Creating a Cohesive Display for a Jewellery Booth

Sales weren’t as high this summer as in other years – partly, I think, because I strayed too far from my core silver + beach glass for tourists kinda thing. Whatever it was, I realized I needed to increase my income a bit – and so I signed up for FOUR craft shows this fall/winter season, and made more jewellery in silver to try and compensate.

Preparing for this many shows was a little daunting. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t hurt myself, cause a fibro flare, or drop dead from exhaustion; so I had to make a plan to set up, man, and tear down four shows in four consecutive weekends.

As I made jewellery to stock the shows, I took breaks to sort out what my display would look like. I figured out the display pieces I ACTUALLY needed, BEFORE I packed up, so I wouldn’t be carrying unnecessary items. Then – I spray painted as many of the items as possible the same flat grey.

I did a little mock setup, testing the cards, jewellery, and chains on my now-matching jewellery displays.

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Satisfied with the way the background would work together, I next went into my local big box store and found a luggage set that seemed like it would hold a lot, then dragged it to the container section and played tetris in the aisle until I found a combination of acrylic boxes with lids that would fit snugly into the luggage – which had rolly wheels and pull-out handles. I bought the set I’d built, got it home, and began packing. Using the luggage and some offcast shopping baskets, I managed to put together a jewellery booth setup that required only 4 trips if I was alone – two if I had help (which I did – my dad showed up at the beginning of every show to help me unload <3 ). Not bad!!

The first show took a little finagling once I got there, but I managed to figure out what was working and what wasn’t. I was able to remove a few items from the baskets for the next set of trips with them. Here’s how it looked!

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The venue here was completely amazing. One of the oldest churches in town – built in 1826ish – it has been converted into a museum / theatre venue / wedding chapel. The huge ceiling beams, quaint atmosphere, and amazing marketing/decorating efforts by the show’s creator turned it into a SMASH HIT of a show. I will likely only do this one show in the future. (St. Pat’s is the venue, Deck the Halls is the name of the show, if you’re wondering).

Based on this 6-foot setup, I had to extrapolate outwards to 8-foot tables at some of my other shows. I added an extra display piece which was a little easier to set up but I don’t know – it might be too crowded. I’m not sure if it was the audience, the marketing, the less-tight setup, or what – but the remaining three shows were nowhere near as successful for me. But – I stayed calm, I was able to set-up and tear down without pain or stress because I had planned ahead and knew where things go, and by the end, I was happy I’d done the lot. And even happier that my planning had worked!

Here’s the empty setup at one of the later shows:

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And the same setup populated with jewellery; this was the Renegade Craft Fair. I felt that there was not enough marketing for this show and suggested they increase the price to vendors in order to get the word out – but they weren’t having it. I will likely not attend again, because despite it being a show of higher quality than usual, with unique vendors, a weekend at a show that nobody knows about is a waste of my precious energy. It’s a shame!

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Meantime, I learned that I really DO need two lights. Maybe three or four, to be honest! St. Pat’s has built-in track lighting that was gorgeous and didn’t require extra lighting whatsoever.

Closeup, in which you can see that the lighting is extremely uneven:

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Here’s a similar setup at the CBU show:

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Closeup:

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I did this show PURELY BECAUSE OF THIS AMAZING POSTER OMG:

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It was a crowd of students and professors – not a lot of traffic, but lovely nonetheless.

I also did a show at the library, but I don’t seem to have any photos? Weird. I was tired by then, I think :)

Here’s the upside to these less-busy shows – I was able to complete huge chunks of half-finished pendants that I hadn’t had time to get to before the shows began. It was kind of nice to work in such a constrained space, to be honest! And with nothing to distract me (I’m looking at you, Netflix), I was very, very productive. In fact I did so much that by the last show I had no finished components left needing wire, so I ended up bored! There are certainly worse problems to have, let me tell you ;)

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Joan at My Fair Ladies (a downtown fair trade shop here in Cape Breton) had requested more of those “steampunky flowery things, with the feminine colours that contrast so nicely with the copper and brass metals”, so I was able to get her a good series for her to choose from for her consignment section in the shop.

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And, since these simple gemstone pendants sold so well LAST summer, I made more of these for NEXT summer. Here’s hoping!

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My last show was December 11, and since then it’s been Christmas-City around here. I’ll do a personal update soon!

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