Clever props and styling tips to make your craft fair booth stand out

I’ve written this blog post ‘Clever props and styling tips to make your craft fair booth stand out’ after being asked by so many people about displays.  Even if you haven’t anything to sell or promote, this article will give you lots of inspirations for displays in your home too.

When a stall is competing for attention at a craft fair and when your specifically selected and painstakingly hand crafted examples of practiced skill and creativity are waiting to be admired, chosen and taken to a loving home, it is important to ensure that the products are the stars of the show.

It was Chanel who suggested that a woman should get ready, stand in front of a mirror and remove one accessory before leaving the house.  The essential advice being that ‘less is more’ and the same is true of the art of visual merchandising.

mobile craft fair

 

A great idea is a custom made wardrobe which can be transported to a fair and it’s ready for action as soon as you’ve opened the doors

It is not necessary to have everything on display all at once.  Having too much to look at can become less of a feast for the eyes and more of a confusing overdose, which detracts from the features and qualities of each individual item.  Extra product can be concealed under fabric-draped tables or safely hidden elsewhere so that each item is allowed its own place in the spotlight.  Dependant upon the products, some can even be presented in boxes on the floor below the main, more accessible display.

neat storage

If you’re mixing colour do it in blocks

Grouping similar items together and creating sections of colour coordination is key to making a cohesive visual impact.  It only takes a second or two for eyes to advise the brain to keep walking or to take a closer look and clever styling will draw people in and allow items to be easily seen and, more importantly, be presented at their best.

 

craft fair display

 

Colour Order works well and is easy on the eye especially in cramped spaces.  Ribbons by Jane Means

Today, your products are also going to become the photo shoot models of virtually every camera and phone that flashes by your stall.  You are suddenly selling to people who are not even attending that particular event as each picture could Facebook and Instagram its way across the globe and your small craft fair stall has suddenly become the unassuming platform of your worldwide advertising campaign.  Every vista of your visual merchandising counts.

jewellery display

Image courtesy of GoodSamShow

Items are generally, extensively displayed on tables, which means table cloths or lengths of fabric are required.  Select beautiful fabrics such as black crushed velvet, crisp white tablecloths or a fabric colour that really compliments your products in a way that makes them stand out.  A vital tip is to ensure your table covering is spotless and creaseless and, perhaps, have a spare on hand just in case of unforeseen accidents.

ribbon table cloth

Image courtesy of Aroka Weddings

Tearing of your stall is a great way to optimize the amount of product and the clarity with which it can be seen.  Boxes can be built up and concealed under table coverings or display props can be used.  Creating height at the back of your stall makes your presentation area appear bigger and, remember, the aim of the game is to create a perfect picture, illustrating your product from a few metres away, so keep stepping back and admiring your merchandising until it looks just right.

 

watering can storage

Watering Can by Clifton Nurseries

Creating a focal point such as this turquoise watering can will catch the eye and draw people in.  A sense of spectacle and drama is not to be under-estimated but one main focal point is more dramatic than throwing on everything you think is wonderful for impressive effect.  Your focal point may feature your star products framed by a stunning free-hanging, picture frame, suspended from the stall roof or it may be a customized prop that has been styled to suit your theme perfectly. I love to use cake stands

cake stand

Small stand – Great for highlighting your favourite products

Props need not be expensive and can be as random and quirky as your sense of styling allows.  I recently purchased an old but beautiful bureau from ebay for ten pounds but a weekend of sanding, sweating and painting later and it was a terrific, turquoise display fixture for stationery items and the perfect focal point for my pop up shop in London at Clifton Nurseries.

Turquoise bureau

Tall, wooden stools, antique tables, free standing or stepped shelving and upcycled old chairs hung on walls as shelves, make great merchandising furniture and old copper kettles, elegant cake stands, antique typewriters, painted bird cages, vibrantly coloured watering cans, large candlestick stands and artist’s easels are examples of random, beautiful objects that may just enhance a theme by their strategically placed presence. I love these painted apple crates

painted crates

 

Image courtesy of Pinterest 

Do not forget the backdrop of your stall.  Plastic sheeting of a blue and white, stripy nature may be what the stall was supplied with but consider the scenery of your stage setting.  Clip on fabric, tape up wallpaper or use an opaque plastic sheet of appropriate colour.  Every inch of your selling space should be considered, designed and intentionally presented.  Space is expensive.  Use it to maximum impact but remember, ‘less is more’ and, if something does not add to the show, then it takes away and it should probably be removed.

