you can’t really have a successful boutique all on your own. you’d get all the sales, yes, but you’d also most likely draw a much smaller crowd than if you had several other vendors. when choosing your vendors, think variety. try not to have too many vendors that sell duplicate items. you not only want variety in items, but also in the price of the items being offered. a boutique offering only high end items will most likely have far fewer sales than a boutique offering high, low and mid-range items.
so how do you find your vendors? get the word out! mention it to anyone you know that has a handmade shop that you love, or even someone that crafts for fun and see if they’d like to join you. you can also look outside the realm of handmade and invite people that do home parties for companies like aloette, pampered chef, and stelle & dot. not only will these other vendors bring in more variety, they’ll also bring in different clientele.
you can also do a search on etsy for artists in your area, or surrounding areas. on the left hand side of the front page of etsy, there is a section called “ways to shop”, and click “local“. super easy, just enter your area name. but don’t just enter your town or city name. also add in your county name and surrounding cities to cast a larger net out for finding potential vendors.
after you host your first boutique, vendors often will start to find you. or your current vendors will often have suggestions for new people. just keep in mind the size of space you have before accepting all amounts of interested vendors!
it is also really important to find vendors that you communicate with well. sometimes you just don’t click right with someone and they just might not be the right fit. its also important that the vendors all get along with each other. somehow, we have grown a group of women that support and encourage each other, and there is no feeling of competition or jealousy – its awesome! set up can be crazy and we’re all on top of each other so being in a supportive group is wonderful. and just because someone has been a vendor once does not mean they are automatically accepted the next time around.
the primary way i communicate with my vendors (and everyone in my life, it seems) is via email. the emails we send out include:
– save-the-date emails early to vendors once we secure our date for the next market
– we then send a more detailed email about the market and ask for replies to find out who will be joining us again. we also have them pay for their space in order to hold their spot.
– we send out emails asking for vendor buttons for our blog
– we let our vendors know when the fliers are in and when they can pick them up. that email also gives ideas for places to pass out the fliers or where to leave them.
– just before the market we have all our vendors sign up for bringing snacks and treats. ideally they are for our guests, but really they end up being our meals since most of us forget to eat before setting up!
we try to keep all the emails upbeat and encouraging, reminding everyone to get the word out through the fliers and emails and facebook.
up next i’ll be talking about how we set up for the market!