American Craft Council San Francisco Feed

WANTED Better Display - Offender #8 CLUTTER

WANTED-BETTER-DISPLAY8-clutterThe 8th Display Offender is Clutter. What is Clutter? For a booth display it is anything that could distract a potential customer from purchasing your work.  It may be anything visible that fosters a less than optimal customer impression....not that you don't need the items, not that everyone doesn't have clutter ....but clutter should be eliminated from customer view in your booth display.

 

 



Clutter in your booth displayStorage boxes, suitcases, and credit card machines are clutter. Sure they are important, sure you need them, but they really distract from the quality of your work and your display -- and as a result diminishes the customer's impression.

When planning your booth, a crucial tactic is how to hide the necessary clutter. Putting your suitcase anywhere that is visible in your booth is not hiding the clutter.  A charge machine and invoice tablet on a table at the back of your booth are not hiding clutter. I know you've seen it all and you don't need me to show you boxes of clutter.


Below are some practical examples
of how some people hid their clutter:


Emiko Oye hid extra inventory and clutteremiko oye stored extra inventory by changing the tile color on the floor to black and covering her boxes with a black drape. It wasn't the best solution, but it still looked better than visible packing boxes on the floor.

 

Jonathan SpoonsDid you notice that Jonathan's Spoons had a tiered display on their counter top?  Jonathan very proudly told me how the elevated display conceals their credit card machine, tissue paper, along with everything they need to complete a purchase.


Beverly Tadeau booth Lots of people use the space under their cases for storage, but that doesn't work if you aren't using a drape for the open look, or if the drape is shear as in Beverly Tadeau's booth display.

 

Beverly-Tadeau-Concealed-Storage2Tadeau's solution was a diagonal drape across the back corner. Everything from a charge machine, to boxes and suitcase fit into that corner behind the drape.

Beverly Tadeau
  


Amy Nguyen beautiful clothing at ACC San Francisco Amy Nguyen had a beautiful display of her clothing. A table of extra inventory, postcards, and the charge machine was concealed by a drape on the main aisle, but not concealed from the side aisle of the corner booth (right photo.) Amy Nguyen did not hide her clutter  completely.

Customers see everything.  Clutter suggests unfinished, unrefined, and careless. Hoping that clutter doesn't matter may give a subtle message to prospective customers that you don't care about every detail -- and they walk out, almost, but not quite convinced to purchase. 

Clutter is a "kissing cousin" to Offender #5 Inconsistent Display Materials" and Offender #3 TOO MUCH STUFF On Display.  Don't let these display offenders enter into your booth.... and steal your sales. Avoid Clutter.   

Harriete

PREVIOUS POSTS IN THIS SERIES:
Wanted-Better-Display-Offender8-clutterYour 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

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

Pathetic Aesthetic with Poor Signage - How Would I Know Your Name?

WANTED Better Display - Offender #7 "Butt Brush Factor"

 

 


WANTED Better Display - Offender #7 "Butt Brush Factor"

WANTED-BETTER-DISPLAY-Butt-brush-factorOffender #7 - "Butt Brush Factor" is real and very well documented phenomena first observed by the famous shopping guru Paco Underhill, author of the book  Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping. 

It occurs when a merchandise display is placed right up to the boundary of an aisle.  Some may think that such a position would help force passing shoppers to look at the work.  BUT the opposite occurs.  It is far more likely to be pushing your customers away from your booth. Yep, your customers are leaving because they can't put up with the "Butt Brush Factor" when they are shopping.

Apparently, too many people have never heard of the "Butt Brush Factor" because I saw several display cases pushed to the very front edge of the booth.  



