GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #25: Booth Evolution

Folks, there will be typos… But I can’t resist sharing this great article by Bruce Baker in the latest issue of THE CRAFTS REPORT. In the February 2008 issue, Bruce shows the actual evolution of a typical craft show booth, from those typical craft table displays and blank walls to a sleek booth that really … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #25: Booth Evolution”

GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #24: When “Perfect” Isn’t Good Enough

Sometimes perfecting the best booth you have isn’t good enough. Sometimes having the best booth, period, isn’t good enough. What I mean by the first statement is, sometimes we get stuck trying to perfect something that isn’t the best solution in the first place. Take my search for the “perfect track lighting.” I constantly worked, … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #24: When “Perfect” Isn’t Good Enough”

GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #23: Be Different. Please.

I’m going to pick on jewelry booths today, partly because there are so many of them at shows. And because it’s just a good example of what’s wrong with so many of these shows. PLEASE NOTE: If you are perfectly happy with your work and your shows, don’t read any further. It will just annoy … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #23: Be Different. Please.”

GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #22: Say Something!

Here’s something else that drove me nuts at the show: Vendors just don’t know what to do or say when someone is in their booth or looking at their work. You see something that catches your eye and approach the booth. The person usually says hello. Then….silence. You are aware of their gaze upon you … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #22: Say Something!”

GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #21: Give Me Space!

I had another chance to walk a craft fair recently. I was actively shopping at this one, or trying to. Once again, I was thwarted by my fellow craftspeople. Here’s another tip from a crabby shopper: Leave yourself room to conduct business. Please… Give your customers room to write a check. I watched a young … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #21: Give Me Space!”

GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #20: When to Break the Rules

I’m back from the Westport Creative Arts Festival. It was a beautifully run show, well-managed and supported by the Westport Young Women’s League. They did everything right! Unfortunately, attendance was down, down, down and although I didn’t crash and burn, I did not do well enough to return. It did give me a chance to … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #20: When to Break the Rules”

GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD#19 Chosing Fewer Choices

Let’s go back over the issue of having too much stuff in our booths. I have two anecdotes that I hope will encourage you to pare down your offerings. A few years ago, I browsed another jewelry artist’s case. Barbara Sperling does polymer clay canework, which means once she makes a cane design, she can … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD#19 Chosing Fewer Choices”

GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #18: Intervention

A reader just posted a plea for help on booth layout. He set up a U-shaped booth at a recent show. Unfortunately, if a peek at the small sample of goods displayed at the top of the “U” didn’t capture people’s interest, they walked on. He’s now thinking of a table across the front of … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #18: Intervention”


I’ve gone back and put in a photo of my booth from last year’s League of NH Craftsmen’s Fair in the appropriate essays on booth design. No pointing fingers. I’ve already fixed the lights. And I’m already making changes for my smaller retail fairs this winter. P.S. This is my booth shot for applying to … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD Addendum”


One of the most difficult concepts to absorb about booths is where we (the seller) should be and what we should be doing. Again, building on Bruce Baker’s advice, I’ve come up with a great metaphor that may help you think about this more effectively. We know we shouldn’t “hide” in the booth. For one … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #17: Party Time!”

GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #16: Leave Me Alone!

Today’s essay isn’t actually about booth design (except for the unlocked case thing below.) It’s about booth behavior. But it’s actually just as important–maybe more important–than having the perfect booth set-up. I’ve often called myself a poster child for Bruce Baker’s CDs on booth design and selling. I’ve learned so much from “the Master”, and … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #16: Leave Me Alone!”

GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #15: Booth Confession

I’m doing my first SMALL retail craft show in ten years in November. It’s the first out-of-state show I have to drive to, with only a few hours’ set-up. (I usually ship my booth, or have two days’ set-up time.) I can only take about 25% of my regular set-up, and I can’t even get … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #15: Booth Confession”


Another small topic in the “Good Booths Gone Bad” series, but one I’ve also given a lot of thought to. Artists often supply candy or munchies for their customers. Today I’ll share my experiences with having food for customers. I’ve run the gamut with the food thing, and I’m currently down to nothing. No food … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #14: Food Fight!”

GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #13: Stay In Your Booth!

Today’s topic isn’t a no-no in the sense that it will reduce sales. It’s a no-no regarding your professionalism, and consideration for your fellow craftspeople. Stay in your booth. You have signed a contract for the use of a 10’x10′ space (or however big a space you paid for.) It’s amazing how many people interpret … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #13: Stay In Your Booth!”

GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #12: Drama Queen Flowers

I can’t think of big huge categories to talk about anymore. Let’s talk about flowers in your booth. WHAT BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS! I am so conflicted about flowers. I love them. They add a festive note to your booth, to be sure. But they can be a huge distraction, too. Some common mistakes with flowers: 1) … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #12: Drama Queen Flowers”

GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #11: That Free Milk Thing

Today I’ll share some of the perils of selling and demonstrating in the same booth. The subtitle refers to that old adage, “Why pay for the cow when the milk is free?” My titles are getting convoluted, aren’t they? Our state craft guild has a special kind of booth situation available to exhibitors at our … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #11: That Free Milk Thing”

GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #10: Mystery Product

Have you ever walked by a booth and couldn’t quite tell what they were selling? Worse, maybe the booth was full of people, which intrigued you. But the booth was so full, you couldn’t get in. And you couldn’t see the product for the crowd. “I’ll come back,” you may have thought. But with no … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #10: Mystery Product”

GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD#9: What’s Your Sign?

Booth signage fills an important role in your sales process. When people are shopping, they want you to be aware they are there, and to acknowledge them. But then they want to be left alone to shop. When they are ready to be sold to, they let you know by asking a question. That’s their … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD#9: What’s Your Sign?”

GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #8: What’s For Sale??

Let’s talk a little about display today. What is the best way to display your work to its best advantage? I always secretly envy 2-D people. They basically need a few walls to hang up paintings or prints. Their main worry is, “Is that frame straight?” On the other hand, it’s hard for a 2-D … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #8: What’s For Sale??”

GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #7 What Lies Beneath

Flooring for your booth is another big bugaboo artists struggle with. Should you even cover the floor? If so, with what? And of course, like everything else, it should be washable/portable/sturdy/attractive/affordable. A tall order indeed! The first question is easy. Yes. A floor for your booth is a wonderful finishing touch. It takes away the … Continue reading “GOOD BOOTHS GONE BAD #7 What Lies Beneath”