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Topic: First Xmas bazaar of the season
Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 19, 2009 07:08AM)
Just did my first Xmas bazaar this past weekend, and wanted to share some thoughts.

First, I found that I had to tone down my pitch a bit. I was used to working outdoors all spring and summer, where I was always fighting background noise from DJ’s, generators, live bands, wind and what-have-you. Working indoors was a real pleasure – it’s much quieter!

Also found that although I did sell to a fair number of kids, I sold a lot more to parents and grandparents who were looking for stocking stuffers. So don’t ignore the little old ladies – they do buy! And even the priest bought one; he thought it was very amusing and figured he could work it into one of his Sunday School classes. I just hope it won’t be as the snake in the Garden of Eden! [He was the one person that got a private lesson in IT handling that day, I figured it was a good idea!]

I was also glad that I took Don’s tip and changed my pricing structure a little bit. I used to get $5 for each Magic Worm. Now, the price is $6 for one and $10 for 2. This may not seem like a big change, but it was significant. Now, I make a bit more on the single sales, but seem to sell a lot more doubles than I used to, because everyone thinks they’re getting a bargain. End result: even though they are basically the same price as they always were, I sell more worms.

Don, you are the MAN!! SETH
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Oct 19, 2009 09:46AM)
You should have a sign made

$6.00 each TWO for $10.00 SHOW SPECIAL Five for $20.00 Have it sitting on a photo or plate stand at the back of your table.

Also go buy some Christmas stocking at a dollar store fill them with paper and have a squirmle and Svengali deck sticking out the top.Have them hanging near the front of the joint.

Saying they make good stocking stuffers is good but a VISUAL with saying that works so much better.

Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 19, 2009 10:53AM)
Great idea Don, thank you --- I'm off to the Dollar Store this evening!

I do have a sign with the price list, but it doesn't say "Show Special." Once again, it's a great idea and I will add "Holiday Special" to the sign. Hopefully nobody will notice that it's still special "Christmas prices" next May and June! SETH
Message: Posted by: solrak29 (Oct 22, 2009 03:15PM)
Hey Seth,

Though I'm still targeting the fleas, I see couple of these in my area up until
Feb at least...so I'm guessing you find these good places to pitch?
Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 22, 2009 05:36PM)
Yes, Solrak, it's usually worth your time. Unlike a flea, the people come to spend money and they expect to pay the prices quoted, no haggling needed. Lots of parents are looking for stocking stuffers, and the magic tricks go over pretty big.

Also, after fighting the weather and the wind for a couple of months, it's a pleasure to be inside where you don't have to worry about such things.

The only downside for worm workers is that these things are usually held in school gyms or Caféterias, which always seem to have incredibly bright lighting. But if you ask for a wall space off to the side, it usually works out OK. SETH
Message: Posted by: sethb (Nov 9, 2009 06:55AM)
Worked another Xmas Bazaar yesterday, and did almost $500 in worms and decks.

These types of shows are a great deal. Being inside, there are no tents to lug around and set up, and no wind or bad weather to deal with. The kids come with their allowances, piggy banks or parents (just as good, if not better). Everyone is in a good mood and the sales are easy. Check your [i]weekly[/i] newspapers for the Holiday Bazaar or Fundraiser listings to find them.

Now if I could just get that song "White Christmas" out of my head -- they must have played it about 50 times during the afternoon! SETH
Message: Posted by: Rod Pringle (Nov 14, 2009 05:14PM)
Hello Don:

I used your idea of the Christmas Stockings hanging on the joint, it really works, a lot of people would point at them and say " HEY THESE "WOULD" MAKE GREAT STOCKING STUFFERS!!" ,and these really add holiday flash to the joint. I also made up the sign you recommended...$6.00 for one, 2 for $10.00 and 5 for $20.00, This really moves the stock. Thanks for the valuable tips Don!

Message: Posted by: Jestnjoker (Nov 14, 2009 05:20PM)
I too used the sign and the stockings.
Message: Posted by: Rod Pringle (Nov 14, 2009 05:25PM)
Hello Seth:

Did a christmas Bazaar today , It was a good show and I moved a lot of cards and worms. I had to laugh at your comment about hearing White Christmas in your head after the show..with me it was WHAT CHILD IS THIS? hah Its still playing over and over in my head, they played that canned Christmas music all day. Tis the season!!!

