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How To Create A Successful Craft Show Display

July 23, 2005
A great display is everything for success at an Art/Craft show. I recommend that you set-up a practice display at least two weeks prior to the show.

Most shows offer an 8x10 or 10x10 space. A great place to re-create your display is in a garage. Mask off the dimensions with duct tape on the floor. Establish where your aisles will be. This will determine your placement of tables. (Don't forget to leave an area where you can sit in a chair). If the show provides you with tables, remember to get the length and width. Once again, use the duct tape to create the best placing of the tables in your booth.

After you have arranged your tables to allow for adequate movement of your customers, you should cover the tables with material from top to floor. This will allow you to discreetly store your boxes and bins underneath. The color for the table material should be neutral. White is a great backdrop for colorful work. Unfortunately, I have found that black or navy table cloths show every bit of dust and dirt. Remember that your display should enhance your products not over power them. For this reason, try not to use patterns or vibrant colors in your display boxes, containers, shelves. These items should "disappear" to the eye .

Arrange your selling items in to specific categories and display them together for an uncluttered look. This will also be easier on the customer to locate what they are looking for. Price EVERYTHING! Most people do not like to ask how much something is. Your prices should be large and clear to read. Your tags should be bright and up front. Of course, be prepared that you may be asked to negotiate. Smile It's not to be taken as an insult, it's just part of business. Prepare for this a head of time so you will be quick to answer and won't second-guess your decision.

Attending many Art/Craft shows in 15 years, I have found some tricks to keep myself sane. Kids will be kids and kids attend shows. That's a fact. Since a lot of my work is colorful and character filled, it becomes a magnet for children and curiosity. To curb this, I place a small basket of colorful beaded bracelets, that I made, in little bowls around the table for 50 cents each. Or, I place "touchable" items close to the edges of the table. Some items I make specifically to keep children entertained (and guess what, I have sold many of these items, too).

Most importantly, create a sign with your name and/or logo and display it up high. Either hang it from your tent back wall (if you have one) or buy/make an easel that it can set on. Placing a banner on the front of your tables won't be seen as readily. Business cards, everywhere. Put them all around your tables. Place them in bags as you sell your items. Hand them out to everyone. If a customer requests something that you do not have at the sale, but can make for them, get their name and phone number. Handing them your business card and hoping they'll call a gamble not to take. Chances are, the second the customer leaves your booth, they have forgotten everything about you. Try to contact the customer the following day by reminding them about your conversation and the show.

Arrive at the earliest time allowed on show day. It may only take you an hour for complete set-up, but always allow for unexpected delays. A benefit from compete set-up before the show opens, gives you the opportunity to sell to the other crafters who see your work. Or, you can utilize this time to make sure everything is priced and inventoried.

When you have slow breaks during the show, use this time to tidy up your display. Rearrange or replace items that aren't selling for new inventory pieces. Dust, windex, straighten. At breakdown, use a broom to sweep up, throw away any trash and make sure you leave your space the same way it looked when you got there. I recommend a Thank You card sent the following day to the show's director with a request to be considered for future shows.

Finally, my best advice for a successful display is use yourself! Smile, be polite and greet everyone who comes in to view your booth. Don't oversell but interact. You could have the best priced merchandise, the best looking display, the greatest crafts ever created...but, it's up to you to make your booth inviting, fun and worth a visit. YOU are your work!

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