How to Succeed at Pop-Up Vending

October 11, 2022

By Meghann Naveau

“How can I help you?”

This frequent question is one that any shopper has heard countless times – and according to Sylvia NebSa Harmon, founder of Inspirit Arts in Africa and The Village to Vendor Pipeline, asking that question is one way pop-up vendors are making their jobs harder.

“How could our shoppers answer that question? Do they know what they need? And do they know if what you’re selling meets that need? That’s a lot of pressure to put on someone,” she told attendees of Launch Dayton Startup Week.

Instead, Sylvia shared her top do’s and don’ts for pop-up vendors to create memorable shopping experiences for their customers:

  • Don’t ask what they need!
  • Eliminate distractions and get their undivided attention
  • Get customers physically connected with the product quickly, whether that’s handing out samples, giving them actual product to touch, etc.

During the lesson, Sylvia also cut down the notion that a booth is a mini-store.

“The way we sell in those two settings must be very different,” she said. “People walk into a store to shop, likely with the intent of looking for something really specific. When customers are at a booth-style event like a farmer’s market or festival, though, they’re maybe shopping but also eating, playing, dancing, meeting friends and more. You have to get them connected with your product quickly to earn the sale.”

For more information and courses on the do’s and don’ts of pop-up vending, visit