WANT TO STAND OUT AT A CRAFT SHOW? TRY THESE DISPLAY TRICKS is one of my more popular articles with over 20,000 people reading it each month (and growing). Through that article I’ve received lots of emails and comments from readers asking for ideas on how they can create an impactful display for their products. “How do I display my handmade jewelry at a craft fair?” is one of the most popular questions I get asked and so I put together this article!
If you haven’t read that article yet, check it out here for explanations and visual examples of the 10 eye-catching elements shared in this article.
I wanted to take the ideas from the article and get a little more specific while answering some of your questions on how you can apply these techniques to your category of product.
I’m going to start with this article and cover the category of JEWELRY, since it’s a popular one.
If you’re interested in another category, please comment below with what you sell and I may be able to write a similar article for your type of products.
So let’s get started!
One thing I don’t mention in the article WANT TO STAND OUT AT A CRAFT SHOW? is how you should start your display. Of course you can set up a booth or table using the basics and let your products speak for themselves. But you’ll garner a lot more attention and be more effective if there’s more to your space than “here are my products on a table”.
I’ve often related a craft show booth to a store window and how you should be standing back and making sure your entire space conveys the right message. Let’s start there.
You sell jewelry. What’s the message of your jewelry? In other words, what’s the purpose, mission and values behind your brand? If you’re unsure, might I suggest downloading the free sample chapter MAKING PRODUCTS THAT PROFIT to help you refine your products and find your unique selling point? Download it for free here. I KNOW you’ll find value in it 🙂
There must be something that makes your work stand out if you want to build a loyal customer base. Use the questions below to uncover your message.
Do you sell classic pieces that can go from casual to dressy so customers can get tons of use out of each item? Or maybe you create colorful sets that make gift-giving easy. Or you decided to make sets so people can add a splash of color to an outfit by layering on several pieces. You have a specific need you’re filling, define what that is.
We often come up with product ideas when we see a lack. “I could never find celebrity trends for affordable prices” or “I was tired of all my necklaces breaking after my toddler pulled on them” may be the inspiration behind a jewelry line and the message that should be highlighted. Consider the gap in the marketplace you wanted to fill.
Is it for someone who has classic style and likes understated pieces or for someone who likes to go big, bold and colorful when it comes to fashion? Think about your audience and who you want to serve. Which messages are they interested in?
I know you may be thinking “I’m selling jewelry here, not solving world
hunger” but there is a reason behind every purchase. Even if the reason is
as simple as wanting to buy something pretty, you should be aware of it.
If most of your customers purchase your pieces because they want to treat themselves without breaking the bank, making them feel as though they’re getting a lot of bang for their buck would be a good message to convey. Your space may be set up like an expensive jewelry boutique, keeping stock behind the table and making each item look exclusive
and high-end. You could also incorporate this message into your packaging and take the time to wrap each purchase in a pretty box with a bow so they have something to unwrap when they get home.
Other customer problems needing to be solved may be: not knowing how to pull a look together but wanting to stay up to date on the latest jewelry trends. A bride needing jewelry for herself and her entire bridal party. Or shoppers wanting jewelry that’s ethically made so they can feel good about their purchase. If you often hear “I’m tired of buying jewelry that falls apart” you may want to play up the message that you create high-quality, durable jewelry.
Consider the frustrations your ideal customer may have with jewelry and how you solve them.
It could be that you use a certain type of stone, jewel, metal or technique. Or maybe your company gives back to the community by donating a portion of each sale to a local charity. Play up the aspect(s) your competitors aren’t covering and that shoppers associate with your
Let’s say I’m a jewelry maker selling bright, colorful, statement pieces. We’re talking bold items; big stones and gems in neons and saturated primary colors. My main focus is necklaces and I offer a few bracelets and rings for those who like to match pieces.
My message may be: bold, colorful, statement necklaces for those who like to be loud with their accessories and add a new look to their existing wardrobe, without breaking the bank.
Now that I know the message I want to communicate to shoppers, I can move on to the next step.
Before we can start implementing the elements from the WANT TO STAND OUT AT A CRAFT FAIR? article, we need to think about the setting we want to display our jewelry in.
To do so, think about where your jewelry might be worn. Consider the season, occasion, environment or even the inspiration behind your collection.
