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August 2015

Personal Appearance and the Pathetic Aesthetic - Where's Tim Gunn When You Need Him?

PATHETIC-AESTHETIC-appearance-t-shirt-apron

Wanted-Better-Display-6-iPATHETIC-aESTHETIC-appearanceThere are a couple more issues related to the previous post, WANTED Better Display - Offender # 6 Pathetic Aesthetic.
The first is a very personal, yet important component to the booth display aesthetic -- the artist's appearance.

Yes, YOUR appearance in your booth should reinforce the aesthetic signature of your display and your work.

At every art and craft show the appearance of the artist is very much a part of the story that your customers want to buy. The moment someone walks into your space, the artist/maker is playing a role as the creative individual that every customer wishes they could be. This is why so many art/craft shows require the artist/maker actually be there to sell their work. 

The artist/maker is always selling more than just a vase, plate, cups, clothing, piece of jewelry, sculpture or painting. You are selling the personification of the creative individual. YOU are the star of your booth! You are walking your own red carpet moment in your booth, yet too many artist's and makers let this moment slip by due to a disappointing pathetic personal aesthetic.

Where is Tim Gunn when you need him with his sharp eye?

O.K., runway couture is not really expected, but "for maximum impact the aesthetic of your booth display needs to align with your art/craft, absolutely 100% down to the last detail." This includes you. 

Almost any attire can work, but there are some definite do's and don't's. 

Artist attire should match the price range and style of the work.

David Guiletti at his booth at ACC San Francisco 2015 David Guilette & I had a pretty frank discussion about his shirt at ACC San Francisco.  The picnic casual plaid of blue and white did not match any other feature of his display nor did it reflect the price point of his work.  

 

Jonathan SpoonsThe Jonathan Spoons husband and wife team both wore the same brown shirts matching the burnt wood colors of their display. The individual utensils were mostly about $35- $50 so the matching t-shirt and tank were completely fitting in every way.

Wardrobe choices can't get any simpler than a t-shirt or tank, but it fits their booth perfectly. When walking up to the booth display, there was no question that this dynamic duo were there to represent and sell their work.

Artist/maker clothing style should match the artistic influence expressed in the work for sale.
Davide-Bigazzi-display-materialsDavid Bigazzi wore a white shirt that felt like a classic, European styling. This matches his technical background and the metalwork. 


WP_20150802_021emiko oye wore a contemporary white and bright combination to match her booth and jewelry.

 

 

Apron-logo-printedA potential customer should be able to walk up to your booth and identify the maker/artist/craftsperson immediately without confusion or hesitation. Other wardrobe possibilities could include an apron, dress or shirt made from the same material as the booth background, booth theme or display materials. 

It doesn't take much effort to align your appearance to the aesthetic of your booth display and walk the walk to success, but you have to think about it. It is a shame that so many sellers miss this opportunity to impress. 

Am I asking too much that your appearance align with the aesthetic of your booth?  No way! Your customers are accustomed to going to stores and restaurants every day where the employees wear clothing that matches the style of the store or venue.  High end stores to discount stores control every aspect of the retail experience. So should you.

Dial-up-aesthetic copyEvery aesthetic decision about your booth affects the customer experience and can move it from pathetic, to average, and into extraordinary. Using the words of Tim Gunn, "Make it work."  

 

 

Previous Posts in the series WANTED Better Display:
Your Display is An Invitation To Walk Into Your Booth or Walk Right By BYE

WANTED Better Displays - Display Offender #1 Black Drape Booths

WANTED Better Display - Display Offender #2: Not Enough Lights

WANTED Better Display - Offender #3 TOO MUCH STUFF On Display

WANTED Better Display - Offender #4 Purchased Racks & Props

WANTED Better Display - Offender # 5 Inconsistent Display Materials

WANTED Better Display - Offender # 6 Pathetic Aesthetic



WANTED Better Display - Offender # 6 Pathetic Aesthetic

WANTED-BETTER-DISPLAY-Purchased-Pathetic-4-5-6
The past two display offenders,  "Purchased Racks & Props" and "Inconsistent Display Materials" often travel with "Pathetic Aesthetic" to art and craft shows.


PATHETIC-AESTHETIC-LETTERINGExamining the situation closely, I'd say that "Inconsistent Display Materials" and "Purchased Racks and Props" are at least partially responsible for the mismatched, incoherent booth display offender that this post will label as "Pathetic Aesthetic." 