Here is a quote from Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping :
  Why-We-Buy-Paco-Underhill
"As part of an early study for Bloomingdale’s in New York City, we trained a camera on one of the main ground-floor entrances, and the lens just happened to also take in a rack of neckties positioned near the entrance, on the main aisle. While reviewing the tape to study how shoppers negotiated the doorway during busy times, we began to notice something weird about the tie rack. Shoppers would approach it, stop and shop until they were bumped once or twice by people heading into or out of the store. After a few such jostles, most of the shoppers would move out of the way, abandoning their search for neck wear. We watched this over and over until it seemed clear that shoppers — women especially, though it was also true of men to a lesser extent — don’t like being brushed or touched from behind. They’ll even move away from merchandise they’re interested in to avoid it." - Paco Underhill, Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping

Jewelry-cases-pushed-into-aisleI witnessed the impact of  "Butt Brush Factor" while roaming around ACC San Francisco 2015. For example, a very forlorn looking booth with dark black drapes had cases pushed to the very front edge of the aisle.  (Actually, if you look at the photo closely it seems they pushed the jewelry cases a half inch into the aisle.) This had the appearance of shoving the jewelry cases into the customer. The customer will have to stand in the aisle blocking traffic flow.

In addition, shoppers likely concerned about over commitment took a wider berth or stopped briefly and then walked away.  Why? At least one reason was Butt Brush Factor. 


Sign-Victoria-Morre-long-sideAs previously mentioned, women, in particular, are most vulnerable to the impact of Butt Brush Factor. They will not stop and shop if they run the risk of people pumping into their behinds. When the jewelry cases are pushed to the edge of the booth, there is no place to stand except in aisle with people closely passing by. When a customer is forced to stand in the high traffic zone, they will choose instead to just keep on moving. 

To eliminate Offender #7 - Butt Brush Factor, the remedy is simple.  Leave at least 12"-18" for the customer to tuck themselves into your booth and out of the aisle.   They can then inspect your work without the unconscious concern of being bumped. 

Booth-layout-narrow-gauntlet-over-commitmentButt Brush Factor can also be a display offender involved in the internal booth layout - the narrow alley trapping the would-be customer in a gauntlet of scary over-commitment.  Once one shopper is shopping in this narrow aisle there is no room for a second customer to navigate around.  Butt Brush Factor is another reason why this booth layout is less than ideal. Consider a different booth layout, larger booth, corner booth, or sharing a booth to create a larger common shopping space.

 Harriete

Other great books about modern marketing include:
Buyology Buying-In-Why-We-Buy

I have read all these books along with Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, and think they are both entertaining and informative. I'd consider them required reading if you want to sell your art or craft effectively.

These books are affiliate links provided for your convenience. Clicking on these links could provide this blog with a few cents. Other options for finding these books are your local library.

Online book review from The New York Times about Why We Buy offers insight into the content covered in the book.

 

Wanted-Better-Display-Offender7-butt-brush

PREVIOUS POSTS IN THIS SERIES:
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

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

Pathetic Aesthetic with Poor Signage - How Would I Know Your Name?

 

 


Pathetic Aesthetic with Poor Signage - How Would I Know Your Name?

WANTED-BETTER-DISPLAY-generic-signThe last several posts have discussed issues that cause Pathetic Aesthetic in booth display. Improving your display quality is a minimum requirement for success and this includes a sign identifying your name, or company name which will be consistent with your signature booth aesthetic. 

The white paper print out with your name & number identifying your booth (provided by the craft show organizer)  is NOT a sign. Sorry for the big bold scream (I'm containing a scream of frustration)!

Dinky photo banners at the back of your display do not create an inviting impression with that customer walking right "by Bye"  your booth.  How will they know your name?  Without remembering your name they won't even be able to look you up in the show map to come back when they are ready to buy. 

Your name needs to be up high and done in a creative way. I wrote a number of posts with inexpensive  ideas. The links are at the bottom of this post. 

Steve Rossman  (a reader of ASK Harriete) says:"I  owned a custom exhibit design and fabrication company for almost 30 years. When it comes to signage and messaging, I believe strongly that, for a small booth (8\' to 20\') you have something like 3 to 5 seconds to \"capture\" a prospective visitor. So signage should concentrate on 3 basic things...

  • Who you are
  • What you do 
  • Why visitors need to stop

PATHETIC-AESTHETIC-personal-appearance-generic-sign

It is time that artists and makers start being more creative than the standard printed banner.  But something in "good taste" is better than nothing. Here are a few examples from ACC San Francisco that include signs in their signature aesthetic along with a few comments.

Can you take these ideas, improve upon them and make them work for your booth?

