A new calendar year brings with it #knottooshabbyBAZAAR season! Vendor applications, schedules, food truck bookings, marketing development…a lot goes into our annual spring show and this year is no exception!
With eight years under our belts, the knot too shabby BAZAAR has turned into a premier market, and every year our application pool increases as does the quality of our vendors. The question we’ve never really answered in the past is, “how do you select your vendors?”
Our vendor selection is done by committee through a jury process, so the choice does not rest on the shoulders of just Caitlin (who is the project manager for the knot too shabby BAZAAR), or even myself. There are a number of reasons a vendor may not get selected. The first is that we do not have space for a vendor in their selected category. That’s an easy one because it is very black and white. This is a small event, as I’m sure you are aware, and we only take a limited number of vendors in a particular category so that a single item doesn’t over saturate the event. That being said, one year we may have only two or three jewelry vendors, but the next year we could have five because the style from one vendor to the other is vastly different.
Another reason is that the product won’t likely sell well at this particular event. This will be our 7th knot too shabby BAZAAR, and because we curate the show, there is a very specific style and clientele that we are trying to attract. We know what sells well in Glendora. And, each year we have one or two vendors that we are on the fence about…and every time, those are the vendors who do not bring in strong sales. We try to go with our gut reaction and seek vendors who we are confident will be successful. The last thing we want is for vendors to invest time and money and walk away with a loss.
We don’t ever want any applicant to think that your product isn’t good enough and we know that there is a market for EVERY handmade good that is out there! But, that doesn’t mean that the knot too shabby BAZAAR has a market for all types of handmade goods. We want to set all of our vendors up for success, as much as we possibly can, and that also means being honest and drawing from our experience with vendors who both do well and those who don’t.
As this event becomes bigger, more well known and more competitive to participate in, we look beyond even just merchandise and booth display but also at the business establishment and how actively engaged vendors are in other shows, on social media and their individual websites. Not to mention how items are packaged and how these vendors market other events they are a part of. So, there really is a lot that goes into selecting a vendor aside from product.
There really is no one-size-fits-all, and as styles and trends in the marketplace shift, so do we. What worked well five years ago needs to be refreshed today. And, we’ve done that with the knot too shabby BAZAAR (i.e., we used to reject any kids related items because they didn’t do well for years. But, we found a few years ago that shoppers had a renewed desire for it, so we brought it back to the event, tweaked some staging and advertising and those vendors experienced great success).
When we look at vendor applications, we are evaluating the following things:
1. Do we believe there is a market for the product line at this particular event, based on the success of similar vendors and/or products being sold in the area?
2. Does the booth display draw customers into the space and provide an atmosphere of inspiration and contentment?
3. Do the product, booth, packaging and physical marketing materials look professional?
4. Does the product support the artistic nature of knot too shabby and the products and inspiration being sold in the shop?
5. Does the candidate have a well-rounded following on social media (1 point per every 100 followers on each social platform)?
6. Does the candidate participate in other local shows and effectively market their participation in those shows?
7. Does the candidate nurture relationships with their clientele (engaging with their community on social media, hosting workshops outside the area, positive online reviews, etc.)?
8. Does the candidate clearly utilize products that are sold at knot too shabby for their merchandise (i.e. paint, wax, art supplies, glitter, etc.)? (This is a big one. If you don’t support our business initiatives in your creative enterprises, we are going to select someone who does).
When I explain the knot too shabby BAZAAR to someone who has never heard of it and never been to it, I have them look around the shop and say it’s very much like what we have in the store, only bigger, with more variety and diversified talent! Our vendors are the best of the best (really…we turn down between 30 and 50% of the applications) who not only have a handle on creating a beautiful product, but have elevated their products with gorgeous packaging and displays while actively engaging their customers and fans with a sound online presence.
For other great tips on applying to the knot too shabby BAZAAR, scroll through the rest of our Vendor Series blog posts!
Do you have the courage to apply for the knot too shabby BAZAAR? Spaces are extremely limited, but even if you get rejected, just by following the application process through to the end, you will have created a pitch for your business that you can use to further your future endeavors.Apply now
The application deadline is Thursday, January 31st, 2019.