Yelp's Nifty Under $50: A Vendor's Perspective

A couple years back Yelp launched Christmas gift markets in several cities calling them "Nifty Under $50" (with all items sold under $50). They are free, open to the public with an RSVP on Yelp's site and attract many of Yelp's active community members who love food and the latest in shopping. We've had a few people ask us the scoop on it, so we were excited when member Katherine Rohrbacher said she'd write up about her experience. Thanks Katherine!

 Gloves by Katherine

Gloves by Katherine

Gloves by Katherine creates designer garden gloves, dish gloves and oven mitts. I started making and selling my gloves in 2002 when I was in college at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I opened my Etsy shop in 2008 when I was in graduate school at MICA in Baltimore. I embellish each glove with new and vintage ribbons and trims, mixing colors and patterns to make the cutest combinations.

I decided to apply to Yelp’s Nifty Under $50 Holiday Market because my gloves fit the requirements perfectly; they range in price between $15 to $20 and make great gifts. It was a Yelp event so I knew it would be a really great opportunity for exposure as well as sales. To apply you had to fill out their “interest form” which I believe was pretty simple. Tell them what you make, the price, a link to your site. We were told that priority will be given to those that were in it last year. Food vendors were asked that they sampled their goodies in addition to selling them.

The event was held at Mack Sennett Studios in Silverlake. For the most part set up was easy. I’m glad I got there a little early because I had a better choice of where I wanted my booth to be. They didn’t already have a designated spot for you, they just place you according to what your set up was like. Some people had large and more elaborate booths, others just had a table and some of us had an “L” shaped set up. To unload people double parked on the street and entered through a loading dock.

Yelp was expecting over 1000 people to attend. I don’t think that many people ended up coming but there were a good amount especially for a rainy night in Los Angeles. There was a steady stream of people throughout the three hours of the sale. We were told that there was going to be an appearance by Ronald McDonald because they were raising money that night for the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald house. Unfortunately Ronald McDonald never showed. I was really looking forward to getting a picture with him and my gloves! But they did end up raising over $700 and collecting a van full of items for the organization!

There was a good variety of vendors there: T-shirts, vintage dresses, jewelry, hair charms and TON of food vendors. In addition to all of the food samples that were being given out there was complimentary sparkling wine and beer. There were also free brow makeovers and a nail art station. The vendors were in two different rooms, a smaller one and a large one where a DJ was playing.

I felt I did really well for a sale that was only three hours and where people were largely focused on all of the free stuff. I’ve done too many little sales lately that have had a super low turnout and where I’ve pretty much sold nothing. But I left the Nifty Under $50 Holiday Market feeling happy, that it was successful and finally worth all of the work.