 


WANTED-BETTER-DISPLAY-pATHETIC-AESTHETICFor maximum impact the aesthetic of your booth display needs to align with your art/craft, absolutely 100%
 down to the last detail.  If every single booth assembly decision contributes toward this goal, the better your booth display and the more effective your booth display will be in attracting your customers.

The booth needs to be like a powerful magnetic field. It needs to attract an audience from 50, even 100 feet away.  Before your customer even enters your booth, your booth display has started "selling" your work.



Another issue is that "Pathetic Aesthetic" will be confusing to your customer.
 If they walk into your booth, and the display is not consistent with the work for sale, it is unlikely that they will fully engage with you or your work. 

Do you think that I am too critical of "Pathetic Aesthetic?"  Perhaps, but your non-customers are being even more critical when they walk right past your booth. They are too busy, too tired, or too uninterested, especially if they see a more interesting booth on down the path.   

So here it is ....your booth display has two jobs.....

Attract the customer into the booth......

Then keep the customer in the booth.... until they talk to the artist maker, look at the work for sale, and maybe even buy or at least pick up a card for a later online purchase.

What are the components of  a consistent aesthetic in your booth display?
It could be a decision about color, texture, motif, background drape, display props & displays, your floor, your cases, even your sign, the way you are dressed. Everything counts.


ACC Show 2013-electric-green-displayColor is a key indicator of aesthetic. In the image (left) from Jillian Moore at the 2013 ACC San Francisco. The  Lime Green wall says trend, young and irreverent. Every color is acceptable....but they all send a message.

Colors do affect purchasesColor is specific to a demographic consumer audience and type of purchasing. There is so much information about the science of color.  I'd recommend considering your color choice to fit your audience. A quick study online can find lots of information including "10 Colors That Increase Sales, and Why." 

 
Texture can also be an aesthetic choice. As one example that I have seen on many occasions, Japanese Rice paper says "low key, subdued" aesthetic.

Fobots-display-chalkboard-sign-aesthetic

Looking for a motif for your booth might come from your work as in this example by Fobots. Funky chalk board paint with hand drawn characters in white chalk have the same whimsy as the Fobots made from repurposed materials.

 

Fobots-black-drape


Background drapes should be background
 without distracting from the items on display. In the left photo, Fobots has a curtain that looked totally consistent with the booth aesthetic. I thought they must have even hand drawn on the fabric themselves.

Be cautious about a dark colored background. Dark colors to black drape need a tremendous amount of light to be a successful display, so consider lighting before taking this option.

 

 


Commercial-display-prop-finger-ringsDisplay props and racks often send a very "commercial" retail message.
"Purchased display props of any kind are synonymous with mall-style mass merchandising -- i.e. the wrong message in a craft booth about "handmade."  

Jonathan-spoons-lights-every-spoon-wood-displayCan you think about how to make your own display?
Can you make your own display from your medium?  Jonathan Spoons made their display entirely from burnt wood like their signature Niche Award winning spoon . They made their entire booth from wood, the same medium they use for all their spoons and utensils. Consistency created a strong aesthetic in the booth display.


Floor-white-tile-emiko-oyeFlooring in your booth such as tile or carpeting can create more of a defined space. It is kind of like crossing a threshold of graciousness into a space or environment, but it also becomes part of the aesthetic of your booth. In the photo left from emiko oye's booth at ACC San Francisco 2015, the raised dots in the floor tile echo the raised dots in the Legos she uses for her jewelry. Walking up to her display at ACC was a knock your socks off eye-catching experience.

 

Carpeting-grey-rentalIn contrast, the gray rental carpeting  (left) that I saw in several booths was not doing its job. It was not creating an aesthetic experience nor the effect of a special room. This image looks like a super boring picture doesn't it. Well,  it didn't look any better in person. Skip the gray rental carpet.  


Your booth sign and personal attire are two more considerations for creating a complete aesthetic experience in your booth.
These are topics for future posts.

