Thursday, December 6, 2012

::Craft Show Mini Series:: Designing your "Feel"

It's the first post of my Mini Series... get pumped, get psyched!

So you want to do a craft show and you're not sure where to start.  That's exactly where I was a few months ago, so you're in good company.  In this mini series I plan to cover:

The First Step... Designing your "Feel"

Now I am in no way an expert, but I've read more craft show posts and books and listened to more podcasts than I care to admit!  (More on my favorite resources in my last post.)  How about I sift through all of that for you and give you just the gems?

The first place to start is deciding on what you want to sell (think: what are you best at making, what would YOU buy?) and seeing what the common denominator is.  I wanted to sell handwoven infinity scarves, paintings, crayons, baby hats, preschool song books and stationary.  There's not a whole lot in common in that list.  It's not like I was only selling things for one type of customer or only things that go around your neck.  My inventory was a little all over the map so color was my tie that bound everything together.  I used the same color palate and even with a crazy mixture of items, it all came together.

After you decide on what to sell it's time to design your "feel."  In my opinion this step is master class... a ton of people buy a black velvet tablecloth, lay out their stuff and call it a day.  Where's the personality, where's the element of story that comes with your product?  I think creating a "feel" is key to giving someone an experience with you.  People love to give gifts with a story behind them and when they have just met a stay-at-home mom of (almost) three who knits during nap time and decorates with her grandmother's treasures because it's the nostalgia she loves, they like talking about it.  It brings another level of depth and value to your product you've worked hard on.  You'll think about packaging and display later (and I'll talk more about that in a different post) but first it all has to relate back to your "feel."  

Ask yourself what type of environment to you want to create.  My decided feel was "bright and happy little boutique!"  That phrase then acted as my filter.  When deciding on my display I would ask myself the question, "Is this in my bright and happy little boutique?"  Would a wooden stump be happy?  Nah, not really, that's more woodsy.  How about an old Radio Flyer Wagon?  Happy, yes, but not exactly in my bright color palate.  It's a cute idea, but that's more "playful vintage" than I was going for this time.  Does that make sense?
A great place to start might be this quick decorating style survey or here's another one from Sproost.

Here are some examples of my style and how it played out in my booth:  I love the warmth of the unfinished wood, aqua, pinks, vintage table cloths and hankies... those made the cut.  As did white furniture with a scalloped edge.
These fit my aesthetic perfectly... bright, happy scrapbook paper with glittered vintage hymnal sheets.  AND those I didn't sell will be up in the shop soon!
 Bright scarf hung on an old wooden hanger.
Vintage Lilly Pulitzer fabric Mod Podged on to a tin ceiling tile with all of my yarns for custom orders.

Next up... "Designing your Booth" with a couple bazillion pictures of mine!


Unknown said...

What a great idea for packaging your scarves! I noticed on Facebook that you were showcasing your work soon. I made sure to check your blog for pictures, and, sure enough, everything is beautiful and creative. Hope all is well and I look forward to seeing you soon! -Allyson B.

krishna said...

very beautiful idea.. waiting to see more from you.. I'm not a professional , but i love to do crafts.. rather i want to say ,I'm a craft-addict...

Three Birds Inspired said...

From your post I am guessing that your show last weekend went well? Great display ideas - I will be using them next year!

Kate said...

So fun, Sarah! I'm excited to read more about your experience. Thanks for taking the time to share! Merry Christmas. :)

Christina said...

Everything looks so nice! I took the quiz and I'm "Polished Casual". Look forward to reading more!

Christina said...

So lovely! I always have the problem of trying to showcase a lot of different types of items, and I love your ideas for establishing congruity throughout your area through color and feel. (Also, I adore the vintage hankie bunting. I have a bunch from my great-grandma, and I think I might have to do something similar!)

Lindsay Satchell said...

Thanks for sharing these easy points to ponder when prepping for a show. They're great suggestions, even if you're not doing a show and just re-working a brand or styling your Etsy shop or whatever. Great post!