Message: Posted by: Rod Pringle (Nov 14, 2009 05:30PM)
Hey Jeff:

Great job today! I too use only Don's dvd pitch for the cards and worms, I never change it, and present it exactly as Don says, It works every time! Don's DVD is the best investment I ever made. I wish you all the best in the pitching business.

Message: Posted by: Jestnjoker (Nov 14, 2009 05:49PM)
Thanks Rod,

I'm an improv comedian, so I can't help but make some things up as I go. I hit all the points in his script and stay pretty close for the most part.
Message: Posted by: sethb (Nov 30, 2009 09:36AM)
Well, unless something else comes up, this coming weekend will probably be my last Holiday Bazaar for the year, and I will hang it all up until March. But meanwhile, there will be LOTS of Magic Worms and Svengali Decks in somebody's stockings this year!

Over the past month I worked shows for the Protestants, Catholics, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians; this weekend is a Hanukkah Bazaar. So I think I hit most of the major faiths here! Once again, this is a good opportunity to cash in on some great end-of-the-year business, without any of the hassles of working outdoors. Because these are mostly craft shows, the table fees tend to run a little higher, but it's usually worth it because the foot traffic is good and people are in a spending mood.

The only bummer about these particular events is that many other vendors bring their children with them. When those kids get bored, guess where they drift over to? Eventually they also get bored of seeing the same pitch over and over again, but in the meantime, it can be tough sometimes. The only benefit is that when they stand in front of the pitch table, they help draw a tip, but that's about it. SETH
Message: Posted by: Rod Pringle (Nov 30, 2009 10:26AM)
Hello Seth:

I have been doing bazaars and craft shows this fall too, you are right, this is good end of the season business, with no tent to haul around and weather to put up with. I have shown at a pentecostal, catholic, big Lions Club show with 100 vendors ( did VERY well there) I have 2 more shows left in the season, one more catholic church bazaar this Saturday and my last show is Dec. 12 at an Eagles lodge bazaar' BOY! you hit the nail right on the head Seth, I have been over run with vendors bored kids this year. I had one little boy (His grandmother had a booth right beside me) and she was baby sitting her grandson....

She says to the kid while I am setting up...Hey Bobby look, we are set up beside a magician...The kid bugged me most of the day! To make matters worse, he told me he once had a worm he got while on vacation, and that he knew the secret. Then with each demo I did, the kid stood right by the joint telling the tip how the worm operated. (slow burn) Finally the kids Grand dad came and took him home THANK GOD ( on the bright side, his grandad bought the kid a worm , and I bagged it with about 5 knots on the bag, and said Don't open this until you get home" , they finally took him home.

Inspite of this kid spilling the beans with every pitch, I still made $200.00 and the show only ran from 9:00 am until 2:00 P. M. I made my booth rent, and a little money for the gas to get there.

I am really looking forward to the winter layoff. I don't go out again until March too. I was going down to Miami, Fla. for the winter, but had to buy a new car( unexpectly Blew trans), so there went my travel money haha.

Have a good rest of the season!

Message: Posted by: sethb (Nov 30, 2009 02:02PM)
Rod -- you are right about the vendor's kids tipping the gaff, I have had that happen too. Of course, this could happen with any kid, but in this case it's worse because it's not just a passer-by, but someone that is stuck there all day with Mom or Dad -- and you!!

I recently had a little girl who insisted upon standing right up front and loudly announcing "It's a STRING!" I guess she thought she was doing the world a favor with "Truth in Advertising" or something.

First I tried the "Be a good magician and keep a secret" bit. When that didn't work, I finally leaned over, looked at her eyeball-to-eyeball, and said to her quietly but firmly, "Look, I've seen this trick already, and so have you. But these other people haven't, so stop spoiling it for everyone else." Thank goodness she finally gave up and went away. If this keeps up, I may have to invest in one of those Hindu Sword Basket illusions or a Blade Box -- and only perform the first half of the trick. :)

Rod, good luck with the rest of the season, and keep those worms hopping! SETH
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Nov 30, 2009 02:41PM)
I can't believe what I'm hearing form you two( Seth/Rod) Letting vendor kids bother you.I only ask once than I go to the office.NEVER put up with that s***!

You're pitchman not sunday school teachers.Let them get mad at you what do you care.You are there for one reason make money NOTHING ELSE !

Come on guys...wake up and smell the toast burning...

