Vendor Booth Ideas and Tips

Vendor booth large diy wood sign idea with copper pipe and zip ties ARCHd logo

Fall of 2012 marked our first experience as an art vendor, at Cooper Young Festival in Memphis, TN. Over the years, we’ve padded our resume with quite a few more shows and experimented with a LOT of trial and error on our vendor booth layout and setup. We’ve learned a lot, both from our own experiences and from looking to other vendors for inspiration.

Today, we’re going to share with you our top 16 ideas for selling at art festivals, craft fairs and indie markets. These tips can be summed up into three key categories: Booth Display, Signage/Décor and—the most important—Branding.

FIRST, LET’S DIVE INTO VENDOR BOOTH DISPLAY.

1. Plan out your booth space BEFORE the day of your festival.

Before we set foot at an art festival, our vendor booth is completely laid out. We measure all our display pieces (shelves, tables, etc.) and configure the space to help speed up the set up time. Plus, not all shows have the same options for booth sizes (because that would just be too easy). This year, our Cooper Young booth featured a 10’ x 15’ space, while some of our holiday shows ranged from a 6’ x 8’ space to a 10’ x 20’ double booth. It helps to lay everything out beforehand to know what will or will not fit in the allotted space. Once everything is measured, we use Adobe Illustrator to plan out the booth space, with everything to scale. We print out copies to take with us during set up, as well as email a copy to ourselves in case we lose the paper copies (it happens).

Here’s a look at my Adobe Illustrator artboard for our most recent Cooper Young Festival vendor booth:

Vendor Booth layout planning map out booth with measurements

And here is our finished vendor booth, based on that original mock up:

Vendor Booth layout setup idea craft art festival indie market vendor booth decor tips cooper young festival Memphis ARCHd

2. Display vertically.

When potential buyers pass your vendor booth, they’re not seeing product that is flat on tables. At least some of your work needs to be in their line of sight.

One way we add height to our booth display is with these adjustable white metal shelf units we found at IKEA (shop them here). The shelves are completely adjustable and IKEA sells individual shelves, so you can add to the original four included. We switch it up depending on what art we need to display at each festival or market.

add vertical height to vendor booth layout setup idea large white ikea shelves ARCHd

Vendor booth art display ideas gold baskets art print holders image transfer on wood memphis art ARCHd

In the past, we’ve used these custom built white-washed wood displays on rollers, which our brother built for us. We love how they look in our booth, as they mimic a more retail-style setting. However, these are rather heavy and bulky to transport.

Vendor booth display wall copper basket art print holders retail white washed wall display diy build your own ARCHd

Vendor booth white washed painted diy build your own display walls shelves indie market art festival idea ARCHd

Looking for something a little more transport friendly, this year we commissioned a custom white wood peg wall. The unit breaks down into four separate pieces, so it’s easy and convenient for traveling. Everything hooks together via large bolts and wing nuts, with the shelves and pegs packed separately. It’s also completely adjustable, as the pegs can be configured in various ways. This wall unit is great for displaying our larger 5 panel wood pieces, which serve as great eye catchers for potential buyers walking by our vendor booth.

vendor booth idea white peg wall display with shelves and pegs ARCHd

Vendor booth peg wall display with white shelves idea inspiration tips ARCHd

For smaller shows, we take just two of the four wall panels, usually paired with one of the white IKEA shelf units. Bonus: extra pegs are great for hanging ornaments!

Vendor booth small space vertical wall display white shelf peg wall set up idea ARCHd

Clear acrylic risers are also a great way to subtly add height and levels when displaying artwork on a table. Because they’re clear, they don’t take away from your displayed art. We use combinations of this 5 piece set from Displays2Go.

Vendor booth acrlyic risers product display ideas wood art hamilton bookends gift idea ARCHd

Vendor booth add height product display idea clear acrylic riser ARCHd

3. Choose display colors that will make your work pop.

As you can see, for our larger display pieces (shelves, walls), we incorporate as much white as possible. Because all sides of our wood art is stained in a dark finish, the white background helps it pop. We also prefer how clean the white and neutral hues look.