Sign-Jonathan-SpoonsThe round white sign for Jonathan Spoons included their descriptive tag line "Wild Cherry Spoons." Though I still don't care for the black drape, the sign popped against the dark background giving it high visibility. The font and styling matched the other price tags in the booth. 

You might be wondering why I keep showing photos of Jonathan Spoons in my posts. Well there is a reason why -- they won Best Booth at ACC San Francisco 2015. They did so many details right, keeping a signature booth aesthetic in every detail.


 

 

Sign-Melissa-FinelliMelissa Finelli had a very eye catching sign that matched her business card exactly.  It turns out that the business card design came first, and then she duplicated it as a sign. Ironically, the vintage typewriter mistake styling with jumping letters that were faint and more precise felt very contemporary.

The one improvement that I would make is to put your name at the top of the sign. This way if there are a lot of people in front of your booth, or in the aisle, your name is still visible. When your name is low, it can easily be hidden by your own cases or even one customer.

 

 

 


Sign-Beverly-tadeu

Beverly Tadeu has her name at the top of the sign. That is good.  She added a short description "metalsmith" though I wonder if that could be improved upon for a more unique and informative description. 

Note that beverly tadeu's sign is done in lower case lettering, a current trend in font styling. I wonder how long this texting influence will last before it looks common and everyday ordinary. On a positive note, the earrings in the sign and the sign itself were large, going full length from the top bar to the floor.

What would I want to see for more signature sign styling? Amazing metal letters done in Beverly Tadau's signature style. The letters can hang from the bar at the top holding the drape. They could fit in one suitcase along with some touch-up paint.

 

Sign-Ealish-Wilson-Emiko-Oye

Ealish Wilson and emiko oye put their names up high and on both sides of their booth. Good move! This way their potential customers will see their names no matter which direction they are walking up the aisle.

The rub off decal on the hard wall looks professional but Ealish Wilson in metallic lettering did not have strong enough contrast. As you can see in the photo (left) the silver lettering is hard to see. Either this should be applied to darker paint, or the lettering needs to be darker.

emiko used her trademark "reware" to reinforce this branding of her jewelry. If you do use a business name rather than your own name, it is important to keep reinforcing this alternative identity for your work.  (The question of whether you should market your work under your own name or a business name is another huge topic in itself.)

The mirror done in Legos helps reinforce the identity for emiko's medium - Legos. It is also intended to be a "selfie hot spot" for selfie photos when people try on her work. This way every photo will include the identity for "emiko reware" jewelry.

Our final example is Victoria Moore jewelry. She had three different signs in her booth as shown below.  I've condensed  the three signs adding arrows to point out the point of discussion.
Sign-Victoria-Morre-long-middle-side-arrow copy

Sign-Victoria-Morre-long-side(left) The left sign went all the way to the floor with a large image. Her name is at the very top. Unfortunately, the jewelry case was pushed so far forward it obscured part of the image.

Sign-Victoria-Moore-backThe center sign has larger text for her name in a brighter, higher contrast color that improves readability. This is a definite improvement. She has also added a "tag line" damascus steel jewelry which describes her work.

Notice that victoria moore is using the lower case text style on her signs. As just the third example of four example booth signs you can see that lower case doesn't feel like signature style any longer.

Sign-Victoria-Morre-shortThe right sign was an earlier version of her sign and is too short. With a much smaller sign her name seems tiny and harder to read especially with the pattern of the jewelry behind the lettering.  The image of the jewelry is smaller and less dramatic just because of the size of the sign. Despite the difference in size, it was good that Moore put a sign on both edges of her booth to capture the eye of the customer no matter which direction they are walking down the aisle.   

I'd like you to notice in the images that the cases obscure the jewelry image on the signs. This is because  the jewelry cases are pushed to the very front edge of the booth. It seems that many jewelers are trying this for booth layout, and it has a huge marketing problem called "butt brush factor." (This will be discussed in the next post in the series WANTED Better Display. )  

SUMMARY of a SIGNATURE SIGN that works:

  1. Your name up high.
  2. Your name in high contrast lettering.
  3. Large lettering big enough or bold enough to impress.
  4. Your name in a signature style matching the aesthetic of your booth.
  5. Optional is an informative tag line or short description about "what you do"or "why visitors need to stop."
  6. Make your sign memorable.

