I have 45 thank you cards taking over my desk. Sending love and thanks to all of my wonderful vendors from Flagstaff Hullabaloo!
Not only is communication important prior and during an event, but it is even more important after the fact. I’ve learned that in festivals and events, building and maintaining relationships is key. There is so much going on during a festival, that they need to know who to go to with a question or concern. For our vendors, I am that person. I am one of the main images and representations of Hullabaloo. What they think about Hullabaloo, and how they viewed the event has a ton to do with our relationship.
It’s up to me to be there for them before the event, and to make sure they have everything they need. Always being available during the event, checking on them, talking to them, finding interest in what they’re selling, or what information they’re sending out. Then after the fact, I have to maintain that relationship we formed. This way they will come back the following year. Not only that, they’ll want to vend your other events. I can’t begin to tell you how many vendors asked what other events I work, so they could come work with me again. THAT IS KEY! Luckily for the Hullabaloo family, we are in the works of planning a fall festival, and since we do keep touch with our vendors, they’re excited and ready to support us in our new venture.
10 Keys to building and maintaining vendor relationships:
- Remember they’re names! They love when you greet them by names. Especially when you have a lot of vendors. It makes them feel important.
- Do your best to meet their needs. You’ll always have people who don’t like their booth space, but turn it around into a positive.
- Take interest into what information they have/ what they’re selling. It’s their passion…that means it’s yours too. Your vendors will love to give you free stuff. Food, drinks, jewelry, whatever it is they make. Accept it, love it, appreciate it!
- Check up on them. Depending on how busy the festival is, I like to make rounds every hour to hour and a half.
- Smile and be outgoing, make conversation. They love to talk!
- Be organized. Know what goes where, what is going on around them, where things are located. Be prepped and organized form the beginning. I have a binder and divide the applications by: food, general and non-profits.
- Do the dirty work. I will haul chairs, tables, tents, sandbags. Vendors find this extremely impressive. Especially being a girl, they like that you’re willing to do the hard work too!
- Site maps and booth lists will be your best friends
- Help them clean up, and check their spaces
- Thank you cards! HAND WRITTEN! A thank you card is essential. A hand written thank you card is golden. Again, it adds that extra personal touch. Makes them feel important. With vendors I have a special connection with, I’ll add something extra like “I love my hat that I bought from you.” or “I hope you enjoyed your stay in Flagstaff.” Anything that sets them apart from the rest of the vendors. Yes, it takes extra time, but the reputation you are building for yourself and the festival is priceless.
I love my festival life, the festival atmosphere, the vendor passions, and bringing community together. Check out Flagstaff Hullabaloo and our soon to be Cornucopia Fall Festival!