Hey crafters! Welcome back to part 2 in our Craft Show 101 series. If you haven’t seen it already, don’t forget to check out part 1, which is all about pricing and inventory planning for your craft show.
Today, we’re going to talk about how to set up your table at your first craft show. Don’t be fooled – this is deceptively tricky! But luckily, we’ve got the tips and tricks to help make your first show a rousing success.
There are three categories we’ll be focusing on today regarding how to set up your craft table. Those categories are:
What potential customers will see before getting to your table
The At-The-Table Experience
Here, we’ll talk about design tips and tricks to catch a customer’s eye – and keep them engaged at your table.
Personality, Charisma, and More
Charm, warmth, and being a good neighbor all go farther than you’d think!
Without further ado, let’s dive into it:
Pop quiz: which part of your table is a potential customer most likely to see first?
If you think this is something of a trick question – you’re right. See, many crafters spend an inordinate amount of time on the front of their table. And in a way this makes sense! You want the at-the-table experience to be visually stunning as well as motivating. But the problem is: the front of the table isn’t actually your opportunity for a first impression.
It’s the sides of your table.
Think about it: most craft shows will be in a room that’s either square-shaped or rectangular. Customers will be walking in a guided path around the room, seeing the sides of everyone’s tables first and foremost. So what’s the solution here? Ensure the sides of your table are neat and tidy. Some tips to consider:
Use a tablecloth! You’ll be able to store unneeded items under the table Just make sure that the tablecloth covers up any accidental behind-the-scenes views from the sides of your table.
PRO TIP: Consider the color of your tablecloth. Is it one of your brand colors? Does it complement the colors of the flowers you’ll be bringing to the show? Does it help catch the eyes of passers-by? Or is it neutral to let your products be the eye candy?
When setting up your table (more on this in a minute) consider a convex design. That is: have your products facing out on a curve rather than parallel to the edges of your table. This way, people approaching from multiple angles can see what you have to offer, not just those approaching your table directly.
- Add some height! Having items up off the table and at varying heights helps to create dimension and intrigue. People’s eyes will be able to see and scan more of your products as they approach your table.
Speaking of table design, let’s talk about how to prepare for the at-the-table experience.
The At-The-Table Experience
Ok, so here’s where we’re at in the customer journey: you’ve set up your table, the sides look great, your tablecloth is part of your brand story, and your product is set up on a curve. Everything is ideally situated to capture the attention of potential crafters and customers. Now what?
Now, think about the at-the-table experience. This is when a customer is actually there at your table ready to look at your product.
Here are our favorite tips for creating a fantastic experience:
Use Display Crates for Transportation
This sort of falls into your before-the-show set up. This is an efficient way to move your product without bringing extra items that will need storage/hiding during the show.
Don’t Forget Signage!
Picture this: you’re driving down the highway, you’re feeling a little hungry and you could maybe go for a cup of coffee. You spy two big golden arches at the next exit: and all your hopes have been answered. And you know that just from, what, two big arches?
The point is: signs are important. They’re a shortcut for information about you, your brand, and your product. In the above example, those arches were a shortcut that communicated to your brain: “food and coffee.”
Now, signs don’t just convey the name of your business or the names of your products (although these are crucial, crucial elements). They’re also an opportunity to communicate key characteristics about what customers are about to experience.
Branding will be an entire blog/series on its own because there is so much to think about with it but for craft show signage, here are some quick tips. If you focus on weddings, for instance, consider signage with a more elegant typeface and a monochrome design. If you’re going for a more fun, informal vibe, bring in more colors and a sans-serif font. The point is, if (and when!) your table gets crowded, you may not be able to tend to every customer. You’ll need your signage to do some heavy lifting about your offerings and personality. This is often overlooked but it couldn’t be more important!
What Goes Front and Center?
