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This committee oversees retail sales at the event and collaborates with several other committees, which help facilitate.



7 Steps to Success!



ID Vendors & What They Bring

Preparing Solication Materials

Collect Applications & Confirm Participation

Planning Day of Set Up

Payment Options & Tax Letter 


Lessons Learned

All Sample Sponsorship Documents




General Guidelines

View scenes from successful marketplaces:

  View & Download: Marketplace Timeline & Checklist

  This committee collaborates with several other committees, which help facilitate.

Venue Committee 
procures vendor items such as lights, tables, mirrors, carpets, chairs, etc. 
               Décor Coordinator (within Venue) assists with overall aesthetics
                    Entertainment Coordinator (within Venue) helps select marketplace music
Volunteer Committee 
provides volunteers to assist vendors & vintners
Food Committee
procures and liaises with all caterers, etc
Vintner 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.
Guests seldom return to the marketplace after the show.  And if your vendors aren't given enough time they will be
   upset & not 
participate in future events.  

•  Guests sip and shop. The Marketplace consists of local designers & 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 (2) 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 may 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 6 fashion partners (no more than 8) - A limited number of fashion partners means guests will go "shopping" at your auction
   thus netting more money for your charity. 
Choose 2 - 3 shoe vendors, 2 jewelry vendors, and 2 accessories vendors.

  The Vendor Realtionship: The designer/vendor gets two (2) 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 $400 to the auction. This may be used in 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 this committee is designated  the  “Volunteer Captain.”  S/he coordinates directly with the Volunteer
letting them know marketplace volunteer needs.  S/he also manages & trains the marketplace volunteers before and  
   during event day: How many needed, what they do, etc.

•  During the event, vendors often loan out their merchandize 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 these Inventory Loan & Sign Out/In Form.  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. We had two boxes missing in Fort Worth and didn't realize it until the day of the
   event, when it was too late to fix. They ended up going back to the warehouse, so they weren't lost, but they were the most popular
   style of shoe and would have generated more sales.

ID Vendors & What They Bring

Fashion Partners & Procurement:

•  Before the marketplace chair recruits fashion partners, the committee should create their target list of four preferred vendors
   ranging from shoe boutiques to accessory designers.

  Read WW&S Vendor List  for fabulous vendors currently available through us.  Note:  We update this list frequently, so check back

  Shoe vendors are great. Ask boutiques to bring accessories as well. It's likely they carry scarves, sunglasses and handbags.
   Ask shoe vendors/boutiques to bring a full run of sizes in their most popular styles, and display them without crowding.  Each shoe
   should bring 20 styles of shoes, with a good choices of sizes, at least 6 sizes per style. 
  Ask how they will facilitate filling orders if
   a size is unavailable.

•  The other 3 - 4 vendors should be split between accessories & jewelry. Ideally, the shopping consists of a harmonious balance  
   between shoes, jewelry, handbags, and other accessories.

•  When procuring possible partners, use a professional "one-sheet," which explains the purpose of your event.
   Template here: Marketplace Partner One-Sheet

•  Think of yourselves as buyers for a small boutique -- you can't bring in everything you see at market and must be selective.
   Choose the vendors with the best quality, most interesting merchandise, and a mix of price points and styles. If you can get the
   items anywhere, pass on them. Would you go to a party at the Four Seasons to buy Crocs?

•  Don't focus on fine jewelry vendors. Jewelry needs to be unique, interesting and vary in price point. Fine jewelry doesn't usually sell
   well, so try to stay under $500.

•  Think about how much revenue the "booth" will generate. The charity makes 20% of sales from the vendor, so you want the vendor
   to do at least  $2,000 to make it worth it. We've seen a stationary person at an event sell $500 worth of cards, which was great for
   her but only generated $100 for the charity.  This doesn't make the table and linen rentals for the booth worth the cost.

•  Clothing can be challenging to try on at the event. Advise vendors to pick clothing that one may try over clothes, or doesn’t require
   trying on.
  We would reccomend limiting clothing to one vendor.


Preparing Solicitation Materials 

       Sample Vendor Agreement


Collect Applications & Confirm Participation


Collect all your vendor applications BEFORE committing and confirming participation.


Planning Day of Set up

Set Up: Shopping & Wineries     (The Venue Committee procures these items)



•  View & Download a Sample Layout Schematic for an event with a fashion show.

