In the last installment of the Maker Session series Madelon Juliano, of Renegade Craft Fair, shared her vast knowledge on booth display and merchandising. For the past five years Madelon has been curating multiple Renegade Craft Fairs in different locations across the country and abroad. Her experience shined as she led the class on how to utilize the space given to each maker and the do’s and don’ts of selling at a handmade fair.
Her first piece of advice was to hone in on who you are as a maker. Ask yourself questions about how you would like your booth to best represent your product. Do you have small or large goods? Is your product minimal and simple or are you selling multiple products? Answering these questions will allow for you to decide how to set up your booth accordingly and not distract the buyer from the product for sale.
Then distinguish what kind of show you are selling at. Will it be a large or small show? Who is your audience? Will you be selling indoors or outdoors? In artificial or natural light? Are you in a corner? Who is behind you and will their display help or hurt your own? Answering these questions will better allow you to plan for the best show possible.
She then went on to give specific examples of booths that did a great job of asking and answering these questions. Many of her photos showed booths, both big and small, with custom built displays. These walls or display pieces make space for the booth to have height and dimension and more space to lead the buying eye. Also important is styling, as in the last Maker Session, styling can be a great tool for sales. Use vintage and other items to help tell the story of your product and make your brand speak. Use styling to show off your products purpose. A favorite styling tip from Madelon is the use of live plants. Plants can add life to a space and make it warm and inviting!
Signage is a fantastic way to brighten your booth and help secure your brand in the memory of the customer. Your sign tells people who you are and also gives them an idea of what you are selling. Hand painted signage is a great way to customize your booth and show of your originality. Make sure that your sign is placed so that it can be seen from multiple angles.
Selling at a fair is not only about selling your product it is also about networking and marketing yourself. Make sure to have your information in a highly trafficked and easily accessible place within your booth. How can your customer find you after the show? This should be an easy task. Business cards, mailing lists, and all of your social media info should be easily accessed by the buyer. Also free promotional items such as buttons or stickers leave a lasting impression on buyers.
Your attitude and overall appearance can greatly impact your sales. Carry yourself nicely and dress the part you want to play. If you are selling an item that can be worn, wear your work. Engage with your customer. Keep your eyes up and off of your devices. A smile can go a long way!
Some final tips from Madelon. If you are not making sales, change it up. Move your sign. Change your displays. These small details can make a big impact. Prepare for the worst by bringing multiples. Bring extra tablecloths, extension cords, and backdrops. If you have a flat booth you will have a flat day. One more time...SMILE!