by Cindy and Doug Lietz.
A booth/display theme
that matches your style
I have an earthy, a little bit rustic, a little bit funky and a whole lot eclectic style to my work.
So when setting up my displays, I like to have a mix of decor items with a natural feel to them to really showcase my pieces.
Unbleached cotton table cloths, woven baskets, handmade paper covered boxes, twigs, pottery vases, antique tins and wrought iron pieces in neutral colors are often used to display my jewelry.
I try and stay away from a booth filled with the standard boring black velvet bust forms, though a couple white leatherette ones do sneak in occasionally.
Be careful that the decor doesn’t compete with your pieces though. Your display should be interesting, but not more interesting than your work.
It is also a good idea to have some height in your display. Vertical displays are more interesting and can be seen by more people than just laying your stuff on a flat table.
Once for a retail show, my husband and I built twig ‘walls’ to place in front of the curtain walls of our booth. They were heavy and a bit of a pain to set up, but very effective for giving our space a rustic homey feel.
Customers said it felt very cozy to step inside our booth and we noticed they lingered and shopped a lot longer than they had in previous shows.
Beautiful jewelry should be spotlighted.
Chances are that the living room, gym, hall, convention center, or where ever you are showcasing your work, will not have very good lighting. At best it will be harsh and cold florescent.
And at worst it will be dark and dingy and almost non-existent.
Set the mood with spot lights aimed at special pieces, table lamps shining down on pieces displayed on the table and mood lighting throughout the booth if you can.
Anytime we do a show around Christmas time, we always have a beautifully lit miniature tree on the table to cast a warm glow. It just sets the mood.
Now that I think of it, some of those battery operated candles would be a nice touch… note to self, add those to the craft fair/ trade show checklist.
Put a nice big mirror at eye level so your customers can try on your jewelry. I can’t believe how many people do not do this.
Make sure to have a style of mirror that suits your jewelry. A little drama is a good thing.
Look for great vintage mirror frames that can be painted in a fabulous color or covered in Silver or Gold Leaf. Set it on an easel if you don’t have a wall to hang it from.
extra findings and supplies
I can’t tell you how many times someone has said, “I love these earrings but I want the ear wires in silver instead”.
Or “Can you make this bracelet / necklace smaller / larger?”
I’ve made more sales when I’ve been able to make quick changes for people and lost them when I couldn’t.
Being a polymer clay artist, it is also a good idea to bring along a block or two of clay and some raw polymer canes. This will help tremendously when trying to explain what polymer clay is to people who are new to the material.
The husbands are often interested in listening to how things are made, while their wives shop.
Makes them more supportive to the purchase as well. *wink*
Nothing is worse in my opinion, than a snobby or crabby person in the booth. No reading, eating, or chatting with your booth mate.
If you really don’t want to be there… Stop doing shows, or get someone else to do them for you. You are killing your sales if you’re a grump.
You don’t even have to be a bubbly, outgoing person to do well.
You just need to be nice, look people in the eye and smile. People love to buy from friends.
Be nice to everyone, even if you don’t think they are going to buy from you.
You never know, they may just be your biggest customer in disguise.
About Cindy and Doug Lietz:
Cindy and Doug Lietz, the Polymer Clay Tutor team, create weekly bead and jewelry videos that will show you how to “…Make what you love… And love what you make!” For three free lessons and downloadable color recipe cards, join our Guest List here: Polymer Clay Tutorials.
Cindy and Doug Lietz
Tips for Selling Jewelry at Shows
Thanks so much for sharing these helpful tips, Cindy and Doug!
I’ve definitely experienced what you mentioned, “I’ve made more sales when I’ve been able to make quick changes for people and lost them when I couldn’t.” Me too!
It’s so worthwhile to have tools and a collection of alternative jewelry findings in your booth at shows.
by: Kim I.
Cindy and Doug:
Those were all very helpful comments, especially for me personally those about lighting and vertical showcasing. I hope to employ some of those suggestions. BTW, your earrings were very unique-looking, very nice!
by: Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor
Thank you Rena for posting this article. It was a nice surprise to see it here to day! If you are doing any more sales this season, I wish you great success. Have a wonderful Christmas holiday with your family!
And thank you to you too Kim for the nice comment! I really appreciate that!
Just starting out
Hi, Really appreciated your comments on how to set up your stall. As I’m just starting out, i’ve gone down the obvious route of black velvet stands. I will develop my own style in the future, but I’m just testing things out. You’re right about lighting I think I’m exhibiting in the Mayors Hall in our village so the lighting will be harsh, I don’t know if there is a plug so that I can bring my own lamps. Anyway, I’m learning everyday, thanks for the handy tips.
These design comparisons are so beautiful! What an pictorization on the post! You have a really nice blog, thank you…