Checklist to Prepare for Holiday Markets and/or Vending Events

Whether you’ve been in business for a decade or you’re prepping for your very first holiday market, there are certain steps you should go through to ensure you will have a smooth and easy experience on the day of vending.

At the Time of Booking

  1. If you have any special needs (close to a restroom, handicap accessible, etc.), be sure to speak with the event organizer to ensure he/she can accommodate you before sending your application.
  2. Ask the organizer about the event – previous attendance, target market, amenities, etc.
  3. Check the calendar to make sure the event doesn’t coincide with some other major event that will draw attention away from the market, for example, a marathon in the center square.
  4. Send your applications in as soon as possible. Use a confirmable payment method such as a check, money order, or PayPal.
  5. Find out what the market is giving you for the money – Are they including a table? Chairs? Tent? – What supplies are you expected to bring yourself?
    1. If you do need a tent, make sure you have a quality pop-up tent with tent weights, and make sure someone can come with you to help you set up the tent.
  6. Order any marketing material you may need – brochures, business cards, catalogs, order forms, receipt books.
  7. Order a payment gateway that will allow you to accept credit cards. Popular choices are Shopify, Square, and PayPal.
  8. Order and/or manufacture enough inventory to ensure you have products for cash-and-carry.
  9. Make sure you know the proper state and county sales tax rate for the market. Ensure you submitted paperwork with the state to collect sales tax. Keep strict accounting records so you may remit your sales tax.

One Week Before

  1. Confirm your spot with the event organizer.
  2. Find out if there will be vendor parking. If not, ask if you will be able to unload by the doorway. If so, ask if there will be any stairs to get to your placement.
  3. Ask if there will be any dollies or hand-trucks available for use; if not, prepare to bring one.
  4. Check what time is the earliest you are permitted to begin set-up. Plan to leave early enough to get there on time for a complete set-up. Count on taking at least 1 hour to complete your presentation. Remember to account for traffic!
  5. Create a full inventory of everything you plan on bringing with you to the event.
  6. Begin making clear signage. Make a sign for prices, information about your brand, any fun facts.
  7. Plan what your table should look like. If you’ve never done a market before, create a mock-table to get a feel of your presentation.
  8. Begin packing your inventory in a safe-for-travel method. I recommend using Rubbermaid Clear Bins to make it easy to identify the products you’re bringing.
    1. Remember samples!
  9. Remember to purchase plastic/paper bags and tissue paper for your customers’ purchases.
  10. Share the event on social media and with your email list so people know to find you there.
  11. Be sure to pack a bin or bag with basic essentials for every show:
    1. Hand sanitizer
    2. Extra phone/electronics charger
    3. Packing tape
    4. Regular tape
    5. Pens
    6. Scissors
    7. Box cutter
    8. Counterfeit-money checking pens
    9. Receipt book
    10. Email sign-up notebook
    11. Paper towels
    12. Band-aids (or mini first-aid kit)
    13. Emergency ice-pack
    14. Credit card reader
    15. Extra wires for phone and card reader
    16. Lockable cash box
    17. Sunscreen & Sunglasses
    18. Hat, gloves (change this up for different seasons)
    19. Tablecloth(s) – Make sure these are long enough to hide boxes under your table.
    20. Frames for your signs
    21. Bags for your customers’ purchases
    22. Garbage bag
    23. Gum/Mints
    24. Deodorant
    25. Perfume/Cologne (choose a very light fragrance)

Day Before 

  1. Charge up your extra battery, your phone, your credit card reader, and any electronics you plan on bringing with you.
  2. Double-check your inventory, your bags, your bins.
  3. Clear out your vehicle to make room for everything you will need to pack.
  4. If possible, load up the big items such as your tent, chairs, and table into your vehicle.
  5. Pack up your lunch, snacks, and lots of water.
  6. Plan out your clothing and be mindful of the weather, especially if you will be outside for extended periods of time. Layers work best.
  7. Get a good night’s rest – you will be on your feet for most of the next day!

Day Of

  1. Make sure you have everything you need to bring with you. Don’t forget your lunch and waters in the fridge!
  2. To be on time, plan to be early. Set your alarm to give you enough time to get ready, pack up your car, drive to the event, and unload.
    1. *Pro-tip – Pack up your car and then shower to avoid being a sweaty mess.
  3. Looks Matter: Set-up your pop-up to sell!
  4. After unloading, store all of your extra bins under or behind your table.
  5. Keep your card reader, counterfeit pens, pens, a notebook for email sign-ups, and bags for packaging orders easily accessible.
  6. Introduce yourself to your vending neighbors so you can help each other out throughout the day.
  7. Take a trip to the bathroom before the show begins.
  8. Take pictures of your table and share on social media so people will be eager to come to the event.
    1. *Pro-tip – Use these photos to help you improve your display for future events.
  9. Smile, be positive, share your business literature with customers and non-customers alike.
  10. Have a great show!

Do you have any other tips or tricks for successful vendor events?



Published by Scents the Moment

Scents the Moment handcrafts artisan, vegan, and cruelty-free skincare, bath products, and soy candles. We believe in natural and sustainable ingredients with transparent labeling. We are certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny and PETA, and we are dedicated to animals; a portion of all sales are donated to Staten Island Hope Animal Rescue.

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