There’s an old sales trick that claims that if a customer can touch and feel a product, they’re more likely to purchase it. Is it true? Who knows! But given that sola wood flowers from Oh You’re Lovely have a unique, soft texture, we think this is an A+ strategy to incorporate. That said, they are delicate and you don’t want people to be handling your creations too much in case of damage. How to give them the touch experience without putting your arrangements at risk? Place a bowl of loose flowers that you are okay with people touching and possibly damaging right up front (with a sign that says something along the lines of “Touch Me!”) next to your business cards and flyers to help give users handy takeaways that can help them keep your business top of mind.
Consider a Standing Wall for Wreaths
This is optional, but if you have crafts or other products intended to live on a wall somewhere in the future, consider putting a standing wall behind your table. This will add additional depth to your product mix and give customers a sneak peek at what your products could look like in their home!
Use Crates and Boxes to Add Height to Your Table
A lot of people argue that the Chicago skyline is among the most beautiful in the world. And there’s a reason for that: it’s not a series of flush buildings the exact same height. No – those skyscrapers dance in the open air with varying heights, shapes, and building materials. The net result isn’t an easy-to-ignore pattern – it’s something altogether breathtaking.
Take a page out of their playbook: don’t lay all your product flat on the table. Use boxes and crates for display opportunities of varying height. Fill those boxes and crates with product, too. The end result will be a visually stunning presentation that’s sure to motivate buyers!
Create “Blocks” of Similar Items
This one is easy: just put like items with like items. Group seasonal flowers in one section and neutral flowers in another, magnets in a section together up front with box arrangements on the side, etc. Think: categories. This will help customers better navigate your table. In fact, all those lovely towers you built with our last piece of advice will help here. Think: one tower per block!
This goes hand in hand with perhaps the most important principle…
Keep Your Table Clean and Clutter Free!
With all the excitement of the day, it can be easy for your table to get messy. Stay on top of this: even if you’ve just had a great experience with an inquisitive customer, make sure to return each product to its appropriate block. Also, you don’t need to put every single arrangement and creation on the table to start! A simpler, tidy table makes it easier for your customer to shop and you can store your extra items under your table.
Keep things neat and organized. After all, you may run a business, but you’re a customer, too! And just like you’re more likely to trust, say, a clean restaurant, so too are your potential customers more likely to trust a clean craft show table.
Follow these tips and you’ll be in good shape. But there are still some intangibles you absolutely must keep in mind.
Your charisma, courtesy, professionalism, and personality are a critical part of how your craft show will go. While these characteristics aren’t directly related to crafting, they are every bit as important. Consider the following when planning your craft show:
Good (Tables) Make Good Neighbors
It’s likely that the businesses to the left and right of your table are going through every bit of the challenge of planning as you are. They’re also considering the view from the side of the table, and the height of their display crates. The best piece of advice we can offer is to ensure you’re not blocking their way! This is common courtesy and will help establish professionalism and potentially rapport.
In fact, those very same neighbors could become professional contacts in the future. If it’s a business adjacent to yours (say, a jeweler), some networking could get you working the same wedding together. Is it another florist? While it is easy to go into the mind space of that person being only a competitor of yours, maybe they can cover you during busy times and vice versa. Or maybe your specialties are different and you’ve found someone who will refer requests outside of that specialty to you. Being a courteous neighbor is nothing but pure upside.
Remember the Customer Experience
Quick: think of a time when someone went above and beyond for you during a customer experience. This could be a server at a restaurant, a customer service representative when you had a return issue, anything. There’s a good chance you remember exactly what brand it was, right?
Ok, now remember the last time you had an unmemorable experience with a human being representing a brand. If you’re anything like us, that brand is much harder to remember.
So, be the business from the first category. Use your personality, warmth, and charm to make an impression and stick out in the minds of your potential customers. Remember, they’ll be seeing a lot of businesses that day. Positivity and friendliness could be the thing that helps you be remembered over the competition!
And that’s it! Make the sides of your table pretty, remember your signage, bring in some interesting height visuals to your table, and be nice! Follow these tips and your first show will be a hit. Good luck!