Vendor Q & A
Please Note: I Heart Indie Markets will be known as IHIM throughout this q & a section.
How do I become a vendor?
All of our events are open to handmade, fair trade or vintage vendors. We do not allow MLM or direct sales at this time.
All of our open applications can be found on our Vendor Applications page.
If you're looking for future dates you can also find those on the Vendor Application page, or by looking by city on our IHIM Pop-up Events page.
Our calendar of events can be found on our Event Calendar page and vendor applications typically open 3 months in advance. We will email when new vendor applications open. You can join our mailing list at the bottom of this page to keep updated on what new events pop-up near you!
I have applied to an event - when will I hear back?
Each application lists the date a vendor will hear back. Head on over to the Vendor Applications page and read the application under the APPLICATION INFO section to find out when you will hear back.
If the date has already gone by, please check your spam folder. Sometimes our emails wind up in spam. If you still haven't heard from us and the date has gone by, reach out to email@example.com to ask about the status of your application.
I didn't get accepted into your event. Why is that?
There are many variables for why you might not have been selected, but here are the most common reasons:
There was a high application rate in your craft category and we strive for a diverse mix of vendors. This is the number one most common reason. This is especially prevalent in popular categories such as candles, jewelry and art prints, but each region of the country tends to have their own popular categories.
We chose a vendor more local to the event. I Heart Indie Markets values keeping things local to help out the community in which the event takes place in. We do welcome vendors from out of the region/state when they offer something completely different from the local market or we have the space to have vendors with similar items.
One or more of your products go against our vendor product guidelines. (See below on this page to see what products we do not allow at our events).
You are a repeat vendor (which we love!) but we are giving another vendor a chance at participating who may have been rejected before due to bullet point #1. This absolutely does not mean you have done something wrong or that you won't be accepted into the next event - it just means we have a ton of repeat vendors and occasionally we try and mix things up to keep the show interesting and new for customers.
Those are the four main reasons, however if you want a more detailed response specific to your application, you can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I received an invoice, but did not receive an acceptance email. What's that about?
IHIM always, always, always sends out an acceptance email with booth location before sending an invoice. If you have not received this email - check your spam folder. Unfortunately our emails sometimes wind up in spam.
If you've checked your spam folder but the email is still not there, please reach out to email@example.com and we'll forward the acceptance email to you again, ASAP.
What does my booth fee include?
Your booth fee gets you into the event and covers your booth space.
Vendors are responsible for their entire setup including table, chairs, table covering, signage, etc.
Are there restrictions to my booth setup?
This space is yours to set up however you see fit (though please look over product restrictions as listed in the question below "Are there any products I'm NOT allowed to bring).
The most common booth spaces are a 4ft table, 8'x5' space or a 10'x10' space. Your acceptance email will go over what size booth you were approved for and how much that booth costs.
Vendors are responsible for their entire setup including table, chairs, table covering, signage, etc.
We *may* be able to provide a table for use if we have one on hand for that specific event. Please check ahead of time if this is a possibility by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Booths are almost exactly the size listed in your acceptance email and are right next to the next vendor. This means if you have an 8'x5' booth and you plan on using an 8ft table, you will most likely not be able to exit your booth without going under your table, or walking behind your neighbors booth to exit.
My booth is outside, may I bring a canopy?
If the tent or canopy fits within your booth size, then yes! You may bring a tent, canopy or umbrella.
For a 10x10 booth, a 10x10 or 8x8 canopy or tent works best. If your booth is 8'x5' then we suggest an 8ft patio umbrella.
PLEASE NOTE: All tents, canopies and/or umbrellas MUST have a minimum of 40lb holding down each leg, though we strongly suggest 80lbs per leg.
How did you come up with the booth fee?
I Heart Indie Markets finds the median price of events in the area and tries to stick around that cost. It will go up if our expenses require it, but generally we like to be a quality yet affordable event option. Being a maker is hard work and we do our best to make our events accessible for makers and artists of all financial backgrounds.
Where does the money go from our booth fees?
There are many expenses dealing with an IHIM event, including but not limited to advertising, rental fees, payroll expenses, and travel.
The majority of our cost is advertising. We typically put 1/3 to 1/2 of the money into advertising through Facebook and Instagram ads, as well as physical posters and quarter sheets we ship to any vendor who requests these free materials.
Do you offer any payment plans or discounts on your booth fees?