 

country living fair

I’ve also utilised crates under the table so it acts as display as well as storage. I’ve also made a ribbon curtain to hang on the wall as a feature

Remember, people will look with their hands as well as their eyes.  Although people are just being enthusiastic and probably just can’t keep their hands from the textures and fabrics, etc, (we all do it!) it is our own responsibility to keep our stage set spotless.  Maintenance of the area should be constant as photographs certainly will be.  Nobody wishes to enter an untidy stand or would be tempted towards a messy stall when the one next door is looking stunning so, paying attention to house keeping detail is a vital piece of advice.

neat display

Keep your display neat and tidy

One of the most important fixtures of your stall has not yet been mentioned and this is you!  You are the key to selling your products, ideas and inspirations.  Always be friendly and approachable.  This is your stage so wear a smile.  Eating and spending time on your phone are not ideal or appealing things to do in this, your professional place of work so save that for an allocated break time when you can step away from your stall.

Your stall is also a good place to inspire potential customers and to show them just how beautiful, versatile and useful your products are.  Giving demonstrations is also the perfect way to engage people’s attention and keep them at your stall.  Remember, there will be equally interesting stalls or booths beside yours but the clever trick is to make yours stand out and look like ‘this is the place to be’.  Drawing a small crowd with a demonstration is always a good idea and this can be done at several times during the day.

Jane Means LONDON 108

Gone are the days for me when I’d head to a village hall and throw a tablecloth to see my wares.  With the birth of social media I’m now aware that many shoppers are taking photos of my stand and it’s a great way to get keen instagrammers to snap away and highlight your products and hard work. Soft lighting and props are always eyecatching

Hope House Press

Leather Journal by Hope House Press 

haberdashery closet

Our Haberdashery Closet in Lincoln full to the brim with ribbons and we use baskets, crates, terracotta pots, planters.  I also bought a gorgeous pine sideboard off Ebay seen here

inject-humour

Inject humour to make your customers smile

 

tea cup display

Use quirky props.  Tea cups are good for small items

 

Country Living Spring Fair 2016

You could add flowers even if they’re fake

 

Finally here’s some more tips…

Always look friendly and approachable

Try and look slightly busy or demonstrate your craft so you don’t appear too intimidating

Never eat or be on your phone – take a break to do this

Ensure table cloths are washed and ironed

Wallpaper makes a great back drop in a booth.  Just use Masking tape

On a final note, we’ll be at a few shows this year including Burghley Horse Trials, Handmade Fair, Spirit of Christmas, and Country Living Fair, London. Do pop and say hello to us if you’re there, we’d love to see you.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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Check out our London Gift Wrapping Service throughout the year

Our London Gift Wrapping Service is now in full swing with the with the weeks numbered until Christmas.

Months have been spent sourcing beautiful embellishment from the New York, luxurious papers from Europe and every type of ribbon has been sourced around the globe. We believe that the wrapping of a gift is as important as the gift inside

 

London Gift Wrapping Service

Over the years we’ve had the honour of wrapping for brands and private clients in Monaco, Geneva, Singapore, Paris and Milan as well as throughout the UK

Many of our clients are well known and luxury brands, private families, time poor professional individuals, celebrities and royalty

Every job to us is special so there’s nothing more we love than to get the exact look you want.  With and myriad of papers and over 100,000 ribbons in stock you are spoilt for choice

Gift Wrapping Service london

If you can’t face the task of wrapping or simply haven’t got the time, get in touch with our professional gift wrapping team who have been personally trained and hand picked by the expert herself, Jane Means.

With so many choices and styles available, we tailor each job individually so you get exactly what you want. We can come to your home or workplace and do the gift wrapping service while you wait. Weddings and other occasions are also catered for, plus we work weekends and evenings right through until Christmas eve

black wedding favours

If you want your gift tags personally written with an ink calligraphy pen, we’ll do it

calligraphy tags

With expertise in high profile jobs, our experienced gift wrapping team are professional, dressed in a uniform and highly discreet. We are always looking for new recruits so if you love wrapping, come and join us

Gift wrapping staff London

For more information about our Gift Wrapping Services and a quote please contact our Head Office

Email info@janemeans.co.uk
Telephone +44 1522 522 544

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Raffia ideas in your gift wrapping and craft projects

I’m a huge fan of Raffia Palms (also known as Raphia) and thought i’d share with you some great raffia ideas in your gift wrapping and craft projects.

