Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Show Time!

Five great tips for those of you who do craft shows, plus one thing NOT to do.

Go vertical. Give shoppers someplace other than down to look. Their necks, shoulders and upper backs will appreciate a break, and they might be enticed to look longer since they need a break from looking down at everyone else’s tables! Some folks I know hang stuff high, and some put risers on the table legs to make the tables higher. (Have you ever noticed that the bead display tables in the shop are counter height?)

Go dark. Dark surfaces show off most jewelry well – just make sure to keep them lint free! Avoid patterned cloth – your lovely designs will get lost. Your table covers should reach the floor – then you can hide all your tote boxes under the tables during the show and keep your display space nice and neat.

Go light. Lighting is critical – halogen lights make jewelry sparkle, which helps it sell. They get hot, though, so be sure to keep them a safe distance from your shoppers, and mount them securely.

Take names. Every show you do is an opportunity to build your customer mailing list - this list is a valuable asset which will grow as you grow your business. Make sure you give all visitors to your booth the opportunity to continue a relationship with you beyond the show. Protect that asset by keeping your promise to keep it private.

Be prepared. Keep a show kit – mine has pens, tie straps, duct tape, binder clips, tissues, scissors, a couple of tools, bags, and more. Also essential are receipt books, calculator, credit card machine, merchandise bags and anything else you need to complete transactions. Extra extension cords and tablecloths come in handy, as well as bottled water, energy bars and healthy snacks.

Be available. What NOT to bring? A magazine or book. Even the slowest, most boring show should find you “on” and ready to engage with any customer who walks by. I like to bring a project to work on – that’s a great way to get someone to walk over and get interested. No customers? Now is the time to talk to other vendors and exchange ideas – network!

Do you have a great tip for shows you’d like to share? Post a comment here today!
Now, go bead something.


  1. I don't have any better tips, but I cannot reiterate enough a big yes for your tips.

    I elevate my tables to jewelry store height or higher....with varying height levels of items displayed across the table. You can make your own with PVC or purchase them as I did. They are made to fit any table leg size and very adjustable and stable.

    Lighting is critical...and always be prepared if you are showing your own jewelry to have tools available to lengthen/shorten, embellish your fine work. A show kit is absolutely imperative with everything but the kitchen sink....especially plenty of bags, pens, business cards, website details.....anything and everything to show professionalism and that you are serious about being in this for the long term.

    Your opportunity to stamp who you are will show with posters of your company name, or professional banners. I have posters of my best pieces that hang from draped booths to catch the eye of someone that happens to be in another booth, 50 feet away. Height, big, professional look. It pays for itself three fold.

    I also, have different looks for outdoor. Professional displays make a difference too, but keep it simple. You need to look like the top notch jewelry store where you shop.

  2. Thanks Pat! - Lots of great ideas in there!