What to expect at your first event

What is a Body Mind Spirit Event?

The term 'Body Mind Spirit' covers a wide range of events. They can be 1 to 3 day (or more) long events with exhibitors selling various products or offering various services. Some are organized by one person, others are part of a large organization that hosts events all over the country, and some are organized by a local group, church or business. They can be held in small community centers, metaphysical stores/bookstores, hotels, churches, large civic centers or even outdoors. Typically, there is a lecture schedule for one or more days and featured/special guests. Food, if available, is usually prepared and sold by the event venue.


There are also more focused events, with exhibitors selling or offering services within a certain theme or modality - think yoga, sustainable living, psychic fair, healing expos, UFOs and paranormal, etc. Some metaphysical stores/bookstores may host a smaller monthly Body Mind Spirit type event or gathering. There are large conferences which are mainly lecture based with only a few exhibitors selling products or offering services. And there are trade shows, which are geared for the exhibitors who sell at or offer services at Body Mind Spirit type events.

The Event Experience

You will arrive before the event starts to set up your booth. Depending on your setup and the event requirements, this can be a few hours before the event begins, or one or two days before the event begins. There is usually a check-in area where you will receive your exhibitor packet with booth assignment/location, event information, an application for next year and more. Most venues will require that you unload your vehicle and move it from the loading area before you begin setting up your booth.


Once you finish setting up your booth, there may be a little time to walk the venue and see the other exhibitors. Some event organizers will gather all the exhibitors together before the event begins for a prayer, song, chant or meditation, and to set the intention for the event. Participation is typically not required.


Depdending on the size of the event, there may be a line of people waiting to get in when the doors open. There is usually an ebb and flow of people during the event. At times there may be 10 people trying to get in your booth and at other times no one is around. Take those quiet moments to make a restroom run and grab something to eat!


If you are giving a lecture during the event, either shut down your booth with a sign letting people know when you will be back (and invite them to the lecture), or have someone man your booth during your lecture. Some events may have booth sitters - ask the organizers!


When the event is over, you will begin packing up. Some venues may have a time deadline for vacating the premises. Keep this in mind if you have a lot of small items to wrap and pack. If the event goes more than one day, you will cover your displays with a sheet, tablecloth, etc, and remove all cash and high priced items for the night. NEVER LEAVE CASH IN YOUR BOOTH OVERNIGHT! Most venues will have overnight onsite security, but best practice is to remove the temptation. It may be dark or late at night once you finish packing and loading your vehicle. Use common sense and be aware of your surroundings!

Your Responsibilities

As an exhibitor, you are responsible for the following (not an exhaustive list):


Fill out the event application COMPLETELY and submit it on time. Include any required documents - product photos, headshots for lectures, etc.


Pay your booth and related fees on time. Event organizers depend on this for advertising, printing, venue rental and more.


Be on time for set up, and do not begin tear down until AFTER the event ends. 


Communication - respond to all requests for information from event organizers. They are often working several months ahead on marketing, social media and the show program.


Taxes - you are responsible for collecting and filing sales tax, and for obtaining any required permits.


Insurance - you are responsible for carrying adequate liability insurance. This is important as the venue/event organizers will not be held liable should someone get hurt in your booth. Also, if you accidentally damage venue property, you will have to pay for it to be repaired or replaced.

Get insurance!


Advertising - the organizers will advertise the event, you advertise your participation at the event.


Certificate/License - if your specific modality or field offers or requires them, get them! This gives you some legal protection and gives your customers assurance that you are a professional. 

What Should I Bring?

Table and chairs - most venues will provide them, sometimes for a fee. If you are selling products bring a table that is counter height. This makes it easier for your customers to see your products.


Table drapes/covers - some venues will provide them for a fee. Some events may require that all exhibitors have the same color table drape. Make sure your table drapes/covers go all the way to the ground. You don't want your customers to see all those product boxes and drink cups stored under your table during the event!


Lighting - most venues have adequate lighting, but it helps to bring your own to spotlight certain products and to create ambiance in your booth.


Speaking of ambiance - booth and table decor. Create a theme or look for your booth. Bring battery operated candles, flowers, a candy bowl, decorative tablecloths, etc. Make your booth an inviting and interesting space!


Business cards - bring a LOT of them! Make sure they have your name/business name and correct contact information such as email address, website and social media.


Sign/banner - think of this as a giant business card. Customers need to know who you are without asking! Check with the event organizers to see if there are any restrictions on size and how to hang/display them.


While we are on the topic of identifying yourself - name tags. Most events will provide one, but they are usually rather utilitarian. Consider creating your own that is branded with your logo. 


