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!

 

 

 

 

Categories: Inspiration, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gift wrapping awkward shapes with a tailored ribbon bow

We are often faced with gift wrapping awkward shapes, and something that has always been a challenge is tying a bow around something fragile or flexible

 

gift wrapping biscuits

If you tried to tie a bow around a silk scarf wrapped in tissue, or a pile of delicate biscuits, it would crumple up and be hard work to tie, so here I am going to show you a simple and effective ‘tailored ribbon bow’ technique using some classic Black stitched ribbon.
Black stitched ribbon
It is really popular with mail order companies as it travels extremely well and you only need to use a minimum amount of ribbon.
Jane Means Gift Wrapping
To make this bow you will only require a reversible ribbon and some Double sided tape. In this DIY project I am going to add the bow around a gift voucher placed in an envelope
You will firstly cut a small piece off the end of the roll and this will need to be approximately three times the width of the ribbon (if your ribbon is 1 cm wide you will need to cut off 3 cms). Add double sided tape along this small piece that you have cut off.
Black stitched ribbon project

 

Next you need to add a small piece of double sided tape at the end of the roll.  You’ll now need to roll the ribbon into a circle and stick so it now looks like a figure of ‘9’
Black ribbon DIY bow project
Squeeze the circle and add a small sticky piece in the centre, sticking the sides around the back.
Finally you will measure your ribbon by going around the item ensuring there is a slight overlap of approximately 2 inches (5cms).
grey stitched
You can also add more than one bow to give an eye-catching and luxurious effect.  Here I have pleated the paper Japanese style.
bow ribbon belt
And I love the simplicity of this white leather bow belt, such a timeless piece.
pastel gift wrapping
I’ve decorated a Mother’s Day gift in scented floral drawer liners and added some lace along with this simple bow to give the gift wrapping a chic statement.
cake bow
This is also a great technique to decorate a cake, and here I have layered a couple of ribbons for a dramatic effect for the forthcoming Cake and Bake Show I will be exhibiting at in October.
Gift wrapping cupcakes
I hope that you have great fun making this bow and please pop by and say hello if you’re at the Cake and Bake Show, I will be there making an odd appearance!
cakebakeshowlogo

 

Categories: Inspiration, Luxury Wrap & Stationery, Projects & Demos, Ribbon, Tips + Techniques, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Clever ribbon storage and display ideas

 I’m often asked about the various ways to store and display ribbons, especially by craft lovers and shops.
 Whether you have lengths or rolls of ribbon, I have put together a collection of handy ideas.
Loose lengths of ribbon can be wrapped around a piece of card and pinned.  This makes a great filing system and can be done in colour order. We find this works really well when we send our ‘ribbon by the metre’ orders out.
If you are selling or storing pre cut lengths of ribbon, these can be rolled and secured with a band and stacked on shelves.  Although initially it looks tidy, I do find at our shows that this method isn’t suitable so I wouldn’t recommend this to busy shops with a heavy footfall.
In our Haberdashery Closet we have stocked these handy gift tags which are made out of card, and rigid enough to withstand ribbon being wrapped around them.
Storing Pom Pom trim can often be a challenge and here we have used a free standing metal kitchen saucepan rack.
You can also use book shelving units to store Pom Pom from the wall.  I picked this one up from a local charity shop for £15 and painted it light grey.
At most of our trade shows we use a dresser on wheels, which is ideal in a retail environment as it is mobile and free standing and can be positioned in alternative places.  The dresser was bought from Ebay for £25, painted cream in Farrow and Ball.  We also added industrial wheels to the base which were from B&Q.  The base of the dresser is also handy for storing additional supplies.
If you are storing rolls of ribbon horizontally, you will need to add some shelf edging to stop the rolls from falling out.  You can buy inexpensive lengths from B&Q and have them cut at no extra charge. I added the wooden edging with wood glue, and painted it the next day with eggshell paint.
If you haven’t got edging on your shelves, it’s better to store them vertically in short piles to avoid them rolling off the shelves. If you sell ribbons, it’s a good idea to fill any gaps with wrapped boxes or other merchandise.
Luckily I have access to these rustic farm crates from my dads farm, and my mum added some wooden dividers. These make wonderful rustic storage and the natural look of the wood shows the colours off really well.
I also store ribbons in small bookcases with edging on the shelves, and these are lightweight and can easily be free standing on a floor or placed on a table top.
When I’m running courses I will store ribbons in these handy wooden crates or trays which I bought from an interiors shop.
Wicker hampers and baskets make a good alternative for ribbon storage.  If you are selling ribbon, it’s a really good idea to have some display boxes with ribbon that you have good quantities of.  I particularly find hampers are useful as they are easy to transport with ribbons inside.
One of my favourite displays is this one.  I picked up an old gilt frame from a junk shop for the bargain price of £5 as it had no glass or back.  My mum took it to her woodwork class and added a sturdy back template that we had designed and cut some wooden poles for the rolls to slot on to.  We currently use this as a display purpose only as it is hassle removing the poles to access the rolls of ribbon.  This however would be a suitable solution if you sell or use ribbons by the metre.
I picked up these rustic wire baskets at the Country Living Fair.  These are lightweight with the rolls easily visible, and our price tags can be tied on to the basket.
Another alternative is to use a simple glass bowl or vase for displaying rolls, which looks very effective. Here I have used a contrasting colour bowl to highlight the nautical ribbons.
For a Spring photo shoot I used some china from Time for Tea with Elena Alice, and had rolls of ribbon displayed on a cake stand.  It is a very effective method introducing height for the display.
At a Christmas Fair we needed so much storage for ribbons that we combined lots of different displays which worked very well.
I am always dreaming up new ways to display ribbons and will keep adding to this post.  If you have any good ideas please also let me know!
Categories: Haberdashery Closet, Inspiration, Projects & Demos, Ribbon, Tips + Techniques | Tags: , , , , ,