Normally, this would be the season of Fiber Festivals, Craft Shows, and Trunk Shows. However, there is NO normal these days, and we’re adapting the best we can in the artsy and crafty worlds… and the big adaptation these days is going V I R T U A L.
Participating in a virtual show or festival is a bit different than taking part in an in-person one in a lot of ways; there’s a learning curve to doing it right, and each show has it’s own requirements as well. As a vendor, it’s your responsibility to get a clear understanding of what’s expected of you and plan out how you will fulfill your responsibilities well ahead of time.
A lot of virtual shows are using a live segment from each of their vendors in order to promote them to the fullest. It’s a great way to introduce your products and yourself to a new audience, show off a special skill or your general expertise in your field, and talk about what makes you different from the other vendors. Some vendors create a virtual booth – setting up their space just like they might have done in person, then taking the viewers on a tour of the booth and pointing out specials or interesting offerings.
My last virtual event, I used my time to teach a carding class on a technique that I *never* teach – an exclusive! – and then I toured my virtual booth and talked about how I create my items and how they all work together. I tried to focus on my uniqueness and personality, which for me are things that make ME stand out. I’ll embed that segment so that you can check it out!
So let me give you a bullet list of tips to help you out as a vendor, then I’ll talk about things to help you as a BUYER too!
- start stocking your online shop IMMEDIATELY. Seriously, don’t wait.
- don’t be afraid to take lots of close-ups photos of items. People can’t touch your items, so give them the next best thing.
- take note of organizer requirements and make sure to fulfill all of them
- PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE. Not just your shop or the event itself, make sure to shout out other vendors, too! Trust me on this one.
- take some time to consider what your presentation will entail. I recommend writing out a loose script if you’re not good with talking off the cuff or uncomfortable in front of the camera.
- do a practice run of your presentation off camera, especially if you’re a newbie. Pay attention to time so you know how close you are to your assigned time.
- do a video test run. Some organizers will set up a private group where you can do this; if they don’t, consider doing it in your own group or set up a private group with a friend or some other vendors to give each other feedback.
- set up your virtual booth if you’re doing that. Keep in mind what you’ll want to show off to the camera and keep that easy to reach. If you can manage to make a wall of yarn or fiber, that looks really impressive on screen.
- make sure you have PLENTY of shipping supplies. Keep in mind that you may be shipping well above any normal amount.
- during the event, use all the time allotted to you for promoting your items as well as any live time you have. Keep your profile high!
- make sure to post encouraging comments on other vendors’ posts!
- it’s a really good idea to have a “show special” to make shoppers feel special, too.
- make sure to look over the vendor list before the event starts, and check out vendor shops before the shopping madness starts!
- if there is a live segment schedule, make sure to take notes about the vendors you don’t want to miss.
- also take notes of any interesting vendor coupon codes! You might think you’ll remember them, but don’t count on it.
- ask lots of questions, especially during vendor demos or virtual booth presentations! It’s your chance to learn something new and get to know the vendors you’re not familiar with.
- if there are things you’re specifically looking for, don’t be afraid to ask in the group where the virtual event is happening.
- be kind to the vendors, they are doing something very new and sometimes requiring very new skills. The vendors will love you for your patience.
- please leave feedback for your favorite vendors after all your beautiful purchases have arrived!
So there you go! Anything I didn’t cover? Any questions beyond my suggestions? Hit me up in the comments!
Thanks as always for reading, Fiber Rebels!