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Booth at Festival- advice anyone?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi. I am going to have a tent along with 10 other food vendors at a festival in my town. Attendance at the festival is between 15,000 and 18,000. There will be an icecream tent, cotton candy and some of the other vendors offer desserts. I am planning to sell cupcakes (2 flavors) and one or two types of cookies. I don't want to make too little and sell out in the first 5 minutes and kick myself for the missed income- but I don't want to make too much either. I was thinking I would make 2,000 items total. This is a big opportunity for me to raise money to get my own storefront- so I want to get it right. Has anyone done this sort of thing? Do you have any suggestions as to how much I should produce? Thank you.
post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 
I forgot to mention an important point- the festival hours are 6-9pm. Thanks.
post #3 of 17
Have you spoken to other food vendors who have participated before? Even though they may be offering different items, they may be able to let you know how things went for them...
post #4 of 17
Hi! I might be wrong, but even making 1000 items seems like more than enough to me......would be good to hear others responses.
Wisdom is making choices now that you will be happy with later.
-Joyce Meyer
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Wisdom is making choices now that you will be happy with later.
-Joyce Meyer
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post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
When we have Artwalks in my town, I seem to get about 10-15% of those in attendance who buy from me. But that is only those who come in to our mini-mall and into my 14'x 14' retail space. I saw many turn away because I can only get 6-8 people in there comfortably at a time and it was crowded the whole time! I am thinking when I am on the street, it will be easier, more room for customers. I think 10% of those in attendance for this event is conservative. But- I just figured up what I have to purchase to make the stuff and decided I can only afford to make 1000 cupcakes and 500 cookies. That's still around $3000 gross- I can do something with that! If it turns out that I sell out very quickly, then I know to make more next year, right? I am also doing a large display cake that will be on the bandstand in front of several thousand people, handing out coupons and flyers etc.... This is the best opportunity I have this year for exposure in my town. Oh, and I am sure this will all go in the paper afterwards too! I am positive that my business will increase after this. It's not just about the money I make that night- I need to remember that! It's a blessing for me and my family for sure!
post #6 of 17
We have a festival each June in Eatonton called the Dairy Festival. Average attendance is between 15 & 20 thousand people. I made 500 decorated cow cupcakes and it was a total disaster. I started off at $3.00 each and lowered it eventually to 2 for $1.00. I sold a total of 61 cupcakes and did not even cover the cost of the booth and costs associated. I did a drawing for a dozen free cupcakes and I did get a couple of call backs from my cards BUT I donated all the cupcakes to the local Sheriffs department for the inmates. Personally 2000 items I think would be too much. The parents didnt want to buy them cause the kids would make a mess, the older customers wouldn't because of various health issues. I was extremly disappointed with the results and will never do this festival again. Actually it may take me several years to get over it. LOL But the guy next to me selling bedsheets for $20 a set made a killing !! Good luck. If you decide to do it I wouldn't have any more than 300 items total. And that would only be about 75 cupcakes. Hope I haven't burst your bubble but it didn't work here at the Dairy Festival. Hope your sucess is better than mine.
post #7 of 17
something else to consider to. Our festival went from 9:00AM until 6:00 PM. That was 9 hours. If you only have 3 hours and you make 2000 items then you have to sell over 600 items an hour. So thats a little more than 1 item per minute. I think that would be another reason to consider making less items. You may not have enough time to sell them. Please let me know how it turns out.
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shermie1

something else to consider to. Our festival went from 9:00AM until 6:00 PM. That was 9 hours. If you only have 3 hours and you make 2000 items then you have to sell over 600 items an hour. So thats a little more than 1 item per minute. I think that would be another reason to consider making less items. You may not have enough time to sell them. Please let me know how it turns out.



thumbs_up.gif Good Thinking!
Wisdom is making choices now that you will be happy with later.
-Joyce Meyer
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Wisdom is making choices now that you will be happy with later.
-Joyce Meyer
Reply
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shermie1

something else to consider to. Our festival went from 9:00AM until 6:00 PM. That was 9 hours. If you only have 3 hours and you make 2000 items then you have to sell over 600 items an hour. So thats a little more than 1 item per minute.


That's actually about 1 item every 6 seconds.

In my experience cupcakes don't sell very well at farmer's markets and street fairs, people tend to gravitate toward cheaper items like cookies and muffins. The margin on these items is pretty low, so once you take into account all the health department fees, festival fees, your labor to make the items and man the booth, and the inevitable wasted product, you probably won't make much.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Cupcakes do well at farmer's markets here, I haven't done that yet, but my good friend sells $3-400 worth every week at the Farmer's Market in a much smaller town nearby. The last 2 Artwalks had 1000 people attend, and I sold to approximately 100 of them- in my tiny crappy space. That's what I based my number on- 10% of those in attendance will buy from me. artwalk was primarily adults, this festival will have alot of kids, not sure whether that's an advantage or disadvantage. Most of my regulars are moms and their kids. I will have cookies as well, for those who don't want cupcakes. The lady who runs the festival suggested 1000. She also said that there have been vendors who sold out in the first five minutes. Last year, every food place in downtown had a line out the door the whole time (I didn't have my business yet) I live 15 minutes away from Boulder (voted America's foodiest town more than once and skinniest town, oddly enough!), people definitely spend money on food here.

I guess I was hoping to hear some positive experiences, but that is heartbreaking and I am truly sorry for you. I hope I can report back that it went well. I stopped by one of the businesses and the person there didn't know, so I will stop by and ask the owner this week. Thankyou for taking the time to share your experiences, I will take it into consideration along with some other "research" when I make a decision.
post #11 of 17
Please let us know how it goes & how many items you make etc., I would be really interested to hear back!! All the Best!!
Wisdom is making choices now that you will be happy with later.
-Joyce Meyer
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Wisdom is making choices now that you will be happy with later.
-Joyce Meyer
Reply
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Forgot to mention (brain is frazzled!),
The booth is free, and as long as I have everything packaged/wrapped I don't have to pay for a temp food vendor license- my regular food license is fine. The city offered to loan me a tent. So my cost is the product to make the cupcakes etc and some flyers/coupons. It's still a lot of money for me- I figured it up today. I work out of a commercial kitchen with 40 people trying to use one walk-in freezer, so a lot of leftovers is a problem. Some leftovers are fine- I can sell them at my shop the next day and following week. I'll just get them out the freezer as I need them, which is what I always do anyway.
post #13 of 17
Thanks Jason. Every second is what I meant to type. My fingers were typing faster than my brain was working. I guess I was having flash backs from MY festival nightmare. LOL
post #14 of 17
We do lots of events. We have had 1 bad experience in 3 years. I make ice-cream sandwiches out of my homemade cookies. (My husband has a smoker and we do pulled pork also) If the weather is warm to hot they sell fast. If the weather is cool they sell slow but still sell. I always have at least a few left over. That's not a bad thing. For large events I make about 1000. For small events 200-300.

Did the number for the event come from the promoter or is that your estimate? Promoters always tell you a high number. I would make 10% and cross your fingers. The experience will teach you more than you may want to know. No matter what "SMILE". A vendor who looks happy must be doing well.

I wish you well!
pokinielsen@msn.com
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pokinielsen@msn.com
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post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks Poki....and everyone! Update on the 27th!
icon_smile.gif ~Rachel
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