Thursday, July 14, 2011

Getting Ready for a Trade Show

Every time I get ready for another trade show I realize all of the things I either did wrong last time, or failed to do completely.  It really is a huge learning process, and I don't think there are any shortcuts, everyone needs to figure out on his/her own what works best for his/her own business.  Now, I am certainly no expert, but I feel like I have learned a huge amount in just the last year.  This August will be my third time exhibiting at the New York International Gift Fair, and I am really excited about how my booth is going to look.  I feel like I have thought it all out, been thrifty where I could, and spent money on the things that need to look really professional, like the photographs and other printed materials.  It really is a bit of an IQ test to build a booth that is both attractive and functional with nothing to build off but 3 horizontal pipes 8 feet in the air draped with hideous nylon fabric.  It is also a really interesting challenge to design a trade show booth that is both representational of, and complimentary to your work.  It is one of those non-linear questions like, if you were an animal, what animal would you be?  But instead you try to answer the question: if your customer were to be drawn to one booth in a sea of booths, what would draw them in?  There's really just a whole lot to think about.

Here are some pics from around the studio that show part of the prepping process.  Below you can see a sketch of the general layout, although a few things have changed since I drew this. 
I am hoping to bring some tree branches from home to decorate part of my booth.  I say hoping, because I am in the middle of a test run now in our spare room with some pruned branches from three different types of trees to see how long they last in a bucket of water.  Green leafy branches look great, but dead branches, not so much.  Fingers crossed they last at least a week!  I do kind of love that part of my work day might include pruning some branches and putting them in a bucket to observe.  
Here are the fabrics I'm going to be working with.  One will line the walls, one will cover the tables, and one will cover the panels that the jewelry will be displayed on.
So that's what I've been up to.  And making jewelry of course!  Once we get a little closer to the date I'll do a sneak peek for you all of the new work I'm bringing to the show.  I am really excited about the new work, some of the pieces I have so far are pretty special!


  1. Oh my gosh it makes me tired just thinking about it. I'm loving your use of LARGE FORMAT PHOTOGRAPHY!

  2. hahahahahaha I know you are Cassie!

  3. Did you find a solution to the cork board question? What about homosote - I think I read that worked well somewhere on another blog recently. Also, I meant to send you this link to uppercase magazine's blog. They have been talking a lot about different booths at the San Francisco Renegade Fairs (a different market than your upcoming show, but I thought there was some inspirational ideas to be found on the some of the posts). Your show isn't this weekend is it??

    Here's the link -

  4. Yes, I think I'm going to try homasote, I read about that too. Amazing what you can find when you type "how to make your own bulletin board" into google! I don't know why I didn't do that right off the bat. I think I might make an inspiration board for my studio while I'm at it.

    Thanks for the link! So much cool stuff at Renegade!