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Chantay

Packing Methods For Show

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Hi all,

 

So with a few shows behind me I'm looking for packing advice. Do you pack by product? Ie: all mugs together, all bowls together, etc... or for those who have more than one color scheme, all blues together, all white, all green, etc....

 

I do all functional ware. Planning to narrow down to three color schemes. I packed by color. Then when I sold a green mug, I had to dig through the green boxes to find another. Thinking there must be an easier way.

 

 

I have a new glaze. Almost every person who came in my booth picked it up and commented on how beautiful it was. They would hold it and fondle it. Only one mug sold. It was only $16. I plan to make more of this glaze. But wondering if it is going to sell.

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The only thing I do to save time is to separate backstock from frontstock. In other words, I know exactly how much quantity of each item will be in my initial display, and everything else is backstock. When I am setting up, I don't even have to open the backstock boxes, just stow them under tables. I only have to unpack the frontstock.

 

Before I started doing this, I had to unpack everything, decide what was frontstock, then repack and stow the backstock.

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I like Rubbermaid bins because they stack 3 across the back of my van and are meant to pile on top of each other. I label them with masking tape because they're not see through. I'll make bins that are "mug only", but the rest gets mixed because that's what stacks nicely together. I like Mea's idea about the front and back stock.

 

I went with plastic bins after the heavens opened rather spectacularly at my first outdoor show and all my cardboard apple boxes got soaked. >.<

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I have a new glaze. Almost every person who came in my booth picked it up and commented on how beautiful it was. They would hold it and fondle it. Only one mug sold. It was only $16. I plan to make more of this glaze. But wondering if it is going to sell.

 

This type of scenario always interests me ... WHY are they not buying it?  I've had items like that ... if I could have charged a quarter for picking them up, I would have made thousands.  Show us that color?

 

As for packing,  I pack everything in see through sturdy plastic if I am planning on restocking.  The best sellers in their own container ... that would only be 3 containers for your mugs, one for each color.  Smaller containers so weight is 25-30 pounds or less.  If you use boxes, I've found those brightly colored labels to be way more effective than writing on the boxes.  Color coordinate your labels so all the green pottery is marked with a lime green label.

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We take a few hundred pieces totaling about 10k (not counting small items) and put it all out. We are definitely leaning toward GEPs approach in leaving some for backstock and do the initial stock. One game changer for setup and tear down dropped by a third (went from 3 to 2 hours on each end) is when we stopped wrapping each pottery item in bubble wrap and got boxes with dividers and slip in covers. We stack mugs in these by separating with cardboard squares. No breakage yet.

 

Now we are looking to get rid of a fancy $1500 display system that just takes way too long to assemble and disassemble (an hour on each end) to a more folding out type displays- no bolts.

 

Overall I would really like to get setup and take down to an hour or so and I think it is doable. How long is yours taking?  

 

Congrads on your season. How has it gone financially?

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Stephen,

  I just finished building a display that I think will work really well.  I have my first show with it starting this afternoon.

  The system takes about 3 minutes to put together and packs up fairly small.  I have one unit 8 feet long and one 6 feet long.  They each have 5 shelves that taper back 2" for each shelf starting with the bottom shelf about 18" wide and the top shelf 10" wide.  The whole system is remarkably stable.  There are no screws or pins between the shelves and the supports.  The whole system is made from standard 1"x12"x8' pine that I but to build beehives.  I packed up the full show worth of pottery on it and left it for a few days and I am convinced it will hold up long term.  I just added two photos to my gallery.  I will try to add them here, but I don't know if it will work.

 

display loaded

display unloaded

 

  The other reason for setting up the entire show display was to follow the advice above about not having to separate display pieces from backstock while setting up.  That really slowed me down in past shows.

 

 

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very nice and seems really stable.  I think having the wide to narrow design is certainly the way to go. Will definately consider your design, Thanks!

 

My biggest advice is making sure the display sits true with zero movement. We went through some heavy duty wind at a few shows this year and it was clearly a big deal having a strudy display system. At one show I was literally behind the tent holding it in place as 50mh gust blew through. The tent was going nuts but the interconected and bolded display racks sat like a rock and nothing even rattled. It really is weird to see the first time it happens because with the tent going bonkers you expect to have pottery start rattling and falling over but on a sturdy rack it just sits still while the wind blows through, or at least it has so far :-)

 

...on a totally differnet note incase someone doesn't know (I didn't at first) be sure and open a gap between the top and sides on all 4 sides when you get wind gust. On ours I just pull the velcro free and the wind opens the gap and can move through. At one show a tent became a short lived balloon and ended up in the bay.

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Jeff, love the shelves, I have been looking at different designs and will be building a set asap.

Stephen for some added stability with this set up, you could go with  a 2"X12" on the bottom shelf or 2" on the bottom two shelves.

I have lost quite a few 10'x10' e-z up tents. Some in the rain, but most were wind related. I stake the corners with some 12" to 18" rebar stakes in the grass and tie 50 lb weights to the corners when on hard surfaces. If it's a really windy show, I just take the top off or take them down. I stick with the same brand to keep spare parts for repairs. I buy one or two every year to keep them looking nice.

 

I was thinking about getting a paper void filling machine for packing. Anyone use one?

What do you guys use to seperate pieces cardboard, single faced corrigated cardboard, bubble wrap, excelsior wood wool or ???

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An old neighbour of ours used to work at a paper plant. She gave me a few reams of 2 ply soft paper that has a thin layer of plastic sandwiched in the middle. I think they are incontinence sheets, not pads, for hospital beds. They get better the more they are used, for packing that is  ;). Don't tear and kind of fluff up a bit. I also use foam pouches in 3 sizes. Makes packing up really fast. For big platters I made the pouches out of foam underlayment material for wood floors, I see it quite often in Habitat for Humanity and those type stores for a few dollars a roll. 

 

One other thing for the set-up and overstock is to print out inventory lists in large font then when stock is taken out of overstock boxes the inventory number is updated. What gets sold out on the display gets written down. This way I don't unpack boxes after sales, refill the stock boxes but don't unpack it all. Pouches and paper stays in the boxes the pots came from. When it gets crazy busy this doesn't work as well but maybe thats a good thing :)  

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