Monday, September 17, 2007

So Many Lessons, So Little Time

During the weekend I had someone tell me how much she loved my work. She told me she hoped I would sell out all my inventory and go home with a big pile of money......alas, her dream did not come true! This was actually one of the least successful shows I have had in quite a while, at least financially. But sometimes, we learn more when things go wrong than when they are going well. I learned plenty, but ran out of time to implement some of the lessons. But as I adjusted and adapted as the weekend went on, my sales did improve. Perhaps the next show will be more successful at resolving some of the issues I ran into.
Lesson One: People have a hesitation to commit to entering your booth. If you make them cross the imaginary line at the front of the booth to see your work, they are making a commitment. Notice how many jewelers set up with their work right up within a foot or so of the front of the booth space. No need to enter in order to see the work. Visitors can stay in the aisle and see what you have to offer, before they commit.
I had been following the idea that you want to draw people into your booth space, and give them enough room to avoid the "butt brush".....when two people accidently bump. But I am beginning to think that all this space is actually scary to someone who has to move in close to see your work. What if they walk in to your booth, take a look and decide that it is not for they have to find a way to gracefully exit.

The booth on the left is how I set up my booth at the last show I did this summer. There is a 6 foot table across the front, and a six foot table across the back. A four foot table comes forward, from the back table, forming a zig zag type pattern.

This past weekend I decided to move things around. I shifted the table in the front, so that it was along the right hand wall, as you face the booth. And I rotated the other two tables so that the 6 foot table was along the side wall, and the four foot table was along the back wall. In this case, there is only 30" of table that is along the front edge of my booth. As someone approaches my booth from the right hand side of my booth, there are only 30 inches to catch their attention. The work on the other side of the booth was set back a full four feet. There was a mirror hanging in the space at the front on that left hand wall. I do not sell mirrors. Enough people were walking past my booth from the right to the left, that this could make a difference in how many people were actually lured into my booth to see my work. I only gave myself 30 inches out of 120 inches of frontage to catch their attention. Twenty-five percent. And how long is the average stride of most people. Probably in the neighborhood of 30 inches. As they walked past, looking in the other direction, they could completely miss seeing my work. If, in the next few steps they turned their head to see what was in my booth, they probably saw a blank wall with a mirror. They could turn to see what was on those tables that were set back, but that might interrupt the flow of their pace. And where were the blown up pictures? In the back of the booth. Not up front.
A generous and experienced neighbor pointed this out to me on day 2, so with his help, we moved the tables forward a bit, and put some pictures right up by the aisles. Day two was better, but not gangbusters.
On day three I did a major overhaul. I save those details for tomorrow, or the next day.

1 comment:

Libby said...

I'm sorry to hear it was a slow show Judy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on booth design. I definitely fall into the category of people who prefer jewelry booths with the work right up front. I like to be able to do a quick glance to see if the work interests me and then approach.

I really dislike booths where you can get trapped if a few people come in after you.