Posted by Camille Leon with Judy Bazis of Illuminate Festivals
If you are in the wellness world, there is a good chance that you showcasing  your products and services at a wellness fair is something you have done already (or want to do soon). Perhaps you have learned the hard way that not all events are created equal…
This is the first in a two-part series to help you make the most of your investment.
First, recognize that you are investing both money and time. Even if the booth is given to you for free, it will take time to plan, prepare, be there and follow up with new leads. You may need to hire a booth helper, create or purchase inventory, and interview with the event promoter. Our next article will cover ways to make the most of the event, whatever the results on the day you show up.
Second, some things are out of your control. Allow yourself and the event producer grace for the weather. Event producers do their best to choose the day(s), time(s) and venue (indoors, outdoors, location) in order to create the best success for everyone-  vendors and visitors. But if you are indoors on a sunny day or outdoors on a gray day, it will impact attendance and you’ll have to make the best of the circumstances.
Third, items to consider when choosing your event before paying the event fee:
  1. How experienced is the event host/producer? Do they have a strong track record? Founded in 2014, Illuminate Festivals has produced over 70 events and has seen it all. Given that some live event details are out of your hands, look for event producers with experience in handling as much as possible. If your event host requires an interview, it will give you an opportunity to ask them about their credentials and vision for the event. Some event promoters will be a good fit for you and your business, and some may not. Look for event hosts who take a genuine interest in your business goals and who make you feel supported.

  2. Branding Your Booth: What will you need/want for decorating your booth space? Are you going bare bones or will you be purchasing a tablecloth, tent covering, banner, marketing materials (business cards, flyers, rack cards or brochures)? Does the event promoter use pipe and drape (tall curtains on frames to separate booth spaces)? Is access to an electrical outlet included? Some event promoters will charge a premium if you don’t reserve your electrical prior to the event, and the fee may be as high as $250 if you realize you need electricity during set up. If you think branding is only for large corporations, think again. People see your booth before they see you and all of the cool stuff you have in it! For booth space inspiration, check out Pinterest or Google by searching “craft fair booth ideas.”

  3. Preparing for Results: Will you be selling something at the fair or is this for marketing only? Some events allow you to sell your products/services and others only allow you to showcase them and sign up people for your email list. Either way, look at participating in the event as an investment in your business.Some services  may be better suited to private sessions and don’t make sense for sales at the live event. If that is the case, make sure you are ready to get names and email addresses for your email list. If you are able to offer services, we recommend mini-sessions of no more than 30 minutes to give attendees a taste of what it is like to work with you; hour-long readings or energy sessions are not ideal for the event setting. The goal is to provide enough exposure for your and your business to convert mini-sessions to paying clients who see you outside of the event setting.

    “We have an exhibitor at Illuminate Festivals who offers paranormal services. She uses the events as an opportunity to connect with potential clients and answer questions about how she does her work. When the attendee describes the situation they are dealing with, the exhibitor intuits whether or not she is able to help, and then offers her card if she feels it is a good fit; the exhibitor decides what clients she is willing to take on or not,” says Judy.

  4. Who will be there during the show?
  • Covering your booth: Will you be there or do you need/want someone else at your booth? What about lunch and/or bathroom breaks? If you are offering services, we recommend having booth helpers to handle scheduling and payments. If your booth helper gets the name and cell number of the attendee who has signed up for a session, they are able to call or text 10 minutes prior to the session to avoid missed appointments or long waits hanging around waiting for their turn. If you are manning your booth by yourself, be sure to secure your money and possessions if you step away to use the restroom or grab a quick bite. In most cases, you can likely trust your fellow exhibitors, but things happen. You are responsible for your items, not the event promoter. Still, it is good to know how you plan to handle different details.
  • Event Attendees: How large is the event and who is it being marketed to? What is the likely age range of attendees? How many are expected? Is it a family friendly event? If so, expect children to be curious about the objects on your table, and plan accordingly. Not all parents keep a watchful eye on their kids, and it’s up to you to protect your wares. Be sure your marketing materials and energy suit the space for creating connections.
Illuminate Festivals Founder Judy Bazis shares her top tip for choosing your next event: Do the marketing materials make you feel excited and eager to go to the event as an attendee, if not as an exhibitor? If so, then give the event a try!
Camille Leon is the Founder and CEO of the Holistic Chamber of Commerce.
She is also an Author (Fresh Starts / Transformation in Action) and Artist.
She helps people find holistic approaches to health, life and business.