Updated: Aug 29
First off, I just want to say that the flea (and process) is always evolving, so please know that some changes may not stick! With that being said, please review this message to vendors from S-J which was recorded on 8/22/23 (You can find a more detailed explanation below it):
1 - SHARED BOOTH SPACES:
Shared booth spaces are being tabled for the time being. Providing this option is something I am passionate about. It allows me to book more vendors in the space I have, to offer a more affordable option, and it allows me to book noobs who I normally might be hesitant to book without knowing what their setup will look like. I also believe that it helps create a sense of community and can be less intimidating for brand new, first-time vendors.
Unfortunately, offering this option has led to some unpleasant vendor experiences, and it is also a huge time suck for me to be honest. I don't have time to micromanage this process, and I think that's what is needed in order for all vendors to have an equally smooth experience. I'm simply too far behind, and I lack the time and resources to deal with the issues that keep arising (more than usual this year, for some reason).
I'm truly sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. I would rather not offer this option until I am in a place where I can better assist vendors and prevent issues from occurring. I'm not sure what is in the air this year, but things have been weird, and there have been more than a few instances in which shared booth vendors were negatively affected by their tent partners or negatively affected by my inability to give proper and thorough support. I have every intention of adding this option back into the mix when I have the time and resources to handle it.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN BOOKED FOR A SHARED BOOTH SPACE:
I will get with you to see if you'd prefer to upgrade to a full booth space, swap to a tablespace (which is a very limited option), or if you'd prefer a refund. I will work with each vendor individually. My goal is to ensure that everyone is happy with the resulting changes. You all are my customers, and I do not want to make your life harder. I am appreciative of every single person who continues to support Friendship Flea. Rest assured that we will figure it all out. If you are a seasoned vendor who has proven to be reliable, kind and respectful, you can certainly request a booth partner and I can book both of you for a 10x10 (if I have the space and it fits into the curation). Each vendor will need to keep a tent/tent weights on hand as backup in the event of questionable weather, and it is important to note that these spaces do not allow for a 10x10 pop up tent under normal circumstances. There will also be some things I can do on my end in instances of a questionable forecast, if a currently booked vendor does not have a tent. Moving forward, tablespace vendors will be expected to have access to a tent and tent weights as the weather is not always on our side. Eventually, I will be able to offer rentals, but this is case-by-case for the time being.
IF YOU FILLED OUT THE VENDOR APPLICATION THIS YEAR AND "5X10 SHARED BOOTH SPACE" WAS THE ONLY OPTION YOU SELECTED (AND YOU'RE INTERESTED IN 9/8, 9/17, 10/13, or 10/22):
Please email email@example.com (from the email account you used on your application) and specify whether you would like to now apply for a 10x10 booth space, apply for the (very limited) outdoor tablespace option, you'd like to remove your application, or you'd like to fill out a new joint application with another vendor. (Please also see the next section on joint 10x10 booth applications.) I actually am only just now booking 9/8, although I did send some early invites out months ago. I was not able to book as far in advance as planned this year, and I still have not reviewed all applications to be honest.
JOINT APPLICATIONS FOR SHARED 10x10 BOOTHS:
I may temporarily open applications so that vendors can submit joint applications, if they have another vendor they'd like to share a booth space with. I would keep each vendor's info on file, separately, but these joint applications would be considered as one when apps are reviewed when curating and making selections for the fleas. Both vendors would be promoted and tagged individually, though. Again, this is a maybe, and I don't want to overextend myself and get myself into another situation where vendors are not-so-patiently awaiting a response from me.
Please keep in mind that it will be very important for joint applicants to communicate with each other. There will need to be one main POC specified for each joint 10x10 booth.
2 - I AM CRACKING DOWN ON THE VENDOR AGREEMENT, SPECIFICALLY THE PROMOTION REQUIREMENT:
I have been lenient this year, and I have not let this affect my selections much at all but I will be emailing any vendors who are booked for upcoming fleas who have not promoted for the fleas they've participated in this year (or who have not provided content/info for me to promote). Each vendor will be given the option of agreeing to the terms, or I will be refunding them and/or removing them from the lineup.
