Monday, June 29, 2009

Today's topic...Signage

You got your booth up and your display is looking good now let everyone know who you are and what your products are. Signage is an important part of your booth that is often overlooked. Whether you sell jewelry, food products, or knitted item you should have some signage. You don’t have to go overboard and plaster your display with it but do let customers know who you are. They may want to contact you after the event for information, products, etc. Signage and publicity go hand in hand but I am planning on breaking them up into 2 parts.

· First thing I must say, make your signs look good. Make them on the computer, have them made professionally, look to scrapbook techniques, paint them if you have that talent, etc. I don’t personally recommend hand written signs that are done in haste with a Sharpie. Take the time to make them look fabulous. Remember, they represent and speak for you!
· A banner of sorts is wonderful to have in your booth. Sign shops can make a professional one for you if you choose. But if your product is handmade you may want to consider making one yourself. With all the craft technology there is today why not. Look to scrapbook stores and supplies for ideas. Pennants are really popular currently. Die cut machines make everything neat and crisp looking. Machines like the Cricut will cut paper, fabric and vinyl…all of these will make a great banner or sign. Signs and banners can also be ordered through many of the vinyl wording websites.
· Maybe just a small sign is all you want in your booth. One that can be attached to the wall or table front with safety pins or tape.
· Another option is to place your information in a picture frame. It can be set anywhere in your booth or at your checkout table.
· Your computer is a great resource to create a sign of many sorts with the various publishing programs available.
· If your product has rare, complicated or interesting processes include a sign of sorts that has photos of you working on your product and how the process works. Wool felting, ceramics, metalwork, etc come to mind for me.
· Sale signs are great attention getters. Make them a bright color is you wish to really draw attention. As with almost all signage…don’t just scribble something quick and hang it up. Think it out ahead of time; make them look neat and professional. Have them ready and use when needed. These could include a percentage off, buy one-get one, free gift with purchase, etc. or just a simple ‘SALE’ may be enough for you.
· Office supply and display fixture stores have a variety of items to hold signage including metal frames that stand above a product, acrylic holders that stand or hang, floor and wall mounted fixtures as well. Go explore them, you may find something that really fits your needs.
· Consider laminating smaller signs so they can be used repeatedly without wear and tear on them.
· If you are placed in an aisle format (or any layout) you might consider have a sign that sticks out into the aisle so folks can see it before they get to you. Just remember to place this high enough so no one hits their head on it. PVC pipe and joints could be used to create a pole that can be attached to your side wall with tape or zip ties, etc. Your sign could be made of fabric, wood, plastic, vinyl, etc. and hang from the pipe with rings or slide over it. Wood could also be easily used.
· Price tags: Make them easy to read for your customers. WRITE CLEARLY! That is so important. Don’t confuse customers with trying to figure out if it’s $15 or $5 ‘cuz the dollar sign is confusing or loosely written. If you pull your tags at the sale counter, you may wish to place a description on them so you can tell what they were later. If you leave them on consider making them on the computer and include your contact information. But again, make them legible whether they are small or large.
· It’s okay to put a sign in your booth stating that no photos or sketching is allowed. You work hard on your product. I often will make them on the computer so they can be folded and stand on their own. Sometimes I tape them to a wall or basket. Don’t get obnoxious in your wording or actions. There will still always be someone that wants to take a photo so they can recreate an item. Simply be polite and ask them not to take photos, if they continue you have the right to ask them to leave your booth…again, politely.
· Payment forms: Let customers know if you accept credit cards. It will boost your sales 9 times out of 10. If you only accept checks and cash, that’s fine. Let them know who to make the check payable to, this way you don’t have to spell it out all day.
· Business cards: You really should have your contact information available. These will be discussed in the publicity segment next week.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I just need to share

I am so excited I just need to share with all of you. I've been using some awesome new products from Liv International called Liv Sxinney. A friend introduced it to me. She said, 'just come to this meeting tonight, it will be fun.' I went and I have to tell you what I heard from others that were using these products was incredible. People were there from 10 states, including Hawaii and Canada telling their stories about how their lives have changed for the better. They were losing weight, improving their health, having more energy, and more. They introduced and reviewed the products and it just seemed too easy.

