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Questions to ask before signing up to a Fayre/Market Stall.

As a business owner, you have most likely been contacted by someone to exhibit at their event, whether a local Christmas fayre or a more significant event such as Wedding Shows or Baby Shows.

It can be daunting if you haven't done one before, no matter the size.

Before you sign up, there are some critical questions to ask the organisers, especially as some of the events can be extremely costly. I learnt through a lot of trial and error as a wedding photographer.

Here are my top 5 questions to ask before booking your stall.

1. What is the footfall expected for the event?

Organisers will have an expected footfall (number of attendees) for the event; this doesn't always mean buying customers; I'll explain more about that in a moment. Firstly, let's chat about how the footfall is calculated. Some organisers will say that you will receive XXX number of free tickets with your stall, and if everyone with a booth has the same number of free passes to give out, that tends to be the expected footfall.

For example: - 100 stall holders are given 20 tickets each = 2000 footfall.

It sounds like many people, doesn't it??

As mentioned above, it doesn't mean this is 2000 potential clients for you. You will find that the bride will bring her bridesmaids along with her at wedding shows and make a day out of it. Baby shows, you will have a mum to be, dad and gran(s). That 2000 footfall drops quickly to the potential number of clients straight away.

It doesn't mean that the show will be rubbish; you need to be clear in your head and not feel disappointed that it doesn't look like as many people attending.

Bonus Question – you can also ask where they are advertising the event; this promotion will also help gauge the footfall.

2. Do they have a cap on the number of vendors in the same industry as you?

This is a fundamental question; the last thing you want is to turn up at a show to find that it is oversaturated by the industry you are in. Well organised organisers will have a cap on how many vendors each type—for example, five photographers, two cake makers.

You need to work out if the competition is too much. I did one event where I was told there would be 100 stalls and 10 of those photographers, it's still a high ratio, but I wasn't worried as I know my work is good. There were 14 photographers out of the 100 stalls on the event's weekend. It was oversaturated and not fair to the vendors or the attendees. I was the very last photography stall, so they were all photographed out by the time they got to me. The position of your booth is also crucial; this takes me nicely onto my next question.

3. Can you choose where your stall is?

Not every organiser will allow you to request where your stall will be positioned, and some will charge you extra to choose or be in a 'premium' position. If you need power at your booth, make this clear at the time of booking.

Things you might need power for include: - laptops, displays, lighting.

You don't want to be one of the very first stalls, as people like to have a nosey about first or the last as people are tired by that point.

If you have products such as photography or makeup, ask to be placed somewhere near natural light, or that has good lighting. Some venues I have been in has had AWFUL lighting, especially older community centres or older sports halls with the horrible yellow sports lighting; it's never flattering on anyone.

4. How long do you get to set up and pack down?

This might not have crossed your mind, but it is essential. Some events, significantly more significant exhibitions, will give you plenty of time to set up; some will even allow you in the day before if it is an entire weekend. Some don't give you much time at all. I've been at one where we had 15 minutes to pack up and leave.

Be prepared in advance and know your timings.

5. Do they give you any additional promotion on the run-up to the event?

So this one isn't always guaranteed; some events will expect you to promote the event for them. If they are a good organiser, they will showcase the stalls coming up, which could be a post on their social media. If you don't ask, you don't get, but don't hold your breath on this one.

I have found the shows where I've been promoted before the day has been more successful as people come looking for you to see your products/services online beforehand.

6. Are tables supplied?

This is a Biggy, especially if you have products to display. Not all events will provide a table; if they don't, a pasting board from B&Q makes a great portable table.

If they say it is a 'Stand', this means boards are separating each vendor. This will require a bit more decorating compared to just a table.

You'll not know if events are for you or not until you try it, don't be put off on the first go if it isn't what you expect. I've never been to two the same. Some were hits; some were misses. Just make sure you have your business head on and ask critical questions.

Once you've got your booking, make sure you have your receipt (it's a business expense). The planning of your stall is next! Check out my next blog post, all about things you need at your booth to be a success!


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