Re: Start Up Help...

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Posted by Willowhawk on July 5, 2002 at 07:19:50:

In reply to: Start Up Help... posted by Monica on July 5, 2002 at 05:58:01:

: Hi Everyone, i am interested in getting into henna professionally
: i just need some advice. how do i find out about fairs and stuff
: before they happen, so that i can get a booth and who do i contact?
: also, how much does it cost to rent a booth? and, is there some
: of party curcuit list that i can get on so that i can get refferals
: for birthday parties and corporate events? any advice for a newbie
: would be greatly appreciated! thanks!

Hi Monica,
As I sit here yawning...the thought occurs this may be an abrupt apologies in advance.

You can really utilize the internet to look for gigs. Search your
area for rennaisance fairs, festivals, chamber of commerce pages,
craft fairs, county fairs and farmers markets...not to mention
bellydance events, SCA events and other cultural fun days.

For me, this is how I went about things...
Last year I missed the boat. I was busy w/ other things and didn't
have the time to devote to Henna in the summer season, so I only
scheduled a few gigs. I decided to get a little more gung ho this
year and started searching all the things I listed above. I printed
out several events I was interested in. Comparing the cost of a
booth to the possible profits [I am a one woman a $500/fair
is gonna be a bit iffy to break even]. I also factored in
the 'getting my name out there' events. I am fortunate that I have a
friend who is a merchant in the SCA and she gave me space in her
booth to I could see if I liked the SCA...which I do.
Now, I started gathering the list of possible events back in
March...sometimes you have to be signed up months ahead. So any I
really wanted to do, I was prepared for...there are a few I am
checking out for next year still.

I am still looking around to fill up a couple of free dates that I
have...but may just opt to take a breather on those 2

Booth fees can really vary. There was recently a 2 day event in my
tiny town....they wanted $150 for the weekend. I haven't been to
this event, but I didn't feel it was well publicised {for a 'founders
day' type event} and I didn't think I would recoup the booth fee, so
I chose a different event that was a campout festival the whole
family went to. It was tiny and I just about broke even. I wasn't
expecting profit there anyway.

Think of booth cost in terms of foot traffic at the event. The more
people that attend, usually the higher the booth fee. The highest I
have run across recently would be county fairs and they ranged from
$150 for a table/3days to $350 for an outdoor 10x10 booth/4-5 days.
I have worked county fairs as a merchant before {not henna} and let
me tell can't do them alone!

Whenever you find an event that you are interested in, just contact
the Merchant/vendor coordinator and if you can't find that contact
the event coordinator. They will pass you on to the person you
need. Most events will send you applications {many are on the
internet too} to fill out and vendor rules, and for some events you
either need insurance or will need to purchase it from the event.

You can also ask to be the only henna artist at some of the smaller
events. Some event/vendor coordinators are good about limiting the
number of duplicate vendors....some aren't. If they say you will be
the only henna artist...get it in writing. If you have it in writing
and another merchant shows up w/ merchandise and then does a little
henna...well you also can have their application checked and see if
that was listed as something they said they were vending...if they
didn't, then you can have it removed. Sounds bitchy...I know, but
that little 'angle' some merchants work really pisses me off. One
very large county fair, we forgot to list 'sterling silver' jewelry
on our application {along w/ the 10,000 other items we sold} and
another vendor had the event coordinator speak w/ us and made us pull
our sterling. Why did he do this? Because all he sold was sterling
silver jewelry, the same as ours...and the merchant coordinator
placed him right next door to us! Duh!
The recent festival I did...I was to be the only henna artist. But 2
doors down there was another merchant selling many varied items and
also a henna artist. The event was small, and I didn't say
anything. Until the last day when we were breaking down, and we were
grumbling about the event. I mentioned that I was supposed to be the
only one and we got to talking about scheduling...she said she didn't
want to book into the same events as I, and if we did she wouldn't
henna because she had a ton of merchandise and I only do the
mehendi. It was very considerate of her and I appreciated that.
So that is just a word to the wise...list everything you will
*possibly* sell on your application, even if you don't want to sell
it at that event.

The only other thing I can think of at the moment, is something I
like to do. Whenever I am interested in an event that I think Gilded
Lilies/Kree might be doing {because they are regionally close}, I
email Kree and ask. I think it is just easier and much more
considerate to check w/ her first and see if she will be there. It
doesn't happen much, only a few events so far...and it was early
enough in the season that there were oodles of other possibilities to
check into. But that's just my little thing, cuz I like and respect
Kree. And in the course of checking her events to the ones I am
interested in...lovely little things pop up like "if you need extra
hands that event, let me know".

Ah...well this was so short wasn't
I am sure others will have great advice! Good luck in your search!
Justine Willowhawk


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