I do understand that it may be easy for someone who doesn't see the behind-the-scenes grind to feel like the vendor fee should take care of promotion, but only a portion of that booth fee is dedicated to advertising. Only a portion of my time can be spent on promotion, albeit a VERY LARGE portion...Either way, I need to be paid for my time. In fact, I have to, or I can't keep doing this.....and no matter how much I promote, if you're not giving me content to share to encourage people to come out....If you're not putting in the effort....if you're not even taking the time to interact with and share my social media promotion and help distribute it on social media.....it is unrealistic for you to expect to have a successful event, and you're also making my job harder. This is equivalent to a band requesting a gig and then not doing one bit of promotion and expecting the venue to work some magic and dig through old photos on their Instagram feed to share as promo and fill the venue. Old, stale photos and watermarked, recycled video content is not enticing enough to convince people to come out and support....but YOU are. Help me help you. Please give me the tools I need to promote you. I promise, I am the kind of person who wants to help others succeed, but I have officially stretched myself too thin. My goofy video content and videos of past fleas will only go so far.
At this point, I am not going to specify an exact amount of posts or an exact type of post that each vendor needs to make prior to each event. This will evolve as we go. I will say, though, that one reel ain't it. One flyer post or share ain't it. Posting only one or two days before the event ain't it. What I'm needing is consistency, engagement with @friendshipflea content, and a willingness to set aside some time to come up with some content and ideas for promotion, exclusive items, giveaways etc. In turn, I will step up my planning and time management, and will offer my time to help you with this.
POTENTIAL OPTIONS FOR VENDORS WHO AREN'T ABLE TO PROMOTE SUFFICIENTLY (AND VENDORS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN BEING FEATURED IN PAID IG + FB ADS):
This will be handled on a case-by-case basis, but I may offer an option for vendors to pay an additional advertising fee (probably $20 for a 10x10 booth) which will go directly to paid advertising for the event they are participating in (either on FB or IG or potentially both).
This would include an option for us to work together to create content for a unique ad highlighting the vendor specifically, and of course the vendor would be encouraged to accept a collaborator tag so that their account will be featured next to @friendshipflea. This would require collaboration and an understanding that I cannot just post anything, so you would need to be willing to set aside some time for us to discuss and plan this (and possibly even meet up in person so that I can get the content). It definitely requires an additional time commitment.
Vendors who typically promote but are also interested in collaborating on paid ads for any upcoming fleas can reach out via email to discuss what you have in mind. If you are able to work with me, and make time commitments to provide specific content that is exactly what I'm needing, there would not be a charge on your end.
FUTURE PLANS AND GOALS FOR OUR VENDOR PROCESS AND OFFERINGS:
FOR BOOKED VENDORS:
Sooner, rather than later, I'd like to start offering a sort of "office hours" prior to each flea, where booked vendors can show up and we can work on content creation, features, etc.
I hope to eventually be able to offer tent/tent weight/supply rentals and to possibly include this in future shared booth/tablespace fees to ensure a smoother process and experience.
FOR THE COMMUNITY IN GENERAL:
I hope to offer educational opportunities and community-based workshops for entrepreneurs, artists and makers. This would include things such as:
Expert-led workshops on topics like event marketing, branding, establishing an online presence, digital marketing etc.
Less formal get-togethers where everyone helps each other and works on one particular aspect of their business (ie: product photography, creating and planning social media content for the week, working on taxes etc.)
Product photography workshops and get togethers: both formal with a photographer and more informal where everyone helps each other out, models each other's clothing etc.
I hope to get the Pride Committee back on track pretty soon, and I'm thinking that it will incorporate some of the above ideas.
Further down the line, I'd like to start offering website promotion along with things like guest blog posts and potentially, an online sales platform.
Thank you for reading, and I really am sorry for any inconvenience these changes may cause. I am always open to feedback, and I am constantly evolving and improving. My priority is working WITH everyone toward a mutually beneficial outcome. I'll be in touch via email (and possibly text) with the following vendors soon:
booked (paid) vendors with shared booth reservations
booked (paid first, unpaid second) vendors who I haven't seen much promotion from this year.
current shared booth applicants that selected 9/8, 9/17, 10/13, and 10/22.
I will get through remaining apps ASAP and will make it a priority to email all applicants I haven't gotten back to yet.