February 6, 2014

Steps Needed to Start A Show

 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
Clean up
Fire permit
Occupational license
Liability insurance

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
Tax ID
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
Walkie talkies
Vendor laniards
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:
Happy Creating!


Connie said...

Wow, Carol! There is so much to this, I would probably be running for the hills. You are so brave. I know that it will be a success and there couldn't be a better person putting all of this together. You will be in my prayers. If anyone can do this, you can :)
I wish that I could be there.
Your blogging sister, Connie

Ros Crawford said...

Well done to you!! This will just be so wonderful ... sending best wishes

Debbie said...

I'm so excited to finally have a facebook page so I can follow this. I feel like I'm in the 21st century now.

It all sounds wonderful, and I believe that the response is a nod from God that you are on the right path. Love this.

(And I have to say that I love the logo. The color you chose is perfect. It's whimsical without being too girly. Love that.)

Off to facebook now.

Stampindamour said...

Carol -

So happy and thrilled for your newest endeavor! Promoting and organizing a show is TONS of detailed work {with a rewarding feeling of accomplishment}... You've got your duckies in a row! ♥


Amy Jo said...

The business end is never fun! But once you are off and running it is going to be great!

Amy Jo

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

This is soooo exciting ! Can not wait until it is a two day event. You will get even more vendors from allllll over.
Love the logo and everything you have done so far. Really really hope I am able to come, so excited...oh wait , I said that :))

DJAjewels said...

Wow .. so much to do! I think you will be able to do it and do it well though. Love your logo!

Marilyn said...

You can do it all beause you are amazing! It's all because you work smart and work hard. Thanks for taking us along on the ride.♥♫

Celestina Marie Design said...

Hi Carol, wow this all sounds so familiar to what we had to do for our Country Shows in the late
80's early 90's. Not much has changed legally. You are well on your way and I know you can do it and be the best ever. Hang in there, you are amazing.
Love your logo too.
Have fun and a great weekend.

Julie Shelander said...

Yay for you!!!! That is wonderful that you are already 25% full. I know it will be a huge success.
If you build it, they WILL come!!! Hard work and dedication are the key and you have already unlocked the door and walked inside. :) Thanks for sharing the journey with us! xo

Laurel Stephens said...

You are doing a great service to list all the things needed to start a business right, and you did a great job with it. And it's entertaining to read! I would love to have found this page back when I was starting my business. You have done SO much in such a short time. I'm very impressed. I just wish I could attend your first Polka Dot Flea and congratulate you in person.

Keith@ Vintage Crab Jewelry said...

Great website! Looks like a great event. Good luck on your new adventure!

Diane said...

Oh boy! A lot of work! It's too bad crafty, arty, fun stuff still needs all the business and legal stuff! It sounds like you have a good handle on everything though. Best wishes!

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

This is going to be awesome Carol. Just remember that it will get easier after the first show because you'll be an expert by then. The vendors will appreciate everything you're doing and the customers will appreciate the AC, lol.

Dee @ A Lapin Life said...

Wow! It all sounds so cool and exciting Carol.

Sisters Treasures said...

Carol, congratulations. I meant to comment on your first post about your new venture, but didn't get to it before I read this new post. I really appreciate you sharing the behind the scenes nitty gritty of starting a show. My sis and I considered doing this but we knew it would require more time than we had. I love your show name: The Polka Dot Flea and wish you the best on this endeavor and wish I was closer so I could be a vendor. I look forward to reading all about it.

Trishia said...

Carol, wishing you success! All that you've gone through JUST to get started makes me have a better understanding of my experience when I first rented a table at the first Art&Soul(merchandisers 4 hour event). I only paid $35:) The next year a table cost $100 and the third year, the fee was $350. As a vendor I didn't make any profit at that show and so I never returned. But now I think I understand the rate spike!

Holly- Cutie Pie Cottage said...

Woo-hoo! You can do it Carol! Just remember to breathe! I hope you *do* break even! ♥

The Speckled Hen Cottage said...

Oh Carol, I am so excited for you!!! This is a brave undertaking...you just keep that horse in front of the cart. By the way I love your logo...good choice to go professional with it, you know when to delegate.


Krista said...


Charm Bracelet Diva {at Home} said...

Looks like you are becoming quite the savvy business person, in addition to a very talented artist! Congrats on the success so far. Can't wait to hear more as you move forward.

Gail Schmidt said...

