(This is the first in a two part series on Putting on a Show. Check back later in the week for part 2!)
At this point, I think I should warn you that graduated with a degree in Social Science, so I really chew through the details of any sort of social interaction on a grand scale. I think about everything from first impressions, through the social means of color, and even to the layering of details an level of interaction. Seriously…I am a geek. So now that you are warned, you may proceed at your own risk. I suggest that you turn away if you don’t think you will ever do a craft show. There will be more words here than you care to read. But for those of you who are interested, here’s my take on designing and building a display.
I wanted to share some my display and creations for the Merry Treasures Bazaar in more detail. This was my third show and by far my most successful. I attribute that to a great deal of prep and thought that went in to how I wanted to handle virtually every aspect of my booth. (No control issues here. No siree.) I really wanted a complete product package. I wanted my booth to look finished. I wanted it to be inviting and entice people to come in and play. I knew if they played then they would buy something.
I started, like every good project should, by spending some time pinning. You can follow my Display board over there http://pinterest.com/cheekymagpie/displays/ to get ideas. I started to figure out an overall approach to my packaging, which dictated, to a degree, what the display should be. (Product always come first! I’ll talk more about that in the next post.) I’m as cheap as they get so I wanted to only use supplies on hand. I didn’t consider this a limitation, but a challenge instead.
Husband and I did a lot of research about booth displays. We had some scrap wood in the garage (already stained) so we knew what we had to work with. From there, we took ideas from displays we saw online and combined that with out table size and items to be displayed. We ended up with this rack that’s 2 1/2′ wide and 3′ tall. The width was selected to fit a 4′ table. We wanted more than just a bit of space on each side so that it would be easy to see shoppers when they came up, but also to interact with them. This way we had about a foot on either side, certainly enough room to converse. The outside shelves are 11″ tall and the the middle ones are 18’…long enough for a necklace with some extra room to use the shelf. All of them are about 10″ wide, giving it some uniformity.
The height was determined by average height of eye level and what someone could reasonably reach for. I am about 5’5″ and was able to take things off of the the top of the display without reaching. (Initially I put the crowns on the top but found that people didn’t think of them as being for sale up there but more as a decoration for the display itself.) My son is just at 5′ and he had no problem reaching the top of the display either.
The display also has two braces attached to the sides for balance. We didn’t want it to teeter or fall over. We made sure that these would not interfere with the display itself by cutting the ends off at an angle. These are also removable in case we want to change it in the future. The rest of the display is fixed with nails and glue with the exception of the vintage table cloth behind it. I wanted a neutral background to contrast the products and make them stand out. At the same time it needed some texture so I used a lace table cloth. It provided us with an area of privacy behind the display so that we could eat and price stuff but allowed us to see, like a screen, what was going on in front. Nice.
I thought long and hard about how to display the items on the shelves. I really like people to come up and touch the items, many of them have playful elements that need to be handled to appreciated. I like the tag design for packaging. I went with brown grocery bags cut down to size. I then stamped a number of images in soft colors for background detail. I didn’t want to go through the hassle of adding strings and a reinforced hole, so I did little strips of washi tape that fold over to the back for strength. I didn’t need to punch them but did anyway.
I added the product to the tags by using coordinated colors of pear shaped safety pins. This is one of the only things I bought new for the display but they actually work on another level with the product, but I’ll get more in to that in Part 2. Each item was stapled through the washi tape to hang it on the tag.
I found a tie organizer at the IDEA Store and added that for hanging chains on display. I also included a brass hook for the one lonely teacup bird feeder I made. I had lofty ambitions of making a bunch but they were too time consuming. The little ceramic knobs are from the IDEA Store, too. So I guess I did buy stuff. I think I might have spent $3 total on the display itself. Not bad.
Then came the finishing detail: the lace clothes lines to hang the tags. It only seemed fitting to use clothespins for this, which worked out really well. Lastly, all of the tags fit neatly in these vintage cheese boxes for extra display space. As product on the clothesline sold, I would more more items from the boxes on to the main display.
The key to my packaging was the little bird stamp. I used these to indicate my pricing structure. Each color represented a different price. I was concerned that customers might find in to be too much work but they seemed to really enjoy it. It added yet another level of interaction to my booth. The key was displayed prominently on this pedestal. The pink and red appear too similar on the sign but on the tags the difference is more pronounced. The white tags were all individually priced.
That’s the basic display design. I hope you benefit from what I’ve shared here. I’ll talk in detail about the product selection in Part 2 coming up later this week.