Message: Posted by: sethb (Nov 30, 2009 03:50PM)
Hey, Don, the problem in my opinion is that in this particular situation, I have to be a little (very little) more diplomatic.
As you know, every parent thinks their kid is absolutely perfect and totally without blame, even if the kid is Jack the Ripper. Second, I have a feeling that most parents, even if they think you are right (which they won't), are not going to be real sympathetic ("Hey, it's just a little magic trick, what's the big deal?"). They don't understand that it's a business. Plus, you don't want the kid or the parents going around bad-mouthing you to other kids/parents/vendors/show organizers. So that's why I try to tread lightly if at all possible.

But I do agree that if the going got very bad, I would not hesitate to go directly to the parents and explain that their darling child was interfering with my booth, and to please entertain their child themselves. [Maybe I should add that I charge $250 an hour for babysitting?] And I agree that the next stop would be the show boss, if necessary.

Maybe after I was hassled by vendors' kids in a dozen (or a hundred) different situations, I wouldn't be so accommodating. But at least for now, I'm doing it this way, until that electric cattle prod I ordered from Cabela's arrives. :)

In reality, this particular sort of problem is fairly rare; most kids have enough brains to just stand there and watch, or to shut up or go away if they're asked nicely but firmly. But I agree you've got to be prepared for anything and everything. SETH
Message: Posted by: Rod Pringle (Nov 30, 2009 04:55PM)
Hello Don:

Yes, its hard for me to give the kid a good talking to, when his grandparents see no harm in letting him disruppt business. The Grandmother was in business with her daughter selling some kind of cheese spreads, etc. I am sure if I went over there and stood by their joint, and said THIS STUFF TASTES LIKE S+++IT they would have a fit. hahaha I had one kid, at another show earlier this year, ( a little girl) grab my two plastic cups for the worm and run off to her mothers joint,(boy that kid was quick haha) to make her worm do the same thing.( I sold a worm to the mother earlier, I bagged it and told the mother to leave it in the bag until they got home, ..yeah right!! she was ripping the bag open on her way back to her joint haha, and the kid was exposing the gimmick the rest of the day. I did go over and reclaim my cups, and said to the kid THOSE HAVE TO STAY ON MY TABLE)

Hey Seth you are right, youve got to be prepared for EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING. Its a different situation everytime I set up. I still can't understand why in the living H++ll these vendors want to bring little kids to an all day show, and expect them to set like little monkeys on performing tubs all day. SIT BOBO SIT HAHAHA Boy, I am ready for a rest !!!! Maybe I will go to Miami anyway haha

All the best!

Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Nov 30, 2009 06:20PM)
I've never been diplomatic to rotten kids.I'm quite rude to all concerned,the kids,the parents ect.

They all know when I'm done not to ever mess with me.

Message: Posted by: sethb (Nov 30, 2009 07:25PM)
Rod -- I think in about 75% of the cases, the kids are just being kids, they don't understand or see anything wrong with what they are doing. They think that magic is a challenge to be beaten or a puzzle to be solved, and they aren't content to just be mystified. Add to that the fact that they probably weren't taught any manners in the first place, and you have a recipe for trouble.

A small percentage of kids are actually malicious, just like there are some malicious adults (I guess the malicious kids grow up to be malicious adults!). If I get a real smart aleck, I just cut everything short and say, "Thanks for watching, the magician is taking a break now." I'm not required to perform for everybody or anybody! Then after they walk away, I start up again anyway.

And if there are particularly rotten kids (or grownups), then I agree with Don that you have to be in control of the situation, one way or the other. One of the hazards of the profession, I guess -- the performer is always "fair game." SETH
Message: Posted by: julieannjohnson (Nov 30, 2009 11:42PM)
I'm with Don -- I can't believe you folks cut these kids or their vendor parents or grandparents ANY slack.

Like Don said -- don't bother trying to convince the vendor kid or parents -- go to the OFFICE. You have every right, as a fellow vendor, to demand that the office supports your right to control the space you have rented.
Message: Posted by: sethb (Dec 1, 2009 07:15AM)
OK, OK, I give up, no more "Mr. Nice Guy" here.

From now on, it's "off with their heads"!! SETH
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Dec 1, 2009 10:19AM)
Yeah Seth...now you're talking like a pitchman !

Message: Posted by: SeasideShowman (Dec 1, 2009 01:46PM)
Great hearing stories from you guys that are out there doing it and learning from Don Driver what's what and where's where. I own Don's DVD and apply his lessons daily.

Good Stuff !!

