Vendors / Racers - good business at events?

TwistyItch

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We're planning on vending at some events next year including the Baja 400, Baja 1000, Mint 400, UTV World Championships, and others like Erzberg Rodeo, and some GNCC events. Was thinking of a 10' x 10' tent and costs are not too high. In general, understanding that different products have different appeal, is your experience vending at events a positive one in terms of sales and exposure? Do you racers actually pay any attention to the vendors? Any input is appreciated.
 

TwistyItch

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What are you selling?
A push button wireless hydration system that plugs into your existing Camelback or other bladder.

Self-contained button with no wires and enclosed battery that lasts a year (and never turns off). Button has selectable modes on the fly (momentary, or 2, 3 and 4 second bursts that only take a blip of the button). Button is 10mm wide and mounts on handlebar, cage, etc. LEDs on button indicate if either the button or the pump battery is low (25% remaining).

Pump module is about 2" x 1" x 2.5" and uses rechargeable Li-ION battery (will last a week or more). Pumps 1 liter/minute, so a 2 second burst is about perfect (my favorite setting for enduro races).

Tube from bladder runs through magnetic, anti-backflow, pull-to-release connector and into your helmet to an adjustable nozzle - no tubes in your mouth (unless you want the nozzle tip in your mouth - had one Baja 1000 racer do that).

One button can pair within number of pumps for team racing in Baja or where the bike is shared. Over 6 trillion unique pairing combos ensure no 2 units would ever cross talk. Totally waterproof.

We are working with manufactures in China and Taiwan now for February production and distribution. We have some key distribution channels greased and ready. Currently some people are using earlier models in BITD, and the extreme enduro series (moto) as well as local riders. We have revolutionized the design since then, and none of the earlier users have seen or used the final model. We need more classes to try it and will pass out final models in about six weeks. Patent is due in about 2 months.

I did not intend to turn this into a product feature post, but I suppose it is relevant to the question, so thanks for asking. We have some key moto marketing and press lined up, but we want to get this in front of SCORE, BITD, Mint, etc. racers and fans and wondering if a vendor tent at events is a good way.

I might have over-answered your question. If so please forgive me for that.
 

Mooch2Peril

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I’ve tested the system still using it, the older version and it works great. We used it at Baja 1k, mint, and 500 this year in our 11 car. It was legit, even with a hiccup (last minute install morning of race our fault) we still got water by just sucking on the hose, still worked. Look forward to getting an updated unit in and possibly connecting it into a drink cooler/thermos type setup as camel backs are really hard to mount and refill in the 11 cars. Would like to finish by hard wiring it in, but works well off small battery pack.
 

ErikIrvine

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my answer would be yes, due to the direct applicability you should have good results. Also, easier to sell in person, and turn those new customers into advocates who would help substantiate the product if you advertised say on RDC afterwards
 

TwistyItch

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I’ve tested the system still using it, the older version and it works great. We used it at Baja 1k, mint, and 500 this year in our 11 car. It was legit, .
Glad to hear you are happy with it. I think you'll really like the new version much more! You will get one of the new units as soon as I have them! BTW your pump is fully submersible - toss it in a cooler. The new pumps are also.
 
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TwistyItch

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my answer would be yes, due to the direct applicability you should have good results. Also, easier to sell in person, and turn those new customers into advocates who would help substantiate the product if you advertised say on RDC afterwards
Advertising on RDC is a definite plan! Thanks for the input.
 

baja619

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You should do well but you need to be able to draw peoples attention to get them to come over ans see / hear what you have to offer.

Some koozies are always a great draw.
Water Bottles branded with your stickers is a plus.

The best trick is to get a line of people set up at your booth which incidentally draws more people to come see what is going on.
I use a spin wheel and have some cute girls helping out. The spin wheel makes noise which people come from further away to see what is going on.
We run a tablet to collect the consumer data, and it only takes a few seconds to complete, then they get to spin and get a freebie.
After the event I add the data to my newsletter database.

One thing I could also recommend is to upgrade to top tier aluminum octagon frame canopy. Get the backdrop and side skirts.
Have pro design something colorful and eye catching that looks great and represents your brand well.

If your product is complicated or technical, consider having a video to help demonstrate.
 

TwistyItch

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Baja619, PM'd you. Thanks for the input!
 

dan200

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I might have over-answered your question. If so please forgive me for that.
No worries. It was the exact answer I wanted. I run a gigantic race support trailer for SDHQ. I'm at about 40 events a year spread out between expos/desert/ultra4/shortcourse and I have been at this for like 8 years. While our shop manufactures quite a few of our own products we are very much a parts dealer and I probably have 100 different brands of stuff in the race support trailer.

Since you need to introduce your product to racers your plan I think is ideal. Your going to need to figure out a way to stand out and develop relationships with the people at these events. Races are the only place you will find a concentration of racers. Once you can show that people want what you make and that its not junk you get a place like SDHQ to do the onsite sales for you and you have less to worry about. If you want to sell direct, its going to be a lot more work to have it happen but you can do it.

If I were you I would concentrate on stateside events and make baja as a secondary project. The legalities and dynamics of selling in mexico is complicated. Annoyingly so. Its why you don't see most of the people who sell at BITD down there during contingency. Racers are more busy and have less time for you at Baja races. But if you can get momentum in BITD it will spread into all the other sanctioning bodies.
 

TwistyItch

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No worries. It was the exact answer I wanted. I run a gigantic race support trailer for SDHQ....
This is great input and very helpful. Sending you a PM.
 

C4

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Dan 200 is 100% spot on.
I will disagree with some statements above and agree with others. I was in your exact shoes in 2013 when I started Pro Eagle and it is difficult when every racer you speak to wants your product for free. Being one myself I completely understand. Educate yourself in and about the industry. Learn who the racers are and pick your relationships wisely. Work with people that will help you perfect your product while also helping you build your brand. Your brand and product go hand in hand. Build them both with care and passion. There is no need for spinning wheels and free give away's. Yes it gets activity at your booth but not the kind you want. You'll give away a ton of free stuff and the people that really wanted to know about it will pass you up because you are too busy to answer questions or they just won't want to take the time to stand in line. For the first two years I went to events with a white Costco tent and folding table. Presentation is important but if you have a great product, it will speak for itself.

As Dan said, build your reputation in BITD events. Post contingency and they will give you booth space for free. There is a ton of crossover from SCORE and BITD. The logistics of getting to a Baja event wont be worth it for you in the beginning.

Stand your ground and charge people what you feel the product is worth. Remember margin for companies like SDHQ and leave room for them to buy from you and sell to the public once your brand is ready.
 
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