•  View:  Marketplace Photos

•  Color-coding is a great way to distinguish vintners from fashion vendors whether you use tablecloths to do so or signage.

•  Make sure the Shoe Guys know which vendor their merchandise belongs to so they can direct guests to that table.

•  Mix up the vintners and vendors so no one ever has to go far to get more wine – it is no fun keeping people divided in their
   respective “corners.”

•  Try to position silent auction and Key-to-the-Closet displays within the marketplace.

•  Volunteers: At least one for each out-of-town vendor to assist with payment, set-up, etc.

•  Music: Collaborate with the Entertainment Coordinator for appropriate marketplace music. See music section for suggestions.

•  Signage: for all vendors & wineries

         SUPPLIES: GENERAL  (The Venue Committee procures these items)

            •   Heat lamps:         If it’s an evening event outside and the temperature drops, rent these
            •   Tents, awnings,
                 umbrellas:           If the event is outside during the day, especially in summer,
                                           provide shade so no one (or wine) bakes in the sun
            •   Fans:                   If the venue doesn’t have air conditioning, rent many fans.

            •   Lights:                 Illuminates merchandise for each vendor, especially if the room’s dark


Shoe vendors need more space & tables than other vendors. Set the space up like a mini shoe salon and give them roughly 15' x 15'. The vendors usually adjust the tables, chairs, and 5' x 7' carpets once they get there.  They like to store the boxes of shoes against the wall. This way they are easy to get to and have something to lean against.  It's a hassle to store shoe boxes under the table because they have to bend over, lift the drape, and dig around for the shoes. 


         SUPPLIES:   Shoes (the Venue Committee procures these items)

            •  Mirrors:                 One full-length mirror per vendor

            •  Carpets:                 These are EXTREMELY important because they preserve the bottoms of new shoes.
                                            Provide one 5' x 7' (minimum size) carpet (not a rubber mat) per shoe vendor.
                                            And if the marketplace is on grass, provide plywood under the carpet so guests can stand.

            •  Chairs & benches:   Guests sit while trying on footwear

            •  Tables:                   8-9 eight-foot tables (speak with vendors individually about needs, generally shoe
                                             vendors need more room for box storage & display )



          SUPPLIES: Clothing & Accessories (The Venue Committee procures these items)

            •   Mirrors:    1 tabletop and 1 full-length mirror per vendor

            •   Tables:      2-3 eight-foot tables (clothing/accessory vendors need less than shoe vendors)




Payment Options & Taxes 


Sales Tax

Contact your State’s Department of Revenue Regarding Sales Tax 

If you are inviting out-of-state vendors to be at your Marketplace, you may need to file specific forms with your state’s Dept of Revenue for the collection of sales tax. Because it's a small amount and the policy varies from state, the most efficient way to approach this is by talking to your local sales tax authority and getting a blanket form or policy and collecting the money from the vendor at the end of the event, then issuing the check to the state on the vendor’s behalf. You'll need to do this a few months in advance, so be sure to give yourself plenty of lead time to get your ducks in a row. 

Here’s a sample agreement about Sales Tax Agreement with Vendors Sample from Omaha (varies state to state).


3 Payment Options
(Important Note:  All vendors donate 20% of gross sale proceeds to the Charity. Vendor MUST bring a check with them on event day to pay the charity at the end of the event.) 

Option 1:  Individual Cashiering:  (This is most typical.)

Option 1 Process Summary:

1)  Vendors each bring their own credit card processing machines and manage their own money collecting.  
2)  If they do this vendors MUST run a credit card report on their hand held credit card device at the end of the event, and provide this receipt to the Charity, along with the check for 20% of gross sales

Pros of vendors doing their own cashiering

•  It's sooo much easier.
•  They have to deal with sales tax reporting and filing.

Cons of vendors doing their own cashiering

•  Honor system isn't fool proof, but there are work arounds for this and ways to verify, such as 
   putting a volunteer in each booth to help ring people up and/or asking for the credit card report at
   the end of the event.
•  Guests have to pull out their credit card each time they buy something.


