I have been doing festivals and events for a long time....since I started "making" and "upcycling" items way back in college. However, I did our first outside pop event in April for the store and it was for sure a learning experience. I wanted to share what my setup looked like with ya'll along with my top 5 tips for doing outside festivals.
So the event was the 52nd Annual Natchez Trace Festival which is located in Kosciusko, MS. The event all together was a wonderful family friendly festival that features concerts, fireworks, car show, food, rides and petting zoo and then the vendors. I got to meet a ton of new people customers and other vendors which networking was my number one goal with expanding into doing events with the store.
So what did I think about my first festival???? Well, the event in general was ahamazing but I did learn that my setup and the way I carried my "mini store" to the festival was not the best. I for sure learned what not to do and what is a must for pop ups...
My top 5 tips for doing Outside Festivals:
- Be sure to plan your assortment correctly for the customer base. Most people shopping at a festival style event....especially outside, are not going to purchase anything that they do not think will fit them. I currently don't have a way to setup an pop up dressing room (and honestly I don't think with outside events it would be used that much), so with my setup I did bring items that I knew people would be able to hold up to their bodies and know whether or not they would be able to wear an item.
- Plan for the elements. My number one fear was it raining....which did not happen by the way with this festival whoo hoo. However I did not take into account sun exposure and WIND. The event was super duper windy, so much so my tall displays for jewelry did not work, I had to improvise and take down a good bit as the displays kept getting blown down (legit 5 minutes after spending an hour and a half setting up a huge gust came through and knocked down EVERYTHING off my table display, which fell on top of me!) The tent kept trying to fly away too! So bring something to really weigh the tent down, we ended up buying 15lb dumbbells and tied to poles but you could also use sand bags. If the ground is not concrete you can also stake in the ground. You will need to tie racks to the tent as well (had one of mine break due to being knocked down over and over). And lastly just plan simplier table displays that can go up in height, but also at the same time displays that cannot be knocked over by the wind. Now onto the other element....the SUN/HEAT be sure (especially if you are PALE like me!) to bring and wear sunscreen. I did not because I thought I would be under the tent the duration of festival....I was WRONG, due to the wind before we got weights I had to stand outside the tent for at least 2 if not more hours holding it down when the gusts would come through. I was in DIRECT sunlight for the time too so I got severely sun burnt.
- Be sure to plan to bring at least one item (if not more) that is on the lower side price wise. I'm not saying to be the cheapest on everything because ya know as a boutique we are going to be a little bit higher than most anyway, but have some options that are a good price point both for you and your customers. I still haven't figured out what mine item(s) yet lol but i'm brainstorming. Now the reason I say you need an item like this is because of the ahamazing people I had next to me. They were a lovely older couple that helped me a ton and we just chatted about doing events in general. They were selling leather belts that they could put someone's name on. They were selling these belts for $20....and they stayed BUSY the WHOLE event, i legit believe they made over five grand if not more. So having a lower priced item that people will love will make your event/trip worth it.
- Get everything planned out ahead of time for your setup and event in general. Know where you will need to go, what time you need to leave by etc. and plan to leave early just in case of traffic or anything else...this is the VIRGO coming out in me!! It's always good to be prepared.
- Have someone go with you that will HELP and that is also someone you enjoy their company. You will need someone there to help you setup (you cannot set up a canopy tent by yourself as you need two people to pull it out at same time. You will also need another person to man the tent while you go to restroom/break.
What I have learned
for the next pop up:
- Less is more - what I mean by this, you don't have to bring EVERYTHING. I brought way to many clothes and I feel like it limited my sales because it was too much to look through, especially outside in the wind.
- Have fun and explore the event you are at, look around at everyone's setups/booths before it starts and talk to vendors about other events that are good to do.
- Don't take comments personally.....if I had a dollar for everytime someone said my items were too high I literally would be rich lol. You will not be at everyone's price point and you will not be everyone's style.
I look forward to the next event and I will take more pictures and show more of the planning process beforehand for a pop up.