Craft Booth Evolution
Setting up a craft booth is definitely an exercise in problem solving. The solution that I am seeking in my booth at Patchwork Show is to be an effective introduction to my brand and to build a community. Past craft booth set ups were not as effective as they should have been in achieving this. But my own understanding of my brand has evolved over time. This is an evolution of my booths from past shows.
RAW Artist Showcase 2015
In 2015, I was in a Raw Artist Showcase at Highline Ballroom in Manhattan. This was my first booth in several years. The Highline Ballroom is a nightclub venue so it was not a great set up for a craft fair. Most vendors used the circular dining booths to display their products. Fortunately, I was assigned the table at the end of the booth. I had a lot of traffic and more lighting than other vendors. The lighting situation was a nightmare. They warned us and brought a couple of colorful lamps to spotlight my jewelry. At the time, I did not have a full understanding of my brand. I had painted some thrift store finds for custom displays. I used a chalkboard and jewelry displays that I found at HomeGoods. I realized here that my necklaces were too long for most of the displays.
Renegade Craft Fair 2016
During 2016, I was a vendor for a Renegade Craft Fair Pop-Up in Brooklyn’s East River State Park. I signed up for a half booth for two separate dates. I had this idea to add fun and color to my booth by purchasing fringe for a background. No doubt inspired by my interest in burlesque performing at the time. I had a couple ask me if I sold fringe jewelry. Hmm… I had bought a few more display pieces from HomeGoods. I also bought a Victorian style mirror. I was struggling with the Shabby Chic/ Farmhouse style that is pervasive in the craft and home stores. It wasn’t quite me. And then the nightmare happened…the wind from the East River tore through that craft fair. My display kept falling over because of the huge gusts of wind. A few tents flew away from other vendors. My mirror broke and so did the mirror of my booth mate. And all that fringe was a tangled mess by the end of the day.
For the second fair date in the RCF Pop-up later that I month, I showed that I learned my lesson about the wind. The wind wasn’t as intense this time. I was ready for it though. I had new displays and a new booth mate. Instead of standing my displays up, I laid them down so they would not be affected by the wind. My new displays included hand carved wooden trays that looked more Anthropologie than shabby chic. I realized that my jewelry should be merchandised by color groups like I was so used to doing in my fashion work. I also added a sign with my logo. Sadly I was not able to replace the mirror.
Columbus, Ohio 2017 (Many venues)
In 2017, I moved back to my hometown of Columbus, Ohio where there were plenty of opportunities to have a booth. I was showing on a regular basis which taught me a tremendous amount about being a vendor. We moved to Columbus without jobs or a car. Everything that I used for my display had to fit on me and my partner’s bikes. I decided to use colored cardstock as a way of grouping and enhancing my jewelry. At this time, I was using the colored paper as backdrops for Instagram photos.
Craftin Outlaws Spring Fling 2018
By 2018, we had already had a car for several months. This meant that my booth display could evolve. I was obsessed with looking for booth display ideas. How can I create a standing custom display with owning power tools? There are lot of ideas of there but it was mostly shabby chic inspired. More modern displays seem to use basic carpenters skills and tools that I do not possess. Then I saw a feature about customizing pegboards for craft rooms. One pegboard was embroidered. I decided to embroider a pegboard as a display for my necklaces. The show in which I unveiled this masterpiece was Craftin Outlaws Spring Fling at the Columbus Museum of Art (a perfect venue!). I also utilized a craft booth tip about putting my table on risers to make my jewelry easier to see. This was my best show to date.
Rose Bowl Flea 2018
By late 2018, we had moved to the Los Angeles area. I set up a booth at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in December. Due to our move, I had to set up this booth without all the displays that I had previously. I used a few handprinted bandanas to decorate the table. I also let my new jewelry packaging be the display. You can read about how I designed the packaging here. I did add a few wooden boxes to display the necklaces from a different vantage point. I did not have a tent which would have improved my barebones display. My biggest lessons I learned here was that this flea was not for me. I did sell a handprinted bandana unexpectedly.
Patchwork Show 2019- Upcoming in June
The bandana sale inspired me. The bandanas gave such a nice touch to my booth that I decided to make banners as backdrops for my booth. I am hand-printing yardage for hanging signs and backdrops for the Patchwork Show. As a surface designer, my hand printed work is a way to show my abilities without creating another product line. I learned that my booth needs more color to really drive home my vibrant brand. The signage that I have been creating has the same palette as the banners and my products.
See my hand printed backdrops in progress. More photos to come.