Lately, I’ve been putting a lot of thought to how folks put together the best craft fair displays. I’ve been scouring through Flickr and picking the minds of a few talented folks to compile this post, documenting their tips as well as images of their stunning displays.
To kick it off, I’d like to introduce Crystal of PoPkO, Crystal designs butterfly wing and fused glass jewelry. In addition to attracting buyers with more than just one wonderful product, here are Crystal’s tips to creating a successful show display:
- DON’T make your buyers hunch over your table and squint their eyes.
- DO build up, up, and away! Building upwards maximizes display surface area, and makes your products eye level with the buyer. You are selling a product, and the easier it is for them to see the product, the more likely they are to buy it.
- DON’T have a mish-mash of displays scattered about. It looks messy and clutters the shoppers mind.
- DO Pique their interest with a thematic, unified, organized display. You have limited time to draw in your client at a show. What do you want them to see, feel or notice about your work in the few moments that you have to catch their eye? A cohesive display gives them a taste of what you/ your work is about. Use a theme that works with your product idea, or just unify your table with a simple color palette. For example: My newest table theme is “natural” (a very simple theme!) with antique wood boxes as risers, vintage drawers as jewelry trays, and natural bamboo and tree trunk bowls. I sell butterfly wing jewelry, and think it lends to the woodland feel of my natural jewelry.
- DON’T hide your all of your work behind glass, in packaging, or out of reach.
- DO let them touch something! Shoppers want to touch things before they buy it. Give them a sample if you don’t want them to touch the “good stuff”. I make several things accessible so that people can get a literal feel of my work. If everything is out of reach, they may feel unwelcome at your showing.
- DON’T be disappointed if you don’t look ‘perfect’ for every show.
- DO invest in your display if you plan to do shows often. Whether that means time or money, building something yourself, ordering professional pieces, or scavenging flea markets for the best “unit“. Having one stand-out or really functional display component is important. You are essentially creating your “shop” on a table. Let people know you take yourself and your work seriously (even if you sell something silly!).
- DO take notes at each show as to what people are touching and buying at your table and from which kind of display. Aside from you making the coolest product on earth, watch if they are buying things that are eye level or on the table, packaged or not, displayed prominently, or tucked into the corners? Repeat the ones that worked best at the last show. Move or eliminate the ones that no one touched. Ask a second set of eyes to critique your table. They can approach it with a fresh outlook, and help you create the best table for your show.
Thank you Crystal for your invaluable advice! Make sure you check out Crystal’s blog, where she’s recently written an article about hosting trunk shows.
Next we’re on to Abbey of Abbey Christine. Abbey designs eco-friendly felted finger puppets (say that 5 times fast!) as well as baby and kid items. Here are Abbey’s insights on building a great display.
"I've worked for a number of years to get a display that I'm happy with. I think what I've realized is that your display has to match the feel and vibe of what you sell. I often love people who come up with really modern, minimalist displays, but that kind of this just wouldn't work for what I make - my stuff is colorful and fun, and needs to be displayed in a way that matches that feeling. I try to take advantage of height when I can - I have one tall display for my puppets in packages that's helped a ton, and when I'm in a tent I like to hang things like bibs - it saves space, decorates the booth and gives you something to see over people's heads, in case there's a crowd and people outside the booth can't see the tabletop. When I recently shared a tent, I made a smaller display toward the front of the booth that faces directly out, to get people's attention. My boyfriend (and frequent booth-helper) also swears that by putting business cards out kinda one by one (mine are double-sided, so I alternate front and back) as opposed to just a stack sitting out, makes people notice them and take them more."
"A lot of my display is thrifted or vintage stuff - I use a lot of vintage suitcases because they serve multiple functions: storage for in between fairs, transporting stock and supplies to the fair, they can be stacked for height on the table or ground and used open for display. I use a cheapie sheet I got from Ikea as a tablecloth, which is simple but adds a pop of color. Comfortable chairs are a must - I'll splurge on a heavier chair even if it's a pain to lug to the booth, that little extra padding can save your backside by the end of the day. I always bring stuff to work on while I'm at a fair - people like seeing you doing what you love, and I've been known to even do a quick finger puppet commission on the spot."
Thank you Abbey, your felt creations are hilarious and they couldn’t be displayed more perfectly!
Finally, I’d like to introduce Priscilla Locke of Lockette. Priscilla has written a lovely blog on displaying items at craft fairs on her blog, The Locker. My two favorite tips from her post are to (1) make sure you layer and (2) make sure that the prices are clearly displayed. Another great tip she suggested on Flickr was to practice setting up your display the night before your show. This is great because it allows you make sure everything looks cohesive while ensuring that you’re properly prepared!
To wrap things up, I’d like to leave you with a quote from our friend Anabela Do Rosario on Facebook, Anabela puts it simply by saying "My idea of a good display is: convenience, exposure, efficient, easy/fast to break down and everything would fit in my car without having to rent a Uhaul." Also, if you're looking for more visual inspiration, you can visit the Flickr group "SHOW ME YOUR BOOTHS" - thank you Crystal for the tip!
What about you, what’s your idea of a great display?