I've always heard, and thought too, that the best craft show displays take advantage of height. "Think vertical", they'll say. And it's really true. There is only so much space on a table, and if you have a lot of product, like me, you have to use the ether above if you're going to fit it all on that 3'x6' table. Not only that, but using various heights forces your eye to travel around and take in everything that's there.
So that is precisely what I did. I've been thinking about how to incorporate more vertical displays, but just wasn't sure how to go about doing it. When I've gone to other shows lately, I find myself getting sucked into looking more at the displays than the actual items! I get into this analytical mode and think, "Does this draw me in? Does it complement the product? What about the lighting? Is it practical?" When I see a booth that I particularly like, I try to figure out what it is about the display that appeals to me. Is it the product itself or the feeling of the booth? And hey, next time you need an excuse to go to a craft show, just say it's for market research!
A few times I'd seen these dowel structures for holding a knitted sweater, or something of that ilk up off the table. I have always liked the way it looked and decided to make a few of my own. I used two sizes of dowel, one 7/8" and the other 1 1/8". In the larger dowel I drilled a hole 7/8" in diameter right through the middle (this was more or less successful, but be careful not to go through the side of the dowel!) Then I slid it down the smaller dowel and screwed it in to where I wanted it. I then purchased 3 wooden balls and drilled a hole in the bottom of them to put on top of the crossed dowels. Perfect for hats!! I made sure to cover those with fabric just in case I sold out of my hats. I painted them up, and as a base my kind husband chainsawed six birch logs into bases that I drilled for a stand. They are sturdy and earthy and heavy enough not to blow over. Very cool. I painted just the tops of those white, and left the bark au naturel.
I also found this cute little child's chair, for a doll really, in a local antiques shop. It was the inspiration to use for my blouses and skirts. In the past I had all my skirts in the vintage suitcase (which I still love), but I wanted a better way of displaying some of my blouses with the skirts and pants so shoppers could see some of the mix and match options. It was the perfect centerpiece for my favorite outfit, "dainty daisies".
At the last minute I grabbed an old plant stand that had been my grandmother's, and some cake plates to use for my pony tail holders. I love the sort of vintage-y look of it even though it's got a bit of rust. The cake plates were great for elevating and corralling my little covered buttons (they have a life of their own), and also another way of getting those little things up off the table. The plant stand was great for a few other odds and ends like matching bloomers and a pair of pants or two.
You've all seen my antique drying rack before, but it is the neatest thing. It collapses down into nothing, is lightweight, and you can see the dresses because they face out on the rack. It's truly perfect. I found mine on ebay of all places, so maybe there's another one out there for you...
Overall, I wouldn't change a thing with my display. I was completely thrilled with how it looked. I probably need a few more weights just in case things get a little more breezy (that drying rack for instance needs some help when it gets windy). Oh, I know things evolve, and I'll probably have other ideas, but it was very gratifying to see it all come together and get such positive feedback from my customers.
P.S. Coming to you this morning from Fairbanks, Alaska. ~Melissa