Harriete

YOUR NAME UP HIGH POSTS:

 Window Dressing for Booth Display - YOUR Name on Display

Window Dressing for Booth Display - Hang It UP
Signage in the ACC Show Booth Display
Resources and Highlights for Remarkable Booth Display

PREVIOUS POSTS IN THIS SERIES:
Wanted-Better-Display-6-iPATHETIC-aESTHETIC-appearance-sign

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

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

 

 


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. 

WP_20150802_137

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.....

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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

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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. 

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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

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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.

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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. 


ACC Booth Partnerships Reconfigure Display

AmericanCraftShowLogoAt the ACC show there were several sellers that joined together in combined booths to create more open and inviting booth configurations.

 

Biba-Schutz-Petra-Class-combined-booth-display. 

This year Petra Class and Biba Schutz booth display was remarkable as the first two booths greeting the customers as they entered the American Craft Council Show.

Petra Class
(left side of photo) and Biba Schutz (right side of photo) have combined their booths every year. Side by side they synchronize the appearance while keeping a completely separate identity. Without the curtain "wall" between the booths, it creates a big expanse of eye catching space.

In another example along the length of an aisle, Sarah Jane Hassler and Karen McCreary combined two standard booths to create an inviting open space.

ACCShow2013 012

Many booths adopted an L-shaped layout (diagram shown below). While it looks fine in this layout diagram, there is a problem with this booth configuration. The L-shaped layout creates a narrow aisle which can be an imposing gauntlet to the customer that may not want to be trapped in a narrow aisle uncommitted to a purchase or conversation.

L-shaped layout plan:
Booth layout


Below is what a l-shaped layout of a booth looks like at the show (below.) The narrow aisle is even more intimidating if the booth has a display case rising higher and creating vertical space like a wall.
ACCShowL-shapedLayout.

Combining two L-shaped booths side-by-side Sarah Jane Hassler and Karen McCreary had a great innovation. The narrow aisle they both would have had with an L-shaped layout going solo is combined. (The green line is where most booths have pipe and drape divider between booths. Just imagine how narrow  this aisle would feel at the show.

ACCShow2013 011Hassler-McCreary-booth divided


Combining the center into open space in between their displays was inviting and allowed a non-threatening reception square (shown below). Customers could walk into the space and look around without feeling trapped.

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Notice their signs diagonally across the back corner of the booth.

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While not identical, the signs used the same font and styling to look cohesive. Both sellers also used the same earring display and fabric below their tables.

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Remember the previous posts about signage in your booth.  Both of these signs include the makers name, a brief description, and images of the jewelry.

The ultimate in booth collaboration were three people creating one seamless booth going down the aisle. After viewing the show with the somewhat overwhelming density of one booth after the next, it was refreshing to see this long extended open booth layout by David Whippen, John Liston, and Niki Ulehla (booths 320, 321, and 322). It also was an award winning booth.
ACCimageIMG_6016AH
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Ryan
Interactive Editor, American Craft Council

Removing the pipe and drape walls between the three booths kept their space open. They showed a few large pieces of furniture and sculpture of Whippen and Liston.

ACCShow2013 026AHJewelry-Niki-Ulehla
The jeweler Niki Ulehla was in the center with a minimalist display on a table. No jewelry cases contributed to the open booth layout.

ACC Show2013 016AHcropped

How did all these booth collaboration occur? They simply asked the ACC show organizers to place them next to one another. That simple -- and it happened. What a great idea for your next show.

 

Previous posts in this ACC series:

Observations at ACC San Francisco 2013

American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 1

American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 2

Signage in the ACC Show Booth Display


Signage in the ACC Show Booth Display

One thing I noticed at the American Craft Council Show in San Francisco was how well designed and effective signage improves the overall impression of a booth.

ACCShow2013 043ACC supplied a small tag for the booth. Sure it had your name and location, but it was too small and generic to be memorable. Unremarkable in every respect, it did not establish an artist's identity and was too high. Lesson learned: Do not depend on generic name banners as your signage. They do not differentiate your booth any more than map coordinates.