Cap'n Mike
Seaside Showman
Myrtle Beach, SC
Message: Posted by: sethb (Dec 1, 2009 07:09PM)
Next to Don, we are all J.C.L.'s !!

I learn something new every time I work a show. SETH
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Dec 3, 2009 06:57AM)
Well you learned J.C.L. lingo,thats a good sign...I think you have been "with it" long enough that you are past the J.C.L. stage. Welcome aboard.

Message: Posted by: sethb (Dec 3, 2009 11:16AM)
Don, I feel like I just got promoted from private to sergeant! :)

Thank you!! SETH
Message: Posted by: Rod Pringle (Dec 7, 2009 03:13PM)
Well the big bazaar and craft show was a great success and the best show so far this year. I sold $350.00 worth of worms and cards. Show ran from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

I could not have done this with out the help of Don Driver and his Svengali Pitch DVD. I use Don's pitch and it WORKS! Also thanks to Seth for all the good advice on what to do out there in the real world of pitching. My last show is this Saturday at an Eagles Lodge bazaar, its on a busy highway, so we will see how it goes.

Then after Saturday, I put the show in the barn until March when the indoor RV and Boat shows get going. Plus any indoor flea markets.

Happy Holidays to all!

Message: Posted by: sethb (Dec 8, 2009 07:08AM)
Congrats, Rod, on "getting the money," great job!

I just did my last Xmas Bazaar of the season this past weekend. You know, I've been in more churches over the past two months than in the last ten years! :) Seriously, I hit 'em all: the Catholics, Protestants, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians, etc., and also did two Chanukkah Bazaars to boot.

I believe the economy did dampen things a bit this year; traffic was not quite as heavy and people were not spending as freely. But overall I was satisfied -- I had a few $800 days, a few $200 days, and everything in between. Plus, if you don't go out and work, you don't make anything!

Now my Magic Worms are going to settle down for a long winter nap, hibernating in my garage until March, when I'll hit a flea or two to get the rust out. Then I'll start working the Spring street festivals and municipal fairs again. In the meantime, I'm working on perfecting a "Fast & Loose" (Endless Chain) routine for my own amusement.

Happy Holidays to all, and thanks to everyone on this board (especially Don!) for all the good advice and tips over the past year. SETH
Message: Posted by: Rod Pringle (Dec 9, 2009 09:00AM)
Hey Thanks Seth!

My last show is this Saturday! Its not as large as the last show, but hope to pull in a little moola to tied me over hahaha

Thanks again Seth, your advice and info have been really appreaciated.

Message: Posted by: Rod Pringle (Dec 9, 2009 09:06AM)
OK DON!!!!!!

I won't cut those kids and their parents any slack! I will be the grinch of the pitch joint hahaha. I agree that most of these kids are just kids and they feel they have to tell the whole world the SECRET, but I have lost sales from this, so I agree Don, I am using the firm approach from now on.

Hey Don, thanks for your advice this year, and happy holidays!!!!!!!!!!

Message: Posted by: Rod Pringle (Dec 13, 2009 09:37AM)
Well, I did my last Christmas Bazaar of the season yesterday, it was at a Lodge, All I will say is..it was a crappy show with the usual gang of management and vendor IDIOTS. I am glad the season is over and the show is in the barn til March. SEE YOU DOWN THE ROAD and MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Message: Posted by: sethb (Dec 13, 2009 05:45PM)
Hey Rod, sorry to hear you ended on a sour note.

Unfortunately, some of these organizations only think of soliciting vendors and collecting their table fees. Then they think their job is done, they don't bother to advertise the show, lay out the floor spots properly or do anything else that might help to organize things and make it successful. They have their money, so from their point of view, they are already successful. But without the proper follow-through, they are dead ducks.

We have all been burned this way once or twice. Fortunately, word gets around pretty quick and outfits like this suddenly find that they have no vendors -- and then they wonder why. The best shows know that if they take care of their vendors, the vendors will take care of them.

Anyway, keep those Svengali Decks in a dry, warm place until March!! Happy Holidays to you, and see you down the road, too. SETH
Message: Posted by: Rod Pringle (Dec 18, 2009 03:05PM)
Hello Seth:

Yes, we were crammed in there like sardines haha The aisle between the tables were about 36 inches, Yes, I have had some good shows this year too, so can't complain too much. Pitching is still a great job and I enjoy it.

Thanks Seth, and happy holidays!