Previous Posts in the series WANTED Better Display:

Your Display is An Invitation To Walk Into Your Booth or Walk Right By BYE 

WANTED Better Displays - Display Offender #1 Black Drape Booths   

 

WANTED Better Display - Display Offender #2: Not Enough Lights


WANTED Better Display - Offender #3 TOO MUCH STUFF On Display


WANTED Better Display - Offender #4 Purchased Racks & Props

 

 WANTED Better Display - Offender # 5 Inconsistent Display Materials

  Wanted-Better-Display-6-iPATHETIC-aESTHETIC-6


 

 


WANTED Better Display - Offender # 5 Inconsistent Display Materials

A close cousin to the previous Display Offender #4, "Purchased Racks and Props", is "Inconsistent Display Materials." These offenders have the same DNA and often work together to rob booth displays of potential customers. 

WANTED-BETTER-DISPLAY5-inconsistent-display-materials2

David-Giuletti-booth-profileAt ACC San Francisco, I saw several booths with as many as 13 different display materials in one case or display. Rarely did I say anything to these display victims.

However the interaction with David Giuletti was different perhaps because we met at the Holiday Metal Arts Guild party last year. We entered into a conversation about display. David Giuletti said that "his booth was a work in progress." He wanted to hear what I had to say to improve his booth display for next time, and he bravely said I could use images of his cases in a post. 

Below are two  photos of his jewelry cases taken with my phone. These are not professional quality photos, but clearly show a number of examples of "inconsistent display materials." 

WP_20150802_140

Between this photo (above) and the next photo (below) I count the following materials:

  1. A whitish background lining the bottom of the case (not sure if it is paper or fabric;)
  2. Brown textured leather;
  3. A light colored wooded block (similar in color to the brown leather;)
  4. Dark brown wooden blocks in three different sizes and thicknesses;
  5. Off white textured leather in two different sizes;
  6. Purchased acrylic ring stands;
  7. Dark brown leatherette (?) rolled ring stand;
  8. A lighter colored wood block laying down with wide grain;
  9. Different grained wood block standing up with tight grain;
  10. White fabric drape (?) for the back and sides of the booth;
  11. White signs were a different color white from the back drape.

Layout in the cases is an additional problem.  The inconsistent layout of the earrings and the chains lack organization. 

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David Giuletti is a skilled engraver and metalworker. You only have to look at his work for a few minutes to see that quality -- but his display is lacking.  Unfortunately, I doubt that most customers will give the work in his cases that much time. They are going to walk right by because his booth display did not convey quality.

And though this post only featured David's inconsistent display, there were many other Offenders #5 at ACC San Francisco that had "Inconsistent Display Materials."  Examples (not shown) included:

  • Postcards used in the display (postcards are not display materials;)
  • Mismatched paper in different colors and textures;
  • Mismatched purchased display props that were not the same color;
  • Different color tablecloths (that had no relationship to the booth display colors;)
  • Mismatched signs.

To avoid display Offender #5, all the materials of your display props, display cases, drapes, and photos need to echo each other in both texture, color, materials, and aesthetic. The aesthetic aspect can be a matter of taste appropriate to your work but considering that you have one small booth, repeat this mantra "less is more." The fewer distractions from your work the better.

Below are some examples where the seller's display made an effort to provide consistency and coherent theme within the booth.

Davide Bigazzi used the same textured metal inside of his cases as on the front panel.Davide-Bigazzi-display-materials-booth
(Left) Davide Bigazzi;                          (center image) Looking at the back of his case;           (Right)  Sheet metal front to his case. 

Consistent use of display material may take on different approaches depending on what you are selling. Since Ealish Wilson was selling fabric wall sculpture, pillows and scarves, she had a custom wallpaper printed with her own design. It went up on the solid walls rented for the booth, but it seems likely that you could have your own fabric drapes printed with digital technologies if you didn't have solid panel backdrop.   Ealish-Wilson-wallpaper-backdrop copyThe image to the left is a portion of her booth.  The right half is a close-up of the wall paper. I am pulling back the edge of the paper so I could see that it was just like a big sheet of contact paper. (Ealish Wilson told me, " You have to be careful but you can indeed get it [the contact paper] back onto the backing paper to reuse it, because it's basically paper backed fabric it's more durable than paper ." )  Note how she used the contact paper/fabric to even conceal the seams in the rented wall panels. 