The sign below for Lauren Markley exemplifies a step up with minimum effort.  It has her name, an image of her work, and a short description, in this case "Contemporary Jewelry". ACCShow2013-Lauren-Markley

But this sign could also be better. It was lacking size. It needs to be bigger to make an impact. It also suffered from being wrinkled and had a slight texture to the plasticized finish (shown below.) The plasticized finish reflected the light and the wrinkles distracted from the overall impression. 

ACCShow2013-Lauren-MarkleyCU
You can see the "linen-like texture" to the sign in this close-up, and the grommets in the corners were distracting to the overall aesthetic. Avoid putting grommets in your sign if at all possible. Grommets may be a necessity for an outdoor sign that needs to be tied down against the wind, -- but inside they are not working.

Instead, add a pocket or fold over seam for a ruler or pole at the top and the bottom.  This usually looks far more attractive and straightens out the wrinkles creating a more polished appearance.

Moving on to an improved example:

The sign for Beverly Tadeu was more successful. It seems to be printed on fabric so it has a matte finish. There are no reflections even though the light is shining right on her sign. The highlight on the sign was very eye catching. The sign also matches her fabric booth drape.

ACCShow2013 027
Hanging the full height of her booth, the sign goes seamlessly from the top of her booth to below eye level with a big image of her earrings. This is a great way to inform the customer walking past your booth exactly what type of work is available for purchase.

Notice that the sign has no grommets at the top of the sign and seems to be hung from a pole at the top of her booth. Perfect. No wrinkles. It projects a polished impression.

Her clean and white jewelry display of simple matte acyclic matches the sign aesthetic perfectly.

Notice that on the front of her display table Beverly Tadeu hung a piece of sheer unwrinkled fabric to conceal the legs of her table. This scrim is like a veil creating a more polished appearance to her booth presentation. It also matches her booth drape.

Notice that she did not use cases to display her jewelry, a growing trend. So often the cases are a barrier between the customer and a purchase. Getting the item for sale into the customer's hand is one of those #1 sales techniques. While I can see that this is a security risk, if you can afford to go in this direction, it is a great idea.

ACCShow2013 031

When everything works together it creates a seamless aesthetic with a more cohesive and polished impression.

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Beverly Tadeu in her booth at ACC show


ChannelRead ASK Harriete for ideas on how to get your name integrated into a more enticing display. 

Previous posts in this ACC series:

Observations at ACC San Francisco 2013

American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 1

American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 2



American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 2

This is Part 2. Read part 1 of "American Craft Council Show Comparison To  Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco" on ASK Harriete.

Charlotte-Emiko-Harriete-Full-View
Miss Charlotte Kruk (left) and Harriete Estel Berman visiting the booth of ACC exhibitor emiko oye.

Part 1 raised the questions:
What is the impact or purpose of an entry fee?
What is the role of music in the shopping environment?
Impact of lighting in the sales environment.
A price comparison between Renegade and ACC.

Part 2 CONTINUES the comparison ...

CLOTHING REPORT:
RenegadeRenegade Fair: Miss Charlotte Kruk reported "that the clothing seemed to lean toward the edgy...aligning with the spirit of the faire which I think is tremendously charming, relevant, and frankly fun, thrift store remade, recycled, reassembled, reinvented eclectic style. This is an aesthetic that I have always related to, make and wear myself; I was raised in the thrift store on the paternal side of the family and under the sewing machine on my maternal side. (My family often went to the second hand store and every time my grandmother would say "whatever you can't live without." - pretty funny when you think about this kind of "spoiling")

 

AmericanCraftShowLogoACC had every style and fabric you could imagine all leaning toward the artist made creative aesthetic with a price tag that reflected the makers development, growth in process, personal style and materials. Some of the fabric was loom woven, but more were painted silk, fabric applique, or specialized technique. I did notice that this year at the ACC show the clothing was more fitted and fashionable than in previous years. One of my favorite jackets was by Susan Bradley Designs using neoprene (such as would be used for scuba suits).

