Hello Polite Readers!
Well, if this keeps up I might be able to go back to weekly updates! This week's request comes courtesy of one of my Etsy friends who received a vague and possibly misleading event invitation. She handled it herself because she's a pro, but she also thought it would make a great topic for this blog. So first we'll briefly cover how to respond to unsolicited invites and then we'll talk about how to write an invitation that vendors will want to accept!
First of all, I feel a bit iffy about using Etsy to invite vendors to shows. I generally distrust such invites and think they're probably against Etsy's TOS. On the other hand it seems to be becoming a normal way to do things and some vendors do seem to appreciate being contacted directly by a show that they might not otherwise do well at. I have two methods of dealing with unwanted invites. If the show holds absolutely no interest for me, I ignore the message. If it's a show that I don't want to vend at but may want to attend, or if the invite comes from someone I might otherwise want to work with in the future, I send a polite "Thank you for the invite but I'm not interested at this time."
Now, event promoters, what can you do to make your invitation appealing?
1. Personalize the message. I don't want to think that you've sent the same message to every single Etsy seller in Tucson. I want to be greeted personally and I want to know why you're inviting me to vend at your event.
2. Provide pertinent details. I don't need to know everything about your event, but there are a few things I do want to know before I make a decision:
How do I get more information?
3. Be honest about the size and scope of your event. You may have big plans, but if it's your first year you're probably going to have to start small. Even if you're an established event, you might still be low-key. Please don't try to convince me that your local convention has almost as big of a draw as San Diego Comic Con.
4. Sell me on the event. Don't just say "It's going to be awesome!" Give me something specific to be excited about. For instance "This year our guest of honor is Matt Smith" or "Our art festival is a juried event that only allows handmade items."
5. Be professional. Use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. You can have a friendly tone and inject some personality into it, but you're still trying to do business with me so act like a pro.
6. Be realistic. I am not going to travel halfway across the country for a first-year convention. I am not going to spend $500 for a table at an art fair I've never heard of. If, for instance, you're inviting vendors to a small faerie festival, try to only invite people from your state and neighboring states. Don't send an invite to every single person who paints faeries, even if your event is in Canada and they live in Australia.
If I receive an invitation that fails to meet most of these criteria, I am not going to respond positively and I'm not going to think of recommending it to my fellow vendors or attending it for fun.
Have something you'd like to add? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Have a sticky situation of your own you'd like help with? Send it to Politelyworded@gmail.com and you could be featured in a future column.