Faster Setup and Breakdown

by Catherine Franz.
(Arlington, Virginia USA)

I have been selling for 12 years. For about 10 years we set up with all the regular heads, three layer shelves, etc.

Quick Setup and Breakdown Doesn't Lose Sales

Quick Setup and Breakdown Doesn’t Lose Sales

Due to age and tired of taking hours to set up at each show, I looked for a new way 2 years ago. I went with the display trays and carriers.

CFranz: Faster Setup and Breakdown 2 CFranz: Setup and Breakdown 3

Now set up is about 20 minutes with tent set up, 10 minutes without. My sales levels haven’t changed and I no longer dread the setup and breakdown.


Catherine Franz
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  • Jana says:

    I love the idea that saves time and energy for set up and break down and let’s you enjoy the fun part of the show. Great idea and it looks good too.

  • Wow, 10 mins set up must be a record! What a good idea, I love the colour of your trays too, just perfect to set off the colours of your jewellery.

  • Fantastic, Catherine! I agree, it’s important to know your energy level – and save your energy for working with your customers at the show. Also it’s easier to do shows at the spur of the moment when you’ve got everything ready to go and easy to set up. Your booth looks great – I would definitely walk in and shop! 🙂

  • Catherine says:

    Thank you everyone. When it gets hot out in the afternoon when we’re breaking down, we sit and watch everyone taking so much time to break down. Then we do it. It’s second nature now. Purchased a new tent this year and it really helps with ease of use. Our previous one drove us nuts sometimes since we don’t have much muscle power. Now, no muscle power is needed. Love that!

  • Catherine – what size booth do you usually get? The pix above looks very large like a 20×20. I have a 10×10 tent and usually go for that size for indoor shows. You also seem to have space all around your tent – do you pay extra for that or the venues you go to space everybody out like that. I would love to use the inverted U like you show, but the shows I go to keep everybody right next to each other and I have to pay extra if I want a corner spot if available. I live in NJ.

  • Catherine says:

    Booth size is 10 x 10. I max the use of the space. Space in a tent is no different than buying retail space — by the foot, so is a home or even an apartment. The tent set up needs to max the space as well. I’m very careful with how its laid out so I can add as much inventory as possible per foot. This is why I try to sit outside the tent. Places don’t normally frown on this, actually ignore us. When it rains that’s different, we need to make some adjustments. Take the booth fee and divide it into feet and that’s how much you’re paying per foot for the space. If you want to increase sales you want to be looking at the space just like a retail store does. My sister designs retail stores and taught me this many years ago. I add my average foot cost to my price calculations (that’s the accountant to me). I’m there to make a profit. I live off my income; thus, need to think quite differently. I also am the jewelry instructor at a local Michaels and the store manager has taught me a lot about maximizing floor space, how people buy based on location of items, etc. I ask a lot of questions (avid learner) from everyone and the wealth of information I receive is out of this world.

  • Catherine, thanks for your comment. Another question – what size tables do you use? My husband made display shelves so I can elevate some of my displays as well as use the trays for other items. Thanks.

  • Catherine says:

    Anita, I have three six foot tables and one four foot table available to use. Sometimes all of them are out, sometimes they aren’t. The minimum I do is two 6′ and sometimes add in my floor turnaround stand that holds about 65 necklaces. There’s also my 7′ accordion folding earring racks. I also have 4 double sided earring racks that hang on the tent with my fold-over cards. It all depends on the show and what I know people will want to see. My inventory is large and I am always switching things around (or I should say my staff is). I do a regular weekly show, 3x a month, and I have 3 different set ups and different inventory for each show. I rotate and bring in more for the spaces where things were sold. This way the same people come by and see different things all the time. Generally speaking that is. When I had the same items out people had a tendency to wait (we heard maybe next week statements). So now they either buy it then or it may never come back out.

  • I do shows on weekends and get either 1-2 tables depending on the cost of the booth. I do a variety of beading and wirework and it seems that people are overwhelmed if I have a lot of items on the table. Do the trays help with this?

    I have trays, tend to put too much out, and I also use neck stands on top of boxes for different heights.

    I’m researching buying one of the traveling carriers and would love to just pull out trays and put them out, but my people seem to prefer individual necklaces on displays.

    What do you suggest please?

  • Carla says:

    Would you be willing to share how you attach your jewelry in the trays? Do you use U pins? Do customers want to pick up items?

  • Catherine says:

    Carla, yes I use U pins. It keeps things in place and only need a minor shake before setting down. Yes customers would like to pick them up; however, when they discovered they are pinned down only the serious interested person wants me to undo them. We used to have thefts, now we don’t. I’m 100% sure using the pins hasn’t deterred not a single sale. The trays are cheaper than the head busts and I was adding as many as 3 necklaces to one tray. Now I only have multiple necklaces if they are in the $25 range. For my $60 up necklaces I have only one on each tray. Since I’ve done this separate my sales has gone up. I add labels that explain all the materials and if I have a special store behind the more expensive necklaces I write them up in a little booklet I figured out how to make in Word that is pinned in the tray as well. This really has improved sales.

  • Catherine says:

    Linda, I used to think people preferred the neck stands as well. I’m so glad I did away with those. After I stopped using them I asked for feedback and everyone said they didn’t like the neck stands because it was usually overwhelming to them. Since those comments were made and I’ve been using this method for over a year now I’ve noticed when I go and evaluate shows for our attendance consideration that less people visit the jewelry stands that are crowded and have neck stands. Plus when we do the outdoor shows I don’t worry about the wind anymore. The trays are flat and don’t move even in 24 mph winds (our max). Hope this helps.

    I’m doing an indoor show this weekend and I built a shelf for one of the tables and I’m going to add the 4 heads on it. Going to watch the reaction. The last indoor show I did this with last month it didn’t go well. People looked more and stayed longer at the tables that didn’t have the neck stands. I guess it was proving my previous point. I have no idea why I built the shelf now. One more show and then I’ll dismantle it and use it for something else in the future. I only have the shelf on one 6′ table, not all three.

  • marlene strait says:

    I also use the trays, but mine are the black ones. I use the grey carrying cases. Got them all from Nile Corp. Have had them for over 15-16yrs and they look just like new.
    Maybe I am weird but I don’t like all the different levels. To me it seems chaotic. The trays make it seem organized. And yes setup and tear down is so very easy!!

  • Karen says:

    I’m conflicted now because I use neck bust to display. I thought booths should have height? I didn’t think people would want to look down the table to view the jewelry for sale? So confused now. If this is not true I’m thinking of changing to save room and time.

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