biz notes :: Ooak Vancouver

The One of a Kind Show and Sale (Ooak) is celebrating five years in Vancouver and Roxypop has been lucky enough to have been a vendor at the event for the past three years. With over 300 artists and designers, we often get asked by others if they should apply to Ooak, so I thought I would share my experience. This post is great for those thinking of applying to Ooak Vancouver, but please remember that I am by no means an expert. The information below is based on my opinions + past experience, so feel free to ask questions or leave comments below.

What are your goals?
What do you want to get from the event? Obviously, you want to make your money back, plus some!, but how about to make contacts? Ooak is attended by thousands of people including trendspotters, high profile bloggers, media, editors and retailers. Are you hoping to get your products into retail shops? Increase wholesale accounts? Build relationships with other like-minded vendors? To meet your customers face to face?

Investment – dollars + cents
Large shows such as this usually come with an equally large booth fee. Unlike a “normal” craft fair, you will need to include additional costs such as electricity, lighting, hard walls, paint, table / display material, signage, flooring, business card printing, wifi, food, rental van, and not to mention your products! If you don’t live nearby, don’t forget your travel expenses (accommodation, flights, mileage / gas) and shipping. We understand that this can be overwhelming, especially when you factor in convention center pricing!, but think about it this way… Ooak Vancouver is 4 days, so breakdown your costs into 4 – 1 day craft fairs and think of what you can do to save costs. Have a friend with a van that can lend a hand? Great! Know a past vendor that has some flooring they aren’t using? Hi-5! Book early + keep an eye on Craigslist!

Investment – time
I am was a cram crafter. There will be many long days and nights leading up to the event and long days once the show starts, so be prepared.

Am I ready?
I understand it is a scary decision and one that you usually make months (if not longer) prior to the actual event. Plan well in advance and set goal dates on a calendar. Talk to past vendors about their experiences (keep in mind that they will differ between each vendor), and if you can, attend the show to feel the vibe and to check out booth displays. Visit the event website, see past images and go through their vendor list.

Yay! I have been accepted, now what?
Displays are the hardest and most stressful part for me, so design your booth as much in advance as possible! I normally have a 5×10 booth size which always sounds huge until you get there. Make sure to physically mark off your booth space in your living room and mock up a display. I know it sounds silly, but it will save you from so many headaches! Can people easily get around? Do you need to save a space to process payments and wrap purchases? If you can, begin setting up on day one so that you know what will work and be able to fix these issues before the show opens.

Have a diverse range of products and in various prices. Roxypop carries items starting at $1 (badge) to $45 and obviously, if you make furniture or jewellery, your range will be even larger.

Make sure to have lighting. I know this can often cost an arm and a leg, but it will be worth it when the lights dim and you are not sitting in the dark. Oh, and bring extra bulbs!

If you only do a few shows a year and accept cash only, make sure you have a credit card option for your customers. I would say that 75%, if not more, sales from Ooak are made on a credit card.

Have I scared you off? Large shows such as Ooak are a lot of work and can cost a lot of money (investment!), but they can be so much fun and rewarding for your small business. Each year, Ooak Vancouver has met and exceeded my expectations. The community of vendors, the staff, and the connections that I have formed with attendees has been absolutely amazing!

side note: accepted vendors must sign an exclusivity clause and not participate in any large consumer show 15 days before and 15 days after the dates of our event within a 30km radius of the show.

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Comments (6)

  1. Ally Day

    What a great write up! Very honest and helpful -we couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Thank you Andrea and Rob – we obviously heart Roxypop (but a teeny bit more now!) We couldn’t say thank you with out mentioning how amazing is – an intimate show with a fabulous devout following and always ahead of the curve for trends and style spotting!

    Thanks again team, we look forward to seeing you again at this year’s 5th anniversary show!

    The OOAK girls!

  2. Victoria

    Awesome post Andrea, We’re applying to OOAK this year.

    Question – you mentioned flooring and walls in your display – do all vendors usually have floors and walls? Where do you get the walls in that case? I can figure out flooring from home depot – but your display is beautiful and shows walls of some sort.


    • lotus events

      Hi Victoria,

      Congrats for taking the step! Regarding flooring, all vendors are required to have something. You can either order this through Levy (from the convention center) or bring your own. The year before last, I purchased click together flooring from Ikea and last year I purchased flooring from a past vendor that wasn’t returning which was the soft flooring that you use for children’s play areas.

      For walls, pipe and drape is included and you have the option to pay for hard walls which is what I did. Last year, the fee for this was $250 plus HST and an additional 30% each if you wish to paint, apply adhesive or drill. There are many options if you require hard walls, but don’t have the budget for it. There were a lot of creative booths at the event that brought in their own walls made of plywood, crates, foamcore, etc so if you have access to a large vehicle this may be a great option.

      Hope this helps! – Andrea

  3. Yuki

    Thank you soooooo much for your information! I haven’t decide yet but I am planning to apply for OOAK this year.

    I juts can’t stop thinking that I will missed other shows during the busiest time of the year. I really like GotCraft? and I want to apply for the Christmas show so bad!!!

    • lotus events

      Hello Yuki! Double check with Ooak staff, but from what I understand, one day shows (like Got Craft) and any other shows with less than 30 exhibitors are exempt.