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Creating Wonderful Displays For Your Handcrafts
by Linda Nigro

Signing up for my first craft show, fulfilled my long time dream of creating something that would be marketable and enjoyed by others. My goal to build a display that would not only enhance my work, but would cause a customer to stop, look & purchase, proved to be a problem.

I am sure like others, my misguided thinking, expected that I would create a wonderfully marvelous display first time around, with props that I would use forever. Thinking I was getting great value for my money invested, I started out with my first display with a look of moss green skirting, burlap with assorted containers made of wicker and tin. I was hmmm....okay with this look, but knew that it just wasn't fabulous, and I wanted fabulous. Being unsure of myself and not knowing how to create a great space, I just left well enough alone. I did take notice at the shows I attended, the charming and creative booths done so professionally by my fellow crafters. It seemed that this gift of presentation eluded me. One fellow crafter, was very helpful when I openly admired her display. She explained that it wasn't always so, but that her display just evolved. New ideas would form and then they would be incorporated into the display till it became what it was that day. The suggestion of building on what was already in place seemed like a good idea, but I was reluctant to replace props with new things, thinking I was throwing good money after bad, but I was missing the point about evolving.

I entered my second year of selling, when I met a wonderfully talented crafter who did Monet type of painting on all sorts of items from fabric to wood. The beautiful pastel colors were showcased on simple white muslin material, topped with a pretty white on white patterned sheer cloth draped on top. Billows of white and that soft impressionist type painting was simple, but it was gorgeous. She was a great encourager and got me to thinking about my colorful soaps and how well they would look on a white background. So display #2 was born. Cast away was what now seemed to be dark dreary burlap and in was the new, bright white. To cut costs I decided to keep my baskets and just whitewash them and added some silver grid baskets purchased at a dollar store, my lifts were my transport boxes doing second duty. So I created a new look of white tables, whitewashed baskets and a few intermittently placed silver baskets I
completed this new change for my next craft show and I was glad I had taken that sound advice. My colorful soaps did look striking up against white fabric. Sales increased and customers and fellow crafters gave rave reviews on my soaps and my display. I was pleased that I had tried something new.

Now with the success of this new look and added confidence, I've continued assessing my display thinking of ways to improve my look. So just as the friendly advice I received about letting my design evolve, the display for First In Line Soap is doing just that. I needed to cast away that fear of having to do it right the first time, and replaced it with the excitement of having some new ideas, and getting to try them.

So now my third season is starting and new ideas are popping into my head all the time about how I want my product to be shown. I started last year picking up some old dishes from a thrift shop and used them as containers for my soaps. I love the Shabby Chic look and it was starting to filter into my booth. Hmmmm... Marketing specialists talk about selling a look along with your product and I thought it might be a good selling tool at my shows. So the idea of a theme type of display for my colorfully bright soaps was born.

As of this writing I am gathering materials such as barn board for shelving, aged flowerpots, floral patterned dishes, enamelware & etched stemware. I am hoping that the contrast of old (my display pieces) with the new (my soaps) will generate visible interest that will prompt the shoppers to purchase.

So be encouraged and start thinking about new and different ways you can showcase your handcraft and just as creating your product gives you such joy so can creating a display to showcase and sell your work.

This article was written by Linda Nigro She has a on-going craft business selling at craft shows and on-line. You can visit her on-line at: adding color to your bath.