I was intrigued, went to the training the next day, researched the product, blah, blah, blah. A month later (March) I decided to give it a try. So I signed up and well, let me tell you...these products are a break through for me with fabuous results. I had a full hysterectomy 2 weeks after I started. By that point my blood sugar levels were cut in half, I went into surgery with a 166 blood sugar level. That is really good for my by the way. Now I am holding my blood sugar levels in a range of 105-150, I am taking half the insulin I was before. My endocrinologist is thrilled as am I. My healing process has really been good, my gyno has been pleased and impressed.

I have more energy now than I have in years. I've lost 17 pounds since I started, lost 9 inches, my clothes are all getting loose. My skin feels better too. It's so easy and simple too! No dieting, no weird food combinations, no man made chemicals that will do God knows what down the road...just great tasting Liv Sxinney water all day long, some cRave twice a day before lunch and dinner, and now I've added the Go. Wow, this is doing great things for people and I can feel it, I have more energy and actually want to get outside and do something (it was 105 out there today). At the company picnic this year I got a ton of compliments on how I looked. It was a really good feeling.

Now I've been challenged to join in on a 35 day program that will teach me how to make a 6 figure annual income with these incredible, all natural products. But I need 3 people on my team first. If you know someone that has health issues (diabetes, high cholesterol, etc.), someone that needs wants to lose just a few pounds (or 100 pounds), wants to tone up and lean out, improve their health and make money then this may be just what they are looking for.

If you want more information or are just curious, post a comment with your email address and I'd love to send you some information.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Booth Display Ideas...part 2

In last week’s post I went over some ideas for wall options for your booth. Now please remember there are so many more ways to come up with something for walls. Old doors and fence boards are just a couple of more that some to mind at the moment. Today, I would like to concentrate on the horizontal aspect of your booth. This would consist mainly of shelving and tables, etc.

· Tables: Often the most common piece to use as display space. Card tables, folding tables, solid tables, heck even TV trays would consist as a table. Probably the most intelligent thing manufactures did was to take the standard 30”x6ft table and make it fold in half. Now it can fit in a car easily making it much more convenient for everyone. Just the fact that they are now made out of plastic instead of heavy MDF was quite a break through for those of us that lug them around. One of the only things that bother me about the standard width table is being able to reach the wall behind it. Years ago, I purchased some 8foot tables that were only 18” wide. Yes, they are heavy but they work great for displays and customers can still reach the wall behind them also. Check restaurant and office supply warehouses for these tables.

· Table coverings: If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Make sure your table coverings go all the way to the floor…and for heavens sake, make sure they’re clean and pressed (at least folded neatly so they aren’t wrinkled). It will make your booth look so much better! Under your tables is valuable space to store surplus product for restocking during the day, hide your lunch and personal belongs like jackets and purses. Many things can be used for table coverings including tablecloths, sheets, quilts, chenille bedspreads, fabric by the yard, and more. Get creative and layer them. An organza drape over a sheet may be just the look your booth needs to enhance your product. If your table covering is a bit short, push it to the front so it goes to the floor and tape it to the table. Double up if needed. No one wants to see your boxes, etc. peeking out from under the table. Recently, I’ve seen some made of stretchy polyester fabrics that are made to fit the table, with a pocket for the table leg to hook into. A very clean and modern look. What ever you choose to cover your table with, make sure it suits your style of product.

· Adding Height: Maybe you are demonstrating at your booth. Bending over all day can be a painful experience. If you have a single type product to feature you may wish your table was taller also. Well it can be done very easily. PVC pipe can be used to raise your table by making the legs longer. Most folding tables have a cross bar or the legs bend. By cutting 4 pieces of PVC pipe to slide over the legs you can make the table taller. Measure the length of the leg from the cross bar or bending point to the floor and add the extra length you need to this, cut, insert the table legs and ‘ta-da’, a taller table. This is especially nice when using your table as a check out area. Again the leaning over all day can be very uncomfortable. At the end of the event, it’s easy to tear down too.

· Raise Your Product: To make your display more appealing, raise your product off the table. A flat display is very boring. Think lifts and levels to vary the height of your display. There are probably a million things you could use to do this, but make it easy for yourself. A couple of the boxes you packed your product in could be covered with another piece of fabric or matching table covering making a higher place to display some of your product. Cans, crates, books, boxes, acrylic risers, bricks, etc. can all be used to raise your product up off the table. Some of them may need to be covered, others don’t. Again, it depends on your display and product.

