Thursday, January 14, 2016

Work Life Balance: Hiring Help for Shows and Events

Hiring help can be tough to tackle when you don't have any experience having someone else work for you. Denise from The Burnt Shop shares her advice and experience for the process with shows and events for our series on work/life balance.


"In August of 2015, I found that I had committed the huge error of double booking myself on a key holiday weekend in October. I knew I couldn't cancel one event for the other. I set my sights on finding and training a suitable person to run one smaller booth locally. I took on the more prestigious full weekend event which was an hour away. I asked a girl who I knew I could trust who also has an incredible eye for detail and great work ethic. She comes from the restaurant industry.

Here are the key tips...find someone who has done CATERING. Find someone who needs money! Find someone who loves your work. Catering is so similar to running a booth. They both require precise planning, timing, packing, set up, execution, customer service, diligent care of the product and careful but speedy breakdown.


I had her accompany me to three events: the first was just set up, the second was the whole thing start to finish, the third was just breakdown. This way the training hours were relatively short and easy to schedule. For training, I paid her in product and gave her MORE than she thought was fair. Some pieces were seconds and she thought that was awesome. I packaged first quality things so she could give them as gifts. 

For the actual event, I helped pack her car the night before and paid her well in cash plus product of her choice. After all, she's hauling my entire show and managing my whole deal for me...that's worth a lot more than minimum wage. You want your person to feel that they are getting the better end of the deal. Chances are that the only times you'll need them is in desperation, so you want them to drop what they're doing for you; pay them well- it's so worth it in the end. 

By seeing each phase of your set up and explaining everything along the way, they will learn it faster and remember the key points. I have laminated checklists for small and large setups. She had her own card reader with my spare tablet. She had her own apron and cash bank and I gave her extra money to cover her travel to and from, as well as lunch. She had lots of photos on her phone of my set up. Make sure you pay for the entire time she's in service to you... not just the hours of the market. I ended up with only a small profit that day for her event but she took multiple custom orders. I got excellent feedback from the organizers and she blasted it on her Facebook and Instagram pages. My own event was hugely profitable.


I did not disappoint any organizers and I learned what it takes to run concurrent booths. I repeated this whole process with another older woman with the same excellent results. I now have two backup people I can count on when times get busy or I screw up my calendar again.
An added bonus is that I now have enough display pieces to have a small set up at all times in my home for drop in customers. I hope my tips help. Please contact me if you need more guidance. I ran a very successful department at Whole Foods Market where we had unprecedented growth year after year. I use many of the same techniques I employed there in my business now.

Happy New Year everyone!


Denise O'Reilly, owner of The BURNT Shop in Glastonbury, Ct. is creating usable art in the form of hand etched glass culinary bottles and woodburned housewares. She believes wholeheartedly that everything we use on a daily basis should be just as beautiful as it is functional. She sources the highest quality glass and wood pieces and adds her unique freehand designs using centuries old techniques. These pieces are transformed into heirloom quality works of art which she hopes will be passed down in families to future generations. She has a passion for all things green, reusing and repurposing 100% of incoming packaging. She encourages customers to bring her their existing pieces for her added touch...thus reducing that urge to purchase more "stuff" but rather making your own treasured items that much more special.
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