For those of you contemplating setting up your first shows, here is what I went through yesterday morning. Before 5 a.m. I had unloaded my truck and moved everything in to my spot. After 5:00 a.m. when the meat and produce trucks start showing up to deliver and/or set up outside and as more and more indoor vendors are pulling up to unload, it becomes impossible to get near the doors. Plus, in the summer, people are setting up their tents in two rows all along the front of the market building.
Thursday, I'd gone to a local fabric mill end store to look at buying fabric to cover my tables. It's also time to think about having a coordinated look for the Gem Expo, instead of my usual mishmash of covers and colours. It's a show requirement to cover tables to the floor and looks more professional. After looking at yardage prices and doing the math, I'm going to do like many people do and go with king size sheets.
By the way, after years of insisting I wouldn't find one useful, I have to say I love my new dolly. It cuts eight to ten or more trips carrying awkward and heavy boxes down to only three or four. My main problem had always been that I have too many open boxes with odd-shaped contents. I'm slowly transitioning most things into closed boxes of the same size/style -- rather than my usual mishmash -- so they can be stacked.
The new space: Two 8-foot tables and a 6-foot table. Note that the 6-foot table is coming out from the wall, and it's also a good two inches lower than the front table and I also don't line up with that white table of the next vendor.
I've swapped the 8-foot table running along the wall with the 6-footer coming out from the wall, which also puts me in line with the white table of the vendor who will be next to me:
Covers on and a spare cloth on the back table. The black-painted wooden riser anchors the end of the front table. The far end of the back table is where I'll be sitting and working when there are no customers. I can also see what's going on. That draggy cloth at the front corner will be folded and clipped along the top edge of the table so that no one (including me) will trip on it.
Black cloth clipped (bulldog clips are your friend). Next, the white cloth goes on -- at an angle with this setup -- and I start bringing out the "furniture".
Vary display heights: At this point, I've decided that my skull display will go in the centre of the angle using the emptied bin that holds finished necklaces as a riser. Eventually, I'll get more wooden risers made, but as I'm still in the thinking process, a bin does the trick neatly.
Prop flat displays at an angle: I have a ring display box with a plexi lid, as well as display boards that lie flat on the table. However, flat things are far easier for people to see if they're propped up at an angle. I use those free-standing bent-angle metal frames from the dollar store, the kind that have a piece of glass that slides in at the top. First, get rid of the glass!
Almost done. Now that the "anchors" are in place and all my T-bars, busts, earring racks and bundles of necklaces are on the table, I can start to finalise where everything else goes...
Along the back wall: boards with larger turquoise pendants; Tibetan and tribal style pendants; and then a board with semi-precious pendulums and some wire-wrapped pendants; bins of loose beads on table.
Table coming out from wall: behind the mirror, black free-standing earring racks for sale; mirror; resin bird skull and bone pendants on tall bust; tribal-ish style and crystal pendants lying flat on table; behind the necklaces on the table, three racks of semi-precious and Swarovski earrings with Bali silver; pearl display; pewter pendants;
Angle of two tables: skull and guy jewellery, kids' jewellery;
Front table: finished semi-precious necklaces; handmade, hammered metal necklaces on black T-bar; sterling rings; bracelets; PMC jewellery, turquoise earrings, coin silver and crystal pendants and sterling silver pendants on the vertical boards, respectively; earring carousels up top with my far-too-small sign in a frame.
Where I sit and work, or talk to customers. Tools in the bottom drawer of the little organiser; finished jewellery, price tags and other odds and ends in the top drawer. Behind it, a bin of gauze bags; against the wall, big ziplock bags of silver and copper wire; in the burgundy bag, 1mm, 1.5mm and 2mm Greek leather. Behind me, two bins of beads, findings and miscellaneous stuff on the dolly.
A note on these chairs. Pretty much 99% of chairs provided at any venue will, guaranteed, destroy your back. Invest in an orthopaedic cushion. This cushion lives in my truck. I also take it along to sports venues. Do people laugh at me? Always. Do people envy me after 20 minutes sitting on plastic seats in an ice-cold hockey arena or soggy, damp wooden baseball bleachers? You betcha.
View of my table and potential customers from my chair. Note that all of my ugly, junky-looking boxes and bins are stored out of sight.
Now that I've figured out where things will go, it will take me about 30 to 40 minutes to set up; to pack up, maybe half an hour. Next week, I'll bring some lights and another white tablecloth. Did I sell anything? Uh... that would be a negatory. Just one customer picking up her order. But maybe next Saturday. Did I have fun? Yes. I really like this location, the display works very well, and with things spread out more I got a lot of comments -- and compliments -- on what I'm offering because people could actually see everything.
Thanks for looking!