For those of you who are planning on doing art shows or horse shows or any venue where you show your art, listen up. Booth set-up is important. It can be the difference between a major sale and no sales at all. I know, I know, y'all think I'm being melodramatic. But in the few short years I've been doing shows, I've not only learned a lot by tinkering with my set up, I've also learned a lot from watching what other folks do right or wrong. Indoor shows are the most difficult, in my opinion, because people will give you a lot more leeway as far as ugliness and functionality in the great outdoors. Inside, you've got no excuses to keep you from looking pretty.
1. displaying wares flat on tables
2. leaving table legs exposed
3. mismatched table covers
4. exposed walls
5. wildly mismatched framing styles
6. wildly mismatched products in the same tent
7. no name tags for your work or for your booth
9. handwritten signs
11. packaging material exposed to view
12. messy dress
13. offensive, pushy selling techniques
14. mousy, lack of selling technique
15. bad lighting
16. lack of krispy kreme donuts within booth
1. nice covers for walls
2. matched frames
3. multi-level displays for small objects like jewelry
4. booklets for available prints, portfolio
5. tidy dress
6. potted plants or flowers
7. floorcloths if floor is ugly
8. good lighting
9. cohesive set up
10. good supply of krispy kreme and sweet tea
I would say, use your common sense, but it took me forever to get to my current booth set up even using my common sense. Do your research, though. Hit some fine arts and crafts shows and see which ones appeal to you. Why do they appeal to you? In my experience, the best booths are those that look like either a small store or a small living room. You forget it's a booth set up, because it looks like it's been there forever. The walls are beautifully lit with clamp lights or strip lighting, the floor has a nice rug on it, there's a floor lamp next to a potted plant, and the walls are hung tastefully with art of similar style and framing. It's as if you walked into a fine gallery - you notice nothing but the art and you're left with the feeling that this artist is professional and takes their art seriously.
Lesson number one: people are shallow. Everybody is. Including me. We're all subconsciously influenced by the way a booth looks. I saw vendors at Roanoke Valley selling similar wares. One vendor had a very professional set up and she was constantly tweaking as she sold to fill holes and keep the space looking full and tidy. The other vendor was cluttered, with items sitting on the floor and flat on a table with an old looking tablecloth. Can I tell you which one was always full? The other vendor complained that people walked right by her booth on the way from the tidy booth to mine - but I wasn't surprised. People are shallow. They want to window shop in an attractive store.
Lesson number two: be flexible. Indoor booths often have to change shapes according to support poles or other vendors. And you will have to accomodate for spaces that open up in your set up as you sell things. Have replacements.
Lesson number three: remember that you're a brand. Your booth - your storefront - should reflect the character of your brand.
Go get 'em, tiger.
Oh, and remember to check out Casey Klahn's art fair blog for more tips.