We participated in the Waterloo Region Children's Business Fair this past weekend. We had to come up with a business idea, make or source products, and then sell them at a vendor table in Waterloo.
Angry Bees had already existed to sell our surplus honey from our beehives. By the time the event came around our honey was all sold out, but we had a little bit of beeswax remaining. We had made some lip balms for personal use and decided that maybe that would be a product we could sell at this vendor booth.
So we did. We made 50+ lip balms, lotion bars, honey-comb shaped soap, and purchased some bee pins that were meaningful to us. The experience was very educational for us. We learned:
- 5 hours is a long time to be selling something. We ended up taking breaks at the same time (eating popsicles)...we missed customers when we did that.
- We didn't prepare any testers or samples. We should have. We learned those who actually tried our product (after we gave them samples) almost always brought our product!
- We should have made better signs. People didn't realize that our products were all-natural and homemade.
- We should have put more thought into how we were going to display our product without people touching them. We ended up throwing out a lot of product because of contamination.
- We didn't price our products to account for missed payments/stolen goods, testers, or product loss from contamination :(.
- We had very little branding and no contact information. People asked us to write our phone number down so they could acquire more product in the future!
- The whole thing was fun, with the most (and only) boring part being when there was a slow-down in customers (towards the end).
These are all great lessons and we are excited to take these away and improve for the next time -- that's right, now we are asking our mom to look for more vendor tables that we can do!