delmarcrowdWith the growing number of food festivals, food events and gatherings, vendors are more likely than ever to be asked to participate in the coming year. Without the food vendor, where will the variety of food come from, unless the event organizer finds a caterer to put together different types of food? As an event producer, I would prefer multiple food vendors for a food festival as opposed to finding one or two catering services to cater. As a vendor, know that you are vital to the production of a food event.

Events are constant; never ending. With each event, you will always find sponsors, vendors, caterers, people and entertainment. You, as a small business owner, have to ask yourself the provoking questions in regards to your participation in an event.

What’s in it for you?

  • What is it about this event that I want to be a part of or know I need to be a part of?
  • What type of audience will be there?
  • What is the fee?
  • What comes with the fee?
  • How will this event be advertised?

Because at the end of the day, if it does not benefit you in some way, you just wasted time, money and energy at an event with no customers.

Most vendor fees are based on the following:

  • The number of attendees
  • Type of event
  • Names attached to an event
  • Corporate sponsorships

Typically, the higher the fee, the more people are expected to be in attendance. The event organizer or promoter recognizes the fact that you will be exposed to more people and will be given the opportunity to make not only the money back, but an overflow. However, there are some events where the exposure from being attached to a certain name or place in itself is payment.

As a small business owner or vendor, your objective should be: Exposure and to Make Money. But know that in order for any business to grow, it must be seeded. I always tell people to create a budget based on the amount of money you can afford to lose throughout the year. If your budget is $1500.00 for the year, you’ll need to be far more selective about the events you participate in; make it count.

When not to be a vendor for an event:

  • When there is not a value in the amount of the vendor fee
  • When the event is not sufficiently advertised and promoted
  • When the organizer / promoter cannot provide a basis for the estimated attendance
  • When you ask questions, your questions are not answered and something in your gut is telling you “don’t do it”
  • When you don’t trust the promoter or organizer

An event organizer and vendor can achieve so much when working together; one organizes and the other brings an extra service to the consumer. There are things you need to make sure are noted in a vendor’s agreement, specifics on what you will receive. I’ll cover these in my next blog post along with planning for holiday events.

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About the Author

La Tonya Washington is the owner of LW Special Events Management LLC, an event planning and production company, based in Los Angeles, CA. Ms. Washington is the Events Director for The LIST, a conference for entrepreneurs and small business owners in the surrounding Los Angeles area, has had her hands in as the Co-Producer of the I'm Every Woman Expo Worldwide Los Angeles Division, Events Director for Elevate 2012 "Empowering Youth to be More" with Spokesperson Actress Tichina Arnold, Volunteer Manager for Save Africa's Children Jazz Fest featuring Yolanda Adams, Kirk Whalum, Pieces of a Dream and Producer of Event Doc Powell. Ms. Washington is a graduate of Youngstown State University and also attended the UCLA Extension Program in Public Relations, specializing in Fund Raising and Special Events. She has collaborated on projects with and for Multi-Platinum Recording Artist, Jay King, the mastermind behind Club Nouveau; Grammy Award Nominee Jazz Guitarist, Doc Powell, current guitarist on the Mo'Nique Show and Stellar and Dove Award Winner, Kurt Carr. She is also the Events Director for the ABA Basketball League SoCal Swish here in Southern California. She is on the Board of Advisors for Bradshaw & Co. Business Consulting; Leadership Council for The Connected Women LA Chapter and Saks Fifth Avenue Ambassador for CJ Jeans, the Blue Jean Line of Cookie Johnson, the wife of the Legendary Basketball Great, Earvin "Magic" Johnson.

  • Holly Jahangiri

    This holds true, I think, for book festivals and authors and publishers, as well as for food vendors. Exposure and to make money – what about networking with other similar business owners and checking out the competition? Seems to me those are valid goals, too.

    • StitchesnDishes

      Absolutely. Great point, Holly. A networking / social networking plan is vital – I think that’s a great topic for LaTonya’s next story!