Show Etiquette

Post by Jamie Dobiesz

Respect your fellow vendors.  Everyone is stressed out during setup.  Remember that and don’t get your feelings hurt.  Most people left the house late, got little sleep the night before because they were making products and probably forgot to eat breakfast.  Expect short tempers and impatience. 

Think about how or what you are doing and how it impacts your neighbors.  Did you park in front of the door?  Did you take up two spaces?  Did you cut in front of the line?  When you are done unloading, move your car before you start to set up.  Stay within your booth when possible.  Don’t unload into someone else’s space so you can arrange your space.

Be helpful.  Ask if an older person needs help lifting.  Ask if you are in someone’s way.  Say good morning.  Thank people for moving out of your way.  Be nice to your fellow vendors.  You may need to ask that person to watch your booth while you run to the bathroom later.

Be DONE setting up when it is time to sell.  It makes everyone look bad if you are disorganized. 

Try not to let customers see you eating, reading, yawning, or talking on the phone.  It is just bad business and can run a customer off.  I make an out-of-sight zone behind the display for such purposes.  Dress comfortable but don’t dress like a slob.  It puts off the vibe of a swap meet or garage sale.  It drags the whole place down.

Don’t ask your neighbor for change because you didn’t bring any.  In an emergency it is acceptable, but they probably brought just enough change for themselves. Have someone bring you change or buy a snack with a $20 bill.  Ask your customer if they have exact change.  Many times they do.

Do not talk to a neighbor vendor while they have a customer.  That is rude.  Do not talk to your neighbor’s customer until they are in your booth.  Do not call a customer away from in front of someone else’s booth to come to your booth.

Make the customers think all vendors are a happy group that all gets along.  It makes the customer feel welcome.  If your customer has a bag from Sue’s booth say “I see you bought something from Sue.  Isn’t her stuff great?”  Know what other vendors are selling.  It is great to be able to help a customer by telling them “I don’t make those, but I think I saw some at Joe’s booth down that aisle”.  Try not to think of other vendors as competition.  There are plenty of customers and lots of variety.  Perhaps you could think of ways to make your product better than theirs.

Do not start packing up before the end of the show. IF you are sold out, you can have a sign already made stating you take orders and offer delivery or shipping. Most shows do not allow you to pack up and leave until the show is over. When people start packing up, many customers feel that is the signal for them to leave.  You may not be ruining your own sale, but you could ruin a sale for your neighbor.

When it is time to pack up, remember you are not the only one who is tired with aching feel.  Be kind, we are all exhausted.


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  • Lindsay Mena on

    I think it’s amazing how often the “common” courtesies go out the window when people are stressed. You’re far more likely to make a new friend and get help when you need it if you’re kind to people. Vendors who treat their fellow vendors or customers like dirt are usually not welcomed back to events. This is a great post!

  • Wendy Maechtle on

    Good reminder and especially ppl who will be new vendors. This is all common sense for sure.


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