In another booth, Beverly Tadeu's display theme might be described as translucent white. She carries this theme through at many levels. Notice the white translucent scrim in front of her tables.
Beverly-Tadeu-booth-display
Her display props include translucent frosted acrylic on layers of white translucent paper and plastic.  In the photo below she pulled back the layers so I could see how she layered her table coverings. Beverly-Tadeu-translucent-layers

As shown (below) every display prop was frosted acrylic providing consistent theme to the display. This level of consistency is less distracting and helps the viewer pay more attention to the jewelry for sale.
Beverly-tadeu-acrylic-blocks
There are a few more details that I would like to point out because details are what creates the impression of a well thought out display. Every nuance sends the message to the consumer that the work is as well designed as the display. First the color of the drape matches closely the background of her photos. Note also the necklace on the right "panel" and the elevated bracelet for high visibility to the customer walking in the aisle.  Maybe they will stop to look. 
Beverly-Tadeu-sign
Beverly-Tadeu-white-chairBeverly even had a white chair. Yes your chair counts. Another color and the chair is a distraction. You definitely don't want your chair to take anything away from what your are selling. And what your booth display is selling is more than just a piece of jewelry, a jacket or a vase. It is selling a premium experience.

Since Tadeu's booth focused on white translucency, she had no place to hide her clutter.  I loved her invisible solution which she is willing to share with ASK Harriete readers. Shhhh.....

WP_20150802_102

Don't tell! Behind the photographic panel, cutting across the corner of her booth, Tadeu hid her clutter with a panel of fabric.

Clutter is a future Display Offender #8. Stay tuned.

Previous Posts in the series WANTED Better Display:

Your Display is An Invitation To Walk Into Your Booth or Walk Right By BYE 

WANTED Better Displays - Display Offender #1 Black Drape Booths

WANTED Better Display - Display Offender #2: Not Enough Lights

WANTED Better Display - Offender #3 TOO MUCH STUFF On Display

WANTED Better Display - Offender #4 Purchased Racks & Props

 

 

Wanted-Better-Display-5-inconsistent-series
 

 


WANTED Better Display - Offender #4 Purchased Racks & Props

WANTED-BETTER-DISPLAY4-display-props

The use of commercial display racks and props just seems inconsistent in a craft show. Purchased display props of any kind are synonymous with mall-style mass merchandising -- i.e. the wrong message in a craft booth about "handmade."  Every aspect of your booth should resonate that what you are selling represents custom design, artist fabricated and sold by one maker.  The entire booth design and aesthetic are supposed to reflect YOU as a unique, special, amazing artist/ maker....   So why, oh why would an average, off the shelf, mediocre display unit from a catalog occupy your booth?   

For me, this is an issue with no compromise.  Perhaps I should be more sympathetic to the use of commercial displays.  Perhaps people are sold the idea that they are professional or neutral solutions, but to me, it sends a message that you're not quite a confident, unique artist/maker. Don't you understand who you really are and what you are selling? It makes me grimace and grind my teeth!!!!!!!


Don't-use-White-display-propJewelry is a common victim of this display offender.
It's taking a plain vanilla display prop as if from a commercial jewelry store and using it to display your artist-made jewelry.  At a craft show, at that special moment of interacting with potential buyers, you are trying to differentiate your limited production or one of a kind jewelry from the local jewelry store.  So what is signaled by an average, banal display prop purchased from a catalog?

Don't-use-commercial-finger-rings

Wrong message.  Sure these are all fine for a jewelry store or consignment shop, not for an artist-made craft. 

 

 

 

 


Garment-district-with-chrome-rack

An equal opportunity display offender is commercial chrome clothing racks. These are too similar to the utilitarian clothing racks used in the garment district to wheel around mass manufactured clothing on the street. 

 

Bed-bath-chrome-display-rack

A purchased clothing rack sends the wrong message to the customer. Serviceable for working in your studio, but if you can buy that display rack at Bed, Bath and Beyond, it won't say my clothing is special for a craft show display booth.


Don't-use-grid-display-for-boothsThese were just a few examples. Craft shows too often exhibit many other display offenders including grids that clip together, or other "pop-up" mechanisms.  A good rule of thumb is, If the display is purchased from a commercial catalog, don't buy it.   With a little effort, artists and craft persons should be able to "make" a display that attracts the eye and says "think different." 

Since I did not take pictures of display offenders, let's look at a few successful display solutions for jewelry and clothing.


Frosted-acrylic-block-Beverly-TadaeuSimplicity without clutter is the current trend for the best art jewelry display Beverly Tadeu grouped work on frosted acrylic. Prices were written nearby. (More on her booth display in a later post.) 

