do you know where to start?
The first thing you’ll want to keep in mind is your branding. You’ll want a display that communicates who your brand is, so keep your brand’s color(s) and style in mind. Maybe you sell whimsical jewelry and are planning on a boho vibe, or are an organic vegetable vendor and want to stick with a theme of sustainability. No matter who you are or what you’re selling, having an end goal in mind that keeps your brand at the forefront of your look is a key to success.
Once you have a clear understanding of your brand or message, we suggest gathering inspiration. Create a mood board, which is easily done through Pinterest where you can find endless inspiration no matter your theme. If Pinterest doesn’t interest you, you can do simple image searches on the web and gather the inspiration you find in a PowerPoint, Word file, or even in a folder on your phone. Or if it’s a group effort, don’t hesitate to print the images out and hang them up on a corkboard or wall so everyone can see.
Search for things like “sustainable farmer’s market booth” or “vintage craft show display”, or whatever style and message you’re hoping to achieve. Then, with a vision in mind, you’re ready to move on to the fun part: building your booth.
Planning a Top-Tier Display
No matter your vision, the end goal should be to draw in as many customers as possible, which is easy to do with an eye-catching display. There are many ways to catch the attention of passersby, including different types of signage that you can customize to fit your needs.
For an outdoor event, a tent might be an excellent place to start. Not only can it help protect you, your customers, and your products from the sun, but it is also a prime advertising opportunity. You can find tents that can be completely custom printed with your brand’s logo and colors or imagery, and even have the option of adding any number of sidewalls to maximize the customization of your space. If you’re not ready to commit to a custom tent or a tent is being provided for you, try a custom printed tent valance banner that attach to tents with pins, so installation is quick and straightforward.
If you’ll be putting your products on tables, custom printed table throws or runners can be a great way to showcase your branding in a location where peoples’ eyes are naturally drawn. If custom printing isn’t an option, opt for a plain table throw with a runner in a fabric that matches your brand. Burlap, lace, floral fabric, or even runners with fringe can look good depending on who you are and what you’re selling.
Draw in a crowd with custom flags or A-frame signs to put in the front of your vendor booth space to draw attention. Even with products like these you can stick to your branding by designing with colors and imagery that are true to your brand, or are even made with materials that align with your values, such as FSC Certified wood if sustainability is something that matters to you.
If you think you don’t have the budget for custom signage, think again! You can invest in an inexpensive tabletop sign or vinyl banner which can be customized to fit your space. Pair these with other decorations on the walls and ceiling of your tent space that tell your brand’s story, such as product photographs in vintage picture frames, or tools of your trade hanging from the ceiling as conversation starters.
As for your products themselves, don’t be afraid to get creative with how you display them! Easels, old furniture, hand-built shelves out of unusual items like ladders or wooden crates – the list of ideas is endless. When you’re putting together your mood board, make sure you take your product display into consideration and you’re sure to find something that fits your products and brand’s image.
You Have a Booth Setup in Mind, Now What?
Once you have a solid idea of what you want your booth to look like, make sure it’s actually achievable. Keep your budget in mind, as well as who will be the one transporting and building your vendor booth at an event. If you won’t have much help, don’t bite off more than you can chew and leave yourself rushing and frustrated before the event even starts.
This is especially important because once your booth is built and your products are on display, you want to be at your absolute best for your customers. Be ready to strike up friendly conversations with prospective buyers about your brand and what you offer, and don’t be surprised if they make mention of your booth space! If you’ve done a good job, that will likely be what drew them in to begin with and is an excellent talking point.
Offering a little something extra to your customers is another great way to keep them engaged and even encourage them to spread the word about your booth. Offer little goodies with their purchase, such as branded merchandise like magnets or pens, or free samples of other products that may encourage them to come back for more. Food is another option, so think about including things like cookies or popcorn or little candies as a ‘thank you’ with their purchase. Or if you don’t have the budget for extras, consider holding a contest to be held either later in the event or after. An easy way to do this is through social media, which doubles as a way to build your brand audience!
Make sure you bring enough product to cover you for the event, and are regularly restocking when things start to run low. If you only have a limited amount and run out by the end, don’t worry! That means you did an awesome job getting your brand out there.
Most Importantly – Have Fun!
You have a great display, you’ve sold a bunch of products and have made new customer connections. Sounds like a successful day, right? Yes, but the real measure of success is whether or not you enjoyed yourself. You should leave the event feeling glad you decided to participate and proud of yourself for everything you accomplished throughout the day. Hopefully you’ll feel encouraged to do more events like these in the future, and if you’ve planned your display correctly it should continue to serve you for a long time.