We understand finances can be tight, especially when first starting out. These are a few options we offer to help vendors afford their booth fee:
First, vendors are welcome to ask for an extension to pay their booth fee. We understand that sometimes vendors might need to wait for another event to happen, or for a paycheck to arrive, before they can afford another booth fee.
Second, vendors are welcome to pay in installments. All invoices give you the option to pay partial payments. You can pay as little or as much as you want at any given time until the total is paid off.
For both of the options listed above please email us at email@example.com. We simply need to know the date you're planning to pay so we know you're committed to being a vendor. Most of the time we have a waitlist for our events and we want to let vendors know ASAP if we have room for them. We are happy to hold your spot until you can pay in full, as long as we know you will be paying and are still interested in being a vendor.
All booth fees must be paid in full before the day of the event.
We also offer a couple of options for vendor booth fee discounts:
If you are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit, we offer 50% off your booth fee. Please write in the notes on the application if you are a 501(c)(3) and state that you would like the 501(c)(3) discount. If your invoice arrives and the discount has not been applied, please let us know so that we can correct the invoice.
We offer one "volunteer" spot per location, per event. This typically means there are at least 3-4 available. Volunteers must be at the event right at the beginning of setup and they will be a point of contact for other vendors who need help finding their booth spot. They will also exchange numbers with the Day Of Coordinator (DOC) so that they can contact the DOC with how setup is going, send photos of the event setup, and let them know immediately if any issue arises where the DOC needs to be present ASAP. "Volunteers" receive 50% off of their booth fee. These positions are usually offered to vendors who contact us with financial difficulties and are on a first-come, first served, basis.
Are there any products I'm NOT allowed to Bring?
The simple answer - Yes, there are products you are absolutely not allowed to bring.
Vendors may not bring products containing alcohol. We work with breweries, distilleries and other alcohol producers. If you bring alcohol to sell, you run the risk of the venues losing their alcohol license. If a vendors is caught selling alcohol they will be asked to leave immediately without refund, and you will be banned from any future IHIM events.
Other products you cannot bring include illegal drugs, tobacco, anything excessively flammable (candles excluded of course), firearms, knives, and generally any product that can cause harm to another person.
Lastly, IHIM is a company that promotes inclusivity and understanding. We will not allow products that promote racist, xenophobic, homophobic or misogynistic ideals. If we see products at your booth promoting hate or hate speech, we will ask you to remove those products form your display. If they are not removed, we will ask you to leave, without refund.
What counts as "Hate Speech?" The definition is as follows: "Abusive or threatening speech or writing that expresses prejudice against a particular group, especially on the basis of race, religion, or sexual orientation."
With our current political climate we DO count "Back the Blue," "Blue Lives Matter," and other similar items as hate speech.
Why do we feel this way? Because those statements were created directly in defiance against the Black Lives Matter movement. Black Lives Matter is a phrase used to highlight racism, discrimination and inequality experienced by black people. As stated above, we strongly believe in inclusivity, and will not allow products into our events that demean an entire group of people.
If you carry the products above, but also carry other products we do allow and still wish to apply, please clearly state in the notes of the application that you will not bring any product with you that goes against our vendor guidelines. Without the note, you will automatically be rejected as a vendor.
OK, but what about things like pipes or drug themed products?
These types of items are totally fine to bring - just not the substance itself. Pipes, products with a pot leaf design, swear words, sexual innuendos, etc, are all safe products to sell at our events.
What is the Cancellation & Refund Policy?
If you are accepted you may cancel your booth at any time however you must give at least a three week notice for a 100% refund of your booth fee, minus any PayPal processing fees.
If you cancel your booth in less than three weeks but above 2 weeks (14 days), you will be given 50% of your booth fee back, minus any PayPal processing fees.
If you cancel your booth with less than 2 weeks to the event you will forfeit 100% of your booth fee due to costs associated with the event already being distributed.
As of September 2023 PayPal will NOT be refunding their processing fees, which typically are 2.4-3.6% of the overall booth fee ($2.40-$4.00). If you cancel after you have paid, you can be refunded in full (per the requirements listed above) but it will be minus the PayPal processing fees. (ie: You paid a $90 booth fee. PayPal processing fees were $3.40. You cancelled above three weeks until the event, so you would receive a refund of $86.60).
Can I "Roll Over" a booth fee?
