Royal Bison Vendor Handbook
Wanna have a rockin’ good time at the ROYAL bison? Make some sales, be well prepared, all that kinda stuff? Well, here’s hoping this guide will help. The bison really is a blast, and all sorts of lasting/bff friendships have been made in the past. Oh, and keep in mind that we aim to make the bison as safe and welcoming as possible to all, yeah? Yeah!
If you're new to this, or have any other questions about setup, email us firstname.lastname@example.org and we can give you some tips!
Event/Load in Infos
DATES, LOCATION & TIMES
November 24-26, 2023
December 1-3, 2023
Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre (OSPAC)
8426 Gateway Boulevard, Edmonton
Royal Bison Public Hours:
Friday: 5pm - 9pm
Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 10am - 4pm
- Load-in begins at 2:30 pm on Friday.
- Park your car out front, unload your stuff, and move your car right away for the next person, there’s very few spots!
- Please be set up by ~4:30pm to be ready for opening.
- Saturday+Sunday early vendor access: the doors open to vendors at 9:30am.
- Load out starts at 4:00 pm on Sunday. Please don’t start packing up before then.
- You can really help us out by folding up your table and place it where instructed at closing time.
- Please put any garbage/recycling in the bins provided.
- If you feel like sticking around to help us out at the end of the day on Sunday you get high fives and our eternal gratefulness!
- Many vendors will use a cart or dolly to move their items, use what will work for you.
- You can leave your table set up overnight.
- Bison organizers are the last ones to leave and first to arrive and we’re proud that we’ve never heard of any issues with things disappearing overnight. Make sure to take your cash and any valuables with you at the end of the day.
General Vending Infos
Cash/ATMS/Point of Sale Systems
- Point of sale systems like a Square Reader allow you to accept PIN/Chip cards and contact-less payments for a small percentage of each sale.
- Cash is great, but fewer customers have been using it since the pandemic hit. Make sure you have a way to accept credit card payments.
- We will do our best to have ATMs set up in the lobby, but it is not guaranteed.
- Make sure you have a cash float with plenty of 10 and 5 dollar bills, as well loonies and toonies. Expect to receive a lot of 20 dollar bills when you’re selling your wares.
VENUE WIFI IS NOT RELIABLE
- the WIFI is extremely bad at the venue! Plan on using your own data plan, this is especially important for accepting payments with your Square/POS reader.
CHANGEROOMS FOR CLOTHING VENDORS
Vendors typically have chosen to use the venue’s bathrooms as changerooms. Some have brought their own change cabin setup to fit within their space. Up to you!
FOOD, DRINKS & WATER
- There is a water fountain in the building lobby for filling your own water bottle.
- We will have a coffee vendor slinging brews and delicious treats and snacks in the lobby!
- If you have any dietary restrictions, please plan on bringing your own food/snacks.
- The Strathcona Farmers’s Market is next door on Saturdays. It opens early so you can grab lunch before the fair starts, there's a food hall in the back.
- Whyte ave has lots of fast food options - we recommend Nhon Hoa sandwich bar for a great Bahn Mi!
- The Blush Lane organic grocery store is nearby.
- Cheap parking for a good cause can be found in the YESS lot just north of the venue, next to that handsome old brick building. You pay for parking using the HangTag app.
- Free neighbourhood street parking does exist, but can be hard to find.
- The gigantic parking lot across the street is free on Saturdays from 9-3, but will also be shockingly busy during those times due to the farmer’s market. * Note it is a paid parking lot at any other time outside of farmer’s market hours.
BOOTH INFO: WALL RACKS/TABLE DEPTH/ETC
- Our venue forbids sticking or nailing anything to the wall
- Tables are 30” deep
- If you’ve got a wall space, you’ve got about 4 feet of depth to work with, including the table (if you’re using one). Free standing racks work great here.
- If you’re not in a wall space, back racks can still be used, but they should be pushed against the back of your table. You’ve got a neighbour behind you, and all y’all need space to move around back there.
- If you’re building your display in an empty (non-wall) space, note that you’ve only got 3 feet of depth (max),- we still need some space for your neighbour behind you.
- If you are bringing your own setup and asking us to leave you an empty space, please ensure it fits within your space allotment
- Think about building your display upwards/vertically on your table
- Consider building a customer “purse zone” or “coffee zone” into the table space of your booth so people can place their bags on your table while they shop from you.
- Do the shake test: give your table and display a decent shake and make sure if a kid runs/bumps into it everything won’t fall down!
