Lessons Learned: prepare your jewelry booth for bad weather

by Nicole Green.
(Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi USA)

I live on a coastal town where strong winds can whip up out of nowhere.

Many vendors lost their tents.

Many vendors lost their tents.

Knowing this, I thought I was being very responsible by using weights and stakes, but nothing prepared me (and others) for the winds that hit us last weekend at the Harbor Fest.

Sailor's knot bracelets & beach themed jewelry.

Sailor’s knot bracelets & beach themed jewelry.

The first evening the winds were strong and some vendors lost their tents. I made out just fine. The second day, another storm with strong winds and rain. Feeling confident , we let down the sides again, in order to stay dry.

After the storm.

After the storm.

This time we could not keep the tent from collapsing, although 4 adults were trying to hang on to it. After some retrospect, I am creating some guidelines I plan to follow if I ever buy another tent.

1. When I see a rain storm coming, I am going to be prepared to quickly throw my jewelry into waterproof containers that I store under the tables. The mistake I made was to let down the sides in order to protect everything from the rain. The sides acted like sails, catching the wind.

2. I use 6 ft. shutters attached to the tent frame, which only strengthened my sail. I plan to cut them in half and set them up on tables.

"Sail Away"  bangle has new meaning for me.

“Sail Away” bangle has new meaning for me.

3. Always use weights, as much as 200 lbs. Stakes too, if allowed. I rented thick, 3 ft. iron stakes for only $8 for the weekend. I actually thought it was overkill!

Remember: You are not just protecting your property, you don’t want a flyaway tent & weights to hurt others or their property.

Nicole Green
Beach Tribe Jewelry at Etsy

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  1. Mary Ann says:

    Amen, sister! Yesterday was the one year anniversary of losing one of my two tents. I was inside trying to hold it down (and I am quite “fluffy”) but the weight of the rain on the roof brought it all down with me inside hanging on for dear life. My stock scattered everywhere and we were now in water up to our ankles from the downpour. The flocked displays did much worse than the actual jewelry. I thought I was very unlucky until I heard the cries for help that came from the double tent next to us that collapsed on the three girls inside. The organizer told us we could stack our broken tents at the entrance and they would be disposed of and by the time everyone got it together, the entrance looked like a dinosaur graveyard with “bones” sticking out in every direction. I did the same show again last weekend and only ended up with a tear in my tent. 🙁 It’s a great show, but windy on top of that hill.

    Nicole, I agree with everything you said. Weights are your only recourse when you’re assigned a space on asphalt or concrete, and I don’t think there is such a thing as too much weight. A friend of mine carries a roll of clear plastic and covers her stock as soon as the weather looks threatening, but that isn’t very helpful in the kind of windy storm that you and I encountered.

    It could be worse — I talked to a vendor who was exhibiting in an urban area. She was very well weighted down, but a strong wind came and sent her tent into the power lines above. It’s not often that people run for their lives at a craft show!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and great tips for being more storm-proof, Nicole! Speedily confining your jewelry in lidded plastic containers (maybe with a weight in the bottom?) is a good way to protect it in a storm like you described.

    Staking and weighting down tables can be a good idea too. At one windy show, a gust of wind completely flipped one of my tables upside down – jewelry, displays, and all. Nobody was hurt, thankfully, but I realized you can’t count on tables staying put in a storm!

    Regarding things that act as sails in the wind – having displays that allow the wind to blow through them can prevent them from being knocked down in moderately windy situations. But in major winds or storms, I would definitely want them to be anchored tightly to something.

    Mary Ann, thank you for sharing your valuable experiences and tips too! I’m glad you were OK when your tent collapsed.

  3. PhyllisC says:

    I carry everything in plastic tubs with lids & jewelry inside tubs(yes, double tubs), ( including my displays). Always carry additional plastic bags, sheets of plastic to cover tables ( I have them under the table, with the clamps attached to cover quickly if weather threatens. Seriously too – , watch the weather forecasts! I have my weather app set to whatever town I am in, and get alerts if weather is changing.
    I have shows all over Central Florida, and the weather can change in a minute. Keeping MORE weight than you think you need is good, but also have a “through air vent” so the wind doesn’t catch your tent ( if at all possible). And sometimes, that doesn’t work either. At a show in Orlando last year, and on the Main streets, and a gust of wind(More like a mini hurricane) came down the street – missing most of the tents, but caught mine, and my two neighbors, lifted the tents ( they were ALL staked with concrete blocks or weights25-30 lbs o each corner, stakes in the ground etc, and threw them up back behind us, in les than 3 min! Other tents on the other side of the lake were thrown into the lake! Displays and jewelry were all ok, but it was a real mess to clean up. Complete strangers (people walking down the crowded street – ALL came to help reset the tents, but there are times when No matter what you do, you can’t prepare for Mother nature 🙂
    Like the Scout motto: Always be prepared ( as best you can!)

  4. Nicole Green says:

    Thanks for your ideas, Mary Ann & Rena. Phyllis, I like the idea of plastic sheets & clamps. If I buy another tent, I will look for one with an air vent.

  5. Goodness! You guys are pretty “hard-core, extreme jewellery marketers”, very brave! I am in awe of you. I am a wimp and stick to indoor markets or outdoor summer markets. Very useful info for the future, if I ever brave the weather. Thank you for your advice.

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