View Full Version : Creative Merchandising for Shows

Laura Zaruba
09-28-2004, 12:11 AM
I'm thinking about participating in a Christmas Fine Arts & Crafts show in November and was wondering if anyone can share from experience?

I'll have some stock designs for sale at the show but my main goal is to get my name out for custom work and I'd like to feature marble, granite and glass items. I was thinking maybe velour fabric and acrylic risers. Any suggestions for colors/layouts/table coverings or anything else?


Shaddy Dedmore
09-28-2004, 10:20 PM
I'd suggest vectoring some ornaments. I think the Berry Basket (http://www.berrybasket.com)has some good CD plans. They are on PDF pages, so all you have to do is import them into Corel (you may have to Open them instead of Import, can't remember for sure but it's one of those ;)) THey have a couple wildlife CD's along with a holiday one (sacred and secular stuff both within it).

Then, what I did, was choose a graphic, you have to Ungroup the page, select your graphic, copy, then paste it onto a new page. I did that and was able to squeeze 15-20+ ornaments onto a 12 x 24 sheet. I bought Laser Bits wood sheets (pre finished). They say they were 1/8, but they ain't. That's fine with me though, they vector'd great and are strong enough for me.

I tried using a regular 1/8 ply from my local wood place, but it didn't vector the small holes well. When making tight corners or lines close together, there was too much heat buildup and the wood smoldered. But Laser Bits wood was fine. I think if I used solid 3/32 wood, it would be too fragile for some of the intricate scroll stuff, better off with ply.

I've seen the exact ornaments for sale from 3 dollars to 6 each, depending on the complexity, but those were by a poor sucker that did it with a scroll saw :eek:.

I was thinking 3-4 would be fair, it's just under $1 for each for just material, then there's the laser time. THe computer time is just cutting and pasting.
Some designs are very simple and take the laser just a few seconds, others are quite complex. (I was thinking $4 ea, 3 for $10, 5 for $15 and $3 ea additional) Also, there are SOME that don't have a hanging hole, so you need to add one, or you can make some on purpose without the hole and sell them for $1 each to the cheapo's that always want a deal, tell them to drill their own hole.

(I'm interested in feedback for that pricing)

You can see some of them here (http://www.shaddysengraving.com/Ornaments.JPG)

NOTE: I did take a few designs and changed some detail lines from vector to raster, and they came out pretty good, but only on the lighter wood (better contrast), but that's a lot of work :)


Chuck Burke
09-29-2004, 1:16 AM
I have read your post twice, but due to my inexperience I have been hesitant to reply ( until now ).
I would think of your booth as a Showroom. How would you set up your showroom? A possible source of ideas would be checking out some websites of the larger shops and see how they display their goods on the website. ( Often these pictures are taken in their showroom )
Also, I believe engravers journal has some online articles about display etc. You can find them at www.engraversjournal.com (http://www.engraversjournal.com)
I hope this helps. By the way, www.epiloglaser.com (http://www.epiloglaser.com) (no, I'm not a dealer, I own a Pinnacle {a.k.a LaserPro } has some downloadable Christmas ornament files created in corel. You will find them under "Extras" at their site.
Good luck with you trade show. Let us know how you do.

Chuck Burke
Pacific LaZer Works
Woodinville WA.

Laura Zaruba
09-29-2004, 9:42 AM
Thanks for all your input. Nice ornaments Shaddy! I think your prices are reasonable considering you can produce them in mass quantities after they're all set up. Plus, you could offer personalized oranments for a bit more. I couldn't get the berry basket link to work though?

Chuck, I was kind of thinking along the same lines and have read many of the articles on Engravers Journal. I guess this gives me a reason to go shopping and check out various stores and how they do their layouts! (Unfortunately now that I've started this business I realize how time truly is money!)

I'll try to keep you all posted on my experience. I'm nervous but I can hardly pass up the opportunity. Even if I don't sell a dime, for as little as $100 to get a spot in one of this area's largest shows it's an inexpensive advertising opportunity. There were over 10,000 people in attendance last year!

Keith Outten
10-01-2004, 6:17 PM

Make some really beautiful signs for your display but don't be surprised if the other vendors at the show drop by and ask about your prices to make them signs :)

Ask Ken Salisbury how many comments he has received from the wooden sign I did for his show display.

Chuck Burke
10-01-2004, 7:51 PM
Don't look at time spent "researching" and "marketing" as "unfortunate". Both are very valuable uses of time, and will in the end help you build you business..while maybe not immediately profit producing, both endeavors are valuable and in the long run you will find it time well spent.
I do however expect that you will soon have more work than you can handle....( I am finding it to be so for me anyway ) so brace yourself....and good luck.

Chuck Burke
Pacific LaZer Works
Woodinville WA.