Wondering About Table Placement at an Outdoor Show

by Leslie Evans.
(Tarrytown, New York)

Sterling Silver Honey Bee Earrings

Sterling Silver Honey Bee Earrings

I am just beginning to apply to some outdoor arts and crafts fairs, and I was wondering what the concensus was about table placement.

Is it best for me the salesperson to be behind a table or to put the table against the wall of a tent?

I am wondering about this from a sales perspective and a theft perspective. Some of my pieces will be in a case and some will be laying out on pads on the table.

Thanks for your input!

Leslie Evans
Thompson Every Designs


Lay out your fair tent like a shop
by: Margaret Jones

I do both. I have a counter height table at the front of my tent that I stand and/or sit behind. I try to put items on this counter that will attact passerbys and encourage them to come into my tent and look at the items I have on tables that line the sides and back of my tent. My tent is laid out like a little shop.

Would love to see pics
by: Cindy

Margaret, I’d love to see pics of your setup. Do you have a web site with pictures of your booth?

booth display
by: nupur arora

hi cindy!
Even though i totally agree with margaret’s idea of doing the tables against the wall of the tent, but a lot of times, people feel like they will be expected or coerced into buying if they come into your tent! For some reason a lot times, they want to only peep to the first 3 feet, so i do two tables across the front instead of making a “U” shape with three.

I have bed risers that i put under my tables to give it height so that they can have an intimate connection and it is closer to the eye and away from toddler’s hands. It seems to make them want to look because they don’t have to bend too much 🙂
Towards the back i put table top racks and use my mannequins o that with the jewelry on the bust display. I use over-the-top dramatic pieces which show my skill or my esthetic and is not affordable for all but is eye catching.the folding shelf on the table top adds height and also attracts the eye. One side i use as a checkout counter and keep my gift boxes and poly bags, business cards to put inside,receipt books, calculator etc and also keep enough space on the sides so that i can move in and out.

One needs to constantly straighten up things and add new pieces during the show and also it gives you a good perspective about how it looks to your customer from the front.

I hope this helps, if you have a banner, be sure to put it in a visibly prominent place and also dont do any lightweight stuff, if it is windy day, it can send a lot of things flying/toppling.

I wish you a lot of success at your craft fair. oh! and remember if there is a demo that you can do, it really attracts the crowds!
many regards

Booth photo
by: Margaret Jones

An earlier version of my outdoor booth can be found on my blog at www.plucksblog.com
I do not yet have a photo of this years booth since my first outdoor fair will be this coming Saturday.

Table set up
by: Stephanie

I have the u-shaped set up. I have 5 tables that are 4′ by 2′. I line them up around the sides of the tent and I have a seat in a back corner where I can see everything. On the ends of the U, facing the front of the tent, I have very colorful, eye-catching items that encourage interaction (such as stretchy bracelets). This helps pull them into the tent.

I feel this set up encourages people to come in and see everything, almost like a real store. Otherwise it’s too easy just to breeze on by with nothing but a quick glance. It also gives them the opportunity to come in out of the sun/rain/wind. If they are comfortable they are more likely to shop.

If I’m fortunate enough to have an end of aisle spot, I open up another tent flap and folks can browse from inside and outside the booth.

Both Ways
by: Leslie Evans

Thanks everyone for all your comments. I can see the advantage to either set up. In the end I suppose it’s the customer who will take the time at your booth and enjoy shopping. I do see the importance of having something attractive and eye catching close to the outside to get people’s attention. Thanks all for your time and thoughts…

by: Nina Gibson

I usually make an L shaped table set up. Inviting displays and a place to step into the shade work well for me. When it’s not warm, closer to the front of the tent works, but I usually still go with an L table placement.

by: The Happy DayDreamer

I have never done an outside show because I am by myself and feel setting up a tent would be rather difficult for one person. Is there an easy way to do this or a great tent to consider?
Thanks so much!

Table placement
by: ReyerWare

Being from Kansas, I set up both ways depending upon the wind conditions. If it is really windy, I will set up a U shape inside the tent with the walls left up. If the conditions allow, I will set up a U shape with the tables facing outward and myself inside the U-shape.

Just a note for adding height to your displays, I check Hobby Lobby when they are running their clearance sales and pick up the taller candle sticks (the ones for the larger candles) and set them apart with a piece of glass or mirror across them. You can usually find them in varying heights. I have had many comments on how nice the tables look.

Our Outdoor Setup
by: Sabrina

I sell outside exclusively. The many festivals and events in which I vendor are very heavily attended, and so I need to have assistance in order to keep an eye on everything in the booth.

We set up our tables to sell from the OUTSIDE of our booth for several reasons.
1) You can keep an eye on your product. If people are inside your booth with you, they can place themselves between you and your product displays.
2) More than 4 people in a 10 x 10 space (our sales area) and you cannot watch everyone at once.
3) 5 people inside the tent and it’s crowded — I can have 12 people looking at product from OUTSIDE the tent area.

Some other tips:
* In those corners where you simply cannot watch, we place a small basket of $1 rings (my cost – $.15). We jokingly refer to them as “Thieves’ Rings”. If someone simply HAS to shoplift something, they are the easiest and cheapest thing to loose.
* I had my hubby make me some table-top cabinets with hinged see-through tops that I can keep my more expensive items in. I pull them out as people ask about them, keeping control of them at all times.
* The tables I use have adjustable legs so I can lift them up so people can see things at an easier viewing height.
* I use a heavy-duty tent. Mine happens to be by King Canopy. A bit of rough weather on a cheaper, lighter tent, and you are out a few hundred bucks! I can buy replacement parts for this one on their website. I can set it up by myself, too!

I hope this helps … there are some photos on my website at www.lavenderlaceceltic.com


table set up
by: Paula K’s Designs

I also set my tables so they can view them from outside the tent also for the reason you can watch all of your product I use risers for height. I purchased the shelving units from Menards. plastic ones I have lighting for them. Lighting is very important if you are out at night you will want to make sure you have lighting.

However if my space is to small and I have to do an inside the tent one I usually do an L shape and them I am on one side also to watch.

hope this helps good luck.

by: Margaret Jones

I do fairs by myself so I purchased a cheaper tent from Amazon because it is lighter than the more expensive tents. It is similar to an Easy Up tent. Even though it may not last as long I am able to manage it. I practiced in my driveway putting it up by myself. I get to fairs early to give myself enough time to set up. Often other vendors offer to help get the tent up but I am able to do it myself if I have to.

Tent Tip
by: ReyerWare

Margaret, I looked at your tent set up on your blog and really like it. I have a tent basically just like yours, and I came up with an easier way to attach the sides. I went to Harbor Freight (or you can go to almost any hardware store) and purchased a tool and grommets. I positioned grommets 1 ft apart along the top of each side panel and then use the old fashion shower curtain hooks to attach the sides. It is so much easier, especially if you are setting it up by yourself and are vertically challenged such as myself. I have also purchased a grommet set in a smaller diameter and plan to do the same with the sides but using shoe laces or something along the same line to secure the sides. I find that the velcro tends to loosen up in the winds.

For inexpensive banner check out VistaPrint. If you watch their “Free” sales, you can get one basically for the cost of shipping. I got mine done when they were also offering free uploads and have my color logo on it for the only the cost of shipping.

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