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.
After 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.
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.
Harriete Estel Berman
P.S. No booths with black drapes were photographed at ACC San Francisco 2015 to protect the perpetrators of "the #1" display offenses.
This post was updated on December 10th, 2021.
The black drape rule still stands.