If you sell elegant pieces of jewelry for dressing up, your items may be worn to a Christmas dinner party or to a summer wedding. If your pieces are a little more casual, they may be worn to a coffee shop, the beach or at a music festival.
Once you decide on the setting you would like to mimic, you can go as subtle or as bold as you like. Add a few key elements or props people associate with the setting or recreate the entire scene.
Let’s say my bold jewelry pieces are fit to be worn to a Christmas dinner party. If I wanted to hint at a holiday party in my space, I may add a few elements such as Christmas carols softly playing in the background, mini lights or wrapped presents used as risers on my table.
If I really wanted to make a statement with my space and have people feel as though they’re stepping into my home for a holiday dinner, I might set my craft fair table up like a dinning room table ready to serve dinner. Except instead of serving food, I’m serving jewelry.
The table has 3 place settings and is set with plates, knives, forks, napkins and wine glasses. One necklace is displayed on each plate, bracelets act as napkin rings and wine glasses are filled with rice to mimic a glass full of white wine and to allow me to set a ring on top of the rice for display.
Behind each place setting is a tabletop bustform to mimic guests sitting at the table. They’re of course wearing tops appropriate for a fancy holiday dinner party and showing off a coordinating necklace.
Down the middle of the table are serving dishes and platters housing additional pieces and stock. Casserole dishes filled with bracelets, gravy bowls displaying rings and tiered serving trays showing off a variety of pieces.
Smaller signage would appear as place cards while larger signs mimic menu lists at a buffet.
Does that sound like a fun display or what?!
You could do the same thing with the examples I shared for casual pieces. Dress as a barista and recreate a café in your space. Display your pieces on coffee beans sitting in oversized latte cups and instead of baked goods in a display case, show off your jewelry. Or if you imagine your pieces being worn with a sundress on the beach, recreate the beach in your space using sand, seashells and beach toys (e.g. pail and shovel or beach balls).
Now that we know the message and setting, we can begin adding elements from the WANT TO STAND OUT AT A CRAFT SHOW? article.
Remember, you don’t want to use all of the elements or you’ll overwhelm shoppers. Instead you want to pick around 1 – 3. Or, if your space makes use of several eye-catching elements, make sure only 1 – 3 of them are dominant.
I’ll explain how I might use each element in my Christmas dinner party setting BUT I wouldn’t actually use all 10 eye-catching tactics in my space.
Red and green are the colors of Christmas however, because my jewelry is so colorful, I would go for simple white or black tablecloth, napkins, plates, serving dishes, clothes on the bustform, etc. To make an impact using the colors in my pieces, I would want to create strong collections and group those together. (More info on creating product collections here and in the sample chapter of MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS which you can download here).
For example, one place setting may show off my hot pink and neon yellow collection with the pink and yellow necklace displayed on the plate, matching bracelet sitting next to the plate around a napkin, the ring sitting at the top of the wine glass and another version of the
necklace shown on the bustform. The next place setting may show off my royal blue and neon green collection and my turquoise and neon yellow collection is shown in the next place setting.
I could also take one color from one of my collections or from my logo and repeat it in signage and a few other props to pull the space together.
If instead of being colorful, my pieces were neutral using silver and clear crystals, then I would reverse my display and choose one holiday color to repeat in my props. For example, I might choose bright red napkins, dress bustforms in red tops and use red in my signage. The pops of red spread throughout the space would really catch the eye and create a cohesive display. The lack of color can also be impactful so alternatively I could create an all-white space to highlight the oversized sparkly jewels and communicate elegance.
Stringing mini lights in my space would create a bit of ambiance or if I wanted to go all out and had the space to do so, I would add a lighted Christmas tree to my space. Another option would be to add LED flameless candles to the table setting and place them in candleholders.
As mentioned in the article WANT TO STAND OUT AT A CRAFT FAIR? this element takes a little more explanation and practice to master. If you’re looking for more direction, please purchase either MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS ($15.99 or less) or THE SUCCESSFUL INTROVERT ($9.99). I cover the topic in both ebooks but in different ways and using different examples.
Using the elements already mentioned I would arrange them in the following way to create flow and lead the eye from one composition to the next. The full sized Christmas tree would first catch the eye as shoppers approach my space. The table would be positioned in front
and to the side of the tree and a bustform at eyelevel would lead shoppers to look down from the Christmas tree. A tiered serving tray draws the eye down from the bustform, the wine glass leads the eye down from the tray, the plate down from the glass and the napkin leads the eye to the side and on to the next place setting, which would follow a similar path but moving up.
