Did you all know I used to be a traveling craftsperson/artisan? In addition to everything else I was doing, my husband and I created hand dyed clothing and sold it at Farmers’ Markets, annual events and all sorts of other places. 12 years of creating a business site and making it vanish without a trace on a weekly basis taught me a lot about what’s important to customers. I learned about setting up, selecting locations, where the “front door” would be, which sides to block off, analyzing traffic patterns and I learned to listen to the customers on a very deep level very quickly. Mobile display options for minimal outlay were a big topic, too. Especially since in a few hours, everything had to go away and be packed back into whatever vehicle we had at the time.
Mobile Business Is Not New
It was always amazing to the observers, so we were told, to see how we packed a 10×20 foot booth with racks, tables, and chairs, not to mention bulky clothing and bulky us back into a 1996 Kia Sportage. I always claimed 6th dimensional geometry and being able to open space into another dimension, but the truth was we planned ahead. That and we found ways to collapse everything we used into the smallest possible option.
The biggest thing about being 100% mobile, however, was working with the options to stay connected and service our customers even before the age of wifi and payment options that are available for cell phones. Even though most of those methods are now archaic, guess what? They still work!
Everything Old is New Again
I had the opportunity to be a “booth babe” (or as we called it, “beautiful assistant”) for my best friend recently. She’s done traveling events for years, but is embarking on a totally new market path and wanted my input. I realized just how much knowledge I’ve amassed in the 12 years we were gypsy vendors and am going to put it into a guidebook with lots of how to’s, pictures and resources for those starting out and those who just want to redo their booths. It’s slated for early 2018 and is available for pre-order.
I’m pretty excited about this since when we were doing our traveling vendor thing, there were no resources available to help with booth design, traffic logistics analysis, how to choose a good show and many other topics. I’m not only going to focus on the artisans, however, there’s a lot to be said for those doing tradeshows, indoor expos and other ways you need to set up, be visible and amazing, and then break everything down and go away. I promise to keep you posted.
I’m back to doing shows again, but things are really different now. I’m doing art shows and festivals, so it’s back to learning markets, traffic patterns, booth set up, etc. I plan to share each discovery with all of you.