After our stint at Artsplosure this past Spring, I realized that Andrew’s hardwork assembling our booth was in vain. Actually, it was a pain -a PIA kind of pain. And after a long day with really loud -120 decibels loud- of scream in your ear bad country music that melts your brain and the kind of humid heat that makes you sweat just thinking about it, you just want to disintegrate into the pavement. Your throbbing feet don’t want to move and your swollen hands don’t articulate the way the battered brain insists on instructing and I have to ask, “who’s in charge here, anyway?” Then when it comes time to dismantling the booth, the klanging of the pipes on asphalt mutilates your body from the inside out.
As we awkwardly disassembled our booth like the 3 stooges, I found that took us waaaaaay too long to break down the chrome shelving that pinched our fingers. The tabletops not only required power tools to unhinge the handbag brackets but needed four hands to manage. Not a good use of time for either of us.
I swore we would never do this again. Andrew agreed. If retail art shows were going to be a part of our MO, we were going to sit down at the drawing board and construct a meaningful temporary shop that oozed our brand -the kind of oozing that I’m always preaching about.
The Brand New Clothes
Fast forward to this past weekend and you get to see a preview of our new booth design. It’s not final, so hold tight.
Chapel Hill Festifall Booth
Like everything, it’s a work in progress, so I implore you not to get hung up about the aesthetic wrinkles that are in play here. Let me show you the most important details now…
The requirements for this booth set up are that:
- it’s supermodel easy
- allows me to set it up alone, and
- doesn’t require power tools
This show was a dry run for us and our set up. I knew that this particular venue wasn’t bent on a perfect booth display and this gave us latitude to work out the kinks for the next one. Additionally, I needed a set up that would allow me to graciously install and dismantle with ease. If I were to travel as a solo artist or hire a few hands that are local to the venue, I wouldn’t have to babysit each silly move that needs to happen. This was indeed a savvy solution to my challenge.
However, time is a commodity we don’t have the luxury of wasting. While managing the day-to-day business, I wasn’t able to corral a few things I desperately needed to make this booth complete. Because this was a dry run, this allowed me to make a list of things I wanted but didn’t get.
1. A – Full floor foam cushion as a base. My mantra: Your feet work hard for you so take care of them!
Our feet were killing us after 8 hours. Every little bit of cushion helps and customers are grateful for it.. We had cushion tiles, but were ruined at the beginning of one of our licensing tradeshows. Plus, if it keeps them browsing longer and considering your work for just a few more minutes, then it’s worth it. Every minute helps!!
1.B – A floor mat atop the foam to tie in the shop. We had a grass cloth but opted not to bring it because I think it would have become a trip hazard. I now need to recreate a floor piece that is reflective of our brand. Perhaps I’ll have the option of combining both…
2. A banner with my name. What? No banner? Yah, strange as it sounds, this was the first show we didn’t have a banner. Through-out the years our shows have evolved from wholesale to licensing to retail and now back to wholesale. It gets costly to have signage made for each venue of business and some things just have to give. Additionally, we’ve changed our brand from ECStewart Designs to Lisa Stewart Designs and the dollars just don’t stretch where it counts. At least my tabletop signage and product tags all exhibited my ID/system. I’ll show you how to do that on a whim later.
When you walk into a brick and mortar shop, you know exactly where you are. Hermes? Louis Vuitton? Crate & Barrel? The same should be for one’s booth.
3. Current product posters to display and hang from the top. When a group of folks congregate around a table, it makes it tough to see. Posters hung above head level allows folks outside of the booth to get a glimpse of the product.
For those designing wearable art (handbags, scarves, jewelry), it’s important to create ‘an environment’ for shopping. For artists who create wall art, the hanging art should suffice.
4. Storage Should Be Seen, Not Scream. Our beautiful new booth tables require a clean look while on display showcasing our gorgeous work. If storage is going to be seen by the public, it’s imperative to streamline the storage so that it doesn’t look like a flea market. Unfortunately, ours was leaning in that direction. Ack!
Depending on the venue, one can store boxes behind the tent in the impromptu artist alley or create a little impromptu closet inside the tent in the back corner. For us, I think I’ll get more black collapsable containers (like the red ones shown below) to grant us the extra storage for product and other show miscellany.
The Minute Man Display
I’m going to file this next bit under the category, “Things That Don’t Suck”
Get This: The installation of each table takes less than one minute to fit together!
They’re so lightweight, an old lady could carry these pieces without the help of a strapping young lad. Then again, she could pretend that she needed him around to ‘move things.’ Rawr! Okay, just jumped off the deep end. Sorry. 😉
Back to the booth. The base of each table is comprised of four (4) panels, each of them hinged and the unit unfolds like an accordion.
Three (3) shelves have cleats on each end located on the underside to seat and secure each in their place.
Again, it takes only a minute to unfold and place each shelf into position. OMG! I’m so freaking happy about this brilliant design. Ohh, me thinks I’m about to go into another Ode to Andrew post…
All day I told Andrew how happy I was to have this new design. As tired as I was, I was still pretty giddy that this guy is on my side and loves to build and construct things for the business. Yay me!!
Up Next: I will be writing a post about design and construction of this said booth to demonstrate the wonderful attributes.
What do you this so far?
I’d love to know!!