Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Reinventing my booth

My booth, Christmas 2012
The Craft Council Christmas Craft Fair is looming scarily close.  Less than a month away in fact.  I'm steadily working away at my jewellery.  I will have lots of one-of-a-kind work as well as some of my more standard favourites.  This year however, I've committed myself to a larger (and much more expensive!) booth at the Arts and Culture Centre.  I'll be out on the concourse, near one of the auditorium doors.

And so, I'm taking to heart the advice from the many marketing gurus that preach "if you double your space, you'll double your sales".  This is a simplified soundbite of course.  But there certainly is truth in allowing enough room at a craft fair for customers to browse.  I know that as a customer, if it's too crowded, I don't linger long to look at the work on display.  When it's busy, my booth has been crowded, and with the small size of my product customers will pass by rather than elbow their way in to see what I'm selling.  However, with a bigger booth I must reinvent my display.

I enjoy this planning.  It's a bit of a puzzle, considering all the factors that make a successful booth display that works for me, as well as my customers.  One factor is cost - as my display must morph from one craft fair setting to another, I can't break the bank on any one display set-up.  Another is portability - all the component parts must be carried to and from my small car, often within the bustling chaos of all the other booth holders who are also setting up.  And because I share my humble abode, I must also consider the storage of the display components between fairs.  The display components themselves must also function well once they are set up - it is alarming to customers if the display is wobbly or they're uncertain of whether they can touch the product without something tipping over.  Uncertain customers don't linger, and therefore don't make a purchase.

I've been wanting for some time now to figure out a way to move my display from primarily horizontal surfaces, to more vertical ones.  The challenge here is the traditional "pipe and drape" set-up at the fairs.  Drapery, obviously, doesn't provide a stable surface for mounting things on.  This year I think I have figured out a solution, that still meets all of my criteria above for display components.  It will no doubt need some tweaking, once it's in use.  But between now and then I'm trying to foresee glitches and remedy them.  

I will have this one big plinth for some display items as well as storage.
And so:

I'm sewing a long narrow curtain to wrap the booth at eye-level.

I've been collecting boxes, and had hoped to find green tights to cover them.

Since green tights couldn't be found, I've resorted to spray paint. These boxes will hang in front of the long, narrow curtain, and, with the buttons I will attach to them, will hold my jewellery.

This is my pricey experiment: some warm LED lighting tape which I'm hoping to suspend in front of my vertical display.
Hope to see you Nov. 6 - 10th at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John's.


  1. Sounds interesting! I'm not doing the fair again this year but I will pay you a visit.

    1. Thanks Judy. I look forward to seeing you. From your blog it sounds like you've had a very busy and productive year. I love the marbled fabrics you posted - I'd like to learn to do that myself someday!

  2. Your booth always looks great and you are so resourceful with your materials. You make the simplest thing look so elegant! I hope you're right about 'increase your booth, increase your sales'! I too have a larger booth on the Concourse (not my first choice). I won't be changing my design though. Since I only do two retail shows a year, I don't much feel like investing more money into it :) See you in a few weeks!

    1. There's quite a few of us jewelers out on the concourse for the first time this year. Funny. I figure I won't know if it's a better place for me until I try it! See you soon - scarily soon!