Tips for tarot pop-ups

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After three years of “reading for strangers” as I call it, I’ve been to a fair amount of pop-ups—from Mystic Matter which my friends and I put together, to my yearly Valentine readings at Hey Kessy, to other book launches, local bazaars and more. The readings I offer at these events are a lot snappier, less involved, but ultimately just as fun as my regular in-person readings. In fact as I write this, I’m on break from seeing people one-on-one and am so far just meeting new people at pop-ups… For now, I’m actually enjoying doing pop-ups more than making appointments with folks for deep IRL readings.

If you’re wondering about how tarot works in the pop-up circuit, here are 8 tips I’ve come up with thus far:

  1. Surround yourself with people you click with. Pop-ups are more fun when they’re backed by people you actually like, when you’re surrounded by sellers you respect, and when friends are around.

    When I was starting to read, I thought about signing up for a table at typical mall bazaars. I’m glad I ultimately decided against it though! It’s better to be present at events attended by people who already know who you are or who belong to the same community as you, than casting a wide net and finding yourself having to explain WTF tarot is to random strangers. Got no time / space / energy for that!

  2. Prep for boredom. Pop-ups can get slow sometimes, and it’s best to bring a book with you so you’re not twiddling your fingers while waiting for the crowd to thicken.

  3. Load up before you begin. For every hour that no one shows up are three hours of full-on non-stop clients that can leave you tapped out. I always get hungry after a pop-up! It’s important to show up hydrated, with some extra snacks in your bag, and with a hefty, grounding meal planned right after any event.

  4. Have your spiel ready. You’ll typically get someone who knows nothing about tarot come to you out of curiosity, and you’ll have to have an elevator pitch ready so that you don’t get overwhelmed when someone comes over and asks you what this is all about (Titas of Manila are notorious question-askers, God bless them).

  5. Make eye contact and introduce yourself. I can make eye contact no problem, but I always always forget to introduce myself and get my new clients’ names. LOL. Most people just want to get straight into the reading part of the pop-up, after all. But doing the necessary introductions is just nice and humanizes this whole sometimes-awkward process of letting a stranger open up to you and tell you their life story. (Note to self.)

  6. Network and maximize marketing opportunities. Pop-ups are a wonderful way of promoting your services. As much as I’m a true blue INFJ, I do enjoy meeting new people and talking about what I do and finding out what they do, too. I’ve made a lot of new friends in the pop-up circuit and see a lot of familiar faces in and around of the same events. My waterloo though? Forgetting to take photos at events! (Another note to self). It won’t hurt to take a couple of snapshots for IG stories or for your feed to show everyone what’s up.

  7. Have your menu of services ready. I’ve gone ahead with the Starbucks-menu-at-the-counter route and laminated a list of event readings and prices that I bring with me whenever I’m at a pop-up. It’s practical and reusable… at least until you’re up for a rate increase :P

  8. Have fun. Every pop-up is a learning opportunity. Be open, put on your game face, and just have fun with the cards no matter what happens.