Is This Pop-Up Smart for Your Floral Business? Here's How to Know
Pop-ups, workshops, and handmade markets are all on-trend, but I hear more and more participants complaining they’re a bust and a waste of time and money when, in fact, these types of events can be a great money maker for your floral business and a vehicle to let people in your community know about your floral services.
When I first started, I was gung-ho to try anything that would shine a light on my little flower business. I said yes to practically everything and everyone who asked. Major department store pop-ups, wedding open houses, and fashion shows—I did them all. Most were a huge disappointment with little or no return for all my hard work and investment. At times, I even felt taken advantage of. Never a good feeling! And if that weren’t enough, the attention I did attract was from all the wrong people and never my ideal client!
Lesson learned. If I’m to succeed, it’s up to me!
So, with that little nugget in mind, I developed a formula that ensures my success for each event. What’s the magic formula you ask? No magic really, just a list of well-thought-out questions I ask the event’s organizer. The answers to these questions help determine whether an event is right for me.
What to Ask Before Taking a Risk ON AN EVENT
Why do they want me? How do my flowers enhance their event? Are they expecting freebies? Will I receive credit? If they’re simply looking to book up space or for a designer to provide free flowers, then this probably isn’t something I want to participate in.
How many people attended their last event? If it’s a new event, what are the projected attendance numbers? The more attendees, the more beneficial it will be. I’ve even connected with a few past vendors to ask how successful they found the event and whether they’d participate again.
Who are some of the other vendors? I want to know there’s a fit or connection between my services and the other vendors. Fishing lures and flowers? Not likely! A cohesive show has a better chance of being successful.
Will there be other florists as vendors? If so, are they my competition? Do I want to compete or are our styles different enough to appeal to a varied audience and will my style appeal to more of the attendees?
What are the benefits of me participating? Might my work be featured on TV or in a local publication? Is there a sense of prestige to be a vendor at the event? Will my business be more recognizable in the community if I participate? Is my target market likely to be in attendance?
Do they have an event page on Facebook that I can share? I want to know that the organizers are doing everything in their power to ensure their event is a success.
What is their marketing strategy? How, when, and where? Marketing an event is EVERYTHING. After all, how can people be expected to attend if they don’t know it’s happening?
Are vendors encouraged to market the event on their personal social media feeds? The more everyone’s involved in getting the word out, the better the chances for a successful event!
Are vendors cross-marketing and featuring other participating vendors on their social media feeds? Hooking up with other vendors and combining products in a contest or give away is a great marketing tool. Everyone benefits from the exposure by introducing their work to a whole new group of followers and potential clients. At the very least, I’ll expand my professional network.
What’s the average price point for items being sold at the event? Considering my target market, if the average price of other products sold differs significantly from mine, then this event might not be a good fit for me.
Next steps before committing to a pop-up
Knowing the answer to the above questions gives me a sense of how much the organizers are invested in ensuring that they AND their vendors are a success. How organized and structured they are is telling of whether they’re pros or amateurs when it comes to running a show. Based on their answers, I’ll usually intuitively know whether this is or isn’t an event I want to participate in.
Once I've gone through this list and decided an event is a good opportunity for me, I’m not quite done yet.
I still need to do the math. After deciding what I’ll design and sell, there are the costs of materials and any associated delivery and shipping fees. If shipping is not a factor and I pick up the materials myself, I must consider the cost of my time and gas expenses. I then factor in the following:
ribbon and packaging materials
whether I need to hire extra help either for the event or back at the studio
van rental (if needed)
loading and unloading time
travel time to and from the event
gasoline costs to and from the event
Once I know my total investment, I’ll have an idea of how many items I need to sell to be profitable. Now I can make an informed decision and have a better chance at succeeding.
Reflection time: was it worth it for my floral business?
There’s one more thing I find helpful to do. After each event, whether successful or not, I make notes on certain things:
What items were popular with the crowd
What worked and what didn’t
How I might streamline the process
What I’d do differently next time
Whether the event attracted my ideal client
Whether my participation generated new leads or business
Most importantly, whether my community supported this type of event
I’ve found that doing my homework before committing to pop-ups, workshops, markets, and more has saved me a ton of time, effort, and money and ensures a better chance of success.
Take the risk and try something new, but not before doing your share of preparation!