COMMITTEES | Marketplace 



For a Marketplace Timeline and Checklist, click here.

Your strategy should be to limit the number of vendors so the marketplace feels more like Gucci than like Loehmans. The Marketplace is entertainment that pays, but the money can be quadrupled for a kick ass Marketplace. You want a select group of vendors; more is not always better. When there is too much choice, the consumer is overwhelmed and buys nothing. This is called the paradox of choice. Find that balance between interest and overwhelm to create a strong Marketplace that is a win for the Charity, the vendor and the guest.

This committee collaborates with several other committees:

The Venue Committee procures vendor items such as lights, tables, mirrors, carpets, chairs, etc.

Within the Venue Committee, the Décor Coordinator assists with overall aesthetics and the Entertainment Coordinator helps select marketplace music.

The Volunteer Committee provides volunteers to assist vendors and vintners.       

The Culinary Committee procures and liaises with all caterers, etc.

The Vintners Committee liaises with wineries and ensures proper wine station set-up.

The Marketplace Runs for Two Hours:

It ALWAYS runs two hours, and ALWAYS occurs before the seated part of your event. Why? Guests seldom return to the marketplace after the show. And if your vendors aren't given enough time they will be very upset and not participate in future events.

Guests Sip and Shop:

The Marketplace consists of local designers and retailers showcasing the latest styles intermixed with food tables and vintners pouring wines. The Marketplace is the cornerstone of the event; hence, you should find a venue that allows this component to flow nicely.

If you have to divide the Marketplace into two rooms, try to ensure they are connected and don’t hinder the flow from one to the other with closed doors, stairs, elevators, etc.

Department stores SEEM like a great venue for a signature event (because it’s a built-in "marketplace"), however it limits guests to the store’s assortments. And if it’s an expensive store, then less people will “shop for the cause.”

Have about six vendors and no more than eight. A limited number of vendors means guests will go "shopping" at your auction thus netting more money for your charity. Choose two to three shoe vendors, two jewelry vendors, and two accessories vendors. Clothing is usually problematic because it is more difficult to try on, among other issues.

The Vendor Relationship: 

The designer/vendor gets two tables at the event, brings their merchandise, staffs the table, and manages all the sales transactions.

They bring a blank check with them. At the end of the event, they cut a check to the charity for 20% of sales. In addition to 20%, they give an item with a minimum value of $200 to the auction. This may be used in the Key-to-the-Closet or in the Silent Auction.

Only recruit vendors who are thrilled to be included. If they behave like divas from the start, they stay that way.

One person in the committee is designated the “Volunteer Captain.” S/he coordinates directly with the Volunteer Committee, letting them know marketplace volunteer needs. S/he also manages and trains the marketplace volunteers before and during event day: how many needed, what they do, etc.

During the event, vendors often loan out their merchandise for showcasing. For example, Shoe Guys "showcase" vendor items on their trays. Unfortunately, sometimes inventory gets lost, and it's upsetting for everyone. To minimize risk, give each vendor an Inventory Loan and Sign Out/In Form (click here).  Ask them to fill them out each time they loan a piece to anyone for the event.

When shoes and wine arrive in advance, be sure to check all the boxes and inventory against the shipping info. If there are missing boxes or wine, report this to the company. At one event, there were two boxes missing and it wasn’t noticed until the day of the event, when it was too late to fix. The boxes ended up going back to the warehouse, so they weren't lost, but they contained the most popular style of shoe and would have generated more sales.