Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Business Chat - your booth shot

The mantra for real estate is location location location. Here in craft show land we have our own mantra, display display display.

You might be the most talented designer, have the best workmanship on the planet, great pricing and be all round awesome however if your booth looks like a church flea market you will suck at a show. A bad booth display will sink you so faster than the iceberg sunk the TItanic.  

Before you even get to that show you have a major hurdle to get over with your booth design. Most show applications will ask you for a photo of your booth display. Oh boy, here’s a challenge. What’s a crafty girl supposed to do if you haven’t done any shows yet? Or any real shows?

Let’s get creative.

When an organizer asks for a booth photo they are looking to see if you know how to set up an attractive booth or if you plan to put product out on a folding table like at a church rummage sale. They are looking to see that you understand the concepts behind a booth and that you will be a positive part of the show experience.

In an ideal world, 8 months before your first show you will have oodles of space in your home to create a brilliant booth and get a professional photo taken.

In the real world your application is due tomorrow and you don’t even know what you are going to make let alone how to display it.

No problem.

They are not looking to see the tiny details of your booth. You can work those out later. 99% of applications will be fine with a decent drawing done to scale on graph paper. The other 1% are beyond you anyways so you can apply to them in a couple of years.

The main components of a good booth are:
  • Proper signage – we are not talking about price tags here, we are talking about company signs visible from all directions
  • A separate cash and packaging area
  • Decent storage
  • Good use of the whole space. A 10X10 booth is 100 square feet of space, don’t just use the front 2 feet and then fill the rest with Rubbermaid bins.
  • Proper lighting for indoor shows
  • Proper weatherproofing for tents at outdoor shows
  • In or out? Do customers walk into your booth, or do you push everything to the front?

Indicate where you are putting your company banners, posters or any other large images. Mark the height of items such as shelves or tables. Make notes of details such as the colour of the curtains or tablecloths you use.

Pick up some graph paper, and start playing. If you have a decent amount of empty floor space in your house a really great idea is to mark out with masking tape a booth area. What looks workable on graph paper is very different in reality. A 2 foot space between tables may look workable on the graph paper, but from personal experience I can tell you it is not enough space for people to squeeze through without knocking everything over. Oops.

If you end up with a booth that is different from the one that you sent in don’t panic. Unless your booth is seriously awful no organizer will check your original design. Most organizers are looking at several hundred applications so they won’t remember what you sent in 8 months later.

Quick tip: table top displays are frowned upon.  By table top I mean sticking a table under a tent and laying your work on it. In fact, several shows specifically state that you cannot use a table top display. Use risers to raise the table to a more workable height, a decent table cloth and find some shelving for height.

1 comment:

Beadbug said...

I don't believe that there is anyone that would let you pass with just a drawing. I was refused from several shows because I set up a basic booth display just to get buy until I had what I really wanted. I now have a great booth display and have gotten into every show I have applied to. After watching a friend of mine jury for several area art shows I know for a fact that if your booth isn't good you will be refused entry no matter how good your work is. These shows want there streets or parks filled with great displays and work, there are so many applicants to choose from right now that if you haven't put your all into a great booth you won't get in.