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September 7, 2013

Joining A Bazaar: Tips for Beginners

Her booth may look busy but it is practically set up. All items are organized based on the type of product and customers are free to look, touch and pick their own items. This saves the seller the time to attend to each customer. At the same time, the seller can see what's going on which actually discourages potential shoplifters.

Her booth may look busy but it is laid out with the customer’s concerns in mind. All items are organized based on the type of product and customers are free to look, touch and pick their own items. This saves the seller the time to attend to each customer. At the same time, the seller can see what’s going on which actually discourages potential shoplifters.

After hemming and hawing, talking to your parents, your boyfriend, your business partners or consulting fortune tellers—you finally decided to try selling your products in a bazaar. You’ve done your homework. You called the bazaar contacts you’ve gathered and visited their bazaars during peak and non-peak hours. You’ve picked your location (some bazaar organizers offer this) and signed the forms.

What do you do next? Pay for your space.

How complicated can payments be?

  1. Some bazaar organizers will require you to drop by their office. When you do, you should always make it a point to bring the following:

    1. 2 copies of the contract given

    2. If they attached forms in the email, fill them up, download and print 2 copies.

    3. Payment (cash or check). You have to call them to ask if they do receive checks. Some bazaar organizers accept this, some don’t.

    4. If registered with the BIR, a copy of your certificate of registration. Some bazaar organizers accept student groups if they’re doing this for their thesis. You have to ask them for requirements.

  2. Pay as soon as you can. You should get announcements via email or text that the bazaar organizers are accepting concessionaires starting at a particular date. Be there. Bazaars are usually “first come, first served”. The advantage here is that you get to reserve the best booth locations (near entrances, walkways, and corner booths) where foot traffic is expected to be higher.

  3. Read your contract. You may just be paying for your booth. Do you need electrical outlets for lights? Check if you have to pay extra for it. Will they provide tables and chairs? If not, this means you (need to) bring your own. If you will need to cook, inform them how much electricity you will need. There have been instances when wires have been burnt and an entire row would be devoid of electricity because a booth or two consumed more than the allocated electricity. This will turn off potential customers once they smell burning plastic. If the booth is located outdoors, will they provide cover or should you bring your tent?

  4. Are they giving away raffle prizes? Check if you are required to bring one or prepare it on the day itself [for food items]. Make sure it is packaged nicely with your card, discreetly displayed somewhere. You can also insert an extra business card inside the package in case the card outside gets pulled out or lost.

This is the case when the entire booth is occupied by both the stocks and display items. The seller's left to occupy the walkway which can be dangerous during peak hours.

This is the case when the entire booth is occupied by both the stocks and display items. The seller’s left to occupy the walkway which can be dangerous during peak hours.

A week before the bazaar, you should be able to:

  1. Find out how big your space is. Bazaar organizers should be able to provide this once you sign your contract. Try setting up your booth at home.

    • I’ve encountered  too many concessionaires with really good booth layout. But, they’d forget to include to factor-in the most important part of the booth—the seller. The poor sellers would end up standing along the aisles or walkway, unable to sit down and rest, because their booth would be full of products.
    • Make sure your seller can leave the booth. I’ve encountered owners who would design their booths, only to leave themselves or their sellers boxed in with no space to leave when they need to take a break.
    • Make sure everything you need is within reach and at the same time will enable you to watch what’s going on. Since the focus would be the display, packaging, stocks, money or tools would often be hidden from view. Thieves will use this to distract you and steal things when you’re looking for your business card or that extra bag.
  2. Find out how the weather will be. If it rains and your booth is outdoors, bring extra tarp and strings to make sure your customers are also dry and comfortable. If it is hot, bring your own fan. There are sellers who don’t mind providing an extra chair for the customer where they can sit and cool themselves. This gives them the reason to get the customer to buy more.

  3. Do your own marketing blast: email friends, give out social media invitations, or create your own contest that will require customers to visit your booth to claim their prizes.

If you have a lot of products to sell, consider doing a vertical set up on a cramped space. Despite the sheer number of products, this booth can be manned by two people even during peak hours.

If you have a lot of products to sell, consider doing a vertical set up on a cramped space. Despite the sheer number of products, this booth can be manned by two people even during peak hours.

On the day itself, make sure that:

  1. You have a cart with sturdy wheels to carry all your stuff. Can your cart be pulled along mud, gravel, and sand while carrying all your stocks and equipment?

  2. All your items are labeled properly. Carts, containers, tarp bags, shelves, chairs, fan. You don’t want to have some other absent-minded seller using your cart, table, chairs or fan. Fights have happened. Tempers have flared. Sanity has been lost.

