Your booth will be your home away from home for the 11 days of the show, so make sure it's a place that both you and your customers want to spend time in. It should wow the crowd and stop visitors in their tracks! With a little bit of time and planning, you can create a knockout booth that doesn't have to cost a lot of money. In fact, with our Best Booth Awards, if could even make you some!
This is only the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship together (because you'll be re-signing, right?), so view your booth building costs through a long-term lens. Build a great booth right out of the gate to jumpstart sales and customer engagement. Think of each piece as an investment in growing your business with One of a Kind.
We know you probably don’t need help with the creative stuff. But, in case you're not sure where to start, we've compiled tips from our team, the online community and our rockstar booth-building exhibitors to help get you on your way.
If you haven’t already, take a moment to review our Booth Rules and Regulations, then let’s dive into the fun stuff. You can also head over to our Best Booth Pinterest Page to see winning booths from shows past. And you exhibiting in the Rising Stars section? Give this page a read-through, then head over to your section’s page for more helpful tips!
Follow One of a Kind Toronto's board Best Booths on Pinterest.
- Lighting is key--we can’t stress this enough! A dark booth won't give your work the presentation it deserves and will stick out like a sore thumb as shoppers walk down the aisles. Invest in lighting fixtures that are CSA approved and order enough wattage to power all of your fixtures.
- Your booth will come with pipe and white draping, but to really make it look polished and professional, nothing beats hard walls. You can rent them through our show service provider or consider building them yourself--the Artisan Facebook Group can be a really great resource for wall-building tips from makers who have done it before.
- Build storage into your booth, if possible. Ideally, you should be able to hold enough stock to keep you replenished for a busy day, so that you don’t have to leave (and potentially miss out on sales) if you need to restock. If this is not realistic, storage is available for rent.
Make the Most of Your Space
- Your booth is your very own mini-storefront for the duration of the show and your front footage is your opportunity to draw in shoppers as they walk by.
- Put business cards front and centre so that customers have the option to grab and go, if they don’t feel like talking or have time to stop at your booth.
- Post press clippings, articles or images that introduce you and explain your creative process to customers for you.
- Design your booth with your products in mind--will your customers need space to stand back and view or should you create vignettes with smaller pieces so that customers can picture pieces in their home.
- Design your booth with your customers in mind, ex. if you sell baby products, make sure to have lots of room for moms and dads with strollers to enter.
- Don’t forget to leave space for customers to enter/exit your booth and a place for you to sit down to rest.
Find Affordable Furnishings
- Check the Artisan Facebook Group for exhibitors who are renting or selling pieces they no longer need.
- Work with what you’ve got—borrow pieces from your home or pull out pieces from storage to create a well-rounded display.
- Get creative! Visit garage sales and pick up pieces that could be as good as new with a quick coat of paint.
- Join the masses who head to Ikea before the show each year to pick up cheap and cheerful furnishing to perk up their space.
- Or, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can rent display pieces like tables or counters from our show decorator, Stronco, beforehand or at the onsite order desk.
Branding and Merchandising
- Think about who you are and what you make. Your booth should reflect this, giving customers an immediate visual understanding of your aesthetic.
- Create a cohesive display with a thematic colour palette that compliments your products and include clear signage so that customers can easily find you.
- Make sure that your products are well-labeled and clearly priced so that customers don’t have to engage if they don’t want to.
- People buy at eye-level so strategically place items, like bestsellers or new pieces, so that they will draw customers in and encourage them to explore. Items placed on a table will be lost in the crowd.
- It can be tempting to pile in every piece you’ve got, but give your products room to breathe so that they can be properly showcased and won’t overwhelm shoppers.
- Consider arranging your work into groupings (by colour, theme or silhouette) as they will create a greater visual impression.
- Try creating an engaging display, preferably somewhere near your signage, that encourages customers to take pictures and post to social media.
- Style some of your items to show customers how they will fit into their lives.If they can picture your pieces in their home, it makes the sale that much easier.
- Visit your favourite local boutiques and do research on retail display online to draw inspiration.
Do a Dry Run
- Don’t wait till move-in to set up your booth for the first time! Find space in your home or studio to create a mock-up, complete with product, signage, props and furnishing. This will give you some room to troubleshoot and pick up any materials you may have missed.
- Lay down tape to get a feel for the size of your space. Click here to find the actual dimensions of your booth.
- Always set up your lighting first to make sure it is working and duct tape your extension cords to the floor so no one can trip in your booth.
- Once your booth is set up, assess what the focal points of your booth are and make sure they are intentional.
- Then, when your finished finessing your display, take pictures of everything to make a handy reference for setting up at the show.
- Now is also a good time to create a packing list of all the items you will need to bring for your display. We’ve got one started here, and you can add on the rest from there.
- Walk around and see what everyone else is doing—pay attention to the Best Booth winners announced in the newsletter and make sure to pay them a visit.
- Stand at the end of your row and take note of which booths are well-lit and which are too dark. Visit the bright booths for lighting tips.
- Judge the flow of the show and adjust your booth design accordingly. We open the show floor to exhibitors two hours earlier, so don’t be afraid to come any morning and rearrange and finesse your booth.
Then, Most Importantly
- Don't be afraid to update your booth every once in a while! It can something as simple as a new coat of paint, rearranging your furnishings or buying fresh flowers. You don’t want customers to skip your booth because they feel like they’ve “seen it before”.
Having a great booth display is just as important as having a great product, so treat building a booth display like you would creating one of your pieces. The more engaging the space, more memorable the shopping experience. So create a space that compliments your work, builds your brand and helps to take some of the work out of selling. You’ll be glad you did!
Got a great booth tip you don’t see here, email Lynn at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can share your expertise!