· Shelving: There are many affordable and portable shelving units that can be purchased. Check your local hardware and/or discount store for these selections. If you choose to make your own, more unique shelving there are several options. Those tall shutter bi-fold doors are great for this. You’ll need 2 pair of them (check thrift stores for them for cost savings). If they aren’t already hinged into pairs you’ll want to do that. Simple pine lumber comes already cut into a 4ft length or longer. This is the width of the shelving unit you’ll be creating. Figure out how many shelves you want and purchase that many pine boards. You’ll also want to cut out a slat (maybe 2) on one shutter only in each set. Slide your boards through the slats and connect the shutter pairs. Make sure the solid shutter is on the back side of the shelving unit, giving the whole thing stability. Simply take apart when the event is over and it stores flat. Another easy shelving display is made with an old wood ladder (or two). Slide pine boards through a single ladder for a small display or use longer boards and connect two ladders together for a wider display. Both of these also let you display clear to the floor. Since my product is country/primitive I’ve also used old wood ironing boards to display stuff on also. If you use peg board or grid wall you can hang boards on hooks for shelving. I’ve also done the same thing with smaller crates (fruit crates, soda crates, etc) and doubled my shelf space.

· Other display items: Get creative. Hunt your local thrift store, your attic, basement or garage for items to use as display for your product. Old suitcases are awesome for this. Stack them for height, stagger the edges for more places to put stuff, open them for display lots of the same item. Baskets are good for displaying smaller items like ornaments, etc. Putting baskets filled with ornaments under a tree trimmed with ornaments is a wonderful way to display multiple of each one. Christmas trees can be used for more than just the holiday. Hang larger items like signs, dolls, etc in them for a focal point in your booth. Spray paint one black for Halloween. Old school chairs and desks make interesting displays for teacher related items. Place a chair on the table to add height and display up. Maybe an old wheel barrow filled with garden related items will catch a customer’s eye or what about a garden arch. If you have a canopy, hang a couple of lighter items from the framework. Unusual items make good displays that draw attention. A bucket or smaller trash can filled with beans (sand, etc) are good for displaying items on stakes, sticks, etc. If you have lots of Christmas stockings, why not try a false fireplace or a pole with lots of hooks on them. Even a chain or clothesline with clothespins will create a neat way to hang aprons, stockings, etc. Don’t forget smaller hutches or solid shelving units too. They are sturdy and easy to use as long as you have room to transport them. If you have lots of baby related items a crib would make an attention getting display.

Check back next Monday for more ideas.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Scott!

It's hard to believe that my oldest son is 25 today. How did that happen? I sure don't all went by so fast. He's grown into an awesome young man that I am so proud of. It seems like yesterday he was in the NICU at the hospital. To see him today, you'd never know. He was the cutest darn baby...really. I wish I had pictures on the computer from back then.
This is my favorite pictures of him I think. He was working as staff at Del Webb High Adventure Boy Scout Camp in southern Utah. He worked on the rocks staff teaching boys to climb and rapell. This was on one of his days off, he went with a group to hike the 'Subway' in Zion National Park. What an awesome time he had those two summers. He spent 6 weeks living in a tent, eating camp food, campfires everynight, climbing and rapelling all day and enjoying life on the mountain...what more could you ask for!
He's spent most of his life involved in Scouting with his dad, brother, and me. Thanks to his dad for being there for him and hundreds of other boys as a Scoutmaster and leader over the years.

Eventually, they grow up, graduate, go to college, get a great job, meet a wonderful girl and get married. Ah, such is life.
Anyway, best wishes to you my baby boy. Happy Birthday Scott-a-roo! We all love you!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Some booth display ideas...Part 1

There are many ways you can set up your craft booth at shows. One of my first suggestions is to attend a couple of shows to see what others are doing. Look beyond the products to see how and what other crafters are doing for their displays. You’ll want to create a booth that works for you. In part 1, canopies and wall are discussed. Here are some ideas you may want to consider.

Canopy: If you are outside, you'll really want to have a canopy to protect you and your products from the weather. The sun will really get to you by the end of the day without shade...even consider one of the umbrellas from a patio set. You don't want you or your products to melt. It will also help protect you from rain (that's a bad word). I suggest a canopy that has straight legs instead of the ones that angle outward. Sam's Club and Costco both sell an EZup style with sides includes for just under $200. Wal-Mart now also has one with straight legs in their sporting goods dept for much less.

