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Thread: Da Booth

  1. #1
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    Da Booth

    Not sure what forum to put this in, but since this is a selling tool for turned stuff, I guess the Turning Tools section is as good as any. Mods fell free to move it if you have any better ideas. (I guess I can always put it back if I disagree.)

    The juried art shows I'm hoping to get into this fall require pictures of your work, plus a picture of your booth. Since I've not done any shows before, I had to mock up the booth in the back yard. Nothing fancy, but I'm trying to stay within a reasonable budget, in regards to both money and time. At this point, the canopy, sign, tables, table covers, and a few baskets from Ikea have set me back about $600 - $700. (And that's after doing a lot of price shopping.) I'm learning this is not for the weak at heart. Just means that much more stuff to sell before breaking even. Glad I'm not doing this for a living.

    Attachment 11135

    The two longer tables fold in half for transport, and the table covers are fireproof, to please the Fire Marshall if I end up doing any indoor shows. Table covers were one of the things I figured I'd make myself, but when I priced the material (and estimated my time) I realized it was cheaper to buy them from a company that specializes in that sort of thing. And I gained a lot of time.

    Attachment 11136

    The black Ikea baskets were my sister's idea...something that can be expanded on in a lot of ways. I can use them to hold shelves, or use them as shelves or shadowboxes themselves. The small ones fit into the bigger ones, so they'll be relatively compact to move. (Plus, they can carry stuff too.) The table arrangement and display will be a constantly-evolving thing as I come up with new ideas.

    Attachment 11138 Attachment 11139

    The sign is my own graphic (new logo), rendered as a ridiculously large JPG file and taken to Kinko's. (I miscalculated the pixel count and made the JPG about 110 inches wide. It's nice and crisp reduced down to 36 x 24 inches.) It's printed on outdoor vinyl fabric, and I'm using rare earth magnets to attach it to the canopy wall (for now).

    Attachment 11140

    A sidebar about the "Workingwoods" name...I have registered two DBAs: Workingwoods and Curls and Burls. Although I prefer Curls and Burls, and it more closely fits what I'm actually making, I surveyed a number of non-woodworker types, and none of them thought of woodworking when they heard the name. (Hairdressing and weightlifting were the two most common answers.) Gotta go with what gets the idea across with the public.

    Now all I need to do is hire some attractive booth help. Would you buy something from this guy?

    Attachment 11137

    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    ..........Now all I need to do is hire some attractive booth help. Would you buy something from this guy?

    Attachment 11137

    Maybe if he got a hair cut...........

    The booth looks really good Vaughn, not too cluttered, sometimes people try to stuff so much stuff into their booths that you can't even get inside them!
    A couple things, you need a business card holder thing on the table, or a couple of them, and you need a similar thing on each front post of the tent, holding a pamphlet type thing, this way when you get busy, if there are 4 or 5 people inside and someone wants to go in, but does not like the crowd then can pluck a pamphlet from the outside post there, and seek you out via the net, or remember you for the next show. In retail, it is all about advertising!

    Looks great!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Nice setup Vaughn. Clean and uncluttered is good. If it were mine I would maybe try and get a little bit more height, either with a shelving unit of some sort or even just with a few pieces of work that are somewhat taller. Displaying at different eye levels always appeals to me.

    I agree with Stu on the business card holders. Make a couple up yourself in some nice wood but be ready to sell them if you do. Are you planning on a spread of pricing? My experience of shows is that its good to have small impulse pieces as well as bigger "think about it" objects.

    Would I buy from this guy?? Absolutely yes if he was able to talk intelligently and passionately about what he does, why he does it and what inspires him. Customers have to deal with a world where people selling stuff don't even know where it came from let alone how it is made. When they come across somebody who not only knows but cares, and appears to think as well, then they are already halfway to a purchase.

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys. I agree on the business card and literature holders...need to get some cards done with the new logo. (Nancy Laird has done some nice laser-engraved wood business cards for me in the past.)