Vendor booth wall idea white washed wood wall display diy ARCHd

Vendor booth Memphis wood bookends library decor display on white shelf peg wall ARCHd

Vendor booth peg wall christmas ornament dispaly idea ARCHd grit n grind ornament image transfer on wood

4. Store and display multiple art prints.

We have ALL-CAPS-STRUGGLED with how to display and store our art prints, other than stuffing them in baskets for browsing. We recently discovered these gold wire baskets from IKEA that slide on perfectly to our white IKEA shelves. They are great at storing stacks of prints!

Vendor booth art print display storage idea gold wire basket from ikea ARCHd

Vendor booth art print holders gold wire baskets on white IKEA shelves grit grind all heart wood art ARCHd

To actually display the prints, we chopped up a 4” x 4” piece of lumber and sawed angled grooves down the top. We stained them to match the color of our wood art. The art prints stand up perfectly in the grooves of the wood, which we then prop up above the wire baskets. It’s easy for buyers to see the print displayed and simply pick it up from the basket underneath for purchase.

Vendor booth art print display ideas wood print holders with gold wire baskets for storage ARCHdVendor booth art print display idea wood block art print holders diy easy ARCHdVendor booth art print display 4x4 wood print holder ARCHd

5. Use slim Christmas trees to display holiday ornaments.

During our holiday shows, our Christmas ornaments are HUGE sellers. While we use our peg wall for some ornament overflow, ornaments look best hanging on an actual Christmas tree. This also better demonstrates to potential buyers how it will look on their own tree. However, for those smaller booth spaces, a full Christmas tree takes up too much valuable real estate and just isn’t practical. And some of the smaller, table-top trees aren’t known for being sturdy. Because our ornaments are on the heavier side, we’ve had issues with the smaller trees tipping over … especially when buyers are trying to take the ornaments off the trees to purchase. We found a great slim Christmas tree from our local At Home. It measures only 18” in diameter but can still can hold quite a few ornaments. We re-stock throughout the show to keep the tree looking full.

Vendor booth display ideas slim christmas tree ornament display

NEXT UP, WE HAVE BOOTH SIGNAGE/DÉCOR.

6. Emphasize your business name for potential buyers with branded signage.

We have our friends over at Ella Jude to thank for this easy DIY pop-out booth sign idea. For this sign, we painted a thin piece of wood white, then transferred our logo (with our image transfer process) to both sides, though we’ve seen others hand paint their logo. We bought two pieces of copper pipe and an elbow joint and glued them all together to form an L-shaped corner. To hang the wood sign from the copper pipe, we spray-painted loose-leaf rings to match the copper pipe. We then use clear zip ties to attach the sign to our booth or tent. We’re hoping to make an even larger version this year.

Vendor booth large diy wood sign idea with copper pipe and zip ties ARCHd logo

For additional branded signage, we bought a large white vinyl banner with grommets and designed it to include our logo, website and social media handles. We use this when we have space available. For our outdoor art shows, such as Cooper Young, we hang the banner on the back of our tent so buyers walking down the sidewalks behind the booths can see our name.

Vendor booth signage idea branded banner

7. Tell your story with signage.

We sell handmade image transfers on wood and marble tile. The most common question we receive from customers during festivals and shows is, “Is this mod podge?” No. Image transfer is a different process that actually takes more energy and a significantly longer amount of time than mod podge. Though, our process can sometimes be hard to explain to customers. This year, we created visual aids to help explain our handmade process.

ARCHd process wall vendor booth signage idea how to diy

We made these “process walls” from large panels of wood bought from Lowe’s. We sanded them smooth and white-washed them to match our other display walls. We added a wood leg to the back, attached with a simple hinge to allow them to stand up on their own (thanks to Sarah from Signet Sealed for this hinge idea). Kristen took photos of each key step of our handmade process and we had them printed and mounted to matboard for sturdiness. We spray-painted metal bulldog clips the same copper finish as our sign and hung them on tacks, straight down each wall. For the titles at the top, we transferred the words “ARCHd” and “PROCESS” to small wood planks and attached via velcro strips. Now, when customers ask how we make our art, we can walk them through the entire process with these images. It’s much easier to follow. Plus, these large signs help with the “vertical” strategy of our booth display and serve as another eye-catcher for potential buyers walking by.

8. Price everything AND display your prices.

All of our items are individually priced on the back. However, that doesn’t stop customers from asking how much things are. Constantly. We designed a single poster listing all of our items with pricing, framed it and displayed it on a decorative easel at the entrance of our booth. Now customers can easily see the range of prices and products we offer, all in one place.

Vendor booth idea pricing sign setup display prices at a craft festival ARCHd

Another way to display pricing in your festival booth is with simple decorative frames near clusters of similar products. For our bookend sets, we designed pricing sheets in Adobe Illustrator with our brand colors, printed them on cardstock at FedEx Office and stuck them in a white frame we got on clearance at T.J. Maxx.

Vendor booth framed signage idea shabby chic decor ARCHd wood art bookends

9. Some products need a little extra signage.

This tidbit has more to do with product packaging than simple signage. We sell marble tile coaster sets that include a different design or photo on each tile. However, for packaging purposes, we tie up our sets tightly with hemp. After the first one or two festivals or shows with customers wanting to untie all the sets to look at each tile, we started printing the full set on a piece of cardstock and sticking the sheet under the hemp on the back. Now, customers can simply pick up a coaster bundle and turn it over to view what’s included in each full set. So, if you happen to sell multi-packs of an item—be it coasters, art prints, notecards, etc.—include a backer sheet with the full set for a little less of a headache.

Vendor booth inspiration tips show marble coaster set display ARCHd

10. Decorate your vendor booth space. 

For us, it’s all in the details. We like to use the term shabby chic when describing our ideal vendor booth atmosphere. We want our space to be fun and inviting. For us, garland does the trick. It’s easy to hang from the inside of our tent, as well as light enough to string between pipe and drape at indoor shows. While there are a ton of DIY pinterest posts on how to make your own garland, we went the easy route and bought white/gold fabric garland and pom pom garland from the seasonal section of our local At Home.

Vendor booth decor ideas gold white fabric garland

Vendor booth decor pom pom fabric garland ARCHd

For some shows, we’ll add vases of fresh flowers. It helps give our booth that “homey” feel.

Vendor booth small details decor ideas fresh flowers display ARCHd

Room permitting, props can help enhance your vendor booth. To display our wood bookends, we bring stacks of books from home and place a few between each set. The more you can demonstrate how your products will actually be used, the easier for the buyer to picture your work in their home. Plus, the books are just pretty. And through all our shows, markets and festivals, we’ve only had one customer actually ask if the prop books are for sale. No. Definitely not for sale.

Vendor booth display wood art bookends vintage books craft show booth props decor ideas tips ARCHd

At outdoor shows, we try to always include an outdoor area rug in the main portion of our vendor booth. It can help even out rough gravel spots, as well as contribute again to that “homey” feel.

Vendor booth setup table layout ideas inspiration marble coasters ARCHd

LAST UP IS OUR MOST IMPORTANT TOPIC: BRANDING.

Coming from a graphic design background, I cannot stress enough the importance of good design and brand recognition. When customers visit our vendor booth at an art festival or market, we want them to walk away knowing our name, how to get in touch with us after a show, where to buy our product locally, how to connect with us via social media … and the list goes on and on. We basically want to hit them over head with our brand. Again and again and again. As much as possible. Here are a few ways we achieve this.

11. Let your business cards serve double duty as price tags.

Instead of using blank price tags, we punch a hole in our business cards and string them on the back of every piece of wood art. We design them as a smaller square, just for this purpose. We print sticker labels with prices, which we then stick on the business cards. This means every buyer is walking away with at least one of our business cards.

Vendor booth branding idea business cards as price tags ARCHd

12. Include extra business cards and freebies at your check out station.

As a vendor at our first art festival, we completely underestimated how many visitors would want to walk away with our business card. Since then, we try to come over-prepared. We’d rather have too many business cards than run out halfway through a show. We also stick them in every shopping bag.

