by Linda Kaye-Moses

After 30 years of doing shows, I’m absolutely convinced that I will design the completely perfect booth on the last day of my life! It’s sort of like finding the perfect pocketbook or the perfect pair of shoes. That being said, here’s what we’ve found out.

1. The more subtle the display, the more the jewels stand out. The display should only be the background, not the focal point.

2. Plexi-glass scratches. Shows are dusty, even indoors. Dust scratches plexi easily and quickly. Glass is heavier, but doesn’t scratch as easily as plexi. We’ve adjusted, after years of using both, as follows: TEMPERED glass on the tops and fronts of our cases; plexi on the sides. Tempered glass is used because customers lean on cases and untempered glass can shatter unexpectedly with the expected and ensuing litigation (Ugh!).

3. After re-designing our booth display a number of times, we now use
Abstracta for five cases; We do have two additional ‘vertical’ plexi display cases on wooden pedestals (only the pedestals break down easily for transport).

The fronts (legs) of our Abstracta cases are covered with one length of strong fabric with grommets on each end, secured beneath the cases with bungie cords. Some exhibitors like to use a stretch-y fabric.

4. We light with tracks and halogens from Home Depot. Sixteen ‘cans’,
approximately 1+ per case. We also use one or two Abstracta can lights clamped to a case for customers to use when trying on the goodies.

5. We use grey rubber interlocking ‘puzzle-type’ mats for us to stand on. They’re not gorgeous, but, if your work sparkles, customers do not notice what you’re standing on.

6. Fabric background… curtains purchased from Linens and Things. Easier than having custom stuff designed (which, in the course of so many years of exhibiting, we also did). If you’re good at sewing and want to manage seven foot lengths, do it yourself. Otherwise, it’s custom or pret a porter!

7. Even if a show promoter gives you a sign to hang, have one of your
own….BIG! Customers need to read it and remember who you are. Pay an artist who can design and execute a sign, if you can’t do it yourself. You don’t want your sign to look like anyone else’s (name recognition is critical). Photos of your work are nice, but must be huge to really make a statement.

8. Support for fabric-We finally settled on what we believe is the most flexible and easiest support to use. It’s exactly the same pipe and drape that show decorators use (just google ‘pipe and drape’ for suppliers). It’s hefty, (yes, heavy), strong, collapsible, easy to set up. This is for indoor use only, as it does not accept a canopy.

For outdoor use, there are so many manufacturers now, and we haven’t done an outdoor show in many years, that I can’t recommend any one in particular. I do recall that Lite Dome was one brand that other exhibitors seemed to love. These outdoor supports can also be set up indoors, with or without their canopies. Additionally, many exhibitors use them in the larger convention center spaces to block the nasty overhead lights (These are not good for humans or the color
or art objets).

Thanks for the guest post!

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