Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Booth Design and Layout for 2012 - Part 1

Since we have another huge fair coming up, I thought I'd put together another post about our design and layout for our upcoming events with some tips for your next show.

Brie'Denee Booth in Art in the Park 2012 - Lawrence, KS - Booth - 2012

We were just at Art in the Park in Lawrence, KS where our new design has worked beautifully. If you didn't already know, Art in the Park is an annual event so visit next year if you missed this one! Of course, we're always adjusting and modifying our layout and design for each show we go to since we learn what works and what doesn't with each event.

If you're trying to design a booth, I would suggest trying to figure out what you need out of the booth and answering the questions below.

What are some of the restrictions of fairs you'd like to attend?

Many events post certain restrictions on their shows. Be sure to read their polices carefully. If you are a retail vendor, be sure to double check that the shows allows retail vendors. Some shows are strict on allowing only handmade while others allow both forms. 

What type of space allotment will shows be giving you?

More often than not, a show will have 10 x 10 booth spaces available. Some of the larger shows may allow vendors to purchase 2 side by side spaces to make a 10 x 20 booth. Other shows may allow only an 8 x 8 or 8 x 10. Be sure to know how much space you'll be paying for. If you have large products or display pieces you may need to reconfigure your layout to accommodate the reduction or increase in space. 

Aesthetics - Art in the Park, Lawrence, KS - 2012
Do the shows you'd like to go to have any aesthetic requirements, such as a white canopy or table cloths?

It has been in my experience that the shows with aesthetic requirements are generally slightly higher end than those without. The reason being that the hosts want to present a professional show that brings in a large clientele. If you go to a show and see all the vendors packing supplies, and everything else they hide under their tables, your first reaction is going to be, "Oh boy. That doesn't look good. I don't think I want to visit that booth because it looks like trash." However, if you go to a booth that is well coordinated and all their extras hidden you'll probably thing something more like, "Wow. This looks like a real store. What do they have?" Overall, it's this last thought that a show wants to elicit. When each booth looks nice, the show will look nice. This in turn brings in customers who tell their family and friends about the fabulous show and hopefully brings them back for the second day or the next year and ultimately increases your sales.

Most of the time you won't even realize you're thinking this so the next time you go to a show, check out each booth and how it makes you feel. Do you want to make a stop? If so, what is attracting you about the booth? What types of things make you feel comfortable that you can trust what the vendor is selling?

What types of items are you selling?

The main reason for this particular question is due to size. With jewelry, most of what we bring to a show is actually all our displays rather than the jewelry.

Everything we sell and setup (in the first picture) all fits inside this little case. Amazing really since we have hundreds of items in our inventory. 

Since jewelry is such a small type of product, we need plenty of displays to assist us in making a good booth. For something larger, like artwork, photography, mosaics, or pottery you'll definitely need a different type of setup than jewelry. Photography and art are generally setup on mobile walls to display while most pottery booths need to have plenty of sturdy shelving to hold their heavy products.

Do you currently have any display tools that you plan on utilizing?

This is a huge question. Anytime you begin to plan your booth layout, be sure to take stock of what you already have available. Funding is always a concern and the more you can re-use or re-purpose the better. It has taken us several modifications from our first booth setup before we came to our current one. Although I love what we have right now, we're continuing to think of ways to make it better, draw in customers, and really utilize as much space of that little 8x8 or 10x10 size booth. 

Are you planning on purchasing other types of displays?

Once you've reviewed all your current display tools and come up with a rudimentary layout and design, you should start to work out what else you need. For our first show, we definitely used what we had on hand. I was trying to find you a photo from that show but I'm having some difficulty. Lets just say our first show was pretty skimpy on our displays so we definitely had to purchase more. Since we bought new displays, our design and layout had to change.

Purple Zirconia and White Topaz Three Stone Prong Ring
Do you have a theme or an overall feel to your products?

This question is referring to your overall theme. Brie'Denee has a very elegant feel. Our goal is to provide an everyday piece of jewelry that transitions into evening wear nicely. We make both simple pieces that can be easily replicated to intricate art pieces that are one of a kind. With these ideas and goals in mind, we created a booth design that fits our overall feel and theme of our products. It's an important step because you want your customers to already have an idea of what your product feel is to help draw them into your booth.

Other themes would be an eclectic feel or an organic feel. Your pieces may be geared toward a time frame such as the 40's or Victorian. You may have your products more toward parties or events such as Mardi Gras. The goal is to make your booth and your products cohesive to better draw in your customers.

Our First Booth Design - 2010
Is this an indoor or outdoor event?

For obvious reasons, a few things in your booth setup and display needs are going to change for an indoor event vs an outdoor event. A canopy, weights, and space are all effected. I've found that most of the time, our layout works just fine for both indoor and outdoor events. We just either bring a canopy or don't bring a canopy.

The biggest issue we had when we first began doing shows was the wind. Jewelry is a very light product and it's generally displayed on little plastic
or paper rectangles which don't add much weight. The wind would whip through our booth and make everything fall over or blow away. Of course, this is not a good thing so we had to come up with a solution. Back to the drawing board we went. In the next part I'll show you more about what we finally ended up with for our booth layout and design, which works very well for those windy days and indoor events.

Will the show be providing access to electricity?

Most outdoor events do not provide access to electricity. Keep this in mind if you have a product that relies on a power source. You may need to bring batteries or a form of wireless or whatever.

On the other hand, most indoor events have the option for electricity. Sometimes at a cost and sometimes included in your booth fee. Be sure to read their application and policies carefully should you require power.

When we first started, we didn't have lamps or anything. We were also doing mainly outdoor events which didn't provide an option. Last year when we did an indoor event at Union Station, we found we really needed some lamps to help brighten up our space and showcase the jewelry better. We made a run to Wal-Mart the next day for a set of lamps that could clamp onto the table just like the ones to the right.

All these questions will have a large effect on your layout and overall design.