Since I am on the editorial board for Bazaar & Market and Business Resources, I should share some tips on choosing the right bazaar/market to participate as vendor.
Nowadays, I see that there is a lot of new organizers trying to host bazaars and some with the tagline of handmade craft market. Are they really promoting the handmade scene or simply just earning the money from the small indie business owner? Even if they are experienced organizer, could they bring the ‘right’ crowd?
Here are some of the rule of thumbs that I applied when comes to selecting the bazaar to join (some expensive experience learnt from past events) :
- Location Location and Location
Sounds like property investment but yes, location is important. This is the first thing that I consider because I paid an expensive lesson to learn this. I joined my first bazaar that was held at a small quiet mall in Ampang. Two huge mistakes here. First, the mall was so quiet, it looked more like an abandon building and second, driving to Ampang from PJ took me 1 hour++. I only manage to sell one hairpin. My friend didn’t make any sales. No, we didn’t get any refund because the organizer was not even there!
Recently I joined the bazaar in Subang Parade (Subang Jaya). Superb location! But I’d chosen the wrong spot, a very hidden spot in the corner. But that didn’t matter a lot, because the main location (the mall) was good enough. A lot of my blog and fanspage followers turned up, we chatted, they bought some stuff, look and feel my fabrics and some purposely came for COD. Some couldn’t find my hidden spot, so they have to call me up. Because of the location, I have participate in the Subang Parade bazaar several times. So, hot spot IS VERY important.
- Organizer’s Website
I’ve seen some of the new bazaar organizers that emerge with really lousy blog layout. No introduction about who’s in the group, no follower, no fanspage, no nothing but a poster of the coming event asking vendor to sign up. If they are so lazy upon setting up for their own blog, I doubt that they will be any good in promoting and marketing the event.
To bring crowds to the bazaar, the organizer must have really strong network, with thousands of followers in their fanspage (or the Google Friend Connect thing), lots of interaction going on in the blog chat box, or fanspage, and most importantly they do reply to email and sms.
- Organizer’s Past Event
Most of the experienced organizers will share the pictures of past events in their gallery, fanspage, Facebook, or in the blog itself. Checking out the pictures will give you an idea what sort of crowds they could bring you.
I’m always sceptical in joining newbie organizer’s event unless the rental is cheaper than the usual rate (see the point below).
- Rental Guideline
Rental Limit in KL is around RM50 to RM90.
Hot spot shopping mall like Tropicana Mall and Subang Jaya is charging RM75/booth.
Handmade-themed market are usually charging RM50/booth.
Popular vintage market organizer are charging RM70-90. More expensive because vintage market likes to held the event at odd places (like clubs, hall, gallery) and they need to spend a lot on marketing.
I do not have the rental for weekly bazaars (bazaar that needs you to join every week, a package fee) but I have a feeling that they are very or the most expensive because they are usually at hot spot mall and by reputable organizers (usually the mall management itself).
Think of joining the bazaar as a marketing tool to advertise your business. The effort might not translate to sales straight away on the bazaar day itself but the potential customers might check out your online shop and purchase from you when the time is right. Even if the day itself the sales is not so good, but make sure you did give out all your name cards. Online business depends a lot on (the right)TRAFFIC, that’s why my rule of thumb 1 to 3 is all about traffic. :)