Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

I am trying to work on the design of my booth and was wondering where most of you choose to sit during a show and is there any benefit over one spot to another? I see some people who sit out front in a directors chair and some who choose to sit inside their booth behind a table or display of some sort...I suppose it depends somewhat on what you are selling...I sell mainly 2D art and some jewelry...Do any of you veterans have any thoughts on this subject?

Views: 1158

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Jill, I do not sit at a show. I follow Bruce Baker's philosophy that if I am busy working to tidy my booth I am less intimidating than if I am sitting waiting for someone to enter my booth. Everyone is greeted and I tell them that I am there to help and if they have questions I will be happy to answer them. I demonstrate my jewelry and show the people who enter my booth why it is a better buy than the jewelry from another booth down the street. I do have a small boudouir chair for a client to sit on or to place items of clothing on while we coordinate jewelry to her wardrobe. But I do not sit in wait. Others may differ but I try to make the experience of entering my booth as pleasant as possible.
I agree. I don't sit either. I don't see the people at the stores I go into sitting, so why should I? I'm there to sell, not sit. I can do that at the hotel.

But do NOT place yourself outside your booth! When you sit in the corner outside, you make the traffic go around you and they do not go back in time to enter your neighbor's booth. And that's not very fair to him/her, is it?

Find a place to STAND inside your booth.
Thanks for your suggestions...I definitely understand that you should not be sitting for most of the show but I still want to have a space where I can set up a chair and table of some sort to conduct transactions, etc. Where do you set up to do this? Do you have a hidden space behind a partial wall or something? I am not sure where to conduct the business side of things...Right now, my 10x10 booth is wide open except for one 5ft. table which I display smaller items on...I don't have a spot for my credit card machine, bags, etc.
Jill- I have a 4 foot table that is skirted in the back of the booth. I have two small tables underneath that to hold the credit card machine, my cash drawer and organza bags. The skirt has two slits in either side just around the corners so that the skirt front is easily lifted to remove the cash box or credit card machine. Everything is hidden and neatly organized. Sometimes you will have space behind your booth but other times you will abut another booth so you can't plan on that back area. Once you arrive you can see the possibilities but I never like my business end of the business where people can see it.

Jill Beninato said:
Thanks for your suggestions...I definitely understand that you should not be sitting for most of the show but I still want to have a space where I can set up a chair and table of some sort to conduct transactions, etc. Where do you set up to do this? Do you have a hidden space behind a partial wall or something? I am not sure where to conduct the business side of things...Right now, my 10x10 booth is wide open except for one 5ft. table which I display smaller items on...I don't have a spot for my credit card machine, bags, etc.
I bought a rattan closet organizer at Target for about 90 bucks. It has six nicely-sized drawers and a black laminate top. I set it up in the right inside corner of my booth, canted at a 45 degree angle. It has just enough space on top for my credit card machine, calculator, business cards, notebook, and a small decoratative plant (with rattan vase). The brown rattan works well with my carpet.

The drawers hold (more or less in order): my sales book and top-of-desk materials; the hardware for hanging my art; my signage (labels, bio, credit-card signs, front-of-tent banner); bags for purchases; flashlight and first aid kit; cleaning materials (brush for my rug, feather duster for the canvases, glass cleaner, and paper towels); electrical supplies; tools. When the show's over, I pick up the organizer/desk and put it in my van so the drawers open outward. That way, when I get home I slide open the van's right rear door, open the top left drawer, and take out my credit card machine, sales book, and notebook. Everything else stays right in the organizer. Easy!

As for sitting: I have a nice, lightweight aluminum director's chair that I put at the rear entrance of my tent...usually just outside it, but that depends on how much space I have at the show. I also have a small black folding piano bench that I put directly behind the sales desk, smack against the corner of the tent. Customers can't see it, and it gives me a place to sit down and rest for a few minutes if I need it. If a customer comes in with their hands full, I lift it out, put it in front of the desk, and invite them to put their bags down while they browse.

Sometimes it even serves as a rest bench for the customer or someone who is with them. I keep a few bottles of water around for those folks in case they'd like one. (How many times has a customer stopped browsing because their companion got bored or tired?)
Thanks Geoff...that sounds like a great multi-functional piece and a great way to hide all of the things you need, yet keep them organized. I will have to check out Target for something like that.

Sharon thanks for the advice as well...I can use your suggestion with the table I have now....
I'm with the Stand not Sit bunch, but there are still times when you may want to rest your feet. I have a director's chair in a back corner of my boot for that purpose. My booth has pictures hung on one wall and most of the back. There is a 6 ft. skirted table along the other side wall to put smaller framed pictures and note cards on. I sit basically at the end of the table. My cash box is usually under the table. I still use the knuckle buster for credit cards and it's either under the table or behind a picture on the table.

