Friday, November 7, 2014

How To Make Your Jewelry Booth Stand Out From The Crowd

The holiday show season has started and like many of you, I have a number of shows lined up between now and the middle of December.  Some shows, like this one that I did last weekend, are fairly small affairs and others will have many vendors.

The question we all face, no matter the size of the venue, is how to make our booth stand out from the crowd.  We want our display to be attention getting and to look inviting & enticing enough to pull people in. Then once there, we hope our potential customers will linger long enough to become enamored by our handwork.

And although I don't pretend to be a marketing expert by any means, I did receive a number of compliments on my booth last weekend and last year I won a "Most Attractive Booth" award in a different show, so I decided to share a few of the tricks I've learned over the years.

There are many factors to consider when doing a show.  The bottom line is that you have to be offering a product that people want.  Your verbal and nonverbal interactions with people can have a powerful influence on their decision making as well.  But for the purposes of today's blog post, I'm just going to focus on the booth display itself.

First off, it helps to raise your booth table to about the height of a kitchen counter.  This brings your product up closer to the customer's eyes and allows them to look at your wares more comfortably, without having to stoop over. Some people raise the legs of the table up on PVC pipes.  I use bed raisers.  They are easy to put in place, and they nest inside each other when not in use.
Several of the shows I do require a black table cloth that touches the ground.  But I noticed that many people layered another cloth on top of the black one.  I thought about the look I wanted for my booth before I chose an over-cloth this past summer.  I wanted something that would not distract from my jewelry.  I didn't want anything with lines or patterns that had to be lined up, because then the cloth would look skewed if it wasn't aligned just right on the table.  I wanted a touch of whimsy, but without frilliness, which is consistent with my jewelry style.  Then I made a very unusual choice:  I bought a shower curtain!  Yup!  It is some kind of polyester cloth material that doesn't wrinkle!  I love it!  I didn't need to hem it and it always looks clean and fresh.  It grabs people's attention without being garish.  Did I mention that it doesn't wrinkle?! 

You need to select a pattern that is consistent with the style of the items you are offering, but an over all pattern, like the ones below, works best, as they will look good in any position.  I like to place my shower curtain on the diagonal.  As I was setting up last weekend, a fellow vendor actually gasped and said "Oh wow, that looks so awesome".  I never let on that it was an easy-care shower curtain! ;)

 Think about ways to vary the heights of your offerings. Your display will look more interesting and your customers are likely to linger longer as their eyes move across the interesting displays.  You want to find a balance between having an engaging display, but not one that distracts from your product. I added height with some divided boxes that I bought at a department store and a few acrylic risers that I purchased from a store that was going out of business.  The bracelet ramps and black necklace busts are lower than the boxes but still offer some elevation from the flat plane of the table top.  The mannequin on a wood box is the tallest item.  She serves the purpose of catching people's attention from across the room.  I always put a bold necklace on her.
Here's a tip:  Visit stores that are going out of business.  I got my tall stool for $15, my mannequin torso for $10, the black necklace displays for $4 each and the bracelet ramps for $2 each at two or three different going out of business sales over the years.

Another budget friendly resource for display items is IKEA.  My lighting and mirror are from IKEA.  The prominent mirror subtly lets the customer know that it is OK to pick up the jewelry and try it on. To the front, right of the mirror is another budget friendly display devise.  It is simply a bamboo place mat that I have rolled up and draped bracelets over.  Again it relieves the monotony of flat table.

I have been looking for a satisfactory earring display for several years now.  I bought the display below at - you guessed it - a going out of business sale. It was OK, but it is too small and the earring cards often hung crookedly on it.
When fellow AJE team member Kristi Bowman, was heading to her show in NY in October, her husband made her a wonderful folding earring display.  I asked if he would make one for me to purchase and he agreed.  I love it!  It holds 40 earrings that are easy for the customer to see.  It is easy to remove and replace the earring cards and it looks very professional.  And here's the power of a good display:  I sold more than my usual share of earrings from this attractive display.
What tips and ideas have helped you to create an attractive, effective booth?  Do tell!  We can all learn from one another.


  1. Great tips! I love your earring display and your shower curtain is very sophisticated looking!

  2. Great post!! I'm so happy you like the earrings display, I also sold way more earrings than usual in NY! I use the diagonal thing too and/or I put then running in different lengths draping over the front. The one shower curtain on the right is almost identical to the new AJE banner at the top lol. I like it! I use fabric but I like the idea of curtains. Might have to look for some as an alternative, I like to change it up now and again. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  3. A great set of tips and the shower curtain idea is just genius. Thanks for sharing

  4. What a great display and great tips. I just recently had to put together a display for one table and it was extremely difficult. Would very much like to see a picture of your lights (a gentleman at the show mentioned Ikea for lights and suggested I get some). That shower curtain idea is brilliant and what an awesome earring display rack. I use a shutter that my husband added legs to it for freestanding.

  5. Thanx for sharing Linda. Great booth.

  6. Awesome post and great tips for jewelry display and booth ideas.

  7. The shower curtain is genius! Who wants to do any ironing before a show?

  8. My jewelry is different than yours, as I sell vintage and antique, so I have to create a somewhat different look. The principle are the same though.

    I use a mannequin that is on a wooden base and turns around so I can utilize both front and back. She works well at an outside corner so shoppers can see her from two sides, or in an inside corner. I put a lace camisole over it that makes it easier to change the display. I cover it with flower pins for spring/summer shows, and Christmas pins for fall/winter. That brings up another time extensive job I do that sets me apart. I change my show inventory twice a year so my return customers always have something new to come and see that fits the season. (We set up a 10x20 space)

    My husband is very handy and has built wooden display boxes with Plexiglas covers that are held on with Velcro. We remove the covers so shoppers have a hands on experience. I had been looking for a long time for a tall earring display and finally found something on eBay I could tweak. I turns as well and will hold hundreds of earrings. I sold so much from it that my husband built me another one. It takes room to haul these, but well worth it. We drop them inside large boxes to move and store easily. He also put together two large pieces of thick Styrofoam that he covered with a black and cream industrial type fabric. He built wooden frames that hold these at an angle. They work great for the back tables and give height to entice people into the booth. In front of them there is enough room for the stackable plastic trays I bought. You can get these online or at a local display shop. To cover the tables, curtains are also a nice alternative. They are easy to wash and you can buy natural colors so people see your inventory rather than your display.

    I sell jewelry from the 1800s to the 1980s and use the time periods for individual displays within the wooden boxes. On the boards I use brightly colored items and pin them on in color sections. For example one board may carry turquoise/coral/green. This helps shoppers put together several pieces so I often sell more than one item.

    I get so many compliments at shows, both on my display and my inventory. I am often told by dealers as well as shoppers that I have the best collection they have ever seen. That is the goal - getting people to remember your product, not your display.

    Susan Busa, owner of Bangles and Beads Antique and Vintage Jewelry


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