Signage, props and products need to be arranged thoughtfully so they’re grouped together to create a vignette, display collections and tie elements together. But the groups, and elements within a group, should be arranged in a way to leave negative space so the display doesn’t become too busy. Too much space between each element and your display feels disconnected. Not enough space and it feels overwhelming.
This is grabbing attention by placing something oversized in your space. Undersized props work too, such as creating a miniature place setting with mini plates to display rings. But when you’re trying to grab attention at a busy craft fair, oversized is the way to go.
To go with my dinner party theme, I could create an oversized plate, knife and fork out of some Styrofoam. In the middle of the plate I could add an enlarged photo of a necklace or simply add my logo. I’m talking big though 😉 The plate would be at least the diameter of a car tire, maybe even twice the size.
I could either use foamcore to cut out knife and fork shapes while layering circles and rings to get a realistic looking plate or I could carve the shapes out of Styrofoam. I’d paint the utensils silver or grey and leave the plate white. I have created oversized props out of Styrofoam for a project in school and it is messy! I made an oversized apple prop out of a square block of Styrofoam. I had to cut, carve, smooth, papier-mâché and then paint to get the final product. A lot of work but it did turn out pretty cool 🙂
This one would already be in place since I’m displaying bright and colorful jewelry pieces on white props. I’ll also be contrasting with the craft fair setting. Shoppers will be walking past rows of booths and tables set up in a typical craft fair fashion. My dining room table set for dinner will stand out in contrast.
This one is also already a part of my display. The bustforms, plate, knife, fork, napkin and wine glass will be repeated three times on the table. If I didn’t go for the dinner table setup I might use repetition by displaying three oversized photos in the background of models wearing a piece of jewelry or line up 3 bustforms showing the same necklace in different colors.
If I wanted to make people chuckle when they came to my table or booth I could dress up in a butler’s costume, wearing a tailcoat and white gloves, serving jewelry options on a silver platter. Or for more subtle humor I could give my collections fun names to match the Christmas dinner theme.
I could find toys that were popular during my ideal customer’s childhood and place them at the bottom of the Christmas tree. The other prop I could add to the table are Christmas crackers. They always come in bright colors and remind me of when I was a kid, sitting through dinner with a tissue paper crown.
This one would be trickier to incorporate into my display however soft blinking lights on the Christmas tree or a few spinning ornaments would catch attention. Another option would be a rotating picture frame displaying different images of jewelry on a loop.
The entire setup of my booth would be shocking to see at a craft fair so the element of surprise is built in. But a few other ideas might be: having a helper dressed as Santa Clause for guests to take their photo with. Purchases could be wrapped in cardboard or plastic takeout containers and placed in doggie bags as though I’m sending them home with leftovers. Slipping a Christmas cracker in with each purchase would be a fun surprise for when customers get home. I could make my own or find a way
to slip my business card or a coupon in pre-made ones.
Now we have our message, setting and eye-catching elements determined. Combine them all to make one super impactful display.
MESSAGE: bold, colorful statement necklaces for those who like to be loud with their accessories and add a new look to their existing wardrobe, without breaking the bank.
This would be communicated by showing the necklaces on bustforms and on models in photos. They’d be wearing a variety of tops to show how to combine my necklaces with anything from a basic white button up, to a pattern or color. The jewelry being displayed on white backgrounds and props would really help the “colorful” aspect of my pieces stand out.
SETTING: During the holidays I want shoppers to imagine wearing my pieces to a Christmas party or dinner so implementing just a few festive props or creating the entire dining room setting would be an appropriate choice.
EYE-CATCHING ELEMENTS: As mentioned, I WOULD NOT apply each of the 10 elements explained above. The setting creates quite an impact on its own and incorporates SURPRISE. I would likely implement the ideas from COLOR, REPETITION and LINE & COMPOSITION to pull the space together and make an impact.
Your turn! Share some of your fun ideas in the comment section below. What type of jewelry do you make and where do you see your customers wearing it?
Or, if you sell something aside from jewelry, tell me what it is. Your product category may be covered next!
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