The reason for the higher chair is that I'm at eye level with a customer, if I don't stand up when they come in. Sometimes it's a long day and I don't jump right up if someone walks in, but I usually do.

I never thought about the customers having to walk around us if we sit out front. I have seen artists both sitting in front of their booth, and sitting behind it. One thing I saw with the artists sitting out front is that they were able to communicate with their neighboring artist better. I've seen neighboring artists sitting together outside their booths.
Most of my fellow exhibitors have a checkout stand. Many made it themselves. You just measure how high your kitchen countertop is, and that's how high you want your checkout. They all place their registers and credit card terminals on the top and have their "supplies" below. Just a basic 18" square by 36 inch tall folding checkout. The front and sides are hinged and the top is placed on it at the show. Just a basic checkout. And you stand behind that.

Me? I have my product right out in front and I have my register and terminal there too. I use the rest of my space to demonstrate what I have and how it works.

And Dave, I too see exhibitors sitting together outside their booths. And they are usually the first ones to complain about sales. If they're chatting, they're not selling. They don't realize they are losing business just by being out front.
I have made a LOT of observations over the years. And that's just one. Another is, I watch the customer's feet when they are at my or another exhibitor's booth. If the feet are facing towards the booth, they are serious buyers. If they have one foot or both feet at an angle away from the booth, they are lookers. Now this is not a scientific survey, but it occurs often enough for me to take notice. So now my object is to make both feet face my booth before they leave. Turn that looker into a buyer.
I hadn't noticed the feet! I'll have to check that out at the next show. I usually watch to see if a person looks longer at one picture than the others. When they do I take that as an opening to talk about the picture, where I took it, what type of bird or butterfly it is, etc. If they appear genuinely interested, but aren't buying, I mention that I also have the picture unframed, and in smaller sizes, even a notecard.
Hi Jill, I have tried standing, sitting in back, front, between booths and across the way. You need to work your booth to fit where you will feel comfortable. Down here in lower east VA, I look for shade! Most of the shows down here get extremely hot, 100 plus degrees and so I really dont give a hoot what others think, I find/make shade to survive the long hot sunny day. And lots of water. Get a medium size cooler. It becomes exhausting at the end of the day. If I put a raw egg anywhere by that canopy, it would be hardboiled by the end of the day.

I always talk to people whether they are in the booth or walking by. I watch body language if they are alone and I listen if they are with someone. Try a small 3 draw rollycart to fit sales necessities: pens, sales pads, aspirin, credit card items to a variety of bag sizes, tanning & bug spray, scissors and guest book ! lol Its like having a little of your kitchen/bathroom/office with you. I have extra items for others as well like clamps, paper towels, pens, fishing line, bungies and tie wraps. You just never. I've gone through several calculators just from the heat. Wish it was from sales....maybe next season... ;)
I am most emphatically NOT in the "always stand" camp, Bruce Baker's advice notwithstanding. Standing all day, especially at some of the overly shows, makes my legs and lower back hurt, and when I am uncomfortable I am a lousy salesperson. Not good for business!

I have a high barstool (from IKEA) that places my head at nearly the same level whether I am sitting or standing, and I do alternate between the two because I don't want to sit all day either! I made a high work table (where transactions are handled) and have several demonstrations of my wire weaving going on all the time. Working on a piece ALWAYS brings people in, sometimes from across the aisle. I also have the table placed so that I can keep an eye on my jewelry.

Whatever you do, don't read a book or talk on the phone while at a show!!
I don't sit much while selling, but I have a stool to lean back on to rest while still keeping me at more or less eye level with people. I never sit in the front or outside, my table and stool are in one of the back corners, always somewhat discreetly, not directly facing the customer- too intimidating.
Never block flow by putting anything or anyone outside one of your tent poles- traffic will tend to give a wide berth to you and put your work further from them- and disrupt the flow for your neighbor. I absolutely hate when people do it to me. Make it as easy as possible for the customer to see your work- make it flow so they don't have to work to see you, or feel like you're staring at them to make them come in. I provide a shelf for purses and drinks so they can easily try things on, too.


Fiber artists -- use this resource to find new buyers:  Advertise with Reach over 60,000 fiber arts lovers.

Our 50 Best Art Fairs

Look Inside the our latest Art Fair Survey:
Who Won and Why

Join the MasterMinds Group for personalized coaching on your Internet Lifestyle Business! 

Video Website Reviews

60 Page Report - Best US Art Fairs

Click Here to
Learn More


  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2021   Created by Connie Mettler.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service