 

 

Custom-display-Julia-TurnerJulia Turner created some height for her jewelry display with custom stands to hang necklaces and pendants.

For more valuable items she covered them with a clear acrylic vitrine to avoid commercial jewelry cases.

Her display was open and well lit.  White drapes looked elegant and clean -- consistent with her work. 

 

 


Simple-display-Emiko-oyeemiko oye grouped work by color. Variable height created a more interesting display. Only one of each piece is on display Extra inventory is contained within the chest of drawers seen in the upper left corner.

 

 

Paper-layout-melissa-finelliMelissa Finelli created a layout on plain brown paper. The drawing helped her keep track of whether jewelry had been picked up by the customer.



For clothing, I would like to feature the booth display by Amy Nguyen (shown below.)
Display of artist made clothing by Amy Nguyen uses a custom designed display.

 The booth had a custom hanging system using black pipe across the top of the pipe and drape.  

Amy-Nguyen-custom-clothing-displayFrom the top bar she used wire and chain running through black tubes for a straight, linear appearance. They told me the slim lengthwise black pipe was re-purposed from "abstracta cases", but I think you could consider black plastic irrigation tubing or other less expensive options created yourself. 

Notice also that the black tubing is different lengths which creates another level of dynamic interest. Long garments can hang higher. Short garments can hang from longer tubes. 

All the hangers match, and they even seem to have a longer "stylized" hook at the top of each hanger. This is just another small detail that says "I am special."

IN SUMMARY: 
Every detail of your booth display counts toward the overall impression for the customer. Every artistic nuance of a designer's eye invested in your booth sends a subliminal message to your customer. This work is very special. Buy me.

  

Previous Posts in the series WANTED Better Display:

Your Display is An Invitation To Walk Into Your Booth or Walk Right By BYE 

WANTED Better Displays - Display Offender #1 Black Drape Booths

WANTED Better Display - Display Offender #2: Not Enough Lights

WANTED Better Display - Offender #3 TOO MUCH STUFF On Display

Wanted-Better-Display-4-commercial


WANTED Better Display - Offender #3 TOO MUCH STUFF On Display

WANTED-BETTER-DISPLAY3-stuff
TOO MUCH STUFF! Yeah, wwaaayyy too much stuff on display is a visual offense. A real downer . . . especially to see multiples of the same thing on display.

This is just wrong at a craft show, . . .  but not at the mall. Why?

You know why.

At a craft show the audience is looking for what YOU have made, i.e. "handmade." While many items for sale may not be one of a kind, they certainly are not manufactured by the 1,000's or millions. People are coming to buy directly from the artists or makers who have created work that reflect the unique abilities of one maker, not a corporation.

At the ACC show I walked past one booth with 30 identical pendants hanging from a display on top of their display case.  What in the world is the point of that? The illusion of buying one of a kind or limited production vanishes on the spot. 

Multiples of the same item send the wrong message. It doesn't say artist-made, hand-made, or limited-production. It doesn't even say special.

Since a craft booth is maintained by the maker, if a pendant is purchased, you can replenish your display from inventory in a few minutes. This is not Macy's selling 100's of the same thing. 

Only one of an item should be displayed

The same principle goes with displaying too much inventory, over all. There were a few booth displays that had so much inventory on display it was overwhelming. Quoting one attendee: "There were a few booths I didn't go into because I couldn't deal with feeling overwhelmed. It is hard enough to go to the show and look at so much work, but if a booth felt  crowded, I couldn't deal with the quantity of merchandise."  

I did not take photos of the "TOO MUCH STUFF" offender booths to avoid embarrassment, but in contrast, here is a prime example of a selective and thoughtfully presented display. 

WP_20150802_155
Among many booths with artist clothing, the display in the booth of  Amy Nguyen 
was my favorite.  Notice how carefully the jackets are organized by color. Each jacket hangs evenly spaced so there is room to look without even touching. The large photo in the corner frames the jackets with the glace of the eyes toward the clothing.

The clothing designer did not put out too much merchandise. It  might not surprise you that this was a deliberate decision on her part.

clothing  by Amy Nguyen on display at ACC San FranciscoWhen I admired their booth and asked if I could take a picture because I loved their display, my comment opened an entire conversation about how careful they were not to let their display get too crowded. They understood that their work was special and they wanted the display to convey that message.

They also had plenty of light directed on the jackets (which was the topic of the previous post).

