Nov 152013

If you live near me and are looking for something fun to do this weekend, then come visit my booth at the Beaverdale Holiday Boutique in Des Moines. I’ll be in North Pole 1 of Holy Trinity Catholic School, where I am selling fingerless gloves, scarves and scarflettes, headwarmers, hats and neckwarmers, and crocheted floral brooches. The craft show begins this evening and continues all day tomorrow. Although there is an admission fee of $4.00, your fee enters you automatically into a raffle with lots of door prizes donated by all of the vendors.

Beaverdale Holiday Boutique 2013

New this year is an app you can install on your smart phone that includes a map of all vendor locations, shares with you special merchandise promos, and includes a menu. From time to time door prize winners will be announced through the app, and visitors can share photos through it as well. To download the Yapp Box app, click HERE. Then click on the same link a second time to download the Beaverdale Holiday Boutique event. I have never attended a craft show that included something like this, and I think it’s pretty clever!

This evening the menu includes pulled pork sliders, raspberry chipotle meatbals, and various cheeses and meats with fresh bread from The Cheese Shop. On Saturday morning, when Marcus Macintosh from KCCI Channel 8 will be broadcasting live from the Boutique on Saturday between 8:00 to 9:00 a.m., you can enjoy a cinnamon roll. Later in the day, you can enjoy a bowl of cheese or Mexican Veggie Beef soup, a beefburger platter or a chicken salad croissant, or a combination of soup and platter. Dessert consists of brownie, cheesecake or pie.

There are all kinds of handmade items for sale, including jewelry; crocheted and knitted apparel; bags, walls and billfolds; soaps, lotions, lip balms and face scrubs; clay ornaments and miniatures; aprons and kitchen towels; chalkboard door hangers; fine art; garden flags; customized doormats, and much more. Below is a sampling of my own products. Hope you’ll come!

Beaverdale Holiday Boutique

© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

Jun 222013

When I visit a craft show, I enjoy viewing not only the many different types of products, but also the creative ways that sellers display their merchandise. Let’s face it: many craftspeople do not have an unlimited budget for display fixtures. You’ll see picture frames propped up on table easels over which necklaces are draped, clothes drying racks doubling as scarf hangers, branches stuck in vases from which ornaments hang, and tiered dessert stands on which trinkets can be perched.

Tiered dessert stand 2

Last year at a craft show, I needed a rotating stand for fingerless gloves, so I tucked a Lazy Susan from my kitchen beneath a metal Christmas card “tree” I picked up at a scrapbooking store. I will admit that it was a bit wobbly, but it was a good experiment and it did rotate. This year I am replacing this “make-do” solution with a purchased rotating rack.

Fingerless Gloves Rack

Another year I made magnet-backed memo pads and needed a way to display them that wouldn’t be horizontal. I stood a cookie tin on a Lazy Susan to achieve a four-sided display. The Lazy Susan idea can be applied many different ways.

Rotating Memo Pad Display

Sometimes there is no substitute for purchased display fixtures. I booked a craft show for this fall where I plan to sell the little books I make. The books are so small that they really need to stand up to be seen. I decided to buy four-tiered acrylic wallet racks I can just set down on a table. When I completed 18 mini books recently, I stood them up on the narrow, lipped shelves to get a feeling for what they might look like at a show. I ordered these display racks from Achieve Display. This company packs its merchandise very well so that it arrives in good condition.


Though my tiered wallet racks were rather expensive, I thought they were a good investment. I can use them for the crocheted flower brooches I make, too.

Floral Brooch Display

I also invested in wire spinner racks for my scarves after I realized how much I hate to shop at craft shows where crocheted or knitted goods are stacked flat on a table. Eventually, as people sift through the items, you end up with a messy jumble. I got the one below from Display Diva on Etsy, but Achieve Display carries them, too. In fact, you can get tiered spinner racks from them and a wide assortment of table display fixtures.

Rotating Scarf Rack

Whether you purchase your display fixtures, make them yourself, or turn a household item into a display piece, there are some guidelines you’ll want to keep in mind for an effective overall display:

1. Display fixtures should be easy to store in your vehicle and transport.

2. You don’t want to have display fixtures that are complicated to set up. Often you only have a couple hours for set-up.

3. Display fixtures need to draw the buyer’s eyes to merchandise, which often means bringing items to eye level, or at least higher than the level of any table you use.

4. Avoid fussy display fixtures that make it difficult for a shopper to remove the item to look at it closely or try it on.

5. Set up your displays at home ahead of time in different ways, and take photos with your smart phone so you’ll know ahead of time what options will work.

6. If you have wearable products, make sure you include a mirror in your set-up.

7. Pay attention to the stability of your display pieces. People like to touch merchandise, and you don’t want either the display to come crashing down on them, or for the merchandise to be damaged.

8. Be safety-conscious. Avoid fixtures with protruding pieces or sharp edges.

9. Be courteous to fellow sellers. Make sure your fixtures fit within your assigned space, and plan for easy egress so you can visit the bathroom or straighten your products without having to enter another seller’s space.

10. Pay attention to traffic patterns, and to where you sit or stand. Are people stepping inside booths or visiting tables pushed up toward the front of the booth? Your floor plan can turn away a more reserved buyer if he or she doesn’t want to get too close to the seller. This will differ from venue to venue, and from one type of product to another. A larger booth gives seller and buyer alike more breathing space, while a smaller space may require that you keep tables between you and your buyer to create a buffer. Observe other booths to see what seems to be working, and what does not.

11. Mark prices clearly.

12. Does your booth focus on a certain type of product, or do you have so many types of items that people don’t know what you are really selling? The former suggests a boutique and exclusivity, while the latter suggests a flea market and garage sale prices.

What tips can you add to these for creating an effective craft show display?

© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.