A Crafter and her Display
Over the years, my display has changed and changed again. I made mistakes and discovered the sort of things one has to take into account when selling at craft fairs or on the street or in every kind of weather. I tried to make a playful, attractive display at first, with these really fun jewelry carousels made from dowels and old candelabra and candle holders. My fanciest beads were displayed in a mosaic frame. At my first street fair I was selling lampwork glass bead necklaces and my daughter had started a business of selling button hairbands. We had a flimsy cheap tent that threatened to blow away with the slightest breeze, and it wasn't exactly waterproof as well. There were some thrilling moments as we hung onto the tent and tried to talk to customers at the same time.
|Grandma holding down the fort in the background. Daughter off looking for food. This was a family enterprise.|
In the next few months, I made more carousels and put the button hairbands into glass fish bowls. It just so happened that it rained at every outdoor fair I went to for an entire year. The cheap tent bought the farm by the second Spring Crafts in Chelsea when I loaned it to Lauren of Paperelle, not long after this picture was taken. I had bought a heavier one, but even this one couldn't withstand the gusts of 21st Street, so I took it down before it broke as well. Now people tend to not even bring tents to Crafts in Chelsea.
|Nothing like untangling 25 sterling silver necklaces from a fallen carousel.|
|I love the wacky candelabra, but they belong in a store display.|
But I was still doing some street fairs, and using my carousels, so I screwed the carousels to a wooden plank, decorated in mosaics, and clamped it to the table. That took care of the falling over in wind. But I didn't like having to set up the frames to display my longer, fancier necklaces, and thought I might try a single board with easel style framing behind it, which also clamped to the table. After one show I decided this was too heavy and just didn't show my work to advantage. It was better to show jewelry in smaller sections rather than on one huge board. I was also inspired at this time to make some sea monsters with their own lamp work eyes and pocket mouths.
|This board will probably find a future as a mirror. Really nice mosaic border of sea glass and broken china.|
In 2012 I brought my crafts out to Hyannis, out on Cape Cod. I did very well out there but oh the days were hot and long. And I really missed having my etsy team around. I simplified the beadboard panels to attach to a raised six foot table, and bought some cheap book shelves from Target to display my prints. The shelves are pretty flimsy, and less than two feet wide. I put weights on the bottom shelf to keep them upright. I finally got a banner to hang behind me, and found a cute vintage aqua and cream table cloth for my display.
|I have these great rocks with furrows cut into them to hold my prints.|
|Anyone remember the bunting post I made last year? Here's how they look on the street!|
A day later, this was the display up in Beacon with the Hudson Valley Etsy Team. The crowd was light due to the heat wave we were going through but I still made money with the jewelry. I'd pretty much had enough with trying to stand my frame displays up, so I let them lie flat on the tables and they did fine. Customers didn't seem to mind. No more risers, either. All of these displays were made with the thought in mind that I would have a car and would be driving to the fair site. Weight was not an issue.
|I like the sea shell tablecloths I made, but the shells are very large and bold.|
My basement is crowded with displays I've made and had to abandon. But now I'm looking at doing some fairs where I will not be driving, I'll be taking public transportation. Time to really lighten up! I want everything, product and display and selling paraphernalia, to fit into a backpack, rolling cart, or luggage. It would be fun to fly to other cities and try out the craft fairs there, and having a light and flexible display would be great.
I hope this post will give my fellow crafters some ideas for their own displays, and give fair warning to others about what not to do! I'll make another post about my new light display in the future.