Before concluding this post, notice also that the booth for Amy Nguyen did not use any commercial clothing racks.  This leads us to our next Display Offender #4 Commercial Display Racks & Purchased Display. 
Clothing-display-Amy-Nguyen

Wanted-Better-Display-1-3-squares
 

Previous Posts in the series WANTED Better Display:

Your Display is An Invitation To Walk Into Your Booth or Walk Right By BYE 

WANTED Better Displays - Display Offender #1 Black Drape Booths

WANTED Better Display - Display Offender #2: Not Enough Lights

 


WANTED Better Display - Display Offender #2: Not Enough Lights

WANTED-BETTER-DISPLAY-2-lights
The #2 Display Offender -- Not Enough Lights.
 These days there is no excuse for this display offender. The options for energy efficient LEDs and low heat lighting are expanding. 

The positive impact of effective lighting in your booth can be remarkable and rewarding. Yet during my visit to the ACC show, there were many booths with inadequate lights. And when inadequate lights combine with black drapes (as mentioned in the previous post), the effect was devastating. (I did not take pictures of the victim booths with poor lighting.) 

Look at any department store display and you will see that the merchandise is brilliantly lit using different kinds of lighting. Effective lighting can include both general lighting and spots.

If you think my insistance for effective lighting is expecting too much, consider the fact that consumers are accustomed to the best quality merchandising every time they go to the local mall. Lighting can even become a signature element of some high end shopping venues or restaurant dining. Poor quality overhead lighting correlates to bargain clothing shops and fast food. 

Aelish-Wilson-spot-lightsLighting that highlights your work on a wall attracts the customer into the booth. In the photo (left) Aelish Wilson used spots to light both her name and the fabric art on the wall.

 

 

 

Fobots-individual-cubbiesFobots by Amy Flynn integrated lighting into each recess of her display. This is very similar to how high end designer handbags has lighting installed (but concealed) in the store display.

 

Fobots-display-cubbies-with-lightingFobots (Found Object Robots) display also functions as a multi-purpose traveling case for storage that fits right into her van. 

 

 

Emiko-oye-lightbulbsLighting can also be an effective accent as in this photo (left) from a previous post from 2013 Display Ideas Remarkably Effective . Here emiko oye used hanging colored lightbulbs in her booth display to catch the eye. These light bulbs are not providing lumens but do catch the eye of visitors encouraging the curious to look in further.  

 

 

 

Jonathan-Spoons-custom-lighing

In other examples of superb lighting at ACC 2015, Jonathan Spoons took commercial lighting and modified the arms to match his booth aesthetic, lighting every utensil in the front of his booth. (Spoonwood, Inc. also won the ACC San Francisco Booth Award.) This demonstrated that expensive lighting fixtures aren't necessary, but savvy planning and preparation can win the day. Jonathan-spoons-lights-every-wooden spoon


Lim-table-lampIn her booth, Valerie Mitchell showed me an exquisite LED light fixture she arranged to highlight her jewelry laying on the table.

The Lumina light fixture (left ) has an arm that can swivel, rotating on it's minimalist stand. An additional arm can be added to the other side. (This is the light manufacture's photo but if I get an image from Valerie Mitchell I will add it to this post.)  

 

 

Lim-c-under-surface-table-lampThis light is also available as a counter mounted version. "The “L” shaped arm discreetly conceals an array of high-output LEDs with two intensity level settings, and it utilizes a magnetic attachment system for effortless adjustment."

I only showed this light as an example. It may not fit the aesthetic of your booth, but I loved the minimalist design that does not distract from the work. Great lighting can truly enhance your display.

One final point regarding booth lighting is to be sure that your lights do not shine into your customers' eyes. I noticed that several booths had poorly positioned overhead lighting and case lighting that was literally a blinding light and very unpleasant shopping experience.

WANTED-BETTER-DISPLAY-1-2-offender

Previous Posts in the series WANTED Better Display:

Your Display is An Invitation To Walk Into Your Booth or Walk Right By BYE 

WANTED Better Displays - Display Offender #1 Black Drape Booths


WANTED Better Displays - Display Offender #1 Black Drape Booths

WANTED-BETTER-DISPLAY-1-black-drape
Retailing is a highly competitive market -- especially at a craft show. Not only are you competing with every other seller at the show, but also all the other demands on the customer's pocket, i.e. rent, tonight's dinner, or this summer's vacation. They don't NEED what you are selling.

