by Luann Udell.
(Keene, New Hampshire)
I’d never done a trunk show before. You know me – that was all the excuse I needed to over-think and over-prepare!
But I think it was a successful event.
Here are some of the things I considered as I pulled my display together:
A trunk show means
you bring EVERYTHING
But it can’t look like everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink, either. I still wanted a cohesive display.
So I set out several “series” of jewelry and grouped them accordingly. I had plenty more samples in reserve.
It should look
different than a craft show booth
My artist-of-the-month display looks a lot like my fine craft booth. It’s a formal display, an in-depth look at my work in a museum-like setting.
But I wanted my trunk show to look like just that – like I’d traveled to the show, bringing a personal collection of items for my customers’ enjoyment.
I even asked for a few chairs, so that people could sit and talk as I worked.
It should still be obvious
what you’re selling
One of the drawbacks of a totally creative display is, sometimes you can’t tell what people are selling.
How many times have you walked by a booth at a show filled with wonderful props and eclectic display – only to wonder what the heck they’re selling??!!
(Hint: If people keep trying to buy your display pieces, those display pieces are TOO interesting!)
I got around this by sticking to the vintage suitcases as my only “prop”. The rest of the display featured traditional black steel jewelry display pieces–earring holders, necklace holders, etc.
I also confined my larger, bolder, more elaborate pieces to the suitcase display.
The smaller, simpler pieces went on the traditional display fixtures, where they were able to be seen more easily.
People did ask about the suitcases, but they also stuck around longer to enjoy the entire show.
Because the pieces were simply “laid out” – not elaborately draped and swagged – the message was still clear: “It’s okay to touch!”
a reason to hang out
At a craft show, there may be thousands of people coming with the intent to see as much as they can.
If they like my work and my booth, they enter. Then they are in “my world”.
It can be harder when you’re simply a display in a store. Right next to your table are examples of a dozen other artists’ work!
I decided to do make up some simple necklaces featuring my artifacts and torch work with sterling silver wire.
This gave even casual observers an excuse to hang out, watch and ask questions.
It’s only your time.
To quote Greg Brown, “Time ain’t money when all ya got is time.” (From “Just a Bum”)
Yes, my time is valuable, but it wasn’t like I was paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars to be there at the gallery that day.
It was a nice, relaxed opportunity to introduce new people to my work.
So by keeping my expectations low, my presentation skills high, by keeping myself busy even during slow times (but totally available during busy times) I ended up having a great time, acceptable sales and met some amazing new collectors of my work!
Luann, what an absolutely cool way to set up your trunk show! The vintage suitcases are a fantastic touch.
I also love your “literature table” with your postcards, business cards, brochures, etc. Great idea.
It really does look like you traveled the world gathering up treasures to share – which is a perfect theme for your “ancient stories retold in modern artifacts” style.
I’m sure the folks attending the event would have been really surprised to discover it was your first trunk show.
Thanks so much for sharing your displays and your experience with us, Luann!
Trunk show and all
What an idea! I also enjoyed reading your blog and somewhere I read about your experience about teaching a teenager boy who was your intern. You wrote about what you learned from him and the four stages of learning. It was very interesting. I think I’ll go back to your blogs again to visit. Tried to leave a comment but the wordpress probably did not accept it:(
Take care – Dita
by: Luann Udell
Rena, I am delighted to give back a little bit, as you have given so much to all of us. :^D
Dita, I just approved your lovely comment. No worries, you should be able to post more of them now! :^)
by: Alicia Arnold
I love this! I have vintage luggage and an empty store window and I think this is a fantastic idea!!!! Thank you so much, and I hope you sell a lot of jewelry!