Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Bad and The Beautiful

Having just written this series of blogs, during a lull in the show I just did, I walked around and observed the displays and vendors of various booths.  This show was an expo, not a craft show .. so the vendors were not only crafters, they represented various home based sales companies and small local businesses.  Some of the displays were very professional, some were not.  I don't want to sound critical or arrogant, but display issues have just been on my mind and it would have been hard not to notice the bad as well as the good.

One lady had a nice display – not spectacular but pleasant enough.  But as I walked by, she didn’t even look up from the book she was reading.  I didn’t stop. 

Another lady was selling some kind of hand care product .. she nearly chased me down as I passed.  I politely told her “no thanks” and smiled as I walked away ...she was still calling after me when I was 3 booths away.  I wouldn’t have wanted to be the booth next to her. 

There was a lady there, selling jewelry, whose display needed serious help.  She had the part right about different levels, but nothing else.  I felt bad for her actually.  Her booth was in view of ours, and very few people stopped to look at what she was selling.  She had 2 long tables, covered in cloth ... but not table cloths ... and the cloth had edges that weren’t finished, so had a couple fraying strings dangling down.  There were 2 cloths on each table (so 4 pieces) in 3 different colors – black, white and blue.  One cloth hung over the edge of the table with a 6" drop, the other at a 10 or 12" drop.  Then she had quite a hodge podge of different jewelry display pieces – some in white, some in black some in gray and some that were wood – they were all different shapes and sizes and there was no rhyme or reason to their placement.   It made for a pretty chaotic looking display. Simply having 1 cloth on each table, edges finished, well fitting and having even drops would have seriously improved her display.  And if she had at least grouped the same colored display pieces together, her booth would have looked worlds better.  I know she didn’t see her display through the eyes of a prospective buyer.  Her work was nice .. some very cute stuff .. but her display really detracted from it and I’m sure her sales suffered for it. 

On the other hand, there was another gal there, who sold handpainted wooden knick knacks and yard decor – also very cute – and her display was very cool.  She had taken louvered closet doors and painted them all a distressed white.  Louvers were strategically removed and white shelves were placed through the gaps, creating a rustic and very interconnected look.  Her wares were then placed, grouped by color and she’d used the space from the floor to just above people’s heads.  She must have had 2 booth spaces because she had several of these units forming a U shape with an “island” unit in the center..  Customers walked through her display like a little path – and I don’t think a single customer walked PAST her booth.  Not everyone who looked made purchases, but everybody looked!

A home sales jewelry company was represented.  Their display was very attractive and well designed (I’m suspicious that the company offers design plans or some kind of professional training or help) and the ladies in the booth were well attired – made me think “I need to spiff up – this is my competition”.

I took a look at my own display – not bad but needs a little spit and polish (well, maybe we better stick to polish!).  The lights are great – really make the crystals pop!  My table cloths are a little too big – sewing project coming up.  My current cloths are white but not long ago, I picked up couple new colors (Bed Bath and Beyond was having a clearance!) – we’ll experiment with which colors look best.  We may consider scaling down a bit but display to give more emphasis on specific styles.   Note to self – making my display look “fresh” to me isn’t necessarily looking fresh to customers -- keep looking at it with objective eyes..  And we’re going to start looking for folding chairs that are more of a directors style or bar stool height – it would put us at better eye contact with customers without having to stand all day – which might help us feel a little “fresher” later in the day. 


Julie Riisnaes said...

Should have read your blog long ago - then maybe I wouldn't have given up craft fairs!

Sue Runyon said...

Raising my tables on bed risers (from Bed Bath and Beyond) really helped at my last show and I also really need to get a chair that is a stool to sit higher up and not be hidden behind my taller table.