by Christine Samad
Coordinating a market sounds like a great idea, but the amount of work that goes into preparing a venue, a market and a community of customers is challenging. Are you a market manager or coordinator looking for quality relationships and vendors? Building relationships with vendors and venues can be a multi-layered job. There are so many factors to consider. One way to be a successful market coordinator is to create procedures and systems that not only make it easier for vendors, but also make it easier for you–the coordinator!
I have been vending for over six years, and I have done some markets that I love with coordinators and curators who have become like family. I appreciate the literal leg work that goes with making a venue vendor ready. I have also participated in markets that left something to be desired, mostly in means of communication. Vendors know that it is challenging to create a flow of crowds at events, but a plan and communication can go a very long way. Creating partnerships in the community is vital for so many reasons. One thing to remember is that when vendors do well, the market does well and flourishes. And once these systems are in place, things can run smoothly.
Smooth markets with curated vendors, free parking, and solid advertising take time and work to establish.Some of the most successful events I have participated in have some common factors. No matter what my profit was at the end of the day, a smooth set up process, good communication and a little hospitality (like free water) can turn a hot, sweaty, slow day into an enjoyable day of networking. No one wants a slow market day, especially not market coordinators, but we know that they happen for so many reasons, whether it be the season, weather, economy, etc. Building community has to be a part of the plan so that when the challenges come, as we know they will, systems are in place to create levels of support for us all. A community of vendors and market coordinators can work together and create an environment where our businesses flourish.
I have compiled a list of questions that most vendors want answers to before signing up for an event. I hope this list reaches market coordinators who want vendors to get the most out of their market or are in the beginning stages of building a market. Having a clear answer to these questions, and a vendor packet that communicates this, will set up your market, and help you retain quality vendors. I encourage you to answer these questions for yourself and reflect on areas that you can grow in. Markets and the community change, ebb and flow, but we can grow together and create the community where we all thrive!
Some of these questions can be answered easily for you and vendors by creating a Fayven account and setting up a market profile. Market coordinators and vendors have a direct link to communicate needs, goals and create community.
- What is the vendor fee? What does this fee cover? (venue, volunteers, marketing)
- How many vendors are expected to participate?
- Do you provide a map and instructions prior to the event?
- Do you ensure a restroom and free parking is available for vendors?
- Do you offer discounts for demos or activities/freebies for children?
- What support is available at arrival or during the event? Who is the point of contact?
- What does loading/unloading look like?
- What is your rainy day policy?
- How do you ensure vendors have the proper weights installed on their structures?
Transparency is key for market events that have a higher premium ($50+)
- What is your marketing plan?
- Do you individually highlight or showcase your vendors on social media?
- How long before an event do you begin promotion and where do you promote your event?
- How many people do you expect to attend so far?
Additional Information to Build Relationships/Reflect:
(You do not need to answer all of these questions, but sharing a part of yourself is rewarding and helps vendors understand your story and your goals.)
- Tell me a little about yourself. Why did you decide to be a market manager?
- How many events have you organized?
- Describe your most successful event. What made it successful and what did you do to achieve success?
- Describe your least successful or most challenging event. What did you learn? (Mistakes are growth!)
- Do you do anything extra to advocate and take care of your artisans? (Brag a little.)
- Do you work with the community or charities and organizations for causes?
Some other ideas to consider:
- Create a call for sponsors who can host a table at events, but also provide snacks, water or coupons for vendors.
- Create a call for volunteers. High schoolers need volunteer hours, and can be helpful with booth sitting or unloading.
- Create a system for feedback. Vendors see all of the nooks and crannies of markets, and often have good suggestions. Think about how to create a partnership with vendors.
About the Blogger:
My name is Christine Samad, and I am the Creator of The Pigcowtopus Project where I share whimsical art and poetry to inspire the character within us all. I use pop up markets as a way to exhibit my artwork. I have been participating in outdoor markets since 2018. I love to share my whimsical artwork and poetry with communities. My success is driven by the systems in my business I have created that make vending easy! My years as an elementary educator have taught me that once an organizational system is set up, the system can run itself with very little maintenance. My years as an artist have given me the opportunity to use my voice to advocate for creatives.