Using raffia in giftwrapping immediately introduces a natural and rustic feel to your presentation creation.  When used sparingly, it punctuates your nature loving, natural intentions but when used in abundance it conjures up country living and rustic farm kitchens and makes a strong statement of simplicity and environmental awareness.

feather eco gift wrapping

Combining raffia with combinations of wood, parcel paper, string, twigs, herbs, dried fruits, feathers and other materials such as hessian or linen, creates a style that is, altogether, one of simplicity and it can be presented as elegantly plain or can be full of subtle details and perfectly suited embellishments.

raffia jar

If you are giving a potted plant, a generous bouquet style wrapping of tissue paper, tied with raffia and ribbon is all that is required to serve up a rustic present that could be placed directly onto a country kitchen table.  There is something about a raffia bound bouquet of sunflowers or a pot of homemade preserve, topped with gingham and wrapped with raffia that just says ‘country living’ and sometimes this is exactly what you wish to say.

 

If you are giving a mini hamper, filled with preserves, wine, crackers and cheese, a bed of raffia in a basket tied with a bow of raffia sends a message of wheat field walks and open, flower-filled meadows.  A few folded, red and white checked napkins would also emphasise your picnicking intentions. In the evening, jars filled with tea lights will look stunning decorated with raffia

craftoholicsanonymous

Image courtesy of Craftoholics Anonymous

Try wrapping gifts in a country check napkin or tea towel and using double-sided tape and a raffia-tied bow to secure.  Embellish with simple country flowers, a few stems of wheat or some fresh, scented herbs and you have a complete country package, perfect for wrapping boxes of preserves, home-baked goodies or for someone who loves countryside living. A jar filled with flowers decorated with raffia looks great too

the wild orchid

Image courtesy of The Wild Orchid

 

When using brown parcel paper, replacing ribbon with multiple, entwined strands of natural raffia to wrap around and tie in a bow, tying in a brown luggage or wooden label, complete a very rustic package.  Perfect for ‘no nonsense’ dads, gardeners and people who appreciate simplicity.

raffia presents

Raffia by Jane Means

Making lots of bows from grouped lengths of raffia and attaching them down the centre of your wrapped gift box will make your parcel look very neatly fastened.

 

Platting grouped lengths of raffia will make a rustic raffia rope to wrap your gift with.  Binding your gift box with several such ropes with achieve a very attractive basket weave effect.  It’s a little time consuming but fun to do and very effective and satisfying to achieve.

 

Raffia can be natural but can also be dyed and be brightly coloured.  Using coloured raffia with parcel paper adds all the colour you may need but purple raffia on lime green paper can simply add an acidic twist to what was originally a very natural, rustic wrapping style. You can eve dye your own with beetroot juice and black coffee, or cheat and buy it ready coloured!

Jane Means Raffia

A natural raffia bow around a clear cellophane or brown paper bag is perfect for wrapping sweets or cookies.  Punching holes along the closure of a bag and weaving raffia, rather like stitching, and slotting on small wooden beads is also fun and effective.  Brown paper luggage labels add to the natural tones of the colour combination.  With brightly coloured bags, raffia, beads and labels, these packages would take on a whole new identity, of course.

raffia

Small changes make big differences and perfectly executed details make impressive presentations.  Whatever style you choose and whichever materials you use, ensure you take the time to position and secure everything precisely.  A simple and rustically wrapped gift, using a combination of newspaper, wrapping paper, brown paper and natural or coloured raffia can look a million dollars, given the appropriate styling, time and attention.

 

raffia napkin

Finally a great trick for keeping your raffia tidy, is to store loose strands in a carrier bag and pull the required amount out of the bag.  It will save you vacuuming the floor!

Enjoy x

Image by Marie Claire 

Ingrid HenningsonImage Courtesy of Ingrid Henningson

 

 

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