Last summer, I was approached by the organizers at Bay Area Wedding Fairs to participate in an upcoming #weddingshow just ten days away. My initial instinct was to jump at the opportunity but I had existing baking commitments and it was mere days before the school year started. If you have children, you know exactly what that entails; espcially if at the same time, like me, you've over-extended yourself and taken on the job of organizing a fair at the school!
That, my baker friends, is tip #1. Find the right time that works for you. Don't be lured in by half-price offers from the organizers. If you don't take the time to prepare, you will not be ready to present your business or artistry in the light in which it deserves to be represented.
Tip #2: Always visit the wedding show where you are planning to have a display to determine if its the right venue for you. Its a great way to learn from other bakers and participants by just visiting the booths even if you don't necessarily speak with them.
Tip #3: Wait for the wedding show organizers to offer any special pricing deals and book at that time.
Tip #4: Start planning your booth as soon as you place your deposit! That may sound strange but you have to plan an attractive display, so make a rough sketch of what you plan to display on your table and where you are planning on placing it in the space available.
Tip #5: Order your display materials. Stands, trays, brochures, cards, etc. Make sure you highlight your brand with a prominent sign. I would not invest in table runners with printed logos because they are expensive and the sign is on the front of the table that hopefully will be obscured by potential customers crowding around your table! Order more business cards and brochures than you think you would ever need. I ran out of mine well before closing time. Also, a clipboard for interested clients to leave you their information is helpful to have on hand.
Tip #6: Plan on how you are going to transport and store your goods. Consider using insulated carriers and dry ice and request for access to a walk-in refrigerator or freezer at the venue if you need it.
Tip #7: This was my first show so I did not even consider having "dummy" #weddingcakes; which every other #baker there was smart enough to have. So my display cakes were fresh #meringuecakes which are frozen #desserts, so in hindsight it wasn't exactly the smartest decision I made the day.
We were lucky that we did not have any mishaps, but if I were you, I would take the time to create dummy cakes; you may be able to reuse them and moreover you will not have to drive 20 miles under the speed limit and have people honk and glare at you while you drive your masterpieces to the venue!
Here is car one of two cars loaded up for event!
Tip #8: If possible, preslice and portion your cake samples. If that is not possible, have a helper (or two) to do that for you while you interact with your customers.
Tip #9: Make some time to connect with the other vendors during the show. Networking with others in the industry is important.
Tip #10: Have fun. If you choose to do this, it will entail a lot of hard work and people who will willingly help you on the day either because they love you or because you are paying them. My display was only successful because my husband and daughter spent their long weekend helping me. Thank you Rezwan and Farah. I can't wait to spend President's Day weekend at the next #BayAreaWeddingFairs at the Fairmont San Francisco doing this all over again with you.