Here are several general tips and concepts submitted by readers to help you plan and set up an effective craft display.
Retail Craft Merchandising
Anne Myrtle beach, SC, USA
Creating displays of merchandise can be a tricky thing. You want to appeal to as many potential customers as you can at the same time.
There are several things I do on a regular basis in my store that have gotten excellent response from customers of all walks of life.
First of all, you want to use color. Bright colors that draw the eye are best. Blues, greens, yellows, arranged together so that it catches the customer's eye quickly. Use complementing colors to accent your display as well.
Also, you want to use dimension. If your display is bright, it will draw the eye. However, it has to be interesting as well, and varying the height of items, using levels, makes it interesting to look at. This makes it so that once the color draws the eye, the eye is held by the 'texture' of the display.
And finally, themes always work well. Whether it be a spring flowers theme, or a sports team accessory and color display, a theme can fulfill all parts of a successful display, from color to texture to market targeting.
You can use these ideas with any merchandise, be it food, clothing, accessories, or crafts. You just have to remember to make it as attractive and coordinated as possible. When the care shows in your displays, the customers infers the care you put into your product.
You need to remember when designing a craft show booth that you have a three dimensional space to fill, and that the table you'll be assigned is often at hip height or below. The easiest way to say it is to aim high, or build up from your table.
Displays that are easy to see and visually pleasing are the name of the game. Take some notes from the grocery store, items that are placed at eye level are a better sell than items placed outside the normal line of sight.
You may also want to consider some novel display techniques... I've always liked teacups for earrings, and small pillows to display other jewelry. There are a multitude of possibilities, including hanging things from a frame above your table.
I've also picked up displays from stores that are going out of business, or that have damaged displays they're disposing of. Damaged displays are easy to paint or recover to get exactly what you're looking for.
You also need to make sure that your table is visually interesting. If you're selling small items (like jewelry) you need to have stunning displays to offset the small things. If you've got larger items, the more your customers see of them, the better!
It is very helpful to make your display as attractive as possible. A bouquet of flowers can draw the eye and bring people to your table. A bowl of wrapped candy is also a nice touch as it also attracts customers.
Using a display which includes different levels of display items is also a good idea so the customers can look up and down the display.
Using unique display devices such as a flower hanger for bracelets has really helped my sales.
It helps to have pretty hand and stationary mirrors to attract customers if you are selling items that customers need to try on to decide on purchasing.
Limiting the quantity so it is not too overwhelming is also a good idea, As you sell products you can add more.
Having an unusual frame which lists prices is also a good idea and can supplement typed prices listed next to items. It is a great idea to have a unique twist such as a bowl with discounts listed in it. People can draw from the pretty bowl and find they are entitled to a discount ranging from $1.00 off to a free item. This really draws customers when you tell them there is no obligation to buy. However, they usually do.
Here are some tips on showing your items off at a show. I have found that when it comes to craft displays, simpler is better in setting the stage.
If you are using a 6 ft table and space is a problem, do not over crowd the table. You will turn the customer away if the table is too confusing.
Old window shutters make a good stand for pieces of jewelry, Christmas ornaments or small items. If you are decorating your craft booth for Christmas, buy a few inexpensive green trees and hang your ornaments on them. This makes a nice presentation.
Make sure there is a price on everything, you don't want the customer guessing what the price is.
Also large cans make a good display for magnets. You can decorate the can by painting, or covering with a light cloth.
Always, always use a tablecloth or material to cover the table, with a overhang to the floor on the front of the table. You can put your extra items under the table and no one will see them.
Be attentive, don't be working on a project and fail to make eye contact with your customers. Never and I mean never be on the cell phone when customers are at your craft booth.
Be prepared to know everything about your items so you can help the customer. Also one of my pet peeves is someone eating at the craft booth. If you have an assistant, take a break and have a snack away from your booth. If you don't have help, bring snacks that you can eat discreetly.
When you are selling your products at a craft fair, you really need to grab the attention of a customer. If possible, display some of your crafts on a wall behind or around your booth.
Just make sure that all items are easy for customers to inspect. A lot of people are shy and if they can't examine the item without bothering the vendor, they will simply walk away.