Promotional items/ideas - this can be small flyers advertising your blog/website, book, list of events where you will be an exhibitor, discount coupon for services after the event, etc. Brochures with information about you, your services and/or products and contact information. Gift certificates branded with your business name and contact information. Small giveaway items branded with your business name and contact information. Think of these items as ways to connect with your customers after the event is over. Consider having a small contest at your booth during the event - for example, everyone who signs up for your email list is entered into a drawing for a free product, service or gift certificate. 


A sign-up sheet for your email list. What do you mean you don't have an email list??


If the event is having a door prize drawing, donate a product or gift certificate for services. Include your business card. This is another great way to connect with potential customers.


Bags/tissue paper - if you are selling products, make it easy (and safe) for your customers to carry them after purchase. Brand the bags with your business name (print your own stickers - free advertising!). Remember to drop your business card in the bag!


Change for cash sales and a way to accept credit cards. Most customers will be inclined to spend more if you accept credit cards!


And lastly, in no particular order: Camera (take pictures of your booth and post to your social media), cell phone and charger, pens, notepad, small first aid kit, small clothing repair kit, appointment sheet (if you use one), informational table signs (services offered, show specials, payment methods, etc), breath mints/cough drops, fatigue mat (concrete is unforgiving), tablet or laptop, bins or boxes to carry all your booth supplies, decor and products, price tags, paper towels, duct tape (it fixes everything), antibacterial hand cleaner, extra batteries (camera, candles, etc), odor eliminator spray.


NOTE: These suggestions are for indoor events.

Resources

Products and services listed here are for information purposes only. They are not endorsed by nor affliated with the Body Mind Spirit Fest or Unity of Roanoke Valley.


Note: many of the businesses below offer products in several different categories.


Business Cards, Brochures, Postcards, Flyers


Vistaprint.com

MOO.com

GotPrint.com


Check with your local print shops. They can provide many of the same services as the online retailers - and you are supporting a local business! 


Table and Booth Decor


Save On Crafts

Factory Direct Craft

Event.Decor.Direct

Events Wholesale

Oriental Trading Company


Tables, Chairs, Drapes/Covers


Amazon.com

Walmart.com

SamsClub.com

Linen Tablecloth

TableclothsFACTORY.com


Signage and related


Displays2go.com

4imprint.com

AllstateBanners.com

Vistaprint.com


Promotional Items


4imprint.com

Empire Promotional Products

FarFromBoring.com


Supplies and Displays


Fetpak

Uline


Credit Card Readers


Square

PayPal


Email Marketing Providers


MailChimp

Constant Contact

AWeber


Insurance


Energy Medicine Professional Association

International Institute for Complimentary Therapists

Hands On Trade Association

ACT Insurance

eventhelper.com 


A Few Extra Tips

Be on time for set up. Depending on the size of the event, some organizers may have a set up schedule. They may not allow you to set up if you are late  - and not at all if the event has started. If this happens, your booth fee and related charges may not be refunded - ouch!


Do not begin tear down until AFTER the event ends. Closing your booth early (unless you have an emergency) is very bad etiquette and you may not be allowed to participate in future events.


Stay within your allotted booth space! Plan your display so that it is a little smaller than your actual booth size. It can cause unnecessary drama if the foot of one of your displays is 2 inches into your neighbor's booth space.


Speaking of drama - if something goes wrong, or you have a problem or emergency, or a dispute with another exhibitor - go to the event organizers FIRST! Explain the situation and let them handle it or offer you help. Most event organizers want their exhibitors happy and successful.


Be in your booth during the entire event (unless you are giving a lecture). If you know you will need frequent breaks, bring someone with you who can man your booth while you are on break.


Dress for success! Choose clothing that compliments your body type and does not clash with your booth colors. Whether you wear a full length caftan or business casual, make sure it represents you, is comfortable and practical for all day wear, and makes a good first impression.


Be considerate of your booth neighbors. Go easy on perfume/cologne, scented body lotion, essential oil diffusers and music. Check with the event organizers as some may have restrictions on playing music in your booth.


Advertise! The organizers will advertise the event, but it is up to you to let your Facebook fans, Twitter followers, email list and all your friends know you will be at the event. Share the event page with them and talk about the services you will offer, products you will sell and your lecture topic (if you are giving one - invite them to the lecture)!


Protect yourself! There is a LOT of energy at Body Mind Spirit type events. It can be draining and overwhelming. Take time to ground yourself before the event begins as well as during the event. If you are doing readings or energy work, ground and recharge between every few sessions. Stay hydrated and remember to eat!


Speaking of protecting yourself - disclaimer sign/forms. If you are giving readings, healings, doing energy work, massage therapy, etc, have a sign with standard disclaimer information displayed, or have every customer sign a disclaimer form before you proceed. Better safe than sued!


Do not drink alcohol or take illegal drugs during the event. Not only is this bad for your health, unprofessional and against the law, it is grounds for immediate removal from the event and the organizers/venue may involve the police.