trade-show My 2nd show, and I really need to get a tent

My Setup.jpg

I can't afford the tent just yet, so I hit my 2nd larger show (I don't count the casual car shows, only the big ones) - I sat out from 12 - 7 and got crazy sunburn.  It was a great day, nice and cool, with a breeze because I was on the shoreline of CT with the water 100 feet from me.  But damn, I look like a lobster now...
Anyway, This is my current setup.  I keep my cashbox hidden with a built-in compartment on the chair, and had a lot of foot traffic this time.  Put out 10 sauces (9 unproduced and Cinder) - grouped into BBQ/Marinade, Hot Sauce, and other.
Kickin' Blackstrap Marinade
Kickin' Blackstrap Rib Sauce
Kickin' Rib Sauce (original recipe, used brown sugar, no molasses)
Carolina Mustard & Vinegar BBQ
Cinder Habanero
Krèmbanero White Chocolate-Key Lime
Mind Flay Strawberry-Brainstrain
Cinder Ranch hot sandwich spread
Chaffinch Island Dressing
PeanutBuster hot peanut sauce
I made about $170 in sales in about 7 hours.  I know, not great, but not bad either, because what I took away from this was which are my next 3 flavors to produce.  I know sometimes in business you need to make what people want to buy, not always what you think is best.  The demographic in this CT Shoreline town is very affluent, lots of money but tight with the wallet.  People drive up in Porsches, BMW Suv's, Cadillac and old cars that are worth $200k+, but when it comes to selling sauces, many of them 'had' to have a deal.  $6 each and you could see they were hesitant.  But drop that to 3 for $15, and they would nod and take it.  Same went for the amazing seafood they were serving.  Raw oysters, Hot lobster rolls, fish tacos, all fresh caught... people were actually trying to haggle a bit.  I know they have money but I guess being stingy is how they keep it ;)
Anyway, I have plans to get a 2nd table (probably another 6' and put it on my left, and turn the entire setup on a 45 degree wedge.  I'll add another box for additional products when I Get the run done, and a rack to put those nice 8oz widemouth jars on.  Those were a huge hit.
I need to get a fitted bottom sheet for the table, as the wind kept blowing it around, so I used my 4' level and clipped the tablecloth to it to help keep it down.
I also need to get a woman to help me at the table.  When my girlfriend showed up half way through the day and helped talk to people, I noticed both sales and people who actually stopped to chat picked up, by almost triple!
Was a fun day.  I need to get one of those nice $900 truss tents with my logo on it it with the zip-off back, etc.


Business Member
PepperDaddy said:
I kinda  agree.  I just finished my first festival this weekend and had a couple buddies help out.  Until someone arrived, I could only do so much. Things flowed much better once someone showed up to call people in while I did the presentation and then to take the money, log the transaction and bag the product while I started on the next presentation. I think I have lost people before when someone is really acting like they want to buy all three and then a large group comes up and I have to start another presentation while they think about it.  They need attention all the way until the sale is made and that second person can provide that.  People were generally receptive to waiting for a taste until I finished collecting cash/PayPal, bagging (I wrap each in a small 1/2 sheet paper towel and put them into a plastic grocery bag) and logging the transaction.  Of couse, my friends worked for free but got plenty of BBQ and beer :cheers:
Sounds like you are doing waaaaay too much one-on-one and detailed stuff.  Presentation??? Logging the sale???  Count the bottles at the start, count the bottles at the end....  there's your sales total for the day.   If you have to do a PRESENTATION for every sale, that's nuts.  Simple sampling of the product should sell itself.  Make it easy for multiple customers to taste at the same time. 
I know different markets/events have different rules as to having the customers serve their own samples or if it has to be served by a booth person.  If you have to physically hand every sample to every customer.....:banghead:.... you'll go insane trying to keep up!  If there is ANY way to make self serve sampling work, go that way. 
Having 10 sauces to sample will tie all the customers up unless you have a large booth with lots of help.  Less sauces=faster samples= faster sales...
Kalitarios said:
 i think i screwed myself by making 1 flavor thats hot. 
here's what i heard many times. "ooh thats different. oh wow thats hot. wow. thats really hot. oh wow. yeah wow thats hot. what else do you have thats not hot". followed by me saying "nothing i can sell you today, this is a showcase of upcoming flavors" and the person walks
so i giess i need to either take a loan and make a few more flavors or reformulate. it aeems to be a love or "sorry this hab sace burns my tongue" answer9
A very experienced sauce maker at a hot sauce show mentioned that they never sample something if they don't have the product to sell.  They have 6-8 sauces out for sampling and sales.  If one sauce sells out, they pull the sampling. 
I've said it before....75% of the salsa sales are mild/medium.  And in a lot of ways, customers are like toddlers.  They like to have a choice, but too many choices are overwhelming.  It's like trying to get the tired youngster to choose which of his 8 colors of toothbrushes to use that night.  The kid goes into meltdown because of too many choices.  Simplify it to 2 choices, red toothbrush or green toothbrush, and the choice is simple.   
The same goes for customers.  With my salsa, it was all the same flavor, they just had to decide which heat level they wanted.  Simple.   With sauces....if there's too many choices or too many things to consider....customers can't handle that and choose to NOT make a decision. sale. 
Sometimes, less is more when offering things for sale.   
I was there to sell. But that wasnt my primary focus. I was there to fund out which flavors add to what i'm going to make next. I have a lot of that data now.

But having 1 sauce was a pitfall. Probably because it's a habanero hot sauce. Everyone wants the sauce but it's too hot.


Business Member
As far as the canopy goes-
Buy a good quality canopy with good replacement parts support.  Don't pay for the silk screened logo stuff.  Buy a 2'x8' banner for about $100 which will serve you for interior and exterior sites.  Not all interior events can support a canopy but will support a banner.   
just my dos centavos...
salsalady said:
As far as the canopy goes-
Buy a good quality canopy with good replacement parts support.  Don't pay for the silk screened logo stuff.  Buy a 2'x8' banner for about $100 which will serve you for interior and exterior sites.  Not all interior events can support a canopy but will support a banner.   
just my dos centavos...
King Canopy!  Check 'em out. :)