Option 2:  Centralized Cashiering: (A “nice to have" not a "must have") 

Option 2 Process Summary:

1)   Guests register credit cards at event check-in One of our charities suggests using Square
      ( They send you free card swipers, which plug into iPads, iPhones, or Androids. They keep a
      transaction fee just like any other service, but this allows you to equip many volunteers with the ability to take

2)   Purchasing items from vendors

•   Vendor fills out carbon receipt: 1 copy to vendor, 1 to guest, 1 to charity
      •   Vendor volunteer bring item purchased and charity receipt to cashier
        Cashier enters sale and prints receipt
      •   Sales volunteers sort bag and receipt
      •   Bags are organized by bidder # for checkout

3) Purchasing a silent and live auction item

     •  Silent auction captain brings winning bid sheets to cashier to process
      Cashier prints receipts and volunteer organizes bag with new item and new receipts (includes previous
         sales if applicable)

4) Checking out as guest

     •  Cashier pulls up guest’s record while volunteer pulls guest’s bag
      Cashier processes express pay or credit card
     •  Guest signs receiept saying they received purchases and charges are correct


Pros of Centralized Cashiering:
     •  Easy for the guests because they just pull out their credit card once, at the beginning of the event
      You don't have to chase down the 20% back from the vendors
     •  It's very easy to track sales.  It keeps everyone honest & vendors can't fudge their sales.
       Capture everyone's contact info because most of them shop, while not all guests bid on auction items

Cons of Centralized Cashiering:
     •  A lot of logistic work!
       Needs to operate smoothly, otherwise people get upset
     •  How to deal with sales tax - need to ask your accountant about that
     •  Charity, not the vendor, pays the credit card service charges (usally 1-3%)


Option 3:  Combination of Individual & Centralized Cashiering: 

You may, for example, choose to take a credit card # for our live auction, raffle, and wine pull, but have each of your vendors
      responsible for their own transactions.


Vendor Tax Donation Letter

This letter serves 2 purposes:  it thanks vendors & gives them their tax deductible document.

Click here to download Vendor Tax Donation Letter





Lessons Learned


 Magic Carpets. . .

      •  . . .will save you from the wrath of angry shoe vendors.  Provide one 5' x 7' (minimal size) rug (over plywood
         if the vendors are on grass) for guests to try on shoes. At one event, rather than carpets, they rented 
         2' x 6 rubber mats for the shoe vendors. These were way too small.  Women stepped off the mats
         to check out the shoes, resulting in damaged shoes and many unhappy vendors.



Overbearing Speakers 


      •  Don't place loud speakers directly next to vendors. They can't talk with customers.


I might buy it, if I could see it!

Do a light check pre-event. If there is inadequate lighting, bring in small spots for the vendors.   
        Remember, if the guest can’t see it well, they won’t buy it. This makes for unhappy vendor partners
        and reduced donations.

Um, hello…does anyone work here?

  Ask the venue to have a manager on the floor at all times for spills, glass breakage, food   
   replenishment, etc.

  Make sure the Volunteer Captain manages volunteers on event day.

TMI—Too Much Information!

  Make sure your sponsors/Marketplace partners discuss their event setup with you BEFORE the event.  
   The last thing you want is to look like a trade show or have a sponsor engage guests in a, err,
   distasteful way. (Yes, we had a medi-spa performing cellulite treatments.)

  Don’t let vendors “crowd” their tables. Merchandise should be thoughtfully displayed. There is such a
    thing as too many choices.

Diva Downer

  If a local boutique/vendor has a reputation for being a diva or a pain in the posterior, then don’t make
   your job harder by inviting them to participate.

  On rare occasions guests write bad checks to vendors making the charity track down the culprit.
   Tell your vendors to collect as much info as possible from anyone writing a check!


Where for art thou, wine and food?

  Don’t rely on tray passed food. Include food stations where guests can always find something to eat.
   (Passing food also increases the likelihood of dirty hands sullying merchandise.)

  But do keep food tables somewhat removed from the fashion vendors. No one wants greasy fingers
   touching their merchandise.

  Don’t spread the event over two stories or in multiple rooms. Separate spaces dilutes the energy.


Why is the cork of this $100 bottle of wine leaking?

  When setting up pay attention to the sun. Wine will be ruined if it sits in the sun or gets hot. So be
   sure there is shade or umbrellas.



 Sample Documents

(For Viewing & Downloading)

 Inventory Loan & Sign Out/In Form

Vendor List

Marketplace Partner One-Sheet

Sample Vendor Agreement

 Sample Layout Schematic

Vendor Tax Donation Letter

 Signage: for all vendors & wineries