Sunday, November 13, 2016
You will need a base for your displays. For most products that means tables and then some props to create different heights to show off your product. If you have larger artwork or quilts your bases might be walls of some type. This post will assume that you either have or are using the design step to figure out the elements that you need to acquire to be the foundation for your products.
The most important part of your pre-show design is to figure out what pieces will fit in your space in an arrangement that gives good access to your products and a secure checkout and out of sight storage for things like your lunch. You can go low tech and use graph paper, assign a scale and cut out scaled pieces to represent your tables, etc. that you can move around or use software that allows you to do the same thing. I use Adobe Illustrator to create my plans. You don't want to haul more stuff with you than you can fit in your assigned space. I was at one show where it appeared that a vendor had set up at shows with a booth space of at least 10x10 but failed to notice the one they were attending only had a 6x8 space assigned to them. I don't know what would have happened if a nearby vendor had not been unable to attend, which allowed them to spread out into what was now a 6x16 space.
In addition to knowing the size of your booth space in which you can set up your tables and other things, it is important to also know whether that space has any buffer area around it or whether it bumps right up to your neighbor's space. In my experience, most bump right up against your neighbor so any access to behind the table space must be included inside your footprint. In addition to your tables and/or walls that are your basic set up, it is a good idea to know where your major smaller product props will go. I have included an image of one such layout utilizing my tables and props for a 10x10 outside corner booth setup as well as a picture of part of the set up at the show. Having this print out with me at set up helps me, and especially a helper if I have one, quickly get my layout in place.
For those of you that use walls of some type to hang art or other large items, it can be handy to set up the wall and mount your items on it at home. It can take some time to figure out where each piece of your product puzzle goes and when you are setting up, time is not a luxury. I take a picture of each wall set up and take note of where each hook is placed. I label a print of the picture with where each hook goes and place the hooks for a specific wall in their own labeled baggy for quick assembly at the show.
A bit of time spent on design and organization before a show will reward you with a smoother set up and also hopefully help you pack everything you need without hauling a bunch of extraneous stuff along.