How-To Guide for First-Time Vendors at a Community Marketplace

Welcome to your first community marketplace event! Participating as a vendor is a fantastic opportunity to showcase your products, meet new customers, and become more involved in your community. This guide will walk you through the essentials to prepare for the event, helping ensure a successful and enjoyable experience.

Step 1: Understand the Event Details

Know the Basics:

  • Date and Time: Confirm the event's schedule, including setup and takedown times.
    • Due to the Chinatown-International District's unique location and its proximity to the stadium and our agreement with our location, we wait until the Seahawks/NFL releases their schedule before setting a date. Usually, we set it on a Saturday in August!
  • Location: Know the exact location and check the setup for transportation and parking.
    • Our location is also unique! It's underneath I-5 freeway in the InterImCDA Parking Lot. Our reason for hosting it in the parking lot is to breathe some new life into the gray concrete. I-5 has always been an eye sore and our mission is to connect the neighborhoods together. Little Saigon <> Chinatown <> Japantown <> Filipinotown.
  • Vendor Fees: Understand any costs involved, such as booth rental fees or commissions.
    • This event is entirely volunteer-run, all the vendor fees are kept low and go towards the cost of putting a successful event together! We put a lot of time and care into making sure that the vendors are promoted and that the artists are paid.

Research the Event:

  • Type of Event: Is it more artisan-focused, or does it cater to a variety of vendors?
    • Our event caters to an Asian American Pacific Islander Native Hawaiian audience. We want to highlight and give opportunities to those that have been underrepresented and showcase how creative our community is!
  • Expected Foot Traffic: Helps in planning your inventory and staffing.
    • Our foot traffic has grown exponentially throughout the years. Although there are many factors for that. We owe it to our creative volunteer staff and our vendors. You can expect upwards of 5,000 people throughout the day.

Step 2: Prepare Your Booth

Design Your Space:

  • Booth Layout: Plan the layout to maximize space and showcase your products effectively.
  • Signage: Prepare clear, visible signs with your brand name and prices.
  • Displays: Use shelves, racks, or tables to make your products accessible.

Pack Essentials:

  • Inventory: Bring enough products, plus a little extra.
  • Supplies: Pack tables, chairs, a canopy (if outdoors), and decoration materials.
  • Sales Equipment: Ensure you have a way to process payments (cash box, card reader).
    • Due to the unique location, we will not have wifi available. Vendors will need to bring their own hotspot to process payments.

Step 3: Market Your Participation

Before the Event:

  • Social Media: Announce your participation through all your channels.
  • Emails: Send out a newsletter to your subscriber list if available.
  • Networking: Invite friends, family, and existing customers personally.

During the Event:

  • Live Updates: Post photos and updates from the event.
  • Engage Visitors: Collect contact information for future marketing.

Step 4: Engage Effectively With Customers

Customer Interaction:

  • Greeting: Be friendly and invite people into your booth.
  • Product Knowledge: Be ready to answer questions about your products.
  • Sales Promotions: Consider special deals for the event.
    • We are open to ideas for vendors to get creative. This year, we will be offering an opportunity of a stamp rally raffle. Vendors can donate items and people can walk around collecting stamps.


  • Meet Other Vendors: Build relationships with fellow vendors.
  • Community Engagement: Engage with community leaders and event organizers.

Step 5: Follow Up After the Event

Post-Event Engagement:

  • Thank Yous: Send thank you messages to customers who left their contacts.
  • Feedback: Ask for feedback via social media or email.
  • Analyze Sales: Review what sold well and what didn’t to improve for next time.

Additional Tips

  • Legal Requirements: Check if you need any specific licenses or permits.
  • Insurance: Consider if you need insurance, especially for high-value products.
  • Weather Preparedness: Have a plan for bad weather if the event is outdoors.

By following these steps, you will be well-prepared for your first community marketplace event. Remember, the key is not just to sell but to connect with your community and build lasting relationships. Good luck!

Tat Bellamy-Walker, Seattle Times

"CID Block Party aims to continue the spirit of that beloved neighborhood tradition."

Find ‘joy’ at new Chinatown International District bookstore | Seattle Times

"And while the cancellation of the Chinatown International District Night Market garnered a lot of attention, a new group of local small business owners have already launched a new series of CID Block Parties that are engaging the community in meaningful ways."

Wei Dai

"I had the MOST wonderful time at @cidblockparty. Somehow, [...] also made me feel connected to artists and vendors in a really special way, not simply because they were also people of color. And that’s when I realized, instead of telling me to “be proud of my heritage”, the event was so successful at constructing a community led, safe/comfortable environment that, in essence, told me: 'Be me.'"


"Best of all, this event is free and open to all ages with the goal of bringing together to community to celebrate the CID and transform the paved landscape under the I-5 into a cultural hub. What’s not to love about that?"


"With an all-star cast of co-hosts joining our KEXP DJs in the booth, our airwaves were filled with stories, conversation, and so much music that underscored the art that Asian and Pasifika artists have given us – across genres and generations."

EverOut Seattle

"The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Seattle This Weekend: Aug 19-21, 2022"