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I had my first booth this weekend in a Spring Festival at the Sugar Loaf New York Crafts Village. I make mostly small candle votive holders and medium size vases, all wheel thrown and hand carved. It went well enough for my first time out that I was able to cover the booth fee for two days. It was an experiment for future shows trying to figure out what the public would buy and being able to price the pieces accordingly. I learned a lot about what I need to do in the future.

 

I tried two different arrangements. The first photo shows the first day where it was arranged in a "u" shape and I found that many people were reluctant to walk into the tent and look closely at everything. (The two boxes peeking out under the middle table were removed after this photo was taken). The second day the middle table was set up right at the front and I found it seemed to be more a friendly appearance with more people stopping by to look, touch and buy.

Since I don't yet make a lot of the same thing the pieces were arranged in a sort of random abstract way on a few different levels of lucite shelves and the table.

 

What do y'all think?

 

Paul

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you make nice pots!  

 

you might notice that the dark blue canopy makes everything dark under it.  walking into such a very dark space on a sunny day makes your eyes hurt if you are not wearing sunglasses.  nice shady spot for you, though.

 

 i agree that the center table forward works better.  it also looks as if you are given a lot of space, i don't know where else you would have so much room at the sides.  usually every fair that i do requires you to be right next to the other booths.  a ten foot square tent fits into a 12 foot square space and that is it.  the table on the left has feet that can be raised on pvc pipe to give a variety of heights.  just cut some 2inch pipe and put the feet into them.  

 

next time you will be more comfortable with the whole thing.  

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High five for completing your first show!

 

I agree with oldlady that the blue roof is too dark, and will change the colors of your pots. Possible to replace it with a white roof?

 

The row across the front is better for the amount of pots you brought. The U shape will be better when you have a larger inventory. People may have opted not to enter because the booth did not look full. For multi-day shows, I always start with a U shape. But if my inventory starts to look sparse, I will rearrange my tables across the front for the last day. Because I've seen for myself that people will not enter a booth that doesn't look full.

 

Overall, congratulations on a good job!

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Thank you for your kind words and advice. Even though the canopy was dark it was mostly sunny for the two days and the sun was always shining in brightly. The photos do look a bit dark though and I'll keep that in mind for the next time. Each candle holder had a wax or led candle lit up in them which didn't show brightly enough because of the sun so I'm a little disappointed in that.

 

The space was great. We had about a 3-4 foot space between each 10x10 booth.

 

Paul.

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You have some lovely vivid colours there, and congratulations on your first show! May there be many more.

I would suggest that some of the risers you have are too low, and too close to the same height. If the weather permits, you can stack what you have up a bit more than you have there.

The candle idea in all the lanterns works really well if you ever do a night market.

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Looks nice!  About candles .... some shows don't allow wax so if you do more shows just check to see if they are allowed.   Led is a always a nice alternative, as you already have them too.   Nice signage too.    Matching table clothes in a solid color ... you did a lot of things right.  I like the table out front too .... as mentioned it looks like more inventory.

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Blue roof has to go-Just order a white replacement-any color other than white taints the light and your wares. Its just a bad thing. White is the only way to go. Pots look best in the sun if you can not have a cover. I use a top at most shows but at a few local ones (two)  and one out of state in apart (very safe) I never due unless its raining.

Pots always shine best in real sun light.

I do  recall my 1st show it was on the 4th of July in 1973 or two?I have not missed a 4th since selling pottery on that day is 73-worked every one the past 42 years. The 4th is a holiday for most just not a motivated potter like me. I may stop after 45 years of working the 4th just to see what you all feel like on that holiday?I have been telling my customers some day I will not have a booth on the street on the 4th.My booth has been on the same corner since time began at both my local shows in Arcata.

I'm mumbling now-get that blue roof replaced with a white one. I had a spare top but gave it away two years ago.

I have 3 canopies now-one new one in a box -yes overkill but its my style.You never know when your spare may fail.

Mark

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I like your sign.

Had some good advice from Mark Cortnoy which I use and it works. People like pots at eye level. I would move away from the tables and build a couple of standing shelves. sold most of my pots from these shelves.

Tom.

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I also had my first booth Saturday at a Wine and Craft show just up the road.  About 12 wineries and 15 vendors.  Guess I was lucky in the draw to get a spot on the front row corner just in front of the gate.  The more wine they drank, the more pots they bought!!!  A very simple stand, one table and a rack that I had made.  I noticed that the rack drew more attention even with risers on some pots on the table.  I think the contrast with stained wood catches the eye better.  post-2928-0-74597600-1432649099_thumb.jpg 

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Paul, you're off to a great start! I would try to get even more height in your display. A simple way is to use some old wooden fruit crates or something similar as risers to display your pots at different levels. I also agree with getting a white top. Man shows that I do actually require white- no colors allowed. I would also look at getting some table covers that aren't black. I would go with a lighter color that is less contrasting to your work. Try to make it look more homey. Congrats on your first show. My first show had several inches of rain in under an hour, and 40mph winds.

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neil, my first attempt at the bluemont fair in va came just as i was starting to build a house out there.  i had a shed but the roof was not yet on and i spent the night in a sleeping bag under flimsy plastic that blew off in the rain.  the pots were in the car so i could not have slept there.  and i was on the mountain in the woods so a locking door to keep critters out was most important.  dry clothes felt SO good in the morning.

