If you’re planning to sell your wares at holiday craft fairs or other events, you’ll want to put together an attractive display that’s easy to transport and set up.
Artist John Newell, a former visual merchandiser and interior designer for Sears Canada, is an expert in seasonal installations. He offers these five tips for creating a portable, aesthetically pleasing holiday display.
- Use a solid-colored tablecloth. “Color and motion are what catch people’s eyes,” Newell says. “Reds and blues and greens work well.” He suggests covering a folding table with a brightly colored tablecloth and sticking to solids rather than prints, so your table won’t look too busy. Adding trim in a contrasting color can create visual interest without overwhelming the eye, he adds.
- Choose suitable accessories. Let the nature of your business and your merchandise drive your table’s accessories (beads, garlands, tinsel, etc.). For example, a few sprigs of holly or some antique cookie tins might complement holiday baking mixes or greeting cards. But if your merchandise itself is bold and colorful — such as a collection of bags made from upcycled materials — keep the extras to a minimum and let the products take center stage. Newell notes that pinning a garland to a table or other hard surface generally won’t work; he suggests using paperclips and poking tiny holes in the tablecloth instead.
- Display small items in shadow boxes. Newell suggests using shadow boxes to display jewelry or other small items. “Those can be put together at a frame shop so they’re hinged on the front and the glass opens up,” he says. “You can have them open from any direction you choose and use a suede mat board to line the inside of the cases.” Another benefit of using shadow boxes: They can be locked for added security.
- Bring marketing materials. Yes, most printed materials ultimately wind up in the circular file. But Newell says customers often want a simple brochure or business card that they can pick up and take with them. “You want some literature to explain further about whatever services you offer,” he says, adding that you should always bring more than you think you need, so you don’t run out. Most printers offer volume discounts, so printing 500 likely won’t cost five times as much as printing 100.
- Invest in a good signage. Prominently display your company name and logo on a large sign. “A good sign is a sign of good business,” Newell says. “You want something that people are going to be able to read quickly and that they’re going to be able to remember.” Choose contrasting colors for greater readability, and if you plan to use your sign year-round, avoid holiday designs and messaging for greater versatility. It’s a lot easier (and cheaper) to swap out the tablecloth and accessories than it is to print a new sign.