Are you about to take the leap into your first craft show? Got the goods, but don’t know how to display them?
At a craft show, appearances ARE important and how your booth is set up can have a direct impact on your sales. Great products can lose their appeal if they're surrounded by a poorly-designed display, so think about setting up a booth or table that makes people look and keeps them browsing.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning your craft show display:
Research: Before anything – do your research (reading this article is a great first step!). Erin Niehenke from the lovely Etsy store Creekbed Threads did a lot of research before creating her recent craft show display (see photos above and below). She browsed various Flickr craft show groups for inspiration (here are three examples of craft show displays), visiting local craft shows (including the one that she was going to participate in to get a feel for what to expect), and getting staging ideas from her favorite magazines. In addition, she decided to ask the experts, and created her own Etsy forum topic, asking experienced crafters for their craft show ideas and advice. Thanks to her research, Erin had a very successful craft show experience.
Theme: Having a theme to your booth reinforces your brand. For example, if you sell linens, you could use vintage wire laundry baskets from a thrift store to display some of your items, or an old-fashioned washboard as a display holder for your business cards. It’s great to have functional props, so try and choose ones that can be used as levels or stands – you’ll be killing two birds with one stone!
Color: When planning your displays, choose colors that make your products pop. You don't want to your items to be washed out by a color that's too bold, or overwhelmed by busy patterns. Also, keep your theme and brand in mind when choosing colors. Think about the mood you want to create when people visit your booth. Think about the moods created by different colors.
Levels: Include interesting levels and depth in your displays to draw people into your booth. From far away, your booth will look empty and uninviting if your products are all lying horizontally (and facing the ceiling) on the table. Set them up to face the customer! If your booth turns people's heads from a distance, their feet are sure to follow.
Signage: Make sure you have a clear sign showing your store name. Make it interesting and unique – anything to make people remember your name. Another important tip: Just like when they're shopping at a retail store, people want to know prices. It can be a turn-off for them to have to ask you how much everything costs (what if you're busy with another customer?), so label each item clearly.
Keep it Subtle: Your displays should never outshine your product; they are there to make your product stand out. Even if you come up with the most beautiful, elaborate display in the world – it’s of no use if people spend all their time admiring your display, and don’t even notice your products.
Keep your Display Affordable: I know what you’re thinking. All these ideas are great – but how much will it all cost? You're there to make a profit, and there's no need to break the bank on this. Kristin Walters is the owner of the Etsy jewelry store One 9 Designs (see photo below). For her craft show booth, she found ways to cut costs on her displays. Here are four great tips:
- If your show is around the holidays, take advantage of holiday sales. Kristin was able to get a six-foot table from Target as part of their Thanksgiving sale.
- Kristin wanted something more than an ordinary tablecloth or sheet to cover her tables, so she used a long window swag that she found on sale at Linens N Things, and paid less than $5 for it. Remember that it doesn't have to be a tablecloth by definition to work in your display.
- Kristin created varying heights in her display, using some rattan tip baskets that she got from Target. She filled them with styrofoam and covered them in some lovely chocolate brown fabric that was once a curtain (also on sale at Linens N Things). Displaying her jewelry at different levels really made a difference.
- Kristin recommends buying display props that you would be able to use in your home. That way your items are multi-functional, and will not be wasted if for some reason your first craft show isn’t as profitable as you had hoped.
Please share your craft show stories, experiences and tips. I look forward to seeing you at a craft show in the future!