Sunday, January 26, 2014

Jewelry Trade Show Booth - from Design to Reality

Way back last year (a month ago!) I posted my design ideas for my booth at the Buyers Market of American Craft, and then I went silent as the number of details to take care of, coupled with the holidays, just overwhelmed any capacity to blog on my part. Today I thought I'd catch my breath after attending the BMAC last week and show you what I actually implemented. Most buyers probably have no idea what the exhibitor goes through to be ready for that opening event.

Vickie Hallmark BMAC 2014 Booth
Here's how it all begins. I shipped four packages to the advance warehouse, which were transported over to my booth on the first day of set up. This is an expensive proposition, as not only must I pay shipping (Fed Ex Ground going in), but drayage is assessed. Drayage is the most expensive form of shipping your work the shortest distance. For example, drayage to move the boxes a few miles from the warehouse to the convention center cost half as much as moving it all the way from Texas to Philadelphia.

Vickie Hallmark BMAC 2014 Booth
Walls, floor and stool in place
The booth rental itself includes a plot of floor, in my case 5'x10' in size on a corner, and the standard issue "pipe and drape." Flooring is required, at my expense, and any furniture must either be provided by me or rented at essentially purchase price. I decided that since I was doing more than one trade show, purchasing my own fixtures would be ultimately cost effective considering the rental rates. I chose to have large 4'x8' foam core sheets delivered from a nearby art store, which were hung from the pipe with zip ties and taped together to give this seamless wall look. For flooring, I had a choice of pricy and ugly rental carpet or something I shipped. I chose gray wood-look foam puzzle pieces, which are lightweight to ship, quick to lay, and comfortable for standing for four days. The IKEA stool was purchased and shipped for less than the price of renting a tall stool at the show.

Vickie Hallmark BMAC 2014 Booth
Abstracta tables assembled
I selected Abstracta tables because of their modular structure that allows me to adapt the furniture to various needs in the future. The tables are composed of a series of standard length 1/2" pipes and various connectors. With a tiny bit of familiarity, they take less than an hour to assemble and disassemble on site. All the pipes shipped in one long box, while the shelving for the top shipped in a separate box.

Vickie Hallmark BMAC 2014 Booth
Ready for jewelry
Finally, I cut the side panels from extra sheets of foam core and then attached plastic cut outs of my tree branding to the tables, which I think gives a beautiful customization. Many hours of work went into designing all of these aspects of the booth, and many dollars were required to purchase all the elements, including lights, signage and jewelry displays.

Vickie Hallmark BMAC 2014 Booth
The displays themselves are simple artist boards, primed and ready for painting. I personalized those with my robin's egg blue paint on the sides. A few extra touches - flowers and a bird dish for business cards - along with the jewelry itself, and the booth is ready for business.