- Nothing on the floor in front of your table please, it blocks the customer aisles
- Bring a table cloth, those tables are fuuuuugly
- No blocking the fire exits
- No playing the instruments, no putting things on the instruments (if you’ve never been, you’ll see what we mean)
- Battery powered LED lights are great for highlighting a few products on your booth
- Open flames (including burning candles and incense) are not permitted
- And please: no homemade car battery power supplies or the like. We prefer the venue not burned down.
- There are chairs available for you to use for free!
- Some vendors will bring a stool so they can sit more at eye level.
- Standing all day can be exhausting, so be sure to wear comfortable footwear and consider bringing an anti-fatigue mat to stand on.
CAN I SHARE MY BOOTH WITH SOMEONE ELSE OR BRING SOMEONE ELSE'S WORK WITH ME?
- Please, no sharesies/lending out your table space!
- You’re not allowed to loan any of your table space out to someone else and/or bring their work for you to sell (unless you’ve collaborated with them directly on a piece).
- There is a massive waiting list of vendors hoping to get space in the Bison. Bringing someone else’s work in with you jumps that waitlist queue, and that just isn't fair to everyone else. :)
We’ve found, over the years, that social media is our best means of advertising this event. We do social media ad buys to promote the fair, but the more we get the Bison coming up in peoples’ feeds the better for all of us, right? How you can help:
- Join, share and like the Facebook Event
- Follow and regram our Instagram feed
- Tell your friends about Royal Bison, tell them to come see you!
- Share/retweet/regram our posts in the weeks coming up
- Tag @theroyalbison or #royalbison in your own posts and we'll regram as much as we can - let's get images of your work out there!
EVENTS POSTERS & HAND BILLS
Some most excellent posters and hand-bills will be released into the city before the show. If you have a special spot or hang out you’d like to put up a poster and/or set out some hand-bills, please let us know and we can arrange getting some posters and handbills to you.
Business cards are a great way for people to connect to you after the show for custom work, etc. Don’t spend too much on them though since kids grab them by the handful. Consider supporting your local print shop rather than Vistaprint or Moo or whatever (there’s a list of resources at the end of this page for your reference).
FLYERS, POSTCARDS, & STICKERS
If you have work that you aren’t displaying at the show, such as furniture, clothing, custom work, or larger items, consider using flyers or postcards to show people what else you can do. Stickers are popular takeaways and are a quick way to brand bags, boxes, and other items.
TOTE BAG GIVEAWAY DONATIONS
We’ll be giving away tote bags to the first ten customers through the door on Friday night! We like to stuff these bags with Royal Bison vendor items. If you have one small item or two you’d like to donate to these bags, that’s great! It’s a great way to pass off old stock, just sayin'
You can get any goodies you'd like to donate to the tote bags when you’re setting up on the Friday. Just find an organizer and ask them where the tote bags collection point is. But seriously, no pressure to contribute, k?
HOW MUCH TO MAKE?
- It’s hard to say how many pieces to bring, exactly, it really depends on the vendor. It might be worth reaching out to some other vendors who sell work similar to yours and ask them for a helpful rule of thumb. After a while of selling at markets vendors get a sense of how much to bring - the first time can be a bit of a guessing game!
- Products in the $30-$50 range tend to sell well - consider making the most of those.
- Most products at Bison run from $5-$300.
- Our audience sees the value of something well made and handmade, so don’t be afraid of making sure your prices are fair to the work you put into them.
PEAK TIMES/SLOW TIMES
Expect there to be pretty steady traffic throughout the weekend. Don’t get stressed by slow periods where no one’s buying from you - you will have slow times during a show, all vendors do. It’s a good time to chat with vendor neighbours!
RANDOM NUGGETS O' WISDOM
- Come early to set up. Arriving right before opening leaves you in a rush and that’s no fun.
- Bring your own snacks if you have something in particular you need to keep going all day.
- Talk with the other vendors! You’ll find people are friendly at the Royal Bison. Getting to know other people who are a part of the creative scene is important, you’ll learn lots from each other.
- Trade with vendors. If there’s something you like, offer to trade goods, but no pressure!
A few good local suppliers. If you can think of more, email us and we’ll update this section!
Myriad print shops exist in this city, these are some that we can wholeheartedly recommend:
Many Edmonton options, some of our local tried-n-true are:
- Crystal Clear Bags Canada
Eco friendly options are available
Ships to Canadian addresses