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neil, my first attempt at the bluemont fair in va came just as i was starting to build a house out there.  i had a shed but the roof was not yet on and i spent the night in a sleeping bag under flimsy plastic that blew off in the rain.  the pots were in the car so i could not have slept there.  and i was on the mountain in the woods so a locking door to keep critters out was most important.  dry clothes felt SO good in the morning.

 

One of my big rules for art fairs is to always have a full change of clothes. Socks, underwear, everything. I have need them on several occasions due to rain storms. Even when the weather is good, it's nice to have a clean shirt to put on after getting all sweaty loading the truck after the show.

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What I like to do, when setting up a booth, is to create consistence through color. It makes a booth a lot easier on the eye to a customer who is new to your products. It can be quite the challenge if you, like me, like to try different things all the time. Usually it works out though, and I've begun to stay within some limits in terms of color, as well as style. Height can really bring a lot of presentation to your pieces, making the ones you're most proud of stand out.

 

Here's a picture from my latest stall (which was acutally smaller than promise, so everything couldn't quite fit :().

 

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Thanks again for the advice. White canopy, higher displays, got it and will do next time.

Paul

Maybe a compromise on the booth front - a table or low shelves in front to stop 'em and lure them further in to see more.

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Rebekah wrote "I recently purchased blue and white gift bags with yellow paper."

 

I would love to see some of the marketing/merchandise assists and packaging that people use.....the bags, the tags, the tissue, ribbon, boxes, cards, etc. etc. and different approaches for big items, little items, for men vs.women, and so forth.

 

I am considering using a black & white packaging theme, with a hit of red, gray, or yellow "depending", for some/most stuff, and for other types of goods, depending on venue, using a natural (brown Kraft products) look throughout, with just a contrasting raffia tie where one is needed. These two approaches would not be mixed together within any given location.

 

Pics would be most appreciated!

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I would love to see some of the marketing/merchandise assists and packaging that people use.....the bags, the tags, the tissue, ribbon, boxes, cards, etc. etc. and different approaches for big items, little items, for men vs.women, and so forth.

Pics would be most appreciated!

I use brown kraft bags and white tissue paper from Uline. Went with paper because they can be recycled. I have a round brown kraft sticker from Avery that I print with my pottery name that I put on the bag. Seems more folks are using their own bags and just ask for the tissue wrapped item.

 

Inside my bags I have a business card and a list of upcoming shows. I pre-stuff the bags so I don't have to worry about that at a show.

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i take a number of used bags to offer a choice of recycled or not.  most people remark that they like the idea of a recycled bag and many who buy small things, do not want a bag, just put it into whatever they are carrying.  my friends in fl are very happy to use new fancy bags and colored tissue paper but they are not selling to support a family, just having fun and being able to buy more clay.

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For straight point-of-purchase I too use recyclable/re-purposed materials and simple tissue or paper wraps. The fancy-schmancy packaging is specific to items ordered and known to be given as personal gifts or for bulk-quantity small items for gatherings (<50). Women buying gear trays for men love the look of the black box with gray (or red) tissue and men buying the jewelry trays for women love that it can be all wrapped up, ready to go; white bag/box and yellow tissue works well for this.  This is not for craft shows, tho.

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I've always used recycled brown paper bags (until so many stores stopped using them and I had to buy in quantity from Uline, which kinda defeats the recycled part but they've become part of my "trademark").

I use a largish one to crumple generously around the pot and then put it into another one. I like this packing much better than bubble wrap at fairs for padding my delicate pots and, really, nothing will protect it if it's dropped.

I use the crumpled bags over and over to pack my pots into plastic milk crates to transport and rarely lose one to packing accidents. The bags get soft as cloth after a while, then disintegrate. I never transport in cardboard boxes (too flexible) or wood (too heavy) but the crates are rigid enough that I don't need to allow 2" all around so I can get quite a few more in one box than with cardboard to go to shows. For shipping, it's the 2" Rule!

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I'm into low cost wrap and bags.

1st as I have said for years I pack all my pottery into banana boxes from the supermarket and a few apple boxes. I use them until they get beat and recycle them. I know a few other potters like me who do the same.

I can stack 75-80 of them into my van for every show.

Next I buy brown paper bags by the bail at a united grocer store that sells food and such wholesale to restaurants and markets-these stores are in most areas under different names . Our whole county only has 110 ,ooo people so the area is small but it has one of these stores-you have one in your area but do not know about it.

I buy the bags in 3 sizes.large (regal large size you get with your groceries-meduim like a #735 and a small one for smalls

I do not do fancy or bother with foo foo I get the pot home alive as I like to say. the value is in the work not the wrap.

I wrap all pottery in unprinted newsprint on roll ends from a newspaper place in the next county. This item is getting harder to find. You can buy the sheets at uline but they are more spendy as anything Uline is..

I buy a 3/4 ton truck full of roll ends for $50-that lasts for about 5-6 years

I have a custom roller  that holds the roll vertical at my booth for space saving. I keep a few spares nearby as at a good show I go thru many rolls.

you can see it here in my booth from the 4th of july in 2014 between my legs in front of my sales table.

This will be my 42 straight 4th of July show selling pottery-I'm tired just thinking about that-hey whats it like having the 4th of July off as a holiday-last one I had off I was teenager .Still trying to wrap around that thought

Mark

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Ya know I think so many of our customers are buying gifts and presentation seems to be appreciated. We have always used a nice lineup of printed bags and boxes so don't know how much difference in sales it has made but we get lots of positive feedback from people giving the pots as a gift and it means we get to get our information in front of the person they are giving the gift to and that will raise our profile and maybe mean more sales down the road.

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