  3. You have these things in your bag:

    • masking tape to mark your territory. Some bazaar booth owners do this, some don’t. There are concessionaires who are notorious for stealing an inch or two for their own space. I’ve seen concessionaires come crying to the organizers because they were sandwiched between other booth owners who encroached on the space given. They lost a foot or so from their own space and they can’t do anything about it because they arrived late, everybody else was already set up and the bazaar was due to open in less than an hour.
    • Cable ties. They’re stronger than strings and easier to use than straw strings.
    • Cutting pliers. To cut the cable ties once you’re done.
    • Extra business cards with your product list and prices at the back.
    • Marking pens: You can use this for signs and doing extra price tags.
    • Calculator, pad, and paper.
    • Your own marketing materials. I found out that the best marketing material are tickets. If you have free entrance tickets to your next bazaar, give them a two that are stapled to your business card with your product list and prices at the back. Sorry, I just had to repeat that. People throw flyers. The only time they keep them it is if it is useful—or it is small enough to be inserted into their bag or wallet.
  4. You have lights. There are times when the venue itself is bright. However once all the booths are set up, some areas become darker than the rest because of the way things are done. You will need a light or two for people to see your product. The light also subliminally trains the eye where you want them to look when  they’re just “scanning around”.

    That’s why do not focus your light on your seller’s head. She may need the light to move around but she is not some chicken that needs to be kept warm. Do not let the lights face the walkway. Yes, you’d like your area to be bright but it becomes glaring and the last thing you need are customers blinking as they pass by your booth instead of looking at what you have to offer.

  1. If your signage is long, consider incorporating it as a part of your set up. In this case everything is simple, easy to see [and sell].

    If your signage is wide, consider incorporating it as a part of your set up. In this case everything is simple, easy to see [and sell].

    Signage. You don’t have to bring a humongous 4ft x 6ft banner if your place is just 5ft by 4ft. If it is the only signage you have, can you turn it into a table cloth so that it doesn’t occupy valuable selling space? It can be a simple poster sized sign that can also double as a stand or focal point of your display. In the absence of one, is your company name printed out on the price tags or boxes? You can incorporate that into your booth’s design or product presentation, too.

  1. You have to bring soap, alcohol, and lots of tissues.

If there’s something that needs to be in this list, please add it in the comments below.

Whatever happens, don’t panic. Keep smiling. Keep talking.

Are you marketing your product or are you selling it? Don’t know the difference? It’s ok, that’s what I’ll be writing about next week.

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9 Comments on “Joining A Bazaar: Tips for Beginners”

  • Guidelines for bazaar newbies says November 10, 2014 at 12:31 am

    […] See for yourself how big your space is.  Is there elbow room?  Is there room for you, or whoever you will assign to man the booth. […]

  • Amihan Cabael says September 2, 2015 at 9:34 am

    We have an annual bazaar in Dasmariñas City from October to January and my husband was a part of the maintenance team last year and we have proven how strong it was. This year, we are planning to get 2 stalls and we are excited about it. However, I do not know what to sell yet and where to get. Foot wears and apparels were hit last year. Please help me!

  • Rica Espiritu
    Rica Espiritu says September 4, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Footwears and apparel will always be a hit because it’s what Filipinos give when they have no other things to give out. 🙂 Notice that most people go for Php 100 – 150 shirt [or bargain] items as giveaways to security guards, personnel, staff and even inaanaks!

    It is always safe to sell stuff that are within the Php 100 – 200 range. The question is, what do you want to be known for? What niche do you want to enter? Are you even interested in doing that?

  • Jenalyn tamba says September 19, 2015 at 11:08 am

    How to join the bazaar? How to start?

  • Rica Espiritu
    Rica Espiritu says September 19, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    You might want to start here: http://www.manilaspeak.com/author/rica-espiritu/
    and scroll down to the first article. 🙂

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  • Jomaila Munsayac says August 5, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Hello There,

    My name is Jomaila,

    I own a shawarma stand but as of the moment I am still looking for a permanent space, In the meantime as i still dont have a permanant space for my business, I’d like to join bazaars, I would like to seek your advise on how do i register, what organizations should i be contacting? and is there s site where i could see all the events and register as well? I would really appreciate your advise

    Many thanks!
    Jomaila

  • Rica Espiritu
    Rica Espiritu says August 13, 2016 at 2:07 am

    I listed the Christmas bazaars for 2015 along with the contact number and email for most of them. You can try contacting them one by one. They usually give out invites as early as August. http://www.manilaspeak.com/cool/bazaars-for-the-4th-quarter-of-2015

  • See more says September 30, 2017 at 1:39 am

    Hi there! This post could not be written any better!
    Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He always kept preaching about this. I am going to forward
    this information to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a great read.
    Many thanks for sharing!

 


 

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