This is VERY SPECIFIC to IHIM Event Series (typically summer events) and it is a request we receive A LOT since summer plans can change more quickly than most other seasons.
If a vendor is involved in multiple IHIM events or an IHIM market series, and has a booth fee due for a later date, but needs to cancel for the current date, the vendor may "roll over" their booth fee to that date. However, once a booth fee is rolled over, the vendor may no longer cancel for a full refund, minus the PayPal Processing fees.
If that sounded confusing - here's an example:
You as a vendor are involved in a June event and August event. Your August event is unpaid. You realize less than three weeks from the June event but above two weeks from the event, that you are no longer able to attend. You can either request a 50% refund or roll over that booth fee toward paying for the August event.
You can ROLL OVER a booth fee up until two weeks before an event, only if you have another event already booked with us that is unpaid. Anything less than two weeks, and the booth fee is forfeit altogether. You can only roll over a booth fee once.
In this same example, if you then have to cancel your August event, you would not receive a refund at all. The booth fee is completely forfeit.
In some cases when you think there is a good chance you will have to cancel more than once, it is best just to take the refund you can get at the time, so you have a chance of getting more of your booth fee back.
So to recap -
You cannot roll over a booth fee if the cancellation is submitted less than two weeks before the event. Anything less than two weeks is a forfeit of all booth fees for that event.
You cannot roll over a booth fee more than once.
You cannot receive a full refund after rolling over your booth fee.
The scenario where a roll over makes the most sense, is when you are below three weeks but above two weeks. At that point you could only receive a 50% refund, but if you roll it over, it would cover your whole booth fee.
If cancelling above three weeks, it is better just to take the refund and pay for your next event separately.
Please see the question above for how and when you can receive a full refund, listed under "Cancellation & Refund Policy."
What about bad weather?
All of our events are rain or shine. We cannot control the weather, therefore, no booth fee will be refunded due to inclement weather or natural disaster the day of the event.
This includes but is not limited to natural disasters such as severe storms, flash flooding, tsunamis, earthquakes, wild fires, etc.
This also includes events with outside vendors. If we cannot move you inside, you will have three choices: continue in the inclement weather, to cancel if you do not want to come, or to take a free booth for a future event.
No refunds will be given due to weather.
OK, but what if the event is a dud?
We make a strong attempt at drawing in a large audience. This includes: Posting flyers and handouts around the community, offering advertising supplies to vendors, both physical and digital, to spread around, notifying community calendars, news stations and radio stations, taking out advertisements on Facebook and Instagram, and making numerous posts before the day of the event and during the event.
Although we try our hardest to bring in a large crowd, we cannot guarantee the size of the crowd that walks through.
No booth fee will be refunded based on show attendance.
Alright, but what about COVID?
We cannot control "acts of god," such as pandemics (including variants of the COVID-19 virus), HOWEVER, if an "act of god" takes place and necessitates I Heart Indie Markets to cancel the event, we WILL refund you 100% of your booth fee, minus PayPal processing fees. PayPal typically charges between 2.4 to 3.6% per transaction.
I Heart Indie Markets follows local laws for safety guidelines when it comes to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This means if an event takes place indoors and the city or county requires masks to be worn, vendors must comply with that mandate and wear a mask indoors. This also means if the city instates a passport policy for vaccines, vendors must be vaccinated. We also highly encourage vendors to have hand sanitizer available at their booth for customer use.
What kind of license/insurance do you require from the vendors?
Vendors are responsible for having their sellers permit and any other licenses needed for vending in each city. This includes a tax ID in states where it is applicable to collect sales tax. (Our Common Q & A page has more info on which states don't require sales tax collection).
I Heart Indie Markets is not responsible for any accidents customers may cause to your booth, the product in your booth, or that your booth may cause to customers. By filling out a vendor application and signing it, vendors acknowledge they may be liable if a customer gets hurt due to the vendors display. I Heart Indie Markets strongly suggests investing in insurance for your small business and for your peace of mind. This is a cheap option that could save you a ton of money if a worst-case-scenario should arise.
When looking for business insurance we highly recommend starting the process by reaching out to the insurance company you may already use for car insurance or home insurance.
What are your inclusivity policies and practices?
This is a question we are asked often, and we're very happy this is sometime people feel strongly about!
IHIM is fully committed to practicing inclusivity within our events and throughout our company. Inclusivity covers a wide range of topics and here we will do our best to explain how we are an inclusive company.
