Justine Willowhawk c 2003
You are practiced, precise and you would like to begin doing Mehendi as a business! But where do you go? How do you find events? What are you getting yourself into? How do I start? I will share with you some tips and tricks as well as my personal plan of ‘attack’ in scheduling my Mehendi seasons.
First we will assume that you have these things:
1) business license
Now you just need a place to put down your booth!
First you want to remember is the ‘earlier the better’ when inquiring or booking into events. Many fairs and festivals close their registration dates a few months prior to the actual event. If you wait until a month before the event you may have missed the boat completely but you are still left with the option of attending that event to use as a fact-finding mission for the next year’s schedule.
I use the off-season to gather information and begin to pencil in the following year’s schedule. In January I start downloading merchant/vendor applications and keep those with my tentative schedule. Usually by March or April I am 75% booked until mid September.
So where do you find these events?
Well like everything in life any more the WorldWideWeb is probably the best resource for planning your event season. There’s a lot of information out there so be prepared to spend some time just gathering information. Print off as much as you can and make a huge pile of possible events. Make sure to take note of booth requirements as well as fees.
Some areas to check into:
Local Chamber of Commerce - you will usually find a listing of yearly events at your local Chamber of Commerce website. There may be links to event web sites or phone numbers to call. Follow either lead through and try to find out as much information as you can. Once you have exhausted your local chamber begin to do the same data search on surrounding towns or cities.
Local County Fairgrounds - County fairgrounds hold more events than just the annual county fair. So you may find a few events this way. After your local fairgrounds move onto the surrounding counties and do the same data search.
Farmers Market - this is a different type of venue to work in. But if you mix your own paste you can go into these events because you are creating your wares.
Medieval Fairs or
Creative Anachronism (SCA) - Both of these types of events require
your booth to look medieval. It’s even better if you have a
tent set up. Atmosphere is what’s created at these events.
You will have to dress according to the period so that can be another
for merchants/vendors. For SCA events it can be difficult to
in as a merchant and it is advised to become an SCA member if you want
to go this route.
Hindu/Indian/Middle Eastern/Muslim groups - These are good resources for some business karma (or karma yoga). You can research the various groups in your area and look into their fund-raising events. You can also offer your Mehendi services as part of their fund-raising activities.
Haflas - There are also Bellydance troupes or teachers that have Hafla’s monthly. You can go share in the event and offer Mehendi services or set up a table to be a Mehendi vendor.
Psychic fairs/Pagan events - you can check for metaphysical stores in your region as they usually know of events that are happening.
Shopping Mall Kiosk - check the shopping malls in your area for events that you might be able to book into. A holiday season is another time when the shopping malls are jam-packed full of people.
Other resources to check out:
Once you have amassed all this information then make a pot of coffee or tea, grab the calendar, pencil and pile of papers and hunker down for the duration of this planning session. I like to organize everything into chronological order. Then I proceed to mark these events on my calendar. You will probably end up with several events listed on the same days but don’t worry. Always try to have back-up events in case an event falls through.
After you have everything penciled in it is time to get down to the details. Read the requirements carefully. Take these things into consideration when weeding out events:
a) price for booth/merchant/vendor fees. Is electricity supplied? Do you need it? Is it an extra fee? Can you recoup this fee in the time of the event?
b) when are the deadlines for applications and should the money be sent at that time?
c) can you afford the booth fees and costs to do each event? Often you can pay for the first few events and then use the profit from those to pay for the next set of events in your schedule.
d) how big is your operation? If you are a one woman/man business will you be able to do the business to recoup your expenses (booth fee/gas/food/product cost). Will you be required to stay in your booth the entire time or can you take breaks (restroom breaks especially). Will you need to bring in an assistant or other artists?
e) will your booth be up to the event’s requirements. Do you have pictures of your booth? Many events require booth pictures as well as samples of your work to be submitted with your application.
If this is your first year out there in the big scary business world then start small. Many smaller events can be done for a more affordable merchant/vendor fee and will get your name out there for public recognition. Even if an event isn’t hugely profitable at that very moment, it will bring you future business.
Last but not least and most important, try not to schedule yourself into a nervous breakdown. Make sure to take time for yourself, family and friends. Remember this is fun and reminds yourself why you enjoy doing this!
Spread the beauty, share the joy!
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