I'd go so far as to say that most craft show attendees intend to only come & look. The craft show is entertainment and they are not committed to buying anything -- unless something really stands out and strikes their fancy.

This is where your booth design and display plays a pivotal role in the consumer's purchase. As mentioned in the previous post your booth is the first thing that people see.  If you think of selling as a step by step process, your display is the bases of their first decision whether they will look more  deeply at your art/craft. You can't sell anything unless the potential  buyer diverts from "just looking" and chooses to walk into your booth.


ACC-black-drape-like-caveAfter spending hours at ACC in San Francisco, I observed that the most fatal display offender was the foreboding dark black booths drapes.  Black pipe and drape is the funeral parlor "valley of death" for a craft show display. It is the Darth Vader of "dark side" display offenders. Black drapes suck the life out of even the most colorful craft. Black drapes behind beautiful black jackets are retail flat liners.

There is no pardon for black drapes. It is not sophisticated. On the contrary it was depressing. Of all the booths at ACC, their was one booth with black drape that was O.K. because the light colored wood furniture booth stood out with great lighting and the booth was at  least double wide (avoiding a dark cramped feeling.) 

Every other booth with black drapes looked like a cave.
The smaller the booth, the worse it felt. I am not exaggerating. Even though Fort Mason has fabulous ambient light with extensive sky lights, large windows and a high white ceiling, the black drape booths sucked the energy right out of the booth space and the craft work.  Fort-Mason-Windows

 

Booth-layout-narrow-gauntlet-over-commitmentThe claustrophobic affect of black drapes was worse if the booth layout had a narrow alley trapping the customer in a gauntlet of scary over-commitment.

 

 

Even brightly colored work could not resuscitate interest when so much black in a small booth extinguished the inadequate lighting.   

This leads us to the next "Display Offender #2 - Not Enough Lights" for tomorrow's post. 
P.S.No booths with black drapes were photographed at ACC San Francisco 2015 to protect the perpetrators of "the #1" display offenses. 


Your Display is An Invitation To Walk Into Your Booth or Walk Right By BYE

Summer 2015,  I went to the San Francisco ACC show with the express purpose of studying the booths and figuring out (if possible) what elements contribute to a successful booth.  I was curious if there was a way to diagnose what was a successful display and what was not effective in a craft show booth. Could a few simple principles be gleaned and generally applied? Alternatively, are there display issues to avoid? 

WP_20150802_030Granted, the difficulty of transporting and setting up a booth in a strange city can be a challenge, but most everyone is under the same time constraints for set up, needing effective low-cost booth designs, and the challenge of creating a booth display that is an appropriate aesthetic for their craft work.

Harriete-photographing-a-boothAfter spending several hours looking around and talking to many of the artists, I gathered lots of topics to discuss that are practically exploding out of my head.  There are numerous ideas that can be implemented successfully and recognizable "display enemies" to avoid.

Several makers at the ACC show allowed me to take photos of their booths to share their great booth ideas. And one super brave individual was willing to let me take photos of his booth display problems. He knew his booth was a “work in progress.” Clearly, his booth display did not reflect the quality of his work.

Over and over I saw problems in the display of craft work that could have been rectified on the spot, rearranged, or edited to better effect.  Just imagine if a "Tim Gunn" display professional gave a styling critique before the show opened improving display, retail sales and the quality of the show overall.  A few booth edits would have improved many displays to "Make it Work" much better.

craft show booth by Julia Turner at ACC san FranciscoA craft show display should be an invitation for the customers to walk into the booth. That is the crux of this series.

It is a terrible shame to see quality work in a booth display that clearly does not present the work favorably -- sometimes I even saw superb work with a really poor display. That is the greatest shock!

Pipe and drape becomes a dull and repetitive craft show display structureIt breaks my heart to see the negative impact of a bad display diminish a maker’s chance for success, yet that is the impact of poorly designed retail display.  A poor display is an excuse for potential customers to walk right past the booth.  

In contrast, a great display is a magnet attracting the customer into the booth. Engaging the viewer to look -- or even to buy your work.

This series of posts will discuss other issues regarding booth displays.  To keep it lively, Alison Antelman and I agreed to go to the ACC show separately and prepare our separate observations to debate and discuss what seemed to work well.

Stay tuned to this 2015 series on craft show displays starting with specific display enemies. 

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