This is the fourth post in Holly Hall’s Branding series.
Branding Your Business at Craft Shows
Another aspect of visual branding that is often overlooked is how you represent your business and merchandise at craft shows. Sure, you might sell a bit of product if you cover a table with a sheet and lay out some doodads, but how much more would you sell if you created your own little retail world for customers to step into when they enter your 10’ by 10’ space?
How much stronger an impression would you make in your potential customers’ minds? Once again, refer to your branding brainstorm list. What colors, props, and display items reinforce the brand you are trying to build?
If you embroider vintage-style tea towels and matching potholders, a “Grandma’s Kitchen” theme using oilcloth, vintage tablecloths, picnic baskets and old measuring cups as props makes a lot more sense than a black table covering and chrome display pieces.
Think about adding height and interest to your tables, and always make sure your tables look full. Customers respond to the appearance of abundance, and will linger at your booth if you hold their attention with an interesting display.
Creating a memorable display need not be expensive. Keep an eye out at garage sales, thrift stores, and even your grandma’s garage or attic for interesting pieces. Think outside the box.
When I was putting my first craft show booth together on a tight budget, I needed a rack on which to hang my hostess aprons, but purchasing a store fixture was out of the question. I walked around my home looking at everything with a new eye. It struck me that an old 1950’s, flexible two armed lamp I had made the perfect rack for the lightweight net aprons, and was a much more memorable and unique choice than an actual clothing rack would have been. For beautiful booth décor inspiration, search Flickr for “craft show booth.”
YOU Are Your Brand
During those craft shows, don’t overlook your personal appearance. No one is suggesting that a trip to the beauty parlor is in order before every craft fair, but you should try to put your best foot forward each and every time you represent your business in public.
Think about your brand. If you create ornate Victorian-style drop earrings and chokers, how well are you representing your brand if you show up to the craft show in flip flops and a black metal concert T? Save that ensemble for another day.
Try to dress in such a way that if a potential customer had to pick you out of a lineup and match you to your booth he or she would have a good chance at hitting the nail on the head. This goes without saying, but if you create wearable accessories, wear them while manning your booth and meeting your customers!
That chunky scarf or feathered hair accessory might be a bit intimidating for a shopper, but if she sees you pulling it off effortlessly, she’ll be more inclined to imagine herself wearing it. A perfect example of someone who lives her brand, at craft shows and every day, is the beautiful, talented Samantha Lamb.
During this Internet age, any chance that you have to make a personal impression on your customers is valuable. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been put off as a shopper when I’ve stepped into a craft fair booth or brick and mortar shop and been
This is one department where indie craftspeople could take a lesson from big retail operations. No matter how bored or tired you are, regardless of whether the show is turning out to be profitable or a flop, every single customer that steps into your space deserves to be greeted, welcomed, and treated with respect.
There are times when you may be busy helping other customers, but a quick smile or nod of acknowledgement can go a long way toward making a potential customer feel welcome. Be friendly. Offer to answer any questions. Compliment your customer on a cute hairstyle or piece of jewelry.
This is not to say that you should attack your customers, hovering over them as they browse, but you’d be surprised how a little friendliness can pave the way for a sale or a chance to give out your card.
Tomorrow, we will finish this series on branding by addressing the subject of Branding Your Customer’s Experience.