TYPE OF WORK for SALE:
Renegade had a lot of the t-shirts and cards with graphic images that have become the predominate merchandise. Charlotte added that a lot of the merchandise used the laser cutter. "Seems like when one person is doing something it catches like a rash. The predominant rash in the Renegrade craft community right now is going to the Tech Shop and using the laser cutter. "

We both love the Tech Shop, but Miss Charlotte has a point: "To what end of unique and hand-made is this tool when the artist isn't taking time to develop the object beyond the industrial mass produced?"

Miss Charlotte said there was a contrast between Renegade and ACC in the diversity of the objects, skill and aesthetic voice. "I enjoy the raw, gritty renegade aesthetic for its spirit of "I MADE THIS" pride." By comparison, ACC was a very serious gathering of makers, who have spent a multitude of years developing their voice, understanding the consideration that lighting, sound, negative space, color, height, etc play on the viewing of the object. ACC sellers say "I made this" and stand firm in the numbers they're asking for their craft, their vision, their labor, knowing what it takes to establish the aesthetic voice that it takes to reach the platform of the ACC.

WHATS NEW?
A few years ago, the Renegade shows were all the rage garnering a reputation based on a new and trendy appeal, along with questions about the direction of this craft movement.  Charlotte says, "It thrills me that at the Renegade you watch a guy on a sewing machine with a device he's invented to power it by riding his bicycle...And there he sits freehand stitching truly elaborate and inspiring patches, each unique because his hands will never do exactly the same thing twice, nor would he want them to. I LOVE RENEGADE for its gritty energy, it's youthful vibe of makers who desperately want to earn a living from their ability to "make" but are maybe just getting started with refining their vision and fine-tuning their personal aesthetic and creating a market that is truly individualistic."

I asked Miss Charlotte Kruk after the show:
How is the “I made this “ from Renegade different than the “I made this” at ACC?

Charlotte's answer: "The point I was trying to make was the voice of a sweet child (the renegade artist) that cannot be ignored "I made this" and you stop to acknowledge because it's important to build pride vs. the refined voice of an accomplished actress (in this case our ACC ARTIST); who has repeated the phrase over and over in so many different fonts and italics through intonation that it becomes a statement of control."

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:
"What a pleasure to slow down and really "view" the show with Harriete. I'm sure at that pace, I would have seen a whole lot more than at the racing speeds my family zipped through the Renegade Craft Fair."

VelvetDeVinciFrontonPolkS.f."I think the highlight for me was getting to the reception at Velvet da Vinci and seeing all those makers who you took the time to congratulate and educate, together in one space. It was amazing to me to see all these dynamic artists in booths from the farthest corners of Fort Mason representing the farthest corners of the United States all sharing a bite of cheese and "bologna" together. Aahahaaaa ...but seriously, I enjoyed the second viewing of their work in the cases and seeing their faces again and together...and was pleased to see how each with their own unique style and vision had this great spirit of appreciation for one another. "

"Wonderful. (thanks again Harriete, for letting me be the Robin to your Batman...great stuff.), I'd repeat that experience anytime! cheers, Miss Charlotte."

Super wonderful to spend the day with Miss Charlotte. Hope we do it again soon.

Previous posts in this series:

Observations at ACC San Francisco 2013

American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 1

 


American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 1

Fort-Mason-San-Francisco-CA Fort Mason is the location for the annual American Craft Council show. Ironically, on the previous weekend, the same exact building at Fort Mason hosted the San Francisco Renegade Craft Fair.

Fortunately, my friend and ACC show companion, Miss Charlotte Kruk, went to both shows so she had many observations and comparisons. 

Comments in quotes are from Miss Charlotte Kruk.

AmericanCraftCouncilS D Renegade

 


 

 

 

ENTRANCE FEE:
Renegade                  ACC                               
No entrance fee.        $14.00 entrance fee         
                               or FREE for ACC members

What is the impact or purpose of an entry fee?

   I'd love to discuss it at length & think about it.
Since it was free, "the Renegade show was PACKED making it very hard to see the work if you were unwilling to crowd in with the masses."

Is their any reason to fill the place with lookers? Yes & no, but obvious answer is that  the ACC entry fee becomes a self selected group of motivated shoppers.  

 

SCHEDULE:
Renegade - 2 days      ACC - 3 days
Saturday/Sunday       Friday/Sat/Sunday
Who goes to a show on Friday?

