Thursday, 29 August 2013

16 Tips that helped my booth look great

I am back, and unpacked from my craft show/pioneer festival last weekend.  I thought I would share with you my tips for what worked best, and also so I can look back on this next year to refresh my memory.

Let me start off by saying that one of the rules for this show was that all tents, tablecloths, chairs etc had to be neutral and of the period (no plastic, no bright colours).
Tip # 1:  Read the rules, and follow them.  It goes a long way to establishing good will between the organizers and the vendors.
Tip #2:  add some bunting, flags, something to the outside of the tent that will move in the breeze and catch the eye of passers-by with the motion.
 Tip #3:  Bring flowers or a plant.  This actually drew a lot of people directly to my tent - only 3 vendors had them, that I saw.  Also, weather permitting, set up a piece of your display outside the tent...also attracts attention.
 Tip #4: Set up at least part of the display the way it would be used.  It takes a bit more space, but if you have it, use it!
 Tip #5:  Take a bit of time to prepare some options for your items.  I wrapped a few packages to diplay gift tags, and I also had a handful hanging from evergreen branches in a vase (to suggest a Christmas tree).  This is the first time I displayed them like this, and it definitely helped sell them.
 Tip # 6:  Show more than one way to use an item, if possible...
 ...and if you can't show it, explain it.  I had this one displayed as a sewing notions bowl, but explained that it could also be used for olives with toothpicks (for instance - thanks A).
 Tip # 7:  Group like items and levels, levels, levels.  People will browse much longer if there eye keeps moving.  Items laid out flat on a table can be glanced at too quickly.
 Tip # 8:  Group like colours or styles together.  I noticed people gravitated automatically to the colour that caught their interest.  It makes more impact than having them all mixed in together.
Tip # 9:  Keep your pieces in mind when working on your backgrounds.  I tried to keep browns behind light pieces, and whites behind dark pieces.  It makes them pop.
 Tip # 10: Use props that are appropriate to the show.  Think outside the box.  I had plenty of people stop to chat about the antiques I was using as props.  Even if they don't buy anything, it keeps people in your booth longer and draws more people to see "what's so interesting over there".
 Tip # 11: Consider having a "Special Feature" that is just for that one show.  I featured mugs for this show, as they were serving tea across from me.  My next show is at a school, so I will feature something more geared to children.
 Tip # 12:  Have a place for people to rest, if the show requires much walking.  Elderly people appreciate this, and it allows their companions to browse while they rest.  Also, the fans!  It was HOT!  It was sunny.  I had fans available for people to take with them to enjoy the show, and then return them on their way out (I was by the entrance/exit).  They appreciated the fan, and it brought them back to my booth a second time.

Lucky # 13: (that was my booth) - Have one or two items displayed in a gift box.  I sold every item that had a turn in "the box".  Coincidence?  Not's the first time I tried it.  I will do it again.
 Tip # 14:  Find some way to divide your booth from the next.  My tent happens to have zippered screens that I can shut all the way, but from inside my tent you could see the back of the display pieces in the next booth (where they were hiding their Tim's cups and other garbage).  I put up several garlands and it kind of fooled your eye into stopping at the wall.
Tip # 15:  Participate fully!  If costumes are part of the show, wear a costume.  Support and visit other vendors.  Purchase your snack from a vendor on site instead of having someone bring you one from Timmy's.  It's all part of being a participating member of the show.
Tip # 16:  If at all possible, demonstrate your craft in the down times.  Obviously this won't work for everyone, but if you knit, embroider, crochet, sew, sculpt you can find a way to do it.  We had a canoe builder demonstrating his skills, as well as a blacksmith working on his forge, a weaver, a's all part of the "show".

I had a lot of positive feedback from my booth, as did the show organizer.  The extra effort pays off both in sales and for future shows (next year, I get to pick my spot as my booth was highly talked about - how's that for making you feel the effort was worth it).   Good luck to you all with your next show.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A lovely weekend in Carlisle

This past weekend I had the pleasure of participating in a fantastic pioneer festival/craft fair in Carlisle Ontario.  I met some fantastic people, and thought I would share a glimpse of the show.  I was busy in my booth throughout both days, but some of the vendors have shared pictures.

Note:  The following pictures were taken by Miriam Bauman of Mini made.

 The canoe maker also had boomerangs and demonstrated some of his skills.

The village green for picnics, kite flying and croquet.

