When planning craft displays, you think about the look you're creating, display furniture you can use, and the way people will interact with your booth, but you also need to consider ease of transport and assembly. You'll be setting up and moving your booth from home to vehicle to booth space many times, and the easier and more efficient you can make that task, the happier you will be.
According to CERF+, booth setup and teardown are prime times for thieves at craft shows. They take advantage of the chaos of these times and make their move. An orderly, quick booth setup can help you keep a better eye on your items and reduce the risk of theft.
Here are 7 simple planning strategies you can use to ensure that transporting everything to and from shows is efficient and as easy as possible.
1. Ensure everything fits in your vehicle.
Before you buy or build your own tables, dividers, craft tents, etc. measure the interior storage space of the vehicle you will be driving to shows, so you know the longest and widest dimensions that will fit. Keep the dimensions in mind when you purchase or build the larger elements of your craft display.
2. Choose light-weight items whenever possible.
I made the mistake of choosing inexpensive over light-weight when I bought the table top material for the custom tables I made for my booth. Every time I packed up for a show, I would struggle to move my tables, and I wish I had put just a little more money into a lighter table top material.
3. If you are using a portable canopy, a wheeled bag will make your life so much easier.
You won't be able to drive up to your space at every outdoor show, and carrying one of those canopies for a distance can be challenging if you haven't been spending a lot of time at the gym. When you buy a craft tent, make sure it comes with a wheeled bag for easy transportation.
4. Bring a dolly or a hand cart.
Dollies are normally not provided by show organizers, and you never know how far you may need to transport your items. A dolly will help you transport heavier items. It can also help you reduce the number of trips you need to make from your vehicle to your booth space. Fewer trips back and forth mean less time for your booth to be unattended (especially if you're alone) and that means less opportunity for a thief to grab something.
Ensure your dolly or hand cart is one of the last things you pack in your vehicle because it is one of the first things you will need when you start to unpack your vehicle. A dolly isn't going to do you much good if it is packed underneath all of your stock and display furniture.
5. Load your vehicle so the first thing you put in is the last thing you need to take out.
When you're setting up, you'll need your dolly and your craft tent before you need your display furniture, and the last thing you'll need is your stock.
Pack your stock first, followed by your display furniture, and finally your tent and your dolly. This strategy will save you the irritation of needing to unpack half of your vehicle to get to what you need. It will help keep everything you're transporting organized and contained.
6. Be sure to save space for your craft tent.
Although it will probably be the last thing you pack, your craft tent will take up a lot of room. Take that into account as you arrange items in your vehicle.
7. Use a packing checklist.
A checklist will help you ensure you have packed all of your craft displays, stock, and other supplies that you'll need for the duration of the craft show.
You're ready to set up your booth efficiently, here are more craft show survival tips to help the day run smoothly.