In May, we participated in Renegade Craft Fair for the first time. If you know us, then you will know that we started by hosting our own biannual festival. It was a great ride but it prevented us from being able to partner with great organizations which has also been a whole lot of fun.
Renegade is one of the biggest and most well known Modern Pop Up Markets in the US – and in the world. So we had to know what this experience is like – to be able to report back to the makers we work with and to just see how they do what they do.
Friends Forever! That’s me with Natasha from Burdlife
We participated in Renegade Austin TX which takes place at a fairly small facility. It’s definitely a lot smaller than other locations. In particular, I’ve always heard the best feedback about the Chicago and San Francisco events. But there were certainly big crowds in Austin too. The staff was super nice. They arrived on time. They knew what to do. They didn’t micromanage the participating makers but just let them do their thing.
We hosted the DIY Lounge which was intended to be outdoors but had to be moved inside because it down poured for over an hour on Sunday. Saturday was a beast because we were fighting the wind. It was only 11 mph wind according to the weather apps, but there must have been gusts. Even with weights, we couldn’t keep the tent down. We had to zip tie wooden benches to the tent and then have someone sitting on them THE ENTIRE DAY. It was crazy!
Love those Bravado Spice boys!!!
When you participate in Renegade, they add you to the website. We got a lot of click throughs when they first announced the line up, but a lot less during the event. I assume that most people clicking around were the other makers. But because we have so many free resources for makers, that’s a great audience for us to be clicking through to our website.
So here’s the scoop and what to plan for if you decide to participate in Renegade Craft Fair.
Always Have Site Supplies
It doesn’t matter where you are – indoors, outdoors, in a box with a fox. You need site supplies. We would have died without zip ties! Always have: scissors, zip ties, duct tape, extra tablecloths, a hot glue gun, just the basics. You never know what’s going to break or need some tlc. These items should have you covered. You will likely always want to have water and a jacket anywhere you are. For us it was crazy hot. Like so hot. It was 90° in Austin and it was so busy that the doors were open to whole time. So always be prepared for weird weather.
Get a Big Space
In my opinion, you will be way better off getting the largest space possible, which for the most part were around the perimeter edges at the Austin event. Anytime there are smaller and bigger spaces, you eye will just gravitate to the bigger space. It’s more comfortable and roomier which makes it easier to shop. Not to say that small spaces are bad! But in this case, bigger is better.
Lone Star Botanicals layered the restroom in dreamy florals making it an escape into paradise.
Unique Goods Reign Supreme
If you make jewelry or body care, you probably have challenges everywhere you go. And so you just might at Renegade. The things that were irresistible were us (hosting a DIY Lounge), Auragami who created mood photos that helped people understand their essence, Floss Gloss bright colored nail polish, this Cheese Company that I didn’t get the name of, and Bravado Spice sauces. There was nothing else like it, and all these people did really well and had a great time.
If you do make something that is more competitive, you will definitely want to think through cool ways to stand out.
Get Things at Eye Level
I say this for every event because it’s so important! Be sure that people can see your goods and branding from far away. If you only have small items on a tabletop, customers have to be right on top of you to see what you make. It minimizes exposure and will decrease your sales. If you make small items, have a large blown up photo of what those are, so people can engage with it from far away.
This booth display was irresistible!
Have Tons of Marketing Materials
The beauty of pop up markets isn’t just the sales right then and there. It’s also about creating a long term brand, gaining new social media followers, getting Email Marketing Sign Ups, and meeting other makers. Be sure that you have plenty of info for them. Always have an Enews sign up and be sure to have plenty of take aways like coupon codes for your website and cards so that they can find you again.
Think through Your Booth Fee and How You are Going to Make it Back
Renegade is not a $20 booth fee event. It brings a big crowd and is a pretty high end event. That means it’s not that easy for makers that have small or low dollar items. If you do, definitely think volume. If you have higher dollar items, that’s going to make it a lot easier. I certainly didn’t see penny pinchers that were only shopping for low dollar items. I definitely people shopping based on uniqueness, cool factor, and people shopping from the heart.
I can’t believe I’ve been working with Sam Wish since 2012!!
If you think of any questions about participating in Renegade Craft Fair that I didn’t mention, please message us or ask them in the comments below. I am always glad to help and would love to hear your thoughts!
Let’s Be Friends!