Last week, the first in our series on selling art at craft fairs looked at choosing the right craft fair. This week, we’re going to concentrate on setting up your stall to create an enticing display for customers.
Most craft fairs will include a table for sellers, or perhaps a larger stall space with walls for you to hang items. However, it’s important to check what’s included before you start planning your stall, so you don’t arrive at the fair with your decorations only to discover you were meant to supply your own table!
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Once you’ve got the table, it’s time to consider a few very important details:
Customers need visual appeal to bring them to your stall. You’re competing against other talented artists who have bright stalls packed full of goods, so make sure your stall looks visually stunning. One way to do this is to think about height.
Position your pieces so they’re visible to anyone wandering past—this usually means setting up stands and displays so that your paintings are propped upright. You may also be able to hang your paintings on a wall behind you. Whatever you do, don’t llie them all flat on your table, or no one will see them.
Use furniture, props, shelves, boxes and stands to alternate the height of your paintings to add visual interest. (You can drape a dark cloth over boxes to disguise them, and make them more visually appealing as well.)
Consider the people attending the craft fair, and who they’re buying for. Are they shopping for their own homes, or for gifts for children or their own parents? Does the fair cater to a certain holiday or demographic—such as kids, weddings or Christmas?
Arrange your stall accordingly, and ensure all decorations, clothes, frames, signs and displays incorporate your branding and appeal to the type of customers you’re trying to attract.
This means if it’s a sophisticated, high end fair, you need to stick to simple, clean, modern lines and impeccable displays. If it’s a laid back, artsy fair, you can get away with loopy handwritten signs and a multi-colored tablecloth.
Demonstrations and Props
Depending on the nature of your art, you may want to include props that enhance your pieces or demonstrate their use. For example, if you create beautiful decorative ceramic platters and bowls, you may like to have one filled with fruit, (or even a platter stacked with free cookies—everyone loves free cookies). Jewelry often looks great hanging from mannequins and ring displays.
Sign / Banner
You want people to recognize your stall and your business name, so be sure to get a bright and bold banner or sign printed before the fair. Hang this on the front of your table to catch the eye of passers-by.
It’s vital to display your pieces in the most aesthetically pleasing way, and for many artists, this involves the use of lighting. Try to keep additional lights as small and unobtrusive as possible, especially if you’ve only got a small space. If you think you’ll need extra power outlets, inquire about these before the show.
It can be helpful to arrange your stall setup at home on your dining room table before you go. This lets you walk around it, admire it at your leisure and decide if it needs anything else. And of course, be sure to pack all the props and artwork you need carefully into your car the night before the show, and keep a checklist handy so you don’t forget anything!
In my next article I’ll be discussing a vital element of craft fair success—promotion and marketing—so make sure to check back next week for that!