A booth event is a sale with multiple vendors with each vendor putting up their own display booth. The event may be geared to sell only art or it may allow different types of vendors. Basically there are three types: Outdoor, Indoor and Tabletop. Outdoor events are usually larger than the Indoor ones and will attract a larger crowd. A tabletop may be either indoors or outdoors; the main difference between a Tabletop and the others is the space size. Most booth events allow you a 10’ x 10’ space. Usually with a tabletop you only have a space about the length and width of a table (usually 8’ long by 3’ wide) to display your art.
Your booth set up should be light and portable, easy for one person to set up in about 20 minutes, and fit into your vehicle along with the products you are planning to sell. To take part in an outdoor booth event you should have the following:
Pop-Up booth: Pop-Ups come in several price ranges and styles. Ideally you will have help setting it up, but I would recommend the E-Z Up brand because it can be set up by one person. (I’ve done it many times). I would also recommend a couple of practice trials setting it up in your yard before you go out to the event if you have never set up a booth. The best Pop-Ups for displaying art have white top and straight sides. The white top provides more light to see the art and the straight sides give you something to fasten display racks to. You can also purchase sidewalls to hang from the sides of the booth. This is necessary if you are taking part in an event that lasts several days because you can use the sidewalls to enclose the booth when you go home for the night.
However, unless the event has very good security, I wouldn’t recommend leaving your work out overnight, but you can leave your display stands set up inside.
Display stands or racks: You can buy display set-ups from the art supply catalogs; however if they are more expensive than you can afford, it is possible to make your own. For my displays, I bought 8’ wire closet shelving from the local hardware store. Turned on end, they can be fastened together with plastic tie straps, and the wire bars then make nice spaces to hang different sizes of art. This portable shelving can also be made into stand-alone shapes (boxes, triangles and rectangles) for indoor events where you can’t take the Pop-Up. As additional security for stand-alone shapes, I would suggest that sandbags or weighted milk cartons be fastened inside the shape to prevent tipping.
Portable easels can also be used as a part of your display. The art supply catalogs have some excellent display easels that hold multiple pieces of art. If your easels aren’t set up to display more than one piece of art, you can simply lean a painting against the legs. You can make these yourself also out of copper or PVC pipe or wood.
Small, fold up tables with a nice tablecloth: This will hold your cash box and give you something write on when making out receipts. They can also be used to display very small or 3-deminsional art, cards, etc.
Sandbags or weights to hold down the booth in case of high winds: Most booth events are on blacktop so you can’t use the handy stakes that come with the Pop-Ups. Weights of some kind are a must. A Pop-Up booth makes a really big kite when the wind blows and it doesn’t have to be hurricane strength either. Nice clean sand can be bought from the hardware store and sandbags from the Art Supply warehouse where you got your Pop-Up. You can also fill empty gallon milk cartons and use the handle to fasten to the legs of the booth. You need about 15 to 20 lbs. on each corner.
Cash box: a locking cash box to keep change for cash sales and checks can be bought at the local office supply store.
Chair to sit in; while you will be spending a lot of time on your feet, it’s nice to have a place to sit down and relax so potential buyers don’t think you are just waiting to pounce.
Your art, photographs and other items you plan to sell: Plastic boxes with good, snap-lock lids work really well to transport small items. They are waterproof and usually hold up much better than cardboard if you are doing a lot of events. If you are going to be carrying your product in a pickup bed, make sure the lids of the boxes are fastened down and won’t blow open (bungee cords work well here). You will also need either bubble wrap or some type of padding to wrap around or separate delicate items. For larger pieces of art such as framed paintings or photographs, I recommend that you carry them inside your vehicle (in which case they can be separated by large pieces of cardboard to prevent scratching the frames), or completely wrap them in bubble wrap. The thing you are most looking to prevent is damage caused by the items moving around when you stop, start and turn the vehicle. Personally, I carry either a large, wide-tip marker in either brown or black to touch up frames.
A hand truck: You may have park some distance from your booth set up. While most places allow you to drive into the booth area to set up your display it might not be feasible for you to do so. A hand truck or dolly will enable you to haul your art, display stands and Pop-Up into the area without having to transport everything one at a time. This is a big plus because you may have a limited time in which to set up your booth.
Sales Receipts, a calculator and bags: Hopefully you will be making sales, so the receipt book is a handy way for you to keep track of sales. Don’t spend a lot on the bags; you can get small paper bags and larger plastic ones with handles at the local Dollar Store.
A way to take debit or credit cards: If you want to make sales over $20, you need this. A lot of the cell phone companies now have this feature that can be added to a cell phone. I highly recommend Square technology for this. Square technology is a small square you can order off the internet free, attach it your smart phone (please note you will need at least an I-Phone or Droid model), link it directly to your bank account, and take payments on the spot. It’s small, portable and easy to learn to use. The company takes a small percentage of each sale as a fee (2.75% per swipe) and the money is in your account the next day. The site is https://squareup.com/ check it out.
Alternatively, if the event is Wi-Fi enabled or your phone has a built-in data pack and can double as your own hot spot, you can bring your laptop or tablet and key sales directly into your web site. If you are using a laptop, make sure you have access to electricity because chances are your laptop battery won’t last all day.
You will also need a small printing calculator because customers who buy large ticket items are going to want a printed receipt, even if you are also e-mailing them one.
Indoor or Tabletop Event
You are probably going to need everything mentioned above except the Pop-Up. Some indoor events will allow you a 10 x 10 space, but quite a few of them aren’t exactly that size or maybe your booth space is not in a square shape, so the Pop-Up frame will have difficulty fitting in.
If you do a lot of Church or School sponsored Boutiques, a Tabletop Event is the most common type. At a Tabletop, you are probably going to be given just enough space to set up one 8’x2.5’ table with room for a chair behind it, so be prepared to cut your display down and bring only what you consider the most “sellable” items.
When I go to an event, especially an Indoor event, I always ask for access to electricity; I seldom take many really large pieces of art to these events anymore. Since space is usually at a premium it is difficult to display a lot of large art; instead, I take a plug-in digital picture frame (you can do the same with either a laptop or a tablet) loaded with photos of my work. I have a power point presentation showing my work set to music. The moving slide show and music attract a lot of attention and I can display more art.
Remember to have fun and talk about your work.
In : Business Development