I'm currently feeling dissatisfied with my 'quick' set up.   We have a lot of half day or single day shows down here (Australia) and set up is required usually with a 1 hour maximum. 


As a consequence of this time limitation my favoured display tables (specifically made for a multiple day show set up) are very heavy for me to lift by myself and time consuming to erect so my set up time would be gone just putting them together, let alone getting any stock out.


What I call my "show" tables in my fair weather (light) tent:


Our booth sizes vary here with quite a few smaller spaces (2m frontage instead of 3m or 3m wide but 2m deep) although outdoor spaces usually stick with the 3x3m size (a tad smaller than your 10x10).    We aren't asked for booth shots either so excuse my non-professional snaps!


The equipment that I can source here is limited.  It's either fold up tables or trade style ultra-professional, imported and very expensive.  Shipping from the US is prohibitive price wise (unless I look at getting a container of them and going into business selling show supplies!?).  There is next to nothing that is in between the two.


I have two tents - a quick erect one with no sides for good weather (as in the photo above) and a sturdier one when required that is all black (the idea being with my white display and lights the contrast would look good!).


If I stick with the ubiquitous fold up tables, the size is a standard 6x2 1/2 ft allowing little opportunity to use them in a modular fashion.  I do use risers (imported at great cost from the US as our table legs aren't suitable for leg extensions would you believe).  I prefer to display on white but when I used all white damask it was easily soiled so I introduced a soft black fabric undercover with the white damask over the top. 


The "quick" set up version with 2 fold up tables (indoor):


However, I feel the current display doesn't do the jewellery justice - my 'show' tables gave an expectation of quality but I'm feeling that my current quick option may be bringing me down a price level in expectation levels (I only deal with gems since I'm a gemmologist with prices up to mid $600s).


The wide tables also make it easy to overload the display and take up a lot of room in the allocated space.  I'm not sure how to maximise/utilise the space efficiently with 2 sizeable tables.   I'm not sold on the black covers.  I'm not sure any more about all the busts.  Lights help a lot and I use where possible, but outdoors they're often not an option.  Glass cases are possible but heavy and take up a lot of space for these short shows, plus a lot of customers are more easily sold to when they can touch.


I guess I need inspiration - I've seen some of your booths with smaller modular units and I love the clean lines of solid tops and neat, solid looking sides.    I do have a 'handy' husband so he can make things but needs some direction.


Maybe I'm just bored and have lost focus?  But regardless, I'd love to hear your ideas on how I could improve it all for short shows.  We're very behind down here on booth presentation!


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  • Hi Annette,

        I use 4 ft foldable tables which are a tad narrower - 24" I believe and also more modular.  The ones I have also can go up to counter height or be a standard height.  I generally use the 36" height.  They are Lifetime Tables. Colorwise I do the opposite using black covers - show the dirt less.  This is my booth shot that I used this year.

    Diane Wright - Booth Shot.jpg

    • Diane, I love your booth - its just lovely, very inviting.   I like the look of the black on the table against the grey walls and this makes the white pop.  And definitely not overwhelming with jewellery.  Its also very neat, do you find people don't want to touch because of that? ( I've tended to drape the jewellery over cushions and people will often reach out to touch the pieces.)


      What sort of fabric do you use on the table?


      4ft tables that are narrower would be much better - I'll have to keep searching for something like that.  It's times like this when I'm after certain products that aren't available here that I feel my 'isolation' from the rest of you!

      • Annette, I got  the table covers from Collectors House (online) and they are fitted to the table.  They are made from polyester.  Wash and dry easily.  I don't seem to have any problems with people picking up and trying on pieces.  The stuff in the cases - I try to anticipate when someone wants to look and take it out of the case before they ask.  I now use two cases since some shows really want you to have pieces in cases.
        • Thanks Diane, I will have a look at Collectors House now - do you find they crush or do any wrinkles fall out quickly (you can tell I've spent ALOT of time ironing in the past few years LOL)?
          • Annette, If you sew, you can save a lot of money on the table covers.  We switched all of our covers to a crushed taffeta material this year, works wonderfully for us.  We "sort of" fold it at the end of each show, stuff it into our glass cases along with all the jewelry displays and our curtains.  When we get to the next show, but the time we've put it on the tables, hung the curtains and gotten the rest of the booth set up with the jewelry out, etc.  what few wrinkles formed while sitting between shows seems to magically fall out of the fabric. I absolutely refuse to iron the table covers, we do 20 shows a year and I just don't have that much extra time in my schedule.  Regarding our glass cases, my husband made wooden boxes that they fit into so we do not assemble, disassemble the cases for each show, the cases also serve as the tables the glass cases sit on top of once we cover them with the fabric.
            • Thanks Ruth, I'd hardly call my use of the sewing machine "able" LOL, but I do have a friend who can...  

              Great idea having your wooden cases have a double use!

              • Annette - if we have time during our set up for this next weekend's show, I'll take a couple of pictures.  Lilke you, I'm not a great seamstress, but I can at least do the straight seams, so after declaring that I was tired of our old fabric, we went in to major booth renovation mode last winter.  My husband got creative with the wooden boxes and reduced our shelving requirements by taking our existing shelves, using wooden dowels to attach them to the boxes our glass cases are stored in, and then attached the IKEA adjustable legs we found to the other side of the shelf and we reduced both the number of shelves, ladders, support braces, etc. plus shortened our set up and tear down time.  It's been great, he did this one week when he didn't feel very creative with his silver work and wanted a new project, we had been discussing changing out our fabrics and it was the change we needed to justify that. 
                • Ruth that would be fantastic!  A lot of guesswork goes into looking at a finished booth and wondering "... how did they do that!?"
                  • Hi Annette, as promised, I took a few photos during set up. (Ignore the mess in the booth, after all these were taken during set up)


                    Here's the finished displayed with the crushed taffeta fabric that I never iron, the wrinkles fall out very quickly.



                    We have wooden boxes my husband made that hold our glass cases so we do not assemble, disassemble the cases for each show, all displays, curtains, table coverings, etc. are stored in the glass cases when we are transporting our dispalys. 


                    set up is quick and easy, attach adjustable table legs (from IKEA) to the shelf



                    Holes drilled into the wooden boxes, with corresponding dowels on the end of the shelf to attach the shelf to the box



                    Cover the display with fabric, add 4 little peg legs that have dowels on each end with corresponding holes drilled into the narrower shelf that sits on top to give us 2 levels for display.  I used the button hole function on the sewing machine to allow the peg legs to fit into the shelf top below.  (I did have to read the instructions for the sewing machine, I think in 20 years that I've had a sewing machine,  I've only used that feature 4 o r 5 times) I'm not much of a seamstress but I can follow basic instructions and sew relatively straight lines.





                    If any of this doesn't make sense, let me know what questions you might have.  This is very quick and simple to set up, we have 2 of these and the majority of our jewelry fits on these 2 displays.

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