 A couple of donkeys were at the show on Saturday from the Donkey Sanctuary (part of the gate proceeds went to the sanctuary).  They were a big hit.

 Many of the vendors were demonstrating...this is me outside my booth making tiny little bowls.

 Metal garden art...I just love these.

I was right across from the beeswax candles, and they put a lovely scent in the air.

 Handmade dolls.

 Lovely decorations.
 Pie eating contest.  

 Miriam's booth inside the barn.  She made sunbonnets for the show as well, and it was so cute to see the little girls all running around in their new bonnets.

 The story teller moved into the barn for the second day of the show.

The soap maker, spinning on a drop spindle on the second day.  There was a fiber artist spinning on the wheel at the back, and also a weaver and rag rug hooking demonstrations.

The following pictures were taken by Katherine Kokiolek.
 The blacksmith made pieces all day long.  These two were very entertaining.

 It was a very family friendly, pet friendly affair.

 Lost Sock Planet.

 Metis Caravan

 Stained glass

 Shabby Chic refinished furniture.


And, a photographer on site to capture the day in vintage sepia prints. Yvonne Parsons Photography.
I missed out on this, but will definitely be finding the time next year.  So fun!

Anyways, for those of you who attended...thanks for coming out.  For those of you who missed it...there's always next year. 

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Getting ready for a show

So I have been kind of quiet around here lately...I've been getting ready for a big (to me) show coming up this weekend.  An outdoor show - which means I have a lot to get ready!  So day by day I have been working on decorations for my booth and finishing up the last of the adjustments to a few of the pottery pieces, like this:
 adding ribbon and beads to the hanging pot...
...adding a pin cushion top to this little pot...
...getting the jumbo candles for this jumbo "jack-be-nimble"...
...wrapping up some "gift packages" to display some of my gift tags.
 These pom pom flowers are going to be in a couple of the vases so that I don't have to worry about bringing water and fresh flowers.  I am very smitten with these and will be making some more...lots more, I think.

Next week I will share pictures of the show- what worked and what didn't.  Have a fine weekend everyone.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

DIY packaging #2

In case you missed it, my first batch of cereal box packaging can be found over here.  I still needed something a little larger, and came up with these:

They are quick and easy to make, because they take advantage of the fold lines already in cracker and cereal boxes.  Here's the how to:
Cut open the box to lay it flat.  You will want to cut along the side that is glued shut.
 Mark the center of your box at the top and lay your template down to trace.  I found that no two boxes in our cupboard were the same size, but that the template still fit on all of them.  (More on making your template later on in this post - seems backwards, I know, but bear with me).
 Trace the template on both sides of the box, and add tabs as indicated in the photo above.  Cut along all the blue lines.

Using a straight edge, make a fold in the side panel.  Make sure that you are at a 90 degree angle from the existing folds in the box.
 I punched holes in mine to add a ribbon.  You may choose to cut a handle instead, or punch just one hole...
Run hot glue Edited to add:  the hot glue only lasted one day before cracking apart again.  I will stick with my trusty carpenters glue - just make sure to clip it with a clothes pin or weigh it down while it dries.  Run glue along one of the tabs  - whatever side is going to be the OUTSIDE of the box, is the side that gets the hot glue...
 ...and press it firmly into place, hold it down  clip it with a paper clip, clothes pin, alligator clip, etc long enough for it to dry.  Repeat with the other four tabs. have a package.  If you are normally of the "tissue paper pouf in a gift bag" persuasion:
 you are pretty much done.

Now, for the  template...  I drew the first one free hand.  Well, more specifically, I drew HALF of the template free hand, cut it, and then folded it over to draw the other half exactly the same.
For round two:
 I traced the pottery plate that was going into the package so that it would fit perfectly...added my branding sticker, a ribbon and a pottery button and my eco-friendly packaging for a door prize was finished.
 Top view - it's the exact same size.

Then, I tried a cracker box:

I traced a lid...find any size or shape that you want if you don't want to try freestyle...
 ...and used a straight edge to join it down to the bottom (still making sure to center it).
 Cut the same tabs,
and then have some fun with it.

Quick, easy, from the recycle bin, and customizable.  A win on every level.

Linking up with:  Keep Calm Craft On over at Frontier Dreams
                          The hop at the Backyard Farming Connection
                          Wildcrafting Wednesday at Mind Body and Sole
                          Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Creek Cottage
                          Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia