Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned exhibitor, there is nothing more important at a tradeshow than presenting your jewelry in the most eye-catching ways possible. There you are, in the midst of hundreds of your competitors vying for attention and sales. A little sparkly fish in a big pond of diamonds, as it were. How will your sparkle capture the hearts (and wallets) of buyers?
Let’s start with the basics. The look of your show space has to complement the work you sell. Jewelry designer, Tracy Arrington from Apopka, Florida says, “The presence you create at a tradeshow says everything about who you are and what store owners can expect to pay for your work.”
Arrington travels with an extensive display to create the impression she wants. She reduces clutter and avoids crowding her cases by putting only her most popular and impressive pieces on display while the rest are kept in back-stock trays. The back-stock trays are visible to shoppers so they know more options are available, but they do not compete with the focal points of her display.
Once you have created the ideal space, it’s helpful to take photos and make a planogram, which is a diagram of where items are placed on shelves or displays to help you remember where everything goes for the next time. While you’re at it, why not take photos of how you pack items, too? It will help you locate pieces quickly and enable others to pitch in and assist more easily.
The gear in which you trust your precious goods has to fill many needs. It should be durable enough to stand up to airport employees and conveyance methods, lightweight enough for every member of your team to lug around, compact enough to reduce excess baggage fees, and quick to set up and tear down.
Denise Cabrera, Product Manager for Rio Grande‘s Display and Packaging line, understands the challenges of transporting bulky items. “Having displays that can be broken down or stacked are great options for a quick and easy booth teardown,” she says. “Also, lighter weight displays keep the costs down when shipping.”
Arrington tried every way imaginable before coming up with a system that works for her when traveling from show to show. She says it’s all about finding a balance between function and style.
- For transporting necklaces, Arrington uses 12″ x 15″ easel display boards with hooks. Fill display boards then stack them with bubble wrap between layers. Use stretch wrap to secure the bundle and place it in a rolling case that fits in the overhead compartment of an airplane or under your seat. The same stack-and-wrap technique can be used for boards that hold bracelets or earrings.
- Earrings and cloth diapers may sound like an odd combination, but it’s one that works for Arrington. She attaches a set of earrings at one side of a diaper then rolls the cloth before attaching another set, repeating until the cloth is fully rolled. Rolling between each set ensures earrings do not get tangled, and cloth diapers carry much less lint than towels.
- One of Arrington’s favorite packing tools is a simple white pillowcase. She buys them in bulk from a wholesaler for one dollar each. Display pieces like busts, racks, and ring fingers, are slipped into pillowcases then bound with bubble wrap to protect them from bumps.
Besides jewelry, what else do you need?
When asked what she can’t live without, Arrington provided a list of items based on her experience as a vendor at numerous trade and art shows.
- Set of tools for minor repairs on the spot
- Literature about her pieces and her studio
- Alcohol wipes and glass cleaner wipes for mirrors and cases
- Microfiber dust cloth
- Handheld vacuum
- Plastic zip ties
- Extra pens and paper (don’t go overboard)
- Fresh flowers and a decorative bowl with specialty candies
Arrington feels a meticulously clean environment makes the right impression for her business and gives her an advantage over other vendors who don’t pay as much attention to those details, so she is careful to bring cleaning essentials like microfiber wipes and glass cleaner everywhere she goes.
With experience, you will develop a method to transport your display and create a booth layout that suits your business and style. The key is to be aware of what works for you and where improvements can be made. And if need some inspiration, it’s all around you. Take a walk while you’re at a show and discover novel ways other vendors display items and incorporate their branding strategies.