 

CUSTOMERS:
Miss Charlotte said, "The audience for the ACC show was definitely more mature, immaculately groomed and packaged in a way that advertised their serious intentions; a refined air of sophistication, but with a sense of personal style that cannot be found on a display mannequin in Nordstrom."

 

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF MUSIC?
While "the Renegade boasted DJ music pumping throughout the venue," Charlotte noticed only one or two booth exhibitors at ACC who had low playing music in their personal space. I didn't notice anyone at ACC playing music. 

Music is an interesting issue.  Music is generally considered an "audience-sorting device" and can have either a positive or negative impact on the shopping experience.


LIGHTING:
Kruk reports that "Booth layout and display were much better at the ACC show. Compared to the Renegade show, the lighting was much better and brighter overall as almost every booth had additional lighting for display."
ACCShow2013 012
ACC Booth of Sarah Jane Hassler & Karen McCreary
More discussion about their booth layout and signs in a future post on ASK Harriete


DISPLAY:
"The items for sale were also more crowded at the Renegade show. There was definitely a restrained minimal aesthetic in many of the booths at ACC. The ACC artist (for the most part) seemed to understand the layout and flow of the space, understanding that movement through the booth is critical for an enjoyable shopping experience." (More about booth layout in a later post.)


A PRICE COMPARISON:

Renegade Fair: Miss Charlotte said that a dress (playful coverall smock-dress recycling men's suspender straps) for $85 was marked as "reduced price for the faire" and probably on the $100 end at her Oakland Boutique "Field Day and Friends."

ACC: Many jackets started at $500 and up. There were scarves at lower price points in every style and fabric you could imagine.

Part 2 tomorrow includes:

  • CLOTHING REPORT.
  • TYPE OF WORK
  • WHAT'S "NEW"
  • THE "SPIRIT OF I MADE THIS"
  • FINAL THOUGHTS

 AND Miss Charlotte Kruk
Charlotte-Emiko-Harriete
Miss Charlotte Kruk, emiko oye, and Harriete Estel Berman in front of emiko's booth 315 at the American Craft Council San Francisco, CA show at Fort Mason.


Observations at ACC San Francisco 2013

ACCShow2013 035cu
Miss Charlotte Kruk speaking with ACC
seller Jillian Moore Booth 625.

On Saturday I dedicated hours to walking the aisles of the American Craft Council show in San Francisco, California with Miss Charlotte Kruk. Not only did we have each others company, but it turns out that Miss Charlotte had gone to the Renegade Craft Fair the previous weekend in the same exact building. (The comparison of the Renegade Show and the ACC will be a topic of a future post.)

In general, I thought this year's ACC show was better than previous years in many respects.

Before I even went to the show I was optimistic. For the first time ever, the ACC show was promoted on the local PBS television station and PBS radio. Bravo,this is a much more targeted promotion to the niche audience that would be interested in artist-made work.

1001_DesignAgencyCo_174The promotion for "Make Room: Modern Design Meets Craft" is just fabulous. This stellar idea gives craft an upscale design context. I hope they carry on with this idea.

This year's ACC seemed improved from previous years but, nevertheless, I'd like to review some constructive criticisms.

  • The designer rooms could have been bigger and included more craft objects. Some rooms had only one or two items from the ACC vendors.
  • It would have been nice to see a bedroom, kitchen, family room, or office instead of just living rooms. This would have allowed a broader range of craft media and objects featured including clothing, jewelry, cutting boards, lamps, mirrors, etc.
  • The displays also needed more lighting to feel brighter and alive.
  • Instead of placing all the "designer rooms" at the opening of the show, (where I rushed by anxious to see the show) I would have liked them to be sprinkled throughout the show. Perhaps placing the "designer room" next to the artists selling work in the show.

ACCShow2013 025
Yellow cube sculpture (in this photo) and red cube sculpture in the photo (above)  for Make Room: Modern Design Meets Craft by David Whippen, ShopFloor Design San Francisco.

More observations to share. Stay tuned for several post in the series about ACC San Francisco 2013 including stellar booth ideas, successful booth layout, display mistakes, signage, and a comparison between the Renegade show and ACC San Francisco.