Miniature or collectible shows may be a great outlet for your miniature creations or extra stock from your collection. Here are some tips for setting up your displays for maximum effect.
Shows are not only about the day's sales. They are also a means of showing your business to people who may remember your stock and buy later, or who want a custom item and admire your work. They may also bring in publicity or other useful contacts.
Know the Rules for the Show
Make sure you are aware of the show rules and avoid getting in the way of other vendors, you want them to help you get better, not avoid you.
- What time can exhibitors set up, where do you bring in your stock, do you need particular lights, extension cords, table coverings (sometimes only particular fire proof ones are allowed) or other items?
- Can you store stock under tables?
- What dimensions is your space and what are the display restrictions (height, use of backdrops, signs)?
- Will you be sitting or standing as a vendor? Do you have a table or showcase to shelter behind so customers can browse without feeling too close to you?
- Do you need official vendor name tags for all staff?
Showcase Your Business
- Does your business have a clear name which relates to your products? Do you have signage visible when customers arrive near your table at the show? Can you mount that signage in some secure way so it is visible above customer's heads?
- Do you have a business stamp with your contact details on all your receipts?
- Do you have business cards?
- Can you use your computer to design custom labels from paper or label paper or cut them out with a paper punch?
- Can you stamp paper bags with your business logo and contact info so customers can contact you for future sales? If the answer to these is no, work out a logo and a simple business card design and have a business stamp made for an inexpensive receipt book.
Show Off Your Product
Experiment with lighting, background colors, mirrors, whatever it takes to show your product.
- Draw up a list of important product characteristics and work out how to easily represent these. Can you put delicate collectibles on plexiglass shelves and use a mirror to show backstamps to customers?
- Do your products need special lights to sparkle, or show true colors?
- Will you need simple signage to explain why these products are much more expensive or desirable than other products on your table?
- Should you have a photo of the product being made to demonstrate that it is not mass produced?
- Will a particular color of table covering continue the theme of your logo, business name, or display theme?
Arrange Your Stock for Maximum Effect
Group and display your related items or choose a theme you can use for several shows. People who buy one item, may be interested in others which are similar. At most shows products do better if they are grouped rather than random, especially where stock is very tiny and easily confused with similar items.
- Have samples or photos of other stock you may be considering for sale but which is not present, including kits or items you may not have brought (this helps if you run out of a product as well).
- If you have one very popular line, use it as a theme. Nascar diecasts, not diecasts in general.
Showcase Your Background or Skills
Do you have a background which helps customers understand your passion for your product?
- Lists of upcoming workshops or shows, copies of title pages for articles, one or two testimonials from customers all add to the sense that your products have staying power.
- Show visitors often purchase something from one table rather than another because the table owner seemed more knowledgeable about their products. Asking a customer if they are looking for something in particular, or if they have ever seen items similar to your products, helps open the possibility of a dialogue. Showing one customer the features of your products often helps one on the sidelines to step forward to buy.
- Genuine, friendly approaches to customers are always appreciated, smile!
Design Your Sales Space
New vendors often feel they must put everything they have on display. Plan your sales table as if it was a shop.
- Will a customer know immediately on seeing your table what items and what quality your are selling? Can you express that with a theme or co-ordinated colors or display materials?
- Try different table layouts on your dining room table at home. Will you need risers to lift items up closer to eye level? Can some of the materials you pack your items in to take to the show double as risers or can you have packing cases designed for double duty?
- Can you construct or adapt a lightweight, portable display using cardboard, coroplast, fabric or other materials?
- Can you simplify your display to attract a customer's attention? Many similar items often indicate 'sale'. Can you put one item on display and keep similar ones until space is available?
- If you have lots of tiny items, how can you safely keep them in place yet showcase them? Will they fit in cd bags, acrylic boxes, zip lock bags held upright in small attractively covered cardboard boxes?
After Your Show
Make notes of what worked well for you. List the things that didn't work well and try to work out how to improve them.
- Identify what made particular stock popular. Were your best sellers an item people came looking for, or were they displayed so well that they walked off your table?
- What did others have to say about your products, display or table?
- Did your display stand out in a good way from other similar sales tables?
- What three things do you think you could change for the next show?
Look for Ideas From Other Shows and Vendors
Keep looking for ideas at other craft shows or sales you attend.
- Keep a notebook with you for ideas. Do you see display stands you like, a store display that reminds you of your products?
- How are your competitors displaying, packaging and selling their products? Are your's similarly priced? or could you improve on them in some way?
Follow Up On Leads
Every show gives you avenues to explore further, take time to follow them up.
- Did you see packaging or labelling you liked?
- Did you hear of similar shows you might be able to attend?
- Did you make contact with other vendors who might take some of your work to other shows?