Displaying your work well is critical to drawing people into your craft show booth. If potential customers don’t walk into your booth, you can’t make a sale. Many artists lose sight of this and rely on their work alone to do the heavy lifting. The last few shows I attended had some great examples of this.
Visiting the Celtic Classic in Bethlehem, PA recently, two booths stood out for their marketing efforts. One for presentation and the other for graphics.
This was an outdoor, Irish-themed event with multiple vendors under large tents. The visitors were there to listen to music, watch highland games, eat, drink and shop for related merchandise. Most were wearing kilts or Irish-inspired clothing. A large number of the merchandise vendors were clothing, fine art, jewelry, costumes, and accessories. Most of the products started at over $30 and the majority were under $250.
The first example was this innovative display idea. The artist uses wooden shutters for presenting his artwork. The panels are zip-tied together at top and bottom for stability. They were configured as both walls and free-standing walk-around displays.
Most of his work is on folded cards. The back half slips easily into the shutter. This creates a neat and organized display that is easy to restock. Pricing and information about the individual pieces were on the card, which fit easily into boxes. These combined make the sales process quick and professional.
The artist commented that take down was very fast as well, “20 minutes of putting away the art and I just cut the ties and stack the shutters in my truck. I’m packed up before most people are done boxing their product”. It was a great alternative to pro panels or grids.
Another excellent choice by this vendor was his lighting. The bright light made the art more visible under the dark tent on a sunny day. Also note how neatly the power cords are taped down, all the little details made for a beautiful booth.
The second standout was a booth by a hot sauce vendor. His large graphic banner was visible from a distance. All the products had bright and distinctive labels. It drew people into this retail display in droves.
The eye-catching banner graphic was reproduced on stickers and t-shirts for fans to wear and promote his brand abroad, great cross-merchandising. This also tied into his digital marketing by including his website below the image.
A very different show had some other examples of what you can do to draw a crowd. The Amazing Comic Con in Las Vegas was an indoor show, focused on comic book art and related merchandise. The attendees were from a broad range of ages and economic statuses. These customers are united in their interest in the fantasy and science fiction genres of comic books and movies. Like the Celtic Classic, visitors were wearing costumes too. These were not your ordinary Halloween costumes either, but elaborate characters from movies and books.
Vendors were mostly selling original art but there were resellers of commercial merchandise as well. Product price points were very broad, stickers and pins were as low as a dollar, and some artwork was over $5k. Most of the art prints were multiples in the $30-$75 range. There was very little canvas art or home decor.
In this large arena, height was the name of the game to draw attention to the vendor’s booth. In this first photo, notice how visible some of the booths are just by being higher than the crowd.
As you get closer to the vendor's area, color and bold images work their magic and attract patrons. Since these works of art were multiples, the display was not disturbed and the wall art stock was taken from boxes under the front display tables.
One vendor was savvy in selling poster protectors as well. This added 30% to his sales per customer.
If your products cannot be displayed easily in this manner (like a jewelry display or toys), a bold banner with your logo or a sample product would be a great alternative.
Great branding and a creative craft fair booth can make the difference between high traffic to your booth and sitting alone!
Keep your eyes open at your next event for ideas to present your work. Marketing strategy is as important as the quality of your work in making your business a success.