    I also agree with the more height thing, Ian. I'm keeping my eyes (and mind) open for some type of shelves or pedestals, all the while trying to keep things relatively light and transportable. It may just be more Ikea baskets, stacked to gain some elevation. I'm also planning to have a few more large pieces to help draw the curious into the booth. And yep, I'm planning to have things ranging from probably about $20 to somewhere in the $200- $300 range. The shows I'm targeting have a clientèle that should be able to support the larger sales. The smaller items will be just in case they don't.

    As far as dealing with the public goes, that's old hat for me. (Between performing on stage, retail sales, public speaking, and trade show booth duty, I've had a lot of experience.) It helps that I'm a ham, but I really enjoy engaging passersby in conversation about the stuff I'm hawking.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    ............It helps that I'm a ham.........
    I'm shocked........... SHOCKED I tell you............

    One more thing that popped into my mind, what about handling stuff, are you going to have a sign reading something like.......

    "If you do wish to handle some of my handmade works, I'll ask that you please pay them the proper respect, and make sure your hands are clean"

    ....or something to that effect.

    Do you really want the guy with ice cream on his hands picking up your stuff?

    Just a thought............

    Oh yeah, how do you deal with things people drop?

    You might want to think about a nice thick chunk of cheap carpet.....

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post

    Now all I need to do is hire some attractive booth help. Would you buy something from this guy?

    Attachment 11137

    grow a beard vaughn

    [edit] now that i read the entire thread.....using a couple of rough blanks for display stands would help folks to see where the stuff they`re lookin` at came from?.....maybe one or two with bark still attached, and a couple roughed in on the bandsaw.....just thinking in print....
    Last edited by tod evans; 07-30-2007 at 11:21 AM.
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  7. #7
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    Hi Vaughn,

    Your booth looks great to me as well, maybe if you got the hippy to quit hanging around it would draw more people . Just on a side note, after having done much field research in this matter I've found that having a line of work (small bowl, pen, top, etc) that includes items for $10-20 is very important. Having taken classes from some pros over the past couple of years one of the things they have shared is that the small item sales has kept them "alive" and in many cases, drawn in new commissions. Best of luck with you show!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Barton View Post
    Hi Vaughn,

    ...I've found that having a line of work (small bowl, pen, top, etc) that includes items for $10-20 is very important...
    Seconded. I have done craft shows with two different types of products (picture frames and garden furniture). One had a £5-£10 component and I never failed to sell enough of this stuff to at least put the cost of the show back in my pocket. Psychologically that can be very important. With the more expensive stuff I have gone all weekend and not sell anything. This leaves you walking away thinking "Why bother??"

    On the height issue - I think I prefer the idea of pedestals over shelving, which can look very samey. Could you not turn some pedestals yourself - kinda like big candlesticks. Again, if you did make sure you take some to sell. I could see them being popular with other exhibitors even if not with visitors.

  9. #9
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    You know, the whole priced to sell line is a great idea.

    My cousin in Canada, and her husband opened a Mt. Bike shop, a long time ago, when Mt. Bikes were just starting to get popular, the bike shop was a great idea, just a bit ahead of it's time, they just about when bust, but my cousin got the great idea of putting a coffee machine and a fridge in the bike shop, she had a corner with a stand up bar kind of thing, and she served coffee and started to bring in her homemade cookies and date bars etc.

    Mt. Bikers, like most any group of enthusiasts like to sit and swap lies after a ride, and the best place to do this, was the bike shop, they could get stuff fixed on their bikes, get a GOOD cup of coffee and a high energy cookie

    She told me that the coffee and cookies etc paid the rent for a long time until the rest of the world caught up to them with the whole mountain bike thing.

    I think they have been in business for close to 20 years now, and yes, she still makes the cookie etc to sell in the shop.

    So a line of things like the bottle stoppers you have there or some pens etc is a good idea.

    I also like Tod's idea, you could have some rough blanks, and some roughed out bowls to show how it is done, might be something that at the very least starts a conversation...?

    I think you will go great, you set up looks good, you work is fantastic and you are not what I'd call "Shy"

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
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    Vaughn,

    The booth (and your work) look fantastic. I think you'll do very well with it. I'd also second the motion for pedestals rather than shelves. In fact, make them as well as you do your bowls and you might sell them too!
    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

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