by Lisa McGrimmon
Tearing down your exhibitor booth at the end of an art and craft show can be simple with a bit of organization and planning.
At the end of a long day of standing, helping customers, possibly tolerating hot sun or damp rain, the last thing you want to deal with is a fussy, difficult booth teardown. Apply some good organization and planning now, so at the end of each show you can get your booth safely packed up and get yourself well on your way home for some well-earned relaxation.
Do Not Pack Up Early
Early tear-downs are not acceptable to show organizers. If you want to maintain a good relationship with show organizers (and if you want to be invited back to the show again) you'll need to respect this rule.
As soon as people start tearing down their craft displays, customers stop shopping. Early tear-downs, no matter how slow a show may get near the end of the day, are disrespectful to show organizers and other professional crafters at the show.
Teardown in Reverse
Teardown your craft show booth in the reverse order that you set up the booth. Box up all of your stock in a way that allows for easy storage and protects it from damage, then pack your display items, and finally your craft canopy or other rigging.
Be Smart When You Pack Your Vehicle
Follow the first in last out principle when packing your vehicle. Think through which items you'll want to unpack first when you get home (likely large items like your craft tent and/or tables) and pack those last.
Tie Up Loose Ends
You may need to speak with organizers before you leave. Take care of any administrative loose ends
Pack Up Strategically
Be sure to keep items that you will use between craft shows separate from items you will not use until your next show. For example, I bring my jewelry making tools to shows in case someone requests a simple adjustment on a piece of jewelry. I use those tools in between shows, so I pack them in their own container separate from necklace busts and jewelry trays that I won't use until the next show.
Be a Good Neighbor
Be considerate of your neighbors when you're packing up your exhibitor booth. Teardown time at craft fairs can become a bit of a free-for-all it they are not managed well.
Don't blast your music while you tear down your booth; not everyone appreciates you taste in music or wants to hear it after a long day. Also, if you've driven your vehicle up to your booth space, be sure to park in a way that doesn't block others from getting in and out of the area.