One of the reasons I started a booth was to have a space outside my home to practice and express my creativity. I loved the idea that I could try different things without making permanent changes to my home. But of course I also wanted to make a little extra money! Unfortunately, I wasn't as good at that part as I wanted. Mainly because I DIDN'T do these 3 things. So I hope you'll learn from my mistakes! :-)
#1. Successful booths have a cohesive look/theme/style. It could be a color scheme; a design style (MCM, Boho, Farmhouse); a material (wood, metal, fabric); the type of merchandise (Pyrex, tools, records); or even a theme you create on your own that describes your booth. This doesn't mean every single item in your booth has to be the same or that you can't ever try something outside your style. But it does mean that 85% or more of your merchandise fits with your theme or style.
Here's why this is so important... Most customers do not use their imagination when they shop. They want to see displays that make sense without having to think about it. Our job as retailers is to give our customers great merchandise in a way that inspires them, not makes them have to work hard to figure it out. The harder your customers have to work to understand what's going on in your booth, the faster they're going to walk on by.*
#2. Successful vendors cover the pegboard. This is somewhat related to #1. Unless your booth's theme is "Garage", pegboard isn't going to support the look you're working so hard to create. Wikipedia describes pegboard as being used in "utility areas of a household such as a garage, storage shed or workshop." In other words, not for creating beautiful, inspired displays. ;-) Here's some ideas for materials you can use to cover pegboard: fabric (burlap is good because you can still poke peg hooks through it); paneling; pallet wood; old doors or shutters; bead board; tin; peel and stick wallpaper; book/magazine pages; old maps; butcher paper; and plywood. Last night I posted more than a dozen pictures of booths with little or no pegboard so if you're a visual person, be sure to check them out on our Vendors Only group.
If covering the pegboard isn't in your schedule or budget right now, just painting it a nice, neutral shade can make a HUGE difference! And we have someone who can paint if for you if you don't want to - all you have to do is provide the paint and pay his hourly fee. We'll even provide the brush, roller and dropcloth! Send us an email if you want more details!
#3. They work their booth weekly. I'll be the first to admit that I was TERRIBLE at this when I was a Vendor. And it was reflected in my sales. There's no such thing as easy money, and that's especially true in retail. It takes lots of hard work to have a profitable booth. I once heard it said that everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die. Everyone wants their booth to make big money, but only a few are willing to put in the hours and work to make it successful.
It takes more than this to be a successful vendor. There's lots of hard work that goes into sourcing, researching, and preparing items for sale. But these three things are a good starting point, especially for new vendors.
What do you think it takes to be a successful vendor?