Presentation is Everything!

In the food world, in the retail world and in your personal jewelry business world, presentation is everything! With spring in the air, it ‘s a great time to revamp or establish a “store front” look for your art show booth. Recently, a friend and I were discussing “display” techniques, what works and what doesn’t, so I decided to share my experiences. After several years of art shows, I’ve discovered that every show is different and everyone’s display needs a different touch. However, every display should be consistent when considering its convenience, professional look, and customer ease for shopping at the jewelry booth. A few other basic rules for effective displays include being unified with theme and color, good visual presentation, and keeping it uncluttered. A good set-up for a jewelry booth will look like and give the feel of a permanent display in a gallery or boutique.

The first and foremost feature of any booth will always be the jewelry! It’s important to design a display that will enhance and make the jewelry pop! Although, an effective booth will catch the customer’s eye from across the room, the elements of the display should never fight with the jewelry – the customer’s attention should always be drawn to the product. In planning a well coordinated booth, choose items that match your art style, compliments your jewelry, and are easy and efficient to use.

When selecting colors for table coverings and display stands, coordinate them with your business cards and banners to create a more unified look. Matching your display with your product, not only exudes professionalism, but helps establish and set the tone. It’s also important to use colors that work with your product style so that they don’t fight each other. My jewelry shows nicely with silks, linens and velvet. These fabrics are rich, elegant, and special, as is the feel of the artistic style used in my designs. My first and favorite table coverings were white sheets used as a bottom cover on my tables, going all the way to the floor – and keep them straight, please! Over the white sheets, a black tablecloth that dropped about 12 inches on all sides of the table – keep it balanced and straight on all sides! My jewelry is showcased on white and black velvet neck display stands. It’s important to put dark necklaces on light necks, and light necklaces on dark necks so they pop!

Bringing tables up to at least 42″ brings your jewelry closer to eye level and saves the customer’s backs! To prevent a stagnant, boring look, create variety by adding some height. Pretty boxes, wire racks, risers, etc. keep the eye moving and make for a more appealing display. In my display, I use two sets of wall cube shelves which range from 6 inches to 14 inches. Starting at one end of my table with the smaller cubes, I line up the six cubes, leaving 24 inches between the two larger cubes in the center which is topped with a narrow shelf connecting them and adding height along the back side of my tables. I place my most distinguished pieces on necklace stands along this make-shift riser. Of course, if I’m doing a trunk show or a low keyed show, I will use my black velvet lined storage trays as the main display and use only one set of cubes.

With a black and white set-up, which does look very professional, it’s still fun to pull in a little color. The purple and green from my business cards and banner provide my basic color theme to brighten up and add pizazz to the display. Using matching hang tags, earring cards, a candy dish, a registration book, pens, and even a coordinated clipboard for signing credit cards gives continuity to the booth and speaks loudly about your professional dedication to your business. It says you are a “real” business and not a temporary craft show display. A coordinating table runner across the end of the table with the candy and registration book looks sharp. My “sale” signs and special prices for baskets items are created on the computer using a logo from my business card and displayed in a 5×7 frame, again from the dollar store.

When working a seasonal exhibit, it’s nice to add a bit of festive color to spice up your booth. At Christmas, I have a red lame tablecloth topping white sheets with white furry fabric on top. For signs I use these awesome candy cane name card holders which add a very festive look to the display. All of these items were purchased off season at major discounts. Planning ahead saves money!

Often, venues are not so well lit! It’s a good idea to bring extra lighting to make your pieces sparkle and pop. Lamps that are simple and blend in with your display work nicely. It’s smart to bring along extra extension cords and power strips, just in case. Always prepared to NOT have access to electricity, and learn to compensate! A friend shared a tip: she purchased small clip on battery operated lights from a dollar store. They work fine in a pinch – just be prepared with extra batteries!

Booth set-up takes about 20 minutes, once everything is inside, but I plan for forty-five minutes in case of problems or distractions. My jewelry travels in trays inside a black fabric jewelry travel bag and my display items are stored in a black trunk organizer. Using a small handtruck, it takes two trips to the car because of the tables. I keep everything packed in the order that I need them, white table skirts on top, black runners, cubes, etc. An emergency bag is always handy, equipped with safety pins, duct tap, Downy Wrinkle remover, lint brush, extra sales tags, batteries, light bulbs and Alleve.

This plan works well for me but I’m always eager to learn about new tricks and creative new ideas for displays. The more convenient it is to set up, the more appealing it is to me. I like simple, elegant, and lots of sparkle!

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