It’s the busiest time of year for small businesses who work the vendor circuit.  We’re often doing full weekends and even weekdays to try and make our money during the holiday season. Key phrase: We’re trying to make money.  As much as there are fantastic event organizers who recognize this fact, there are so many more who seem to fail to understand that this is how we support ourselves and our families. It is these organizers who lose good vendors.

These are the specific reasons why vendors will never vend at your event:

  1. You make promises you don’t keep. This year, I was sent an email on August 8th that I would be the only soap vendor at an event on December 1st. I have it in writing. I arrived at the event to find three soap vendors. I have been emailing and trying to contact the organizer since December 1st and she does not respond to me.  This is terrible business practice – unprofessional, undignified, and downright fraudulent. 
  2. You ignore your own contract.  Referring to the same event from example 1, their contract promised we would have confirmation of our table placement two weeks prior to the event.  Of the five vendors I spoke to, not one of us received this promised communication. If you offer a contract, be sure to follow your own guidelines.
  3. You get involved in pettiness.  It’s no secret that some vendors can be ridiculously unprofessional and dramatic. If the event organizer gets involved in this trite and trifling nonsense, it’s a sincere put-off for those of us who are serious business-owners. My suggestion – when a dramatic vendor comes to you with their inane nonsense, smile and nod.
  4. You’re disorganized. The easiest way to turn off vendors is to be disorganized for your own event. As an event host, you, simply, have one job: Organize an Event. This means considering all of the details from the perspectives of shoppers AND vendors prior to the event.
  5. You ignore reasonable requests. As vendors, we understand that you cannot accommodate all requests; however, there should be some process to allow for reasonable accommodations to try and create a positive and uplifting environment. As an example, I applied for a December event in August. This would be the third time I was a vendor at that event. On the application, it asks if you want to stay in the same place as you were last year. I made a great emphasis that I wanted to move my space – because they offered the option. Considering I made that request four months in advance, it should have been honored; the request was timely, reasonable, and of their own terms. When organizers don’t make these small arrangements, it communicates that you don’t care about how the event is perceived.

If you’re planning on organizing an event, we, as the Vine Vendor Network, are happy to help you plan to create the best event possible.

Do you, as a vendor, have any other additions to this list of event organizer faux pas?

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3 Comments

  1. As an event organizer, the venue location should be either set up with proper signage (If tables provided) or a map /floor plan, prepared in advance instructing vendors of their designated location. Early chaos can be a predictor of how the event will flourish.

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  2. I know many events are also fundraisers. I get it. But sometimes the fees for vendors are a little over the top. Event coordinators need to look at it as a partnership with vendors so everyone walks away profitable. Vendors should not be looked at as just dollars generated for their organization.

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  3. I would add: use the rain date. Don’t hold an event if it’s raining a significant part of the day, and especially if you posted a rain date. A spring event went on even though there was 100% chance of rain during set up, and something like 70% chance for the rest of the day.

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