Monday, April 21, 2008

Bazaar Nightmare: Lifestyle Bazaar at Fully Booked

I have promised myself not to post negative blogs anymore.

I will have to break my promise this time though, to bring to your attention the horrible experience we multiply sellers have had this weekend. I am posting this not to create an issue, but to inform you about the treatment sellers received at the Lifestyle Bazaar at Fully Booked Topshelf.

I have been joining bazaars since 2005. I join more than 4 bazaars a year. That's almost twenty bazaars to date, more if you count the trunkshows my friends and I organize.

Last weekend, I was part of two bazaars: The Rockwell Urban Bazaar at the Rockwell Tent, and the Lifestyle Bazaar at Top Shelf. The Rockwell Bazaar rocked, sorry for the pun. That was my fourth Rockwell Urban Bazaar, and like the previous ones, we did well on this one. If there's one bazaar you should join, that's the Urban Bazaar (or Powerplant Mall's bazaars).


Suffice to say that I am a bazaarista. I would like to believe that the past bazaars I've joined have given me enough experience to determine what "crowded" and "nilalangaw" means.

The other bazaar, the one at Topshelf, was what you'd call nilangaw, despite what the organizer claims. There was light customer traffic, and I had zero sales. Zero. Zilch. None. Nada. I didn't want to complain about that however, for fear of sounding bitter. I wanted to charge it to experience, to forget about the whole thing.

But last night's events changed my mind. Here's what happened from my point of view.

On April 18, Friday, we arrived at Fully Booked for ingress. I was surprised to find how cramped the place (Top Shelf) was. I knew we'd get small tables lang (I was sharing two booths with BBB and Ichigo by the way), but I didn't know the aisles would be that narrow. The place was cramped, I tell you.

My assistant manned the Fully Booked booth, and I went to Rockwell to man our booth there. The whole day I was checking with Achie Joyce of BBB about the sales and the foot traffic, and the answer was always the same: zero sales, super konti ng tao.

On the other hand, my booth at Rockwell was getting a lot of traffic, despite being outside the tent. At some point, I couldn't handle the customers, because there was just too many.

I thought at first that maybe Friday isn't a gimmick day at Bonifacio High Street, so maybe it was understandable. But when we arrived there that same night, there were a lot of people outside!

That's the key word: outside.

So I decided on Saturday morning to pullout my stocks from Fully Booked, and transfer everything to Rockwell where I was doing good (paubos na actually).

The next day, the story at Fully Booked was the same thing: zero sales, super konti ng tao. The concessionaires were the only ones buying from each other. Sales were still super slow. I was texting two sellers there this time. Sunday saw the same conditions: super konti ng tao. The whole time I was texting sellers at Fully Booked, checking up on how they were doing.

One of the sellers, Jing of Fabtrinkets, texted the organizer to complain about the almost nonexistent foot traffic. She suggested they offer us a refund. (Slots at the bazaar go for 8,500 for a small table).

She got very rude texts in return, one implying that maybe it was her products that were at fault, and that the organizers did everything they could to draw a crowd. A following text said they'd warn other organizers about her, about how a pain in the ass she was.

Sunday night, a confrontation between the concessionaires and the organizer took place. The concessionaires signed a petition, demanding for a refund.

At one point, the organizers said the same thing they told Fabtrinkets: maybe your products are unsaleable, we are not at fault.

They are not at fault?

This is why I am blogging. But my partner says if I wanted this blog to drive my point (which is to warn people from joining their future bazaars, and to make them realize that they ARE at fault), it should be constructive.

So here are three points:

1. MARKETING/PUBLICITY.

When they were looking for concessionaires, they banked on the location of the bazaar, and lured us with mentions of "Bonifacio High Street" and "Serendra" in their multiply account. That's what got me to join the bazaar in the first place. Their marketing plan was to distribute flyers and put up streamers or whatever you call them. As it turned out, you can't distribute flyers about a bazaar at High Street and Serendra! So you know what they did? They distributed flyers in Fully Booked instead. Meaning, they were only targetting fully booked customers pala. Had we known, we wouldn't have joined. We expected announcements in the area, not inside fully booked lang.
SUGGESTION: Thou shalt advertise and publicize well. And thou shalt stick to the plan, and not give false hopes.

2. COMMUNICATION.

On the night of the 18th, I checked their multiply account, wanting to leave a reply. Surprise, surprise, they disabled replies to everything, and even took out their contact infos. And on the 19th, the organizer wasn't at the event. People were looking for Sheryl the organizer, but she wasn't there. I have never encountered an organizer who leaves her bazaar, and I've been to almost 20 bazaars!
SUGGESTION: Thou shalt not leave thy event unattended.

3. THREATENING CONCESSIONAIRES/INSULTING PRODUCTS.

They said maybe the products we were selling weren't saleable, kaya we couldn't make a sale. Some of the concessionaires at the bazaar were big names (on Multiply at least, and some even around the Metro), so you can't say their products aren't saleable. BBB and Ichigo Shoes, Methilation, Vida Jewelries. Not saleable products? This only means the organizers didn't do their homework, because they don't know these brands. Plus, to even imply that the products aren't saleable only means you didn't screen your concessionaires in the first place. Why accept an unsaleable product in the first place? And to threaten to tell other organizers about how a "pain in the ass" one is, is plain unprofessional.

SUGGESTION: Oh, I don't know... DON'T INSULT YOUR CONCESSIONAIRES!

And oh, just because it's hard to move inside a room, doesn't mean "there was a crowd". A cramped space plus a few people will make it seem there was a crowd, but it doesn't mean hindi siya nilangaw. Everyone said there were almost no people going in. Your word against the concessionaires.


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