As I have discussed many times, vendor events can be worthwhile. They can also be a huge waste of time and a vacuum for your hard earned money if you are not wise in selecting the right ones and then not optimizing your space once you get there.
I recently attended a vendor event as a customer. I am fairly certain the consultant lost her shirt by participating in this one. What do you think?
- It was a first time event. It was advertised mildly on Facebook and there were yard signs dotted around town.
- It was $7 just to get in the door as a customer.
- Vendors were charged $750.00 booth rental for this three day event.
- The consultant had quite a bit of marketing collateral that she liberally handed out, at least $300 worth.
- She also had a medium size amount of inventory (medium meaning not spectacular and not nearly enough for a show of this caliber, but at least a showing. It wasn’t a totally pathetic display; I’ve seen worse.) She had approximately $1,000 or more in inventory.
- The consultant also had ancillary expenses such as business cards, samples, company logo zip lock baggies, table cloths, tables, garland and other display fuufuu.
- Her set up was horrible. She had four tables set up in a square. She was standing in the middle along with an assistant or two. She had inventory along the far back table and also along the sides. All she had on the front table, the only one where customers had access to, had nothing but paper products/marketing brochures, scent testers which were not for sale, and a basket full of wax samples, only the samples were paper thin and smaller than the size of my pinky finger nail, basically useless. There was no company logo, no signage and basically those unfamiliar with the company would have zero knowledge what it was. Her biggest mistake was that customers had zero access to experience or purchase any of her inventory.
To review: She had at least $2,000 in expenses for this event. That is a conservative estimate. In order for her just to break even she would have had to sell $6,667.00 worth of product. That amount of sales would not have put her in the black; that would just be the breakeven point. That doesn’t include her time for three days, and all the time involved in getting ready for the event; it doesn’t include her meals and parking while she was there or any other incidental expenses such as a babysitter for kiddos while she was working those three long days.
The other problem with this formula is that she only had approximately $1,000 worth of inventory. She didn’t even have enough to break even, even if product was flying off the shelves. Based on her set up and approach (or lack thereof) to customers, I would have been surprised if she sold $200 that entire weekend.
Some would argue that she collected leads. Can you pay your mortgage or buy groceries with a stack of names on a piece of paper? Can you pay off your credit card that you rang up to fund this event with drawing slips? Maybe you could just tell Visa that you’ll pay the bill in a few months because someone just might want to sign up later or maybe they might contact her and buy that $6500 worth of product that is still needed just to break even. What? It could happen.
I was bummed that I forked over $7.00 to get in this event. It was very poorly attended with not nearly as many vendor booths as I would expect for a $7.00 cover. I made the entire circuit in less than 15 minutes. At least I just kissed $7.00 good bye and not $2,000.
Perhaps the other vendors did the math and realized it wasn’t going to be terribly profitable unless they could safely invest $10,000 in stock so that they could make a profit during their stead at the expo.
Be smart before agreeing to participate in a vendor event. Also see 7 Common Vendor Event Mistakes. Do the math or enlist the aid of one who is good with numbers. Make good choices with your business. You can’t afford not to!
About the Author: Laurie Ayers is a Michigan work from home mom and a Superstar Director with Scentsy Wickless Candles. She enjoys helping men and women start and maintain a home based business in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, Germany, Ireland and the UK. To download a FREE Start Up Guide which provides more details about how to start a home business as well as to learn about our compensation plan go to https://www.thrivingcandlebusiness.com/how-to-start-a-candle-business/