Wow you have already done so much! You are going to be so successful, I can just feel it. I can imagine how daunting it is at times, you probably go back and forth between fear and utter excitement!

By-the-Lake said...

If you have time,go to briarpatchmarketplace.com. I first attended this marketplace because it was near my home and everything offered was very upscale and wonderful. It was created by 2 ladies and held in one of their backyards.

It had grown so much through the years! They are a bonified success.

Lynne said...

WOW!!! This is so fantastic Carol! It's going to be a big success because it is needed in Orlando. I can tell from your blog that you definitely have the skills, talent and determination to make this a success. I will travel from Tampa to check it out in June! Congrats on your new adventure!

Cheryl said...

Eeek! I am over the moon excited for you! *woot-woot*

You should have some swag bags for the first "so many" that come through the door. You could easily fill them by asking anyone who reads your blog to contribute something.... that way they could be apart of this too. *wink*

Your so brave :-)
big hugs!

Ann said...

This is awesome! Once you have the business side worked out, the rest will come together because that is where your heart is. All your hard work will pay off in many ways. Exciting!

Jane said...

Oh my! I can't tell you how much I admire your tenacity in getting this venture off the ground! You are doing it right and your vendors are going to be very lucky to have you at the helm!
I love reading about all of the behind the scene stuff - hope you keep us posted as things progress.

Elaine said...

Carol, I know that I will not make it this year since that is our Mom's 90th b'day weekend, BUT next summer and I am always looking for a good reason to fly to Orlando. So I can see my kids and your show. Praying for a huge success. Elaine with Sisters Treasures.

Donna said...

I am so proud of you!!!

Createology said...

Carol you are well on your way to a very successful Polka Dot Flea. With all the background work and set up details you are very organized and doing everything right. You might consider asking some to donate or sponsor areas of needs...wrist bands, t-shirts, printing, etcetera. We utilize our local air show people and rent their walkie-talkies with chargers. For a small donation you may ask boy or girl scout troops to help and assist with packages or trash pickup or ??? The fairgrounds or other events might have ideas or items to share. Ask and you may receive. Please know I am trying to help with experience I have had. You are doing such a fabulous job dear...

Stacy's Shabby Shoppe said...

Okay, this whole post made me tired! LOL! If anyone can do this, YOU can! I have faith in you...I have from the beginning of our friendship and will continue to cheer you on! You are one amazing woman!!! xo

Nicole Furney said...

So exciting & amazing! I can't wait to go :)

Lynn @The Vintage Nest said...

Carol...I am so excited for you. I wish with all my heart I lived close enough to be a vendor or even attend. I know it will be a huge success because your heart is there. Love, Lynn

Jane said...

Wow, what an exciting and fabulous endeavor! Sounds like you're really on top of everything - huge undertaking, but it'll be wonderful! Will have to see if I can get there from Jax for that special day!

Kathy said...

Oh my goodness, look how much you have accomplished in a very short time. You go girl!!!

Char said...

Hi Carol, I don't even know where on earth to begin. I have been so busy that I have not taken the time to blog in over a year. When I came in to see what was going on, you were my first visit. I am speechless!!! I know what hard work this is because I had some of the responsibility for shows when my husband was in the military overseas. You will do a great job and learn as you go. No two shows are ever the same. Make sure you take a complete tool box with you, you never know when you might need a hammer or tape. I assume you will have food vendors, but I didn't read anything about them. Go for lots of volunteers if possible to help out with everything. I can't wait to hear all about your success, it's coming your way!

Donna said...

How exciting, Carol! Your show will be a huge hit, I just know it! You sure are brave, and so very well prepared, too! Can't wait to hear about more of your plans!!

Savannah Granny said...

Carol, you were very smart to go with professionals to help with the legalese and media. Those are mostly one time charges so next time will be easier and less costly.
So proud of you, xoxoGinger

Mimi Sue said...

EEEEP! Exciting, scarey, and fun! Don't they say that at the end of your life you'll most likely regret the things you didn't do? Best wishes my friend! Mimi

Sylvia said...

You are very organized Carol, it will be a fun show, looking forward to being a vendor.


Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Carol, I know all the work you have put into this and I know it will be a huge success. I am so excited to be one of your vendors!

BECKY said...

Wow, Carol!! You go girl! This is super awesome and I know with you at the helm it will be a fabulous success!! You've got this!!

Just remember to pace yourself...and breathe...he he hoo hoo! LOL!

Sooo looking forward to the
debut of the Polka Dot Flea!!!!

You know I'll help in any way I can!