Before I get into the steps I have taken to start the Polka Dot Flea I want to thank you.
When I announced My New Adventure on my last post I was overwhelmed and touched by all of your kind comments, words of encouragement and your cheerleading...I'm a lucky girl to have all of you behind me!!
I have learned so much in my quest to get the Polka Dot Flea off the ground and I know... I have a lot more to learn!
I admit, the deeper I got into the process there was so many times I thought...I can't do this!
This all started a couple of weeks ago when the last show I was a vendor at was rained out. Andrea, one of my dear FB friends had a thread going on FB about how we needed an Orlando show. A long FB conversation ensued with everyone saying "Yes...I'm in!"...Right then and there I decided to start looking for locations.
I started by looking in downtown Orlando. I found some great spaces, warehouses and studios. Then I remembered my friend Denise who had commented on that same FB thread saying "Parking is the most important thing, tons of free parking" That kept ringing in my ears as I was searching locations. This brought me to the Central Florida Fairgrounds, three miles from downtown Orlando, with unlimited free parking and room to grow.
There is a lot of different buildings to rent at the fairgrounds. My choice was "Craft Hall"; it was perfect for my first show--a 7000 square foot air conditioned building.
So what would it cost to rent Craft Hall for two Days (a set-up day and event day)?
After a meeting with the fairgrounds I found out it would be $700 a day...Well, that didn't sound bad...But wait, did I want air conditioning?..Ah..Yes! Well that is an additional $200 a day and then I have to pay the fairgrounds extra for:
Maintenance during event
An event supervisor
It all adds up!
Time to Measure and remeasure for vendor spaces (3 visits to get it right...Blonde, blonde, blonde), working around the ceiling air conditioner units for people with tents then spaces with electric and no electric. And laying it all out on a huge sheet of laminate paper to assign spaces.
Then the legal angle...I hate Legal Stuff, but I knew I had to protect myself (it's lawsuit-crazy times we live in!). I didn't want to lose my house and first born.
First I choose a name, then my fabulous attorney helped me:
Form the Polka Dot Flea LLC
Obtain a business license
Write the Application, Contract, and Welcome letter (each one taking hours with many rewrites)
Guess what?...Attorneys bill by the hour!
Then with my LLC papers and tax ID in hand I went to the bank to open a business account...
...and off to the Post office to get a P.O. box...not a good idea to put my address on the internet.
In between everything I had many phone consultations with my accountant: "Do you want to form a Sole Proprietorship, S-Corp, Partnership...?" ...Blah, blah, blah (YUK...I almost gave up).
Logo...I needed a Logo. I choose to hire a graphic artist, I wanted a logo that looked professional, something that said "I am seriously into this". After more drafts than you can imagine I settled on this:
Social Media...SOOOO imortant! Yep I needed a Website (took hours), Fb, Twitter, and Pinterest account
My number one priority and thing to do... Is make my vendors feel appreciated and pampered! That means I am answering tons of e-mails. I'm also hiring plenty of Polka Dot Flea Staff for set up day and during the show, especially since I will be a vendor. I need staff to run the show...I won't be. To be a vendor is the whole reason I started the show in the first place!
Still On my to do list...I need:
Polka Dot "Staff" t-shirts
Customer wrist bands
Decor...What's a good show with out some great props
Printing...Postcards, Signs, Posters
Now, In all honesty I probably won't break even on this first show. But, I am so excited and passionate about making this a fun and well organized event for vendors and shoppers alike and I'm in it for the long haul.
Am I scared...you betcha, but...There is such a fine line between fear and excitement! And Oh my gosh!...The applications and contracts are rolling in!!! Someone said "If you build it they will come" and in 6 days the Polka Dot Flea is 25% full....How exciting is that?...Can you believe it??...Yea!!
I would love for you to check out: