When I was given the choice of setting up indoor or outdoor for my first craft show, my mind instantly pictured white tents in rows with stuff hanging up on the walls/ceiling, with gorgeous light shining through, giving everything that glorious morning brightness. So the choice was easy. Outdoor it was.
Ok, so where do I start? 🙂 Since I’ve never done one of these, I didn’t have a vendor tent in my possession. So I turned to Google search for help. After a couple of hours of reviewing different blogs and company pages, I decided on the Undercover 10′ X 10′ Instant Canopy w/4-wall. At $230 (plus tax), it wasn’t too ridiculous of a price.
A few days before the show, I practiced setting up the tent and did a dry run.
I was going to go super cheap and make most of the displays myself, but boy am I glad I purchased those great looking trunks from Michael’s! I got them 40% off during a sale and they just added such a nice touch to the whole look I was going for. The theme of my show was “Shabby Chic Spring”. Spring always reminds me of freshness, flowers, and traveling. And since a part of my inventory was makeup bags that can be used for travel, I liked the idea of putting them in the these pretty trunks.
Before going further, let me quickly mention about the tent walls. There was some wind on my dry run day; about 5mph. It doesn’t seem like much but the walls were flapping around, scraping the ground and getting them dirty! I first tried securing them with duct tape but that didn’t help much. The solution was anchoring them down with bricks (or anything heavy.)
Anyway, now the question of how to vary the heights of my displays. I began to amass boxes of all different kinds (at my full-time job, we get a lot of deliveries in boxes). I’ve tried painting them white, covering them with pretty papers/shelf lining, and stacking them up in a number of configurations, etc. But boxes still look like ugly boxes and they just weren’t going to achieve the look I was going for… Ok, scrapping that idea.
And then, I saw online of people using wine crates as displays! What a genius idea!! And even better, you can probably get them for free if you ask the store owners politely. (haha) So I began calling around, asking local wine and chain stores if they had any spares. Sadly, the only place that *might* have them on the floor was Costco… (Ah, Costco… If I ever lose my full time gig, I might want to go and work for them. I heard they treat their employees nicely.) So I visited three different branches but only one of them had the wooden crates. After a couple of visits, I ended up with four FREE sophisticated-looking wine crates (thank you, Costco!) And here they are, holding my pillow covers very neatly!
Ok. Onto displaying my reversible totes. For this one, I spent quite some time researching online but I wasn’t too inspired by anything. A while back, however, I had saved fabric selvages from my sewing projects. I had seen a lamp shade cleverly made out of selvages at a fabric store and I really liked the look of them. So I thought about how I can use them to hang my totes. And then voila. Shower curtain hooks! I could tie the selvage pieces to the hooks at varying heights and hang the totes on them! Cooool…
And for the rest of the products, I used the old-fashioned line and cloth pins method to hang fabric flowers and more pillow covers. That added the “shabby” to the “chic”. 🙂
Lastly, I used a mini cake stand that I had gotten from a going out of business sale at Macy’s for my promotional items (scented lip balms) and a cool old ash tray I found one day (rummaging through my mom’s junk closet) to hold my business cards. (Mom’s not a smoker but she used to collect ash trays on her travels long ago. Pretty quirky collection if you ask me!)
And those are the “tricks” I used and wanted to share. 🙂