I’ve participated in several vendor events with my direct sales companies and I ALWAYS would forget to bring something. I’ve compiled a list of supplies for direct sales vendor events to help you not suffer the same fate I have in the past. Consider this the vendor event supplies list you thought you didn’t need.
This article was published in collaboration with Angel Skipper. She is the owner/founder of The Efficient Elephant, a store owner with Direct Creatives. She is the resident Trello expert and helps direct sellers streamline and simplify their business.
Right now, we’re less than 40 days from the beginning of spring, which for many of us in direct sales, means it’s booth-selling season. The fall and spring seasons seem to be when vendor events are in full swing. Great weather and holidays always bring more people out of their homes to shop at unique businesses.
Let’s say you’ve booked your first booth. What do I need for a vendor event? You can try to think of all the things and still end up forgetting something.
The biggest lie I always tell myself is, “you don’t need to write that down, you’ll remember it,” and I never remember everything I think I’m going to so I created this handy checklist of the must-have supplies for your direct sales vendor event for when I’m doing a vendor booth.
The vendor event supplies list
The size of your vendor spot will determine how many tables you need. A typical spot is either 8’x8’ or 10’x10’. I usually have a 6’ and a 4’ folding table along with a decorative bookshelf. Some consultants have tiered racks, multiple bookshelves, cardboard displays, etc. There is no right or wrong for this.
It’s always recommended not to sit at an event. However, if you are going to sit or need to sit, I recommend sitting beside the booth or in front of the booth. I have issues with my back and hips that make it difficult for me to stand or sit for extended periods so this is usually how I set it up when I was selling PaperPie (formerly Usborne Books & More).
Be sure not to sit behind a table. You want to make sure you’re approachable to your potential customers.
I typically only do 1 or 2 events a year so I use plastic disposable tablecloths from party supply stores. If you plan to participate in vendor events regularly, it may be worth it to invest in a branded covering if it’s available through your corporate office. If one is not available through your corporate office, you can get a plain black or brand-colored one with or without your brand’s logo added.
Product for display/cash & carry
Even if you’ve just joined your direct sales company and only have the items you received in your starter kit, it’s a good idea to take those to display. A lot of times, shoppers prefer to be able to see the items when shopping at vendor events & you can collect orders from your catalog or shopping site.
Promotional Supplies for Vendor Events
Use these for customers to browse and order from. Or you can use it for your reference when making recommendations to customers. If you run out, you can collect customer names, email addresses, and physical addresses to mail out after the event. And don’t forget to get them to opt into your email list!
I print the current hostess specials and have them in a frame on one of my tables. This way, when I’m speaking to a customer, I can show them what they have the potential to earn by hosting a party.
You want to have a way for your customers to easily be able to find you. I keep business cards on my table. You can create and print a QR code for people to scan that leads to your Facebook business page, Instagram, shopping site, or wherever you want your customers to connect with you.
Transaction Supplies for Vendor Events
Cash & coins
A lot of customers at vendor events will pay with cash so you want to make sure you have an assortment of bills and coins to make change with. Because so many people use electronic payments these days, we often forget to add cash and coins to our vendor event supplies list.
You’ll also want to have a place to store your money. I use a very sophisticated system of Ziploc sandwich baggies. You can use a cash drawer, money bag, or whatever you have available.
I add my inventory to my Square account before an event. Then when a customer is making a purchase, I can add it to their cart and it automatically calculates the total. If a customer is using a card, you can accept it using your Square reader. Square does charge a fee for using it for card transactions. If they’re paying with cash, there’s a cash tender option also with no fee. Using Square also allows you to send a receipt to the customer via text or email.
Before I learned about Square, I used a paper receipt book to give customers a copy and to have a record of my sales at the event. This is a great backup option too if you lose connectivity or wifi is spotty at your event.
Customer info slip
One of the most important parts of building your business is follow-up. You need to have a way to contact your customers so you can build relationships and continue to offer service and value. After the event, be sure to enter your customer’s info into your customer follow-up system.
You can check out my Customer Follow-Up Tracker Trello board here!
Laptop, phone, or tablet
Use these with various apps and websites for processing transactions, looking up product information, entering customer information, etc. They come in handy to show customers products you have that may not be on your table or to demo setting up their account on your site.
Calendar for booking parties
When you’re having conversations about the hostess rewards or specials, it’s best to have your available party dates handy. Try to set a date with your new hostess right then and there (even if it’s in pencil).
Miscellaneous Supplies for Vendor Events
Drinks & snacks
My most recent event was outside in 87° weather. Thank goodness I had a cooler full of water with me. Some vendor events will have food stands but I like to bring some small snacks just in case.
My teenage son is my vendor event buddy. He helps me with loading and unloading, making change, and various other tasks. If you don’t have a teenage son available, I recommend making friends with your neighboring vendors for 2 reasons…
It’s always good to build your network. If you have a customer who LOVES all things plaid, you can provide service by recommending a consultant who sells plaid utility totes. The customer will be more likely to remember you for making the recommendation, and the other consultant just may return the favor.
The second reason is that your neighbor may be willing to watch your booth while you take a restroom or snack break.
A wagon or cart
This is on my list of things I wish I had for vendor events. If you plan to do a lot of events, you may want to consider investing in one of these. Boxes of books can be very heavy and I always struggled to carry them long distances and making multiple trips.
I hope you found this vendor event supplies list helpful. What other items do you have added to your vendor event supplies list? You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I share tips about Trello and business organization and let’s pin together over on Pinterest!
Don’t forget to grab your Vendor Event Checklist from my shop!