Another idea we’ve started doing for every show: free stickers. Why? People. LOVE. Stickers. Especially free stickers. We create a design and buy a large quantity to last us through a season. When a potential buyer walks by and you hand them out something free, they are more likely to stop and browse your booth. Why? People. LOVE. Free things. We also always incorporate our website in the design, making it a pretty inexpensive marketing tool. We get ours from Sticker Mule.

Vendor booth tips bring business cards and free giveaway stickers ARCHd

13. Always come with some form of marketing materials, other than business cards.

Marketing materials are great opportunities to reinforce your brand. They can offer a connection to a buyer after he or she leaves the festival or market. We stuff every customer’s bag with a business card, a free sticker and at least one other piece of marketing collateral. For our local art festivals this year, we designed a “shop local” postcard which included a full list and map of the places customers could find our products around the city. When you inevitably receive that super common question about where you are located or if you sell anywhere local, you can present the postcard. We also try to include a flyer with any upcoming promotions or events, such as the Small Business Saturday coupon example below. These serve as a call to action and encourage repeat customers.

Vendor booth swag flyers design ideas where to shop local sign coupon branding ARCHd

Vendor booth shop local postcard flyer design branding giveaway take home ideas ARCHd

14. Bring shopping bags for customers to carry away their purchases and BRAND them.

Bags are a MUST. I repeat. Always bring bags in which your customers can carry away their purchases. Plus, you can ensure they receive your marketing materials by pre-stuffing them in all the shopping bags. Also, bags are another chance for you to highlight your brand. Purchase a rubber stamp with your logo and/or website, buy a stamp pad that matches your brand and voila! Branded merchandise bags. We use white kraft paper bags and purchased our stamp from Best Rubber Stamp, a local Memphis company. Super affordable and totally worth it.

Vendor booth idea tip stamp logo on white paper bags for customers ARCHd

15. Establish a way for your customers to connect with you after an art festival or market.

In addition to the coupons and flyers we hand out at markets, we try our best to promote our social media and email list as a way to connect with our customers after shows. We bought these cute Instax clear magnetic frames from Urban Outfitters (shop them here) and designed little flyers for them with our social media handles. Then, we placed them around our vendor booth for customers to see while they shopped.

Vendor booth ideas ARCHd branding social media signage urban outfitters clear magnetic frames

We also include a clipboard at our check out station for visitors to add their name and email address to our email list.

Vendor booth custom order form and email list sign up ideas tips ARCHd

AND FINALLY, ONE LAST BONUS TIP:

16. Offer and/or upsell custom orders.

We often see customers early on in a show who are browsing and not yet ready to buy. Then they come back later and the item they wanted is sold out. While we stress to visitors that our inventory is limited, some potential buyers want to browse the entire show or market before settling on a purchase. For this, we always bring branded custom order sheets, so we are prepared to take the order and keep it organized. We designed them in Adobe Illustrator with a spot for them to write their name and contact information (email address and phone number, just in case), as well as a grid for the possible items they could purchase. We offer local pick-up in Memphis, or the option to ship directly. And we’re always sure to include fine print for when buyers can expect their item to be ready, along with a spot for them to sign (see a sample custom order form above).

Another custom order we offer is the option to take a customer’s own personal photo and transfer it to our wood art. While custom orders aren’t a huge percentage of our event sales, our goal is to at least inform visitors to our booth about the service. To do this, we try to have a small table next to our check out station with custom photo examples, which we can talk about while we ring up their purchases.

Take custom orders at vendor booth craft show indie markets display ideas ARCHd

We hope you’ve enjoyed these vendor booth tips and ideas for selling at art festivals, craft fairs and indie markets. Have questions or in the market for some design help? Feel free to email us at info (at) getarchd (dot) com.

Good luck and happy vending!

Vendor booth craft show display ideas inspiration ARCHd sisters Kristen Lindsey Archer

– Kristen and Lindsey