If you are aiming to sell items to children or mothers that will bring children to the craft show, perhaps bring some stickers or balloons to give away to children and draw their mothers over.
If you are displaying your crafts on a table, try to create a multi-level effect using small stands so that all items can be viewed from any angle by the gaggle of customers that will flock to your booth. This will also help to keep your table from looking cluttered, which can be confusing to look at.
If you are selling multiple colors or styles of a single item, be sure to display all available varieties.
These tips should help you to get noticed out of all the other craft booths, and once you draw the customers over, you can win them with your charm.
You are so right about sparkly items drawing the attention of children. As a mom, I'd say it's also important to keep this in mind if you don't want kids drawn to your fragile items.
I attended a Christmas craft show (as a customer) a few years ago. I was checking the show out to see if I might want to apply to it for the next year. I was also doing some shopping, and I had brought my son, who was three at the time, with me.
There was a couple at the show selling beautiful stained glass sun catchers, and I wanted to buy one as a gift for my grandmother. Since it was a Christmas show, the couple had decorated their craft booth with silver tinsel that was stuck all around the edges of their table. Unfortunately, the sparkly tinsel was at the exact eye level of my three year old, who thought it was something to play with. I was careful to keep him away from it (he's well-behaved, but he's also a normal, curious kid), but it was difficult to browse their items and keep him away from the tinsel that had caught his eye. The couple were clearly not impressed that my son wanted to play with their tinsel decor.
I could sympathize with the couple, but I also learned that if you don't want kids poking around your fragile items, don't display your items in a way that draws kids in. If this is a concern for you, take a look at your booth from a kid's eye view (about 3 feet from the ground) and see if there's anything that might draw a kid in to areas of your booth where you might not want kids. If your target customers typically shop with kids in tow, consider creating a small corner of your booth that is kid friendly so they'll be safely occupied while mom shops.
The most attractive way to set up a display is to use a lot of colors. It is very easy to decorate a stand or display using scarves or other colored material. This seems personal and makes the place stand out.
Color is effective in attracting customers but make sure that it is consistent with the theme of your booth and the items that you are selling.
The location and lighting of your booth is also of great importance. If it is a day fair, make sure that the place is in the sun and well lit so that your merchandise is displayed well. Also, if it is a summer day, try to have some kind of stand fan to keep yourself and customers from sweating.
If it is a night market or fair, lighting is key. Make sure you know whatever kind of lighting, yellow or fluorescent, flatter your wares best. Beware that certain colors look different in natural light versus artificial light. Also the placement of lights is important so that no part of your booth is in shadows.
Make sure your display is proportional to the size of your booth. It may seem like a good idea to put as many things out as possible, but it is essential to avoid clutter so that customers can easily make out the different pieces and not be overwhelmed. Variety and choice is good, but sometimes too many things can be just too much.
Being an avid crafter, I frequent craft shows, fairs, raffles, just about anything related to crafts. I prefer to buy things that people make, it just makes me feel better than buying something from a big chain store. It feels good to support another worker who puts so much love into their craft. That being said, there have been many displays that are just complete turn offs and have me running the other way.
First, have ample space to display your work. There is nothing worse than someone with a small table or booth and everything is just piled on top of each other or stuck in bowls. You can't expect someone to sit and dig through everything looking for something they like. You have to catch their eye right away or they will keep walking. It also states to a customer that you don't value your product very well if you're willing to just heap it onto a table with no care.
Next, always display your business cards and specials where they are easily reached. If you are busy with another customer, a few clear signs can help customers who are waiting get an idea of your prices and specials. If they know you're having a special, it may just make it worth their while to wait. This also goes for pricing. Always have everything clearly labeled. Nothing more annoying to a customer than having to ask every five seconds what the price of something is.
Lastly, get creative. This is very helpful if you have a small space and a lot of products. Put items at different levels, such as placing some items on top of small boxes so they are higher up. This creates not only an eye catching display but will maximize your space. Don't place everything at a right angle, mix it up and make it appealing. Take a moment to stop and look at your display from a customer's point of view, if it looks boring than that's what others will think. Look around at how others are displaying their items and try to be different.
If you look at your display and it doesn't catch your eye, then you need to work on it. I know it can be hard to be objective but ask yourself if you would stop and look at your items, based solely on how your display looks.