Updated: Apr 2
So Much Hope...
Last month I was a part of a new vendor event here in San Diego and I was extremely excited about it since it was my first event AND the premise of the event was pretty awesome: the event was a vendor event/brewery crawl. It sounds odd, but if you know the craft beer scene, then you know that they've tried to make it very family-friendly. So, I figured it would be a great first event for me. The registration fee was a little high, but I was sure that I would easily make the money back, so I decided to take the plunge.
The Lead Up
The event organizer was very proactive on social media, so I felt very comfortable going into the event. In the days leading up to the event I received an email with all of the information that I would need. The email let me know that I would be inside the brewery, and it included the map of the vendor tables, etc. At this point I was super stoked; I had all of my inventory packed and ready, as well as all of the other items that I knew that I would need.
The Day of the Event
On the day of the event, I arrived during the allotted set-up time but there didn't seem to be anyone there that knew what was going on. I went inside the brewery to find out where everyone would be setting up and I was told that we were going to be outside, within their fenced-in area. Ok..... I thought I was going to be inside, as in, under a roof, so I didn't bring my canopy *face palm*. Ok, no problem, I'll just get a little extra Vitamin D.
Well, the next problem was that there was a gate to get into the area and no one seemed to have the code for it. After one of the other vendors was finally able to find an employee in the brewery that knew the code, we all pulled our vehicles into the parking area to offload. Ready for the next issue? None of the stalls were marked, so we had no idea where to start setting up. By this point most of the other vendors were frustrated at the lack of organization and just eyeballed it and started setting up their areas.
I'm sure you're thinking that this is where things start turning around right? Yeah, no. I was so consumed with trying to get my tables set up that I didn't realize what was happening; once the vendors were set up it closed off the point of entry, which so happened was also the exit. All of our vehicles were trapped within the parking lot area so I was in it for the long haul, whether I wanted to be or not.
Sell Sell Sell!
Ok... GO time! I had my smile on, my products looked great, the sun wasn't too crazy, and I was staying positive. Well, as time passed, my positive attitude started to wane. Since the vendors were set up outside, in the rear of the brewery, a lot of patrons didn't know that we were out there. The other issue was that the patrons could not bring their beers out to where we were, so most of them chose to stay inside and enjoy themselves.
I engaged every patron that came close to my table, I was careful to be friendly, but not pushy and..... nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Throughout the event I looked around at the other vendors and it didn't seem like they were having a good time either. With 2 hours left before it was time to tear everything down, I made the decision to pack it up early. Since I was trapped in the area, I decided to go inside the brewery and have a burger and a beer.
The event organizer sent an email to the vendors from that brewery, apologizing for all of the issues, and offering to waive the entry fee for their event in the Spring. I would much rather have had my money back, but I guess the offer was better than nothing. It definitely wasn't my ideal first time, but it was a learning experience. I learned to ALWAYS pack my canopy, even if I think I'm going to be inside. I also learned to make sure that I always have a way out, even if it means parking my vehicle a little bit further than I'd like.
Unfortunately there are a lot of things that you can't really prepare for. It's almost impossible to know if an event is going to be a bust or not, and you don't know if the event coordinator is going to be around, so you can only prepare for what you have control over. Lessons learned..... on to the next event! ❤