Craft Booth Advice

Blogged under Crafting a Career by Tammy on Wednesday 26 August 2009 at 6:08 am

When I was busy with the local art and craft show circuit, one of the tasks involved that my husband (who used to come with me and help) and I got pretty good at was setting up our booth and breaking it down. I say “good” meaning we were very quick because we were always running late, and when it was time to go, we really wanted to go.

Now that I look back on it, I realize we probably could have created a much fancier set up, but time was also money, so it just didn’t make sense to either of us to spend hours setting up when we knew that these small shows we were doing and the income we brought in from them just didn’t justify all that extra time. Some shows we did very well at, of course, but still, when you add it all up – making all the jewelry, pricing it, tagging it, storing it, displaying it, traveling to the show, setting up, breaking down – well, let’s just say you probably don’t want to add it all up!

Trade shows are well above the little local craft show level, and that means more time and effort to set up your booth. In both cases, though, you are basically setting up a temporary shop in a way, so even if you want quick and speedy like we did, you still have to think things through. And with trade shows, you need to really create a professional image because you are selling to other professionals who will retail your products.

Pam Corwin, a professional crafter who also writes about the business of crafting, has an interesting video posted on her weblog documenting the work she typically puts into setting up a trade show booth. The video is only 4 minutes long, but it took her over 7 hours to create the finished booth. Wow! It’s a lot to think about if you’ve considered taking a step towards some of the larger crafting outlets when it comes to selling your craft work.


  1. Pingback by Artsy blogging round-up! : Blisstree - Family, Health, Home and Lifestyles — August 28, 2009 @ 7:09 am

    […] Crafty Princess Diaries Tammy talks about booth set ups for art shows as well as trade shows. […]

  2. Comment by Cyndi L — August 28, 2009 @ 9:30 am

    I have always felt that the simpler the better when it came to booth design. I’m not impressed by extremely elaborate booths when I’m there to shop. I just want lots of light! Simple doesn’t always mean fast to put up though 😉

  3. Comment by Tammy — August 28, 2009 @ 11:57 am

    Unless you expect to be able to recoup all the time you spend setting up, I also don’t see that it’s worth it. At least, that has been my experience with the types of shows I used to do, none of which were super big or trade shows by any stretch.

  4. Comment by Eileen — August 30, 2009 @ 7:43 am

    I’m so glad I don’t do the craft fair and expo circuit anymore. It was exciting and fun … but physically exhausting. Besides all the time spent setting up and breaking down, there’s the “main event” itself where you are on your feet for 10 to 12 hours chatting up potential customers and smiling until you feel like your face will crack. LOL. It’s definitely for the young!

    Your post and Pam’s great video bought back a lot of memories.

  5. Comment by ~drew emborsky~ — August 30, 2009 @ 11:00 am

    I started out my crafty life doing the craft fair circuit way back in the 80’s. I quickly found out that it wasn’t the lifestyle for me, although I did see a few people do extremely well.

  6. Comment by Tammy — August 31, 2009 @ 6:05 am

    I agree, Drew, that it’s a great way to get started. Nothing beats having your own mini-store for a few days to get to know your customer-based, but yes, it is some tough work and I also don’t miss it.

  7. Comment by Lydia, CluelessCrafter — August 31, 2009 @ 7:23 am

    When I browse at a fair I like it when a booth is set up in a way that allows me to have some private moment looking w/out thinking that I’m being hovered over by the proprietor. Do you think about creating a comfortable shopping environment from this perspective?

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