Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Working the Shows Wednesday

Welcome to my new weekly feature - Working the Shows Wednesday! Beginning with today's post, I'll bring you weekly craft show info, commentary, advice, etc. every Wednesday. This is a separate feature from my Marketing Series articles. While the Craft Show Marketing Series will end later this week, the Wednesday features will continue indefinitely.
Jewelry Displays
This display by Avocado Creations, demonstrates the effect of upright jewelry table displays, a hanging earring display and the overall impact of a neat, uncluttered table display. (See

Up first this week, is some display information that pertains specifically to jewelry vendors. Because of its size, jewelry is often hard to display in an eye catching manner. Your display needs to catch the attention of those passing by and draw them closer to get a look at your terrific merchandise. In most cases, jewelry displays best on a solid colored background. The contrast of dark colored velvet or velour gives many pieces a visual pop. (Velour tends to be a more "easy care" fabric than velvet but has the same visual effect. It is also usually cheaper.) Many sellers believe something with sparkle will make the jewelry look brighter but my personal thought is it takes away from the product.

This display shows how a busy table cloth pattern can really take away from the jewelry displayed on it. the bracelets laying on the table simply seem to disappear amid the print. Even the hanging necklaces that are not against the fabric seem to be less impressive just by proximity to the busy pattern - kind of "guilty by association."

Very few pieces show well simply laying flat on the table. We have addressed varying the height of the display in earlier posts but in the case of jewelry, angling a display is also important. Jewelry boards can be leaned up against an easel or a higher shelf. This allows necklaces and earrings to hang giving the same effect they will give when worn by the buyer. I have seen folks create their own necklace displays by forming low cones from tag board or card stock, draping them with lightweight fabric and then hanging the necklaces over them creating an upright display. (Again, this varies your display levels.) One attractive display had some interesting pieces of driftwood and a few very large conch shells sitting on the table with necklaces draped over them. They really caught my eye!

Many upright earring display racks can be purchased very inexpensively in stores such as Walmart, Dollar General, and others. I have seen a number of vendors make their own jewelry boards using a picture frame and backing the frame with window screening or plastic canvas mesh. They then prop these frames upright and the earrings hang easily on the mesh.

Rings are somewhat difficult to display without a commercial ring display case with the foam inserts. You can make such displays using a piece of 1" - 1 1/2" foam rubber cut to fit a box lid. Using a box cutter, you can then form slits in which to display the rings. This looks best when the whole display is then propped at a slight angle toward the front of the table. I have also seen rings shown very effectively in a terra cotta flowerpot saucer filled with colored fish tank gravel, sand or even dried beans. The rings are simply set upright in the gravel. Another creative display involved hand silhouettes cut from heavy cardboard and spray painted in solid color with the rings displayed on the spread fingers. The hands were attached to small blocks of wood to hold them upright.

One of the most creative bracelet displays I've seen lately involved stuffed, long formal gloves (the kind that go almost up to the elbow). They had a few simply laying on the table with the bracelets on the "arms" and had one or two supported by dowels standing in an upright position with the bracelets pinned in place. The jeweler told me she bought them at a consignment store shortly after prom season for only $1.00 a pair. She had dyed them dark colors - black, navy and emerald green to best show off the bracelets. They were getting a tremendous amount of attention.

It is important to keep jewelry displays clean and uncluttered looking. Too much, jammed too close together will cause all of the items to simply blend and make it difficult for customers to appreciate the beauty of each individual piece.

***For a very interesting and easy to make earring display, check out the blog post dated 5/25/09 at The post actually tells you exactly how to make the display.


The good news is, even with today's economy, Spring shows seem to be doing well. Crafters around the country are reporting good shows. Some have even set attendance records and those folks are buying.

Not to scare anyone off but for some frightening accounts of weather complicating a show this past week, check out for reports, pictures and videos of wind, hail and rain destruction at the Delfest in Cumberland, Maryland. Delfest is a large, 3-day music festival with a large number of vendors and several stages. A large number of attendees camp there for the weekend. A sudden storm, referred to as a micro burst (similar to a small tornado) ripped through the festival, destroying many tents, canopies, stands and equipment within an hour's time. The good news is, there were only minor injuries and I'm told everyone turned to and helped pick up the pieces. Musical performers actually took the stage again shortly after the storm although a number of vendors were left without booths of any kind and lost a large quantity of merchandise. These accounts underline the necessity of weights and other weather precautions and point up the benefits of booth insurance to cover both the vendors' own losses as well as the damages done by their flying equipment. (An EZ Up frame actually went through a car window.)

Tune in next Wednesday for more craft show chatter.

***The final segment of the Craft Show Marketing Series will run this Friday with bits and pieces of helpful information and tips to give you a better selling experience.

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