I’ve definitely had my fair share of hosting trunk shows, pop ups, and events, especially recently. In the past 10 days, I’ve had 5! One at URBN, one at Elle Lauri, one at Hope Chest, one at Space Ninety 8 in Brooklyn, and one Madalynne Workshop. What can I say, it’s the holiday season!
Whatever you’re selling – fabrics, supplies or an already made product – I think they’re great for brand exposure. I also think they’re a good exercise to hear what your customers say about your product, good and bad. Having a good display that will make passerbys want to come over is just as important as having a good product. Your demeanor and attitude are key as well. You have about 20 seconds, so make what you say impactful, but not advertise-y. I can set up and break down my display very quickly. I’ve never timed it, but I’d say about 10 minutes. I’ve also walked away from many events selling a lot while other vendors didn’t sell anything. So today, I’m sharing my tips so that you can kill it at any event, trunk show or pop up. Go get em tiger!
Even before you say something to them, your customer will see your table or booth. Making it enticing doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I use vintage trunks, cabinets and other knick knacks that I get cheap cheap from 2nd hand stores. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, Jinx is a treasure chest (follow them on IG too – @jinxstore)
I also have a fresh bouquet of flowers – roses, lilies, or just eucalyptus. It depends on the season. Having greenery on your table, especially during the winter, is refreshing. I don’t know why, but it makes me and customers a little happier.
The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Same goes for customers. Have something sweet on the table, whether it be chocolate, jelly beans, etc. You’d be surprised how many sales I had because a customer saw something sugary on my table and decided to scope it out. Just make sure it’s wrapped for sanitary reasons.
During the holidays – Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas – I also have twinkle lights. Red would be cute for Valentine’s Day too. Sometimes they’re lit, sometimes they’re not. It depends if there is an outlet nearby.
I don’t suggest bringing all your inventory. It’ll break your back and sanity. Depending on the size of the gig, I think having 2 sizes of each color is enough. If you sell out, offer free shipping to a customer. That’ll push them to make the purchase there. It’s less likely to happen when they walk away and you might not remember to follow up if they don’t.
I hang up and sort everything by size/color the day/night before. That way, when I get to where ever, I just pull it out and hang it up on this kind of rolling rack. I travel with everything in this type of suitcase (which fits in my MINI!) and I use these 16″ chrome lingerie hangers for bras/bralettes and these 16″ chrome all purpose hangers for undies. They are both pretty as well as sturdy.
SIGNAGE, HANDOUTS + TAKEAWAYS
Takeaways are important because if a customer decides not to buy, they can get your information so that they can hopefully make a purchase in the future (you should get their email address for E-blasts and such, but I’ll get to that below). I designed the 5″x 7″ card you see in the photos above using InDesign and had it printed at Vista Print (you’re more than welcome to email me for the template. I’m happy to share!). I also use a 24″x 80″ banner stand. It’s serves the same function as signage on any brick and mortar storefront.
This holiday season, I offered canvas tote bags, which were printed by Awesome Dudes, to customers who spent over $100. The Nina bralette and undie are $49, so if a customer was going to get a set for $98, it would push them to add a 3rd item so that they could get the tote. Along the same lines, the Maeve and Serena bodysuits are $88, so it would push a customer to purchase something else. This will also help your ATV (average transaction value) and will be free promotion if they use it for groceries, laundry, etc.
SOCIALIZE + SELL
The business is not going to come to you. A pretty table, great signage and awesome handouts DOES NOT guarantee sales. You have to go out and get the business. One time, I showed next to a vendor who read a book the entire day. She complained about not getting a single sale at the end. Hmmm… I wonder why!
You’ll rarely find me sitting behind my table or my booth unless it’s during a lull. I stand in front of my rack or table and approach people. You don’t have to be forceful. All you have to say is something simple like, “Are you shopping for gifts?” or “Are you looking for anything in particular?” It’s a conversation starter. If they seem friendly and willing to open up to you, then keep asking them more (i.e. “who are you shopping for?”). If they seem stand off-ish, then don’t try to continue the conversation. I hate associates who follow me around a store even after I tell them I don’t need help.
I also suggest getting to know the other vendors. At the event in Space Ninety 8, I made friends with Verb Products and we have a collab scheduled for Valentine’s Day. We also tag each other in photos on Instagram – that’s a great way to get new followers/customers (for free!) that aren’t in your niche.
Even if I don’t get a sale, I try to get a customer’s email so that I can sign them up for my newsletter and E-blast. Try is the keyword. Because it’s personal information, I don’t push a customer if he/she doesn’t want to. However, it’s a great tool to gain and keep a customer. My goal isn’t to make a 1-time sale. I want to get customers who like my product and will want to buy again and more product as I grow. At the event at Space Ninety 8, I got twice as many email sign ups than I did transactions, and I considered that event SUPER sucessful.
Are you small business? Have any tips for hosting trunk shows, pop ups and such? Share in the comments below!