This is part II of an ongoing series (Your Booth Design Part I) of tips, lists and other info to help new exhibitors and veterans alike.
Fabrics, Floor Coverings & Stand out Ideas
Consider your booth space as a mini boutique or gallery that you want to be inviting. Try out different floor coverings and fabrics over display pieces to create interest. A booth with a cute floor covering, even a bamboo mat says welcome to the strolling shopper. Use several varieties of coordinated fabrics and textures to create depth and warmth. A jeweler that exhibited with us recently had small moss beds that she created in low wooden boxes to display her jewelry. I have also seen freeze dried green peas, white rice, river pebbles and seashells used below a product to give it uniqueness and help it stand out. A ceramic bowl comes to life with some water and a few floating flowers. Vases on a shelf can be varied with different fresh flowers or greenery. Whenever you add a bit of nature to your booth it adds freshness and encourages folks to stay awhile and shop!
Packing and Unpacking
One of the most useful ideas to keep your car from overflowing is to pack your inventory in your actual display pieces. I have seen many interesting things done with wooden crates that arrive full of art work and newspaper, and then transform a booth as part of the display. If you are using panels, consider something as simple as hinged shutters or screens. They can fold up and be placed under your inventory in your car.
A lot of exhibit halls are very well lit for shopping, but it helps to have your booth stand out with lighting, especially if your table covers are a bit dark, or you want to showcase a particular area in your booth. Clip spot lights are a great invention and work well clipped to your panels or display pieces. Just remember to keep the cords neat and well hidden. A few zip ties will do the job nicely. Lights plugged into a power strip makes for easy turn off at the end of the day.
I suggest practicing your display set up in a back yard or well lit garage and play around with various possibilities. Whatever you do, don't wait until set up time at your first event to put it all together for the first time. You are going to want to know how long it takes you to set up and tear down, and exactly how to pack your vehicle based on what you have decided to use. A few dry runs can save you multiple headaches at show time!