So you're gearing up to sell t-shirts at an event, and you want to make sure you have everything ready and in order. You want to make sure that you're bringing the right equipment, the right number of shirts to sell, and of course pricing everything to make a profit. But before I get into the tips that have made our events successful, I need you to remember that you're selling apparel for the people attending the event. You're doing this to enhance their experience and provide them with quality memorabilia. Making a profit should be your secondary concern.
Alright! Here are the top 5 things I've learned while selling t-shirts at events.
1) Bring LESS Shirts Than You Think
THE BIGGEST question that I had going into my very first time being a t-shirt vendor was, "How many shirts do I bring?" So I called the t-shirt vendor I used in California during my coaching days, and here's the formula he gave me.
Number of attendants / 4 = x , x / 3 = number t-shirts
1200 attendants / 4 = 300 , 300 / = 100 t-shirts
I know this seems like you are shooting too low, but this is the safest way to insure you will not over spend up front. It is better to sell out of inventory and learn about the event, the venue, the attendant first, and then come with more inventory next time (if needed).
2) Be Early
There are several reasons for being early.
FIRST: It's simply good manners. Whoever is coordinating the event needs all the help they can get from everyone being prompt and prepared.
SECOND: You'll want a good location where people will see your tent / booth on their way to their seats. Additionally, you want to be there before people arrive, because once they sit down, they might not get back up (especially if you arrived late and they don't know there's an awesome vendor to get up for).
THIRD: You don't want to be scrambling to find outlets or sources of electricity, if that's needed.
It's best to show up early to scope out the venue and know where everything is.
3) Accept Several Methods of Payment
People are carrying less and less cash on hand these days.
So you'll want to have some form of a card ready and be able to accept debit/credit cards, or many even PayPal.
and speaking of which - I suggest using a Bluetooth device which you can get through PayPal and is linked directly to a PayPal business account, which is linked to a business bank account. Most credit card processors will have a card reading device available, however if you do not have merchant services yet, PayPal is a good way to get started quickly.
4) Have a CUSTOM option
Bring a letter kit and a heat press machine that is mobile so you can offer to place a name on the back of a shirt. This will vary for the type of event because it is a time consuming process. But there are ways to execute this properly. When you introduce this option to customers, let them know it make take an extra 10 minutes for their shirt to be ready, have a form to take their name and phone number on, and then have them come back in a little while. BUT, always make sure they pay for the shirt before walking away! If they don't come back then you're stuck with a shirt you cannot sell to anyone else because it has their last name on it.
Letter kits can be ordered from STAHLS.com (just remember to order a sorting box for an addition $6 to keep everything organized).
Mobile Heat Press Machines can be found on amazon for relatively cheap (about $200.00). Here is the one I use at events.
5) Know Your Strengths & Weaknesses
Are you a natural born sales person who loves to talk with strangers and get to know everyone and find out what their interests are so you can better serve them!? That must be nice if you are, I know I'm not. (Though I wish I was). However, since I know that I am not, and that I'm the type of person who would rather observe, keep my head down, and do manual tasks - like putting the names on the backs of shirts for customers - to make up for my vocal short comings, I bring along my extroverted friend, EB. She runs most of the actual sales, while I execute more "behind the scenes".
If talking with customers is not your strong suit, then bring along a chatterbox friend. If you love to talk and know that you can get lost in conversations, then bring a more Type A friend who can keep the lines moving.
There you have it, 5 tried and true tips for running a successful t-shirt sale at an event. Try some of these out and message me with how they worked for you.
Thank you for reading,
Stay Focused. - Michelle
Thank you again to Elizabeth Bashir, MBA and all her help at these events. Here is just SOME of what we're learned so far.
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