I have also learned a lot in this first year...products I want to make and sell, how to set up my tables, being organized and that no matter what I am loved and supported! I did learn this year that there are people who will try to bring you down but it doesn’t even compare to the amount of people who are trying to raise you up. I have a few tips for vendors who may be starting up...
Tips for starting vendors (Based on my experience)
1)Do your research
-Before you pick a show check it out talk to other vendors who have been there or are going to be there. This year I did a lot of shows because I felt like how can I know if I like it if I haven't given it a chance. After a year of doing shows I think I did 8 I now know what I like and don't like and which ones I would do again.
Do your research on products too. It's definitely important to know every detail of your product because people will ask! I remember at one show a lady was asking me a ton of questions about my candles but not your typical ones, she was asking how do you make the wax? what is the process of farming soy beans etc. I think I awnsered all the questions well and then just as she said good-bye she said she also makes and sells soy candles. So you never know who you're talking to just make sure you know your product.
2) Mix it up
-Not everything is going to work. If I look at pictures from my first show to my last show my table is completely different. Not only shows but your product line up, labels, approach, Facebook page etc. The market is ever changing and you have to be ready to try new things. My first major show this year I was talking to the organizer and she was telling me 5 years ago candles were HUGE. Things always go up and down.
3) Social Media
-To be honest I didn't want to get a Facebook page at first since I thought well maybe that's only for established sellers or big businesses. Let me tell you it's not! Anyone can make a page and it definitely has helped with the success I have had this year. It can seem time consuming keeping up to date with your page but you can even time your posts...take a lazy Sunday afternoon and set up for the whole week. It also gives your an opportunity to connect with other vendors and your customers.
-This can be hard especially in the beginning since you don't know anyone but it is so important. The advice and support you can get from other vendors is amazing.
5) Invest back into your business!
-I can't stress enough how important this is. It took be about 7 months to get this right! After a show I found it so tempting to just put the money I had made into other things, but then when you have to make an order you have to use regular money to pay for it. Many people start their own business because they want to bring in some extra cash so you have to find the balance and come up with a system. 50% back into the business and 50% home. You have to decide what works for you.
6) Keep it simple
-I have a habit of over complicating things and I had to scale it back. For example with my fragrance selection I want to have EVERY scent but do I need that many? And again you do have to try things to know what works but try keeping it to what you need.
7) Be organized
-This goes along with keeping it simple, but try to keep things straight. If you have another job plan to have one day a week you just work on business stuff, or put aside some time every night what ever works for you. One thing that worked for me was at the beginning of the year I started a note book and just jotted down notes as I went along. Took it to each show and made some notes before and after. Now I've gone through that book and it's full of tons of information that is going to be very helpful this coming year.
-This isn't something you can decide right away you have to have some experiences under your belt. Do you want to do shows, sell online, sell in stores, or just on referral basis. I did this a bit as I went along over the year but I think after a year is a good time to really make some cut/additions and plan for the future.
I want to put out a big THANK YOU to my friends and family and amazing customers. You guys are the ones who keep me motivated and inspired.
I'm wishing myself and everyone else lots of success and happiness in 2013!