Before I started my business and working my 9-5 job I was not a morning person. As one of my co workers affectionately would greet me, “Good Morning, King Kong.” Knowing that I would be going toVeniceBeachand start selling, the butterflies in my stomach began dancing around.
I woke up at 4:30 and my ride Vanessa who would also be vending picked me up at 5:15 am. We made it out toVeniceBeacharound 6 am. The week before I spoke with several vendors, because summertime is just about in full swing you have to get there by 5 no later than 6 in the morning.
When we arrived it was still dark. I noticed a few people jogging, walking there dog and a lot of homeless with several questionable characters you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. If you plan on vending inVeniceBeach, in my opinion it’s mandatory that you need 2 people especially women. There was no police anywhere. The first car I had seen passing through was around 10:30 am.
We noticed that many spaces marked with baskets, boxes, bags of sand and even a few head boards to let people know, the space isn’t available. It’s supposed to be first come first serve but it doesn’t always apply. Vanessa and I found a space that wasn’t market. So we plopped our chairs down at number 59. About an hour later I was informed by vendor (homeless) that the space we occupied was a regular for a woman who sold jewelry that she makes. He said that we could have this location for today (June 29th) and tomorrow June 30th. On Friday it goes back to her. There was no room for negotiation.
You couldn’t set up until 9:00 am. Trying doing it before and you will get a ticket. As I said before there were no police vehicles around so, I’m not sure how that would happen. A very nice man named Kwan helped us set while giving valuable information. I brought a tent with me and it was a site to see with me setting it up. I’m indebted to Kwan for taking of us rookies.
Kwan sold jewelry and one of the few vendors who sells hand made arts and crafts that he made. The Venice Beach Boardwalk is supposed to be for crafters, performers who make there own things. You don’t see a lot of the same. Walk down the boardwalk and you’ll see people selling the exact same items a few spaces from each other. They go downtown to the wholesalers, order in bulk and come back to Venice Beach to sell their items. Rightfully, this frustrates the true crafters.
It’s frustrating trying to introduce a new product into the market. No one’s heard of it and it hasn’t been proven. You know some expert or celebrity gives it seal of approval. Being by the ocean was blessing. When I started getting anxious and stressed because no one came by our table and just passed by us, I took a moment. Listening to the sound of the ocean waves hitting the shore, I closed my eyes and quieted my mind. The feel of the ocean breeze, smelling the salt in the air was unbelievably soothing.
By the afternoon, the sun came up, more people were out and we started engaging, giving out samples and truly enjoying the experience. I found a new market for Wild Beauty’s aroma-therapeutic oil, dreadlocks. I had a few of the Rasta come over and try the oils. They loved it. The basil sage and mint oil was a hit. Their locks were shiny and moisturized.
Although we made little money, the experience more than made up for it. Here’s what I learned.
- Be Flexible: You can try and plan every scenario but until you’re actually out there meeting with customers it doesn’t mean a thing. Things rarely go as planned.
- Be Open: Listen to what your customers have to say. Don’t be defensive. I want to give a personal thanks to the Rastas for letting me Wild Beauty’s aroma-therapeutic oils can be used for dreadlocks and natural hair. I have a new market.
- Don’t Rush or Pressure: Everyone wants to make money. Don’t let your desperation show that you need to make the sale. People can see, feel and smell it. It’s a complete turnoff. Talk to your potential customers. If you see they aren’t interested in making a purchase at the time, give them a brochure or business card. Say thank you for stopping by. There’s no harm in giving out a business card or brochure. They may not be interested by know someone who is.
Vanessa and I planned on being at VeniceBeachfrom June 29 – July 1. Unfortunately due to circumstance beyond my control, we only were out there on Wed, June 29th. Instead ofVeniceBeach, Wild Beauty and I will be all over LA as a pop up store.
What’s a pop up store? A trend of opening short term sale spaces, some are in empty spaces that buildings can’t find a tenant a tenant to rent to. Others are sidewalk vendors which is what I will be doing. Over the summer I am going to do a blog series about me and my company Wild Beauty travelling all over LA as a pop up store.
Let the adventure begin.
Felecia Scott/Natural Skin Care Artisan
Go Wild. Go Natural. Go Wild Beauty