By Tracey Porpora Staten Island Advance, N.Y.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) "The Vine Vendor Network" offers event organizers "vendor vetting." Founder Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo will help event organizers find vendors for their event. She will do the research for the proper target market and match them with vetted, ideal vendors.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.
Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo wears many hats.
"I am a high school English teacher by day, a mad chemist (soap, candle and cosmetic-maker) by night, the owner and founder of my own small business, Bath Body Candle Moments, and business training speaker," she said.
After she and her husband launched Bath Body Candle Moments, an online business, two years ago, Fusaro-Pizzo had a difficult time finding information and contracts for events where she could become a vendor.
"I didn't know with whom to speak or where to go to obtain fair information or contracts," she said.
And the few fairs for which she was able to become a vendor weren't well-attended, she said.
"I thought, 'Maybe I could do this better? Maybe I could create a network of local vendors to streamline these fairs, events, and even teach how to run a small business? Maybe I could create a place to collaborate, learn, inspire, and empower?'," recalled Fusaro-Pizzo.
And so, the Vine Vendor Network was born.
"Much of the skills I used to build the Vine comes from my background as a teacher. In reality, all my roles work in tandem; I write, listen, analyze, troubleshoot, and work with people," she said.
Since upstarting the business in March 2016, Fusaro-Pizzo said she has greatly helped Staten Islanders who are trying to be direct-sale entrepreneurs.
"This is for those who are just starting from scratch, who work multiple jobs, who are parents. [I've created] a network so that anyone could start a small business. Staten Island needed a network [to] recognize the 'little' entrepreneurs who have the gusto and ambition, but just not the opportunity or know-how to build and grow," she added.
HOW IT WORKS The Vine Vendor Network offers event organizers "vendor vetting."
"If an organizer comes to us and says they need X number of vendors for their event, we will do the research for the proper target market and match them with vetted, ideal vendors," said Fusaro-Pizzo.
For vendors, the company offers a network with monthly workshops about different topics related to owning a small business, a small business blog, a single place to obtain event dates and contracts, an arena of business expertise and event matching.
"We also offer the opportunity for small businesses to have a feature blog written about their business that they could use for public relations, and we offer social media marketing graphics and strategy," she said.
The group also runs its own large-scale events, such as Holiday Shopping at the Hilton (on Nov. 4), which is a 50-vendor shopping forum open to the public, said Fusaro-Pizzo.
"Hands-down, the best part about being president of the Vine Vendor Network is the vendors and organizers I have met and built relationships with. These women and men are incredibly astute, ambitious, friendly, kind, and generous. Everyone helps each other to build one another's success," she said.
VINE VENDOR NETWORK AT A GLANCE Website: vinevendornetwork.org/