Walls: Basically; there are 2 types of walls, one that is just a visual barrier and one that is used to display product. Most crafters will need a wall of some sort to hang their merchandise from. More importantly, it lets customers concentrate on your product instead of looking through your booth into your neighbors. There are many ways to create walls for your booth and I think I have tried just about everything over the years.
· If you are not hanging product on your wall you can create a simple ‘pole and drape’ style wall with PVC pipe and drapes or sheets. Think of it like Tinker toys, you simply connect pieces of pipe together with joints to make a large upside down ‘U’ and add feet to the bottom so it will stand.
· Sheets, fabric, quilts, drapes, etc can be pinned or clipped to the framework of a canopy to create a ‘wall’.
· Large room divider screens can be used as a visual barrier also.
· Pegboard with 1x2’s framed on the edges for stability work great if you need to hang lots of items. I used this system for years. I recommend cutting the pegboard down to a manageable size for you to carry. Mine were 2’x6’ and I screwed the pieces together from the back side through the 1x2 framework.
· Chicken wire on a wood framework also is another great wall. I still recommend backing it with fabric so you can’t see thru it. You can hinge the frames together so it’s free standing. You can hang items using paperclips that have been opened.
· Shutters hinged together make some great walls too. Paperclips, pegboard hooks, and drapery hangers can all be used to hang items from them.
· Lattice panels are another way to display products. I suggest framing the edges and cutting it down to a manage size also. Hinge the panels to create freestanding displays or tie it to the canopy frame for support.
· Gridwall: This is the system I am currently using. I tried not to use this for years. First of all, it’s kinda pricey. Second, it didn’t really lend itself to the country/primitive theme of my product. I will admit though, it’s very versatile and can be configured in many ways. I use zip ties to put mine together, it’s fast to put up and easy to take down. You can use tarps, fabric, sheets, etc. clipped to the back to create a visual barrier. Another benefit, it’s heavy…it has saved my booth from the wind a few times when others were destroyed. I secure it to the framework of my canopy to help weight it down. It will last you forever. I purchased all my gridwall through Craig’s List and saved a ton of money. Gridwall and hooks can be purchased at store display companies and on line.

I hope this information has been useful to you. Watch for part 2 next week. ;o)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Getting ready for craft shows

I know summer is barely starting but for crafters we are (or should be) thinking about what are going to produce for the fall/Christmas seasons. Here are a few suggestions to help get you organized and started.

· Research and review shows
· submit applications (some had to be done in Jan and Feb)
· set aside funds every week, payday, etc for expenses
· fill out your calendar
· tear apart and tape a calendar to your craft door so you can see thru the end of the year all at once
· review patterns and books – make a list of what you want to create this year – what sold best last year
· Set goals, post a clipboard, note book, etc to the door (wreath hanger and ribbon on clipboard) – keep a list of what you complete everyday.
· check supplies – what do you need, order wholesale if possible
· use coupons to purchase larger items or bolts of muslin, etc.
· after completing your items, photograph them, tag them, box them, label boxes so you know what’s in them
· make sure you inventory what you have created, number of each item, price of each item
· compile a list of what shows you are going to do and make a flyer or postcard to hand out to everyone…the more people that come to your events, the more opportunities you have to sell your items
· set aside time to craft each day, even if it’s just a short period ( I know there are days when it will be impossible, but try)
· design your booth-always try to enclose the back of your booth so your customer isn’t looking through your booth at your neighbor

This will get you started...more will come later. ;o)

A few pictures for you

My computer seems to be working at the moment. I was going to take it into the shop for repair but it was going to be $79 just to diagnose the problem. I prayed to the computer gods and I've received a reprieve (for the moment) and it's working. What a relief!

Here are a few things I've been working on lately. I've really been inspired with Americana lately. Lady Liberty is a design by Maxine Thomas. I love it. I am really lovin' my Liberty & Justice series of flags. I think I will start putting them into pattern form. There are been several requests from other painters that would like to make them. I used to have a ton of patterns that I had designed but I put them on a back burner (way, way back) for years. Recently, I've had the urge to start designing packets again and possibly submit a couple of projects to magazines.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Computer trouble

My computer has been wigging out for the last couple of weeks. Sometimes the internet is accessible...sometimes not. It went out on Sunday totally. The printer wasn't even working. My son put a new USB board in it and it seems to be working fine now. We'll see what happens in a day or two. I think it needs to go to the shop and be updated and get a check up. So if you don't hear from me for a few days that's why.


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