We often get asked to elaborate on what makes for a great application, so we thought it would be helpful to pass along some of our top tips:
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many applicants don’t do this. Please read through the application carefully, supply all of the required information, and if you need clarification, feel free to look at the Policies and Procedures and/or FAQs for answers prior to emailing us requests. Emailing doesn’t always get you the quickest answer – we receive over 500 applications and you can imagine how that affects our inbox!
Be Sure All Credit Card Information On Your Application Is Correct And Current!
Select Photos Carefully
Since we receive many more applications that we have spaces, the photos will be one of the primary ways to gauge the quality and range of your items and how they fit with the overall aesthetic of the Market. Please send in simply composed, clear, well-lit photos with plain back grounds which let your products shines. Natural light often works best. iPhone photos can work just fine as long as they are focused and well-lit.
Don’t forget to include a clear booth shot or a vignette created for the application; applications without them will not be reviewed. How your inventory is presented and your tents styled – or proposed to be styled – is a very important consideration. We want to see how you will set up your “shop for the day” and strive to create an atmosphere where the vendor tents are creative, carefully styled, and unique in presentation.
The most successful vendors and applicants have a strong visual “voice” or “look” and a clear focus in their items. This also includes the smaller but equally important details like packaging, both presentation, signage, website, etc. Authenticity to your work is also very important: be yourself and let your own individual creative voice shine through.
Keep Up To Date
Again, this may sound obvious, but if you are going to include links to your website or other shop pages, please be sure they are current, easy to navigate and have a good number of your items shown. Although these pages are not the primary means to evaluate your application, they can be considered as complement to your work beyond the submitted photos and can further help to tell your brand story.
Demonstrate Growth And Evolution If You Are A Returning Vendor
Vendors who have participated before and are most likely to be selected again are those who are continually evolving their product line. For example, continuing to evolve display and merchandising, adding new products/keeping inventory fresh, tweaking designs, etc. Ultimately this will help to keep things fresh and interesting which will not only benefit the Market, but it will benefit YOU as a seller!
We encourage all applicants to demonstrate in their photos and descriptions how their products stand out uniquely. This will be especially important in categories where we are heavily oversubscribed (jams? or sauces/salsas?). We encourage you to stay on top of your competition and show/tell us what makes you different in your application.
Show Commitment To Your Business
Investing the time to set up and manage a professional looking website (and/or Facebook page, etc) and in putting together professional looking signage, packaging, and booth setups shows us that you are putting the time and energy into the business versus dabbling as a hobbyist/passing time. We also really appreciate applicants who are active on social media and understand the importance of these marketing tools to help promote your events and your business as well as the Market.
A Word On Conduct And Burning Bridges
Maintaining a professional tone in your communication – and at the Market itself is incredibly important. If you have badmouthed the Market publicly after not being accepted or have sent unkind or angry emails regarding your status (yes, this happens!), you should probably think deep about applying again.
Similarly, if you are a returning vendor, you are expected to have read and to adhered to the vendor Policies and Procedures (or any other communication from the Market) and to have resolved any issues professionally, cooperatively, and reasonably with Market staff, your fellow vendors and customers.
KINDNESS, respect and being gracious matter. A lot. We work very hard to maintain a positive, professional, and collaborative vibe at our Markets and we want to continue to have vendors who will do the same.
You don’t like to work with mean people, nor do we!
If At First You Don’t Succeed . . .
And finally, if you are not accepted, we truly hope you won’t be discouraged from trying again. Try to attend some of the Markets throughout the season to “feel” the Market vibe. Get a sense of your friendly market “competition”. We absolutely accept vendors who have applied more than once, but can also say that they are typically ones who demonstrate progression in their work, a commitment to business, AND a positive and professional attitude in communicating with us.
A Final, Personal Note . . .
As you can imagine, the evaluation process is quite difficult and it is certainly not perfect. Difficult choices often have to be made between very qualified vendors due to the simple constraints of space, desire for variety, and a commitment to allowing opportunities for new vendors to participate.
The evaluation process is accomplished thru many, many hours and thoughtful efforts as well as an unwavering commitment to creating the best experience for our customers AND vendors. The ongoing management and promotion of the Market and vendors (who are its heart and soul) is our full time job and one that we do with a great deal of passion and commitment. We review each and every application in detail, check websites, dig as deeply as we can when need be.
We are incredibly thankful for the support we receive from the community and vendors and feel very fortunate to spend our time doing something we truly love and are totally committed to.
It’s always humbling and an honor to review the applications. We recognize and appreciate all of the hard work and efforts put into your businesses.
Thank you for taking the time to read thru all of this information. We wish you the best of luck in all of your creative endeavors!
Nicole and Marilyn