IHIIM is a woman & LGBTQ owned business. Our entire staff is committed to making sure everyone feels valued and safe to express themselves at our events. We value diversity within our events and the communities we work with. We want you to come exactly as you are, regardless of your race, religion, sex or gender identity, mental or physical disability, age, national origin or ethnicity, sexual orientation, martial status, veteran status or parental status.
We make every effort we can to know the communities we work within, and try to reflect that with the vendors we choose for our markets. One of the ways we do this is by prioritizing vendors who live within the neighborhood where our events are held. Our event coordinators spend time looking through social media and other outlets to make sure we are developing an event that is representative of the local population.
We also practice affirmative action in our events. What does this mean? The definition of affirmative action is, "The practice or policy of favoring individuals belonging to groups known to have been discriminated against previously." This includes underrepresented groups such as those belonging to the BIPOC, API, and LGBTQ communities, as well as women entrepreneurs. An example of how we practice this would be: If we have two vendors that have the same type of products but we only have one spot left in an event, we would look to see if one of the vendors comes from an underrepresented background. In this scenario, where all else is equal, we are more likely to choose a vendor with the underrepresented background.
We believe inclusivity also means not only being flexible, but actively being inviting, to people with different socioeconomic backgrounds. We practice this belief by offering various ways to make paying booth fees more accessible. (Please see the Q/A above regarding payment plans and discounts). There are some event companies out there that have a "Pay first" mentality, meaning, any vendor can be part of the event as long as they pay first. Part of the reason we curate our events is so that they can be reflective of the rich diversity that makes up a community, without money being part of the equation right off the bat.
Our inclusivity standpoint also bleeds into the products we allow at our events. We are perfectly fine and welcoming with including products that do not match our specific tastes or opinions (diversity is important!), however we do have restrictions on products that conflict with our inclusivity statement, when it comes to supporting communities with underrepresented backgrounds. (Please see the Q/A above regarding what products vendors are are NOT allowed to bring).
We also do our best to be inclusive when it comes to people with disabilities. The most common way this presents itself is with vendor requests for booth placements. For instance, if you have a mobility issue where being close to an entrance is important or a disability where being close to a restroom is needed, we take this into account as well. Please write this as a note on the application and we will do our best to accommodate you when making our vendor maps.
Inclusivity is a very broad topic. If you have a question specific to something we did not cover or would like to see something added to this inclusivity statement, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to answer any question you have!
Are you a local company?
IHIM is currently registered in Santa Clara County, in San Jose, CA, where the owner, Sara Thompto, currently lives.
IHIM was started as Madison Makers Market in Madison, WI. After Madison, the business was run out of Grand Rapids, MI. In August 2022 it was moved to San Jose, CA. Basically, it follows Sara wherever she's living at the time.
So, in short: No, IHIM is probably not considered local for the event closest to you.
However, with that said, we still consider ourselves a company that offers a huge net positive in the "Shop Local" and "Support Local" movement.
Why are we still a company who staunchly believes you should shop and support local?
First, the establishments we work with are typically locally owned and opperated breweries, distilleries or wineries. Our events help bring in new business and, it is our hope, repeat business.
Second, we try our hardest to work with local area vendors, instead of "importing" vendors from other states. It is our hope that these local vendors make at least 5-7x the booth fee. We cannot guarantee this is what a vendor will make at one of our events since each vendor has vastly different products and price points, but we price our booth fees with that general goal in mind. This money (the money that local vendors make) stays in the hands of the vendor.
So, between the money the venues and vendors make, the vast majority of the money generated by the event stays within the community where the event is held.
Say a booth fee is $85 and we have 40 vendors. That generates $3,400.00 in booth fees, before invoice fees are deducted, advertising costs, rental costs, etc.
If we have 40 vendors and each vendor makes 7x the booth fee, that would mean $23,800 is generated by the event and stays in the hands of the vendors and local economy.
This example doesn't even factor in the extra sales the event has generated for the venues involved.
I'm new to doing events, is there anything I should know?
We have a handy-dandy page that helps answer some beginner questions and you can find that on our Common Q & A page.
If you're looking for display ideas you can jump on over to our Pinterest for some awesome booths other vendors have put together. Of course, it's always important to be unique and stick to what makes you different from everyone else, so we strongly suggest using these ideas as a jumping board and not to copy directly.
Have any questions we didn't cover here? Please reach out to email@example.com