Friday, November 19, 2021

Craft Fair Display: 9 Tips to Set up a Beautiful Booth

It's Craft fair season and I always get the itch to sew up a bunch of things to sell around this time of year. There is nothing like the thrill of seeing someone browse and buy your handmade items. I usually team up with another maker and share a booth and we ALWAYS get compliments on our setup and display. So today I'm going to give you some tips and ideas to help you make your booth look inviting and let your products shine. 

NINE tips to set up a Beautiful Craft Fair Booth 

Traffic is the key to success at a Craft Fair and setting up an inviting booth can really help draw shoppers in.  Everyone sells something different, so your booth won't look just like mine but you can use these tips to make your booth look it's best.  I've grabbed these photos from a variety of my different shows and as you can see my set up isn't always the same. You have to get creative with your items and use your resources.  If set up isn't your thing, ask a friend to help and keep these ideas in mind to get you started on the right track. 



1. Plan ahead 

 If this is your first time selling at a fair do a little research. Ask questions when you sign up like... What time people usually get there to set up? What size is your booth space? Do they provide a table or a tent? Is there electricity access? etc. Usually there will be a phone number associated with your application that you can call to ask these questions.   Most shows I've done allow a 12x 12 space that you have to claim the day you show up. I bring a 12 x 12 pop up tent and all my tables and supplies. I usually sell at outdoor fairs and there is almost never electricity available. 












 2. Give your booth a vision

 Think about the feel you want to create in your booth. Think about the type of stores you like to shop in. A small boutique has  a very different feel than a big box store. We are going for that small boutique feel. We want it to look inviting  with a nice flow that allows your eye to flow from one item to the next as it explores your offerings. An easy to browse, inviting set up leads to more people stopping and looking and more purchases made.

3. Give yourself enough time to set up

 I plan for about 2 hours to set up my booth.  It always takes longer for me to setup than I think. I'm always racing to the end to get things to look just right. Usually this is not a problem because, at most of the craft fairs I have sold at, everyone gets there super early to claim a good spot. But if you are provided with a spot ahead of time make sure get there early enough to be ready when the show opens. It's not fun to be flustered and not quite ready when people show up to shop. Another good idea is to practice your table set up at home so you can make sure you bring the display items you need. This will also save you time experimenting on the set up the morning of.

4. Start with the table placement

 So many people walk by quickly and just glance to see what you have I like to make as many things visible at a glance as I can. I find that making a curved U shape or a V shape with my tables allows for quick browsing. As you can see in these pictures there are many different table configurations that can be used. If you don't have many of your own tables, borrow from friends. Short tables and tall table are great and can be layered for more display space. Position the middle of the U shape all the way in the back of the tent. You want to make sure you allow for space for people to walk in the booth and look. Your chair and checkout area can be in  a corner to  the side. Improvise with the tables you have and make it work. 

5. Cover the tables with sheets

 I always use an old white twin sheet (or a queen cut in half) as a base layer over most of the tables. Ideally your table cloths should come down to the ground, that way you can hide boxes and extra merchandise under the tables (mine don't always but it is nice if they do). Tie each corner with a loose knot to  keep the long ends off the floor and prevent them from being stepped on. This also helps weigh them down if there is a breeze that day.   Then I usually add a second smaller table cloth set at an angle in a color that accents the season you are in or the items you are displaying. If your items are super colorful with many prints keep the 2nd layer a solid neutral (black, burlap, navy blue, or a tone on tone fabric). 

6. Create levels

This is the most important tip to follow!! Add levels to your display table by using upside down boxes, laundry baskets, or bins.  Use the 2nd layer of table cloth or add a 3rd layer to cover the boxes that don't look cute. You can cover an upside down box with cloth and tuck the extra fabric to the inside.  Also, gather crates, wooden bowls, magazine files, shoe racks, or other decorative items from your home that can sit on table for your items to lean against or sit on. bring fabric covered bricks or bags of rice to weight down the boxes they are too light weight by themselves.  Don't limit your self to the table  You can use the back and sides of the tent to hang things from as well.  Since I sell handbags I like to string a rope inside a PVC pipe or broom handle and tie it to the sided of the pop up tent. I use hooks to hang my handbags from it so there it a row of them floating above everything else. Ladders and small shelves are helpful as well as CD storage.


7. Group items in sets of 3 or 5

 A tidy row of similar items looks pretty but if you do this too much it starts to look like sterile department store. Group your items in sets of 3 or 5.  You don't have to put all items that are the same in one place. Put some of them together in one spot and some in another to give them a better chance at being noticed. Put groups of different sized items next to each other as well to continue the look of different levels. This will let one thing draw your eye to the next thing. It is also good to leave a little space between items.  Remember we are not going for the look of the check out isle.  

8. Add greenery

Bring small fake plants or sprigs of pine to lay among your items. This gives your booth a nice homey, boutique feel and helps make your items pop. Stay away from traditional holiday decorations that aren't for sale. These can make your booth look to busy and distract from the items you are selling. Save any festive decorations for the top of the tent or pinned to the front of your table cloth. I like to tie a little festive garland to the top of mine so my tent is recognizable from a distance if people are coming back for something.

9. Step back and take a look

What feels wrong? Tweak things here and there till it feels just right. Is everything spread out evenly? Are there big gaps anywhere you can fill. If your booth disappears into the scenery behind you consider hanging a panel up on the back wall of the tent. Some tents come with these panels. This will create a back drop so your items stand out better. Don't hang up the side panels though. It makes it very hard to see in your booth as people walk by. You want as many people to see your booth as you can get.

 I hope this has been helpful! Share this post with a friend who could use these tips! Did I miss anything? 

Comment below with any other helpful ideas you have to share. And stay tuned for my next Craft Fair post where I'll be sharing how to make some easy display items and a Checklist of all the things you need to remember to take with you to make your show a success.

Happy selling!!!


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