You’ve applied and been accepted into the craft show and now comes the question I ask myself EVERY time.
What will I do for my booth display?
The importance of this cannot be overstated.
I mean it. You are representing your business and brand. If your display looks thrown together and cheap, customers will think the same of your products.
Having said that, you do need to keep in mind things like portability, set-up time, and cost. But with some imagination and forethought, you can create a display that will attract customers, invite them to purchase and leave them with a positive impression of you as an artist.
I have done so many craft fairs, wholesale markets and art shows that I have accumulated quite a stash of display items. Fabrics, wooden boxes, old doors, suitcases, tables, racks, etc. But each show has different requirements for displays so I like to be ready for anything.
This brings me to my first tip:
- Know the size and dimensions of your space. Is is a 10’x10′? If so, how high can you go? Do you need to bring a tent? Is one provided? If it’s a 10’x8′ is the ten foot size the width or depth? If you are allowed a space meant for a craft table (6’x3′ usually) is your table going to be up against a wall or shoppable from both sides? Ask questions so you are crystal clear on your space. This will help you plan accordingly and avoid surprises on set up day. I HATE surprises on set up day.
- Use vertical space. You don’t have to use a table just because everyone else is. While a table is a great way to get your products off the ground level, it limits the amount of product you can show. What about stacking crates or shelves on top of the table to add height? Lately, I have been using crates on both ends of my table with planks of wood straddling them. I stack them two high, and my display can now hold a ton more jewelry than just the table could hold. If your booth has walls, think about hanging up your products or using shelves on the walls. If you don’t have hard walls but you do have a tent, you could rig some shelving with boards and rope hanging from the frame of the tent. Whatever you decide to do, do not let that vertical space go to waste. It’s at eye level which is ideal and can be seen over heads in crowded venues.
- Make it shoppable. What I mean by that is people like to touch and hold things before they buy them. I have made plenty of displays that looked pretty, but the minute someone picked up a necklace and set it back down, my display looked messy. I have also made the mistake of having easily knocked over racks that looked awesome but were not able to withstand people simply picking up and replacing my merchandise. Make it easy for people. Think about how they will interact with your products while shopping in your booth and avoid embarrassing moments such as someone knocking over a shelf (happened to me). Also, you don’t want to be following people around tidying up after they set something down after looking at it. You will seem like a crazy OCD crafter. (again…guilty!)
- Make it beautiful. Think about your brand. Your image. Are your products colorful and cheerful? Are they more rustic? Modern and sleek? Your booth should reflect this. Choose colors and materials that reflect your aesthetic. Don’t make the mistake of using a commercial looking metal grid to display your vintage style products because it’s practical. There are alternatives that fit with your brand. A customer should be able to get a sense of your style right when they see your display. They will know immediately if they want to look further. Pinterest is a great resource for ideas about booth design. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to just craft show display ideas. Use color to draw attention to your booth, but be sure to choose color schemes that make your products stand out. Remember that your products should be the star.
- Use a backdrop. Whether you are set up outside in a white tent, or at an indoor venue. Consider using a backdrop to help you stand out. Eliminating distracting background elements helps to draw attention to your stuff. In a tent, you can easily drape fabric from the frame or use some type of hard wall. If you are set up at a table, stacking shelves or crates can be just the backdrop you need. The main thing is to think about hiding what’s beyond your booth. You are creating your own little store and you want people to be enveloped in your awesomeness.
- Branding! Have a sign letting people know who you are. I know this seems obvious, but for the longest time, I didn’t do this. Having a professional looking sign really helps give you credibility. Even better if the sign lets people know what you make. My signs say “Vintage Coin Jewelry” more prominently than my name (though the name is still on there) because I want people to know exactly what kind of items they will find within. Have business cards in an easy to spot place. So many times after craft shows, I get emails and calls from people asking me to do custom work for them. I love that they kept my card and took the time to reach out. Again, make it easy for people to be your customer.
- Use lighting. If you have access to an electrical outlet, then use lights. Some venues charge extra for electricity but it’s worth the money. Even at outdoor craft shows, I take lights because as dusk approaches, my booth really stands out when it’s lit up. Lights can draw attention to specific products and especially with things like jewelry, or other sparkly and detailed items, lighting is key. It adds warmth and interest to a space.
- Show your products in use. Is there a way you can display your items to show people how they can fit into their lives? Hats on mannequin heads, plates set up on a table, throw pillows on a chair, etc. It’s even a good idea to display photographs of your products in use. Whenever I use a photograph of a person wearing a particular piece of jewelry in my display, I almost always sell out of that piece. Isn’t that amazing? Make it easy for your customers to see uses and occasions when your products will be called for.
- Plan a workspace for yourself. I do craft shows that have a central checkout and don’t require me to be present during the show, so this tip is for those show that you are there selling your wares during show hours. Think about where you will be taking money, packaging purchases, etc. Give yourself a chair out-of-the-way and a workspace. Don’t make is a hiding place though. You should be visible and accessible (and friendly!). I like to have a spot where I can charge my phone (since I use it all day to accept credit cards), keep my cash box, and even work on products during slow times. Working on your craft during a show is a great conversation starter!
- Have your products right in front. You should have a representation of your best pieces right in the front of your booth. You want to grab the attention of people as quickly as possible. You want to lure them in to see more. Besides your signs, this is the way to attract customers. People are going to notice the products right up front most. Are they amazing? Are they sending the message you want to send? Are they an accurate representation of what is found within? One show I did, I put all of my favorite pieces on the front of my booth. My favorite pieces just happened to be the most expensive as well, and I noticed that many people would see the prices of those and move on without looking further. Obviously assuming everything was priced similarly. I remedied that situation as soon as I noticed it and it really turned sales around. Be sure to use the eye-catching products in front, but don’t alienate customers by making my same mistake.
These are the top ten things I think will help make your craft show booth beautiful and draw the customers you want.
I will share photos and specifics about booth displays I love in later posts, but for now, start planning the details out and gathering ideas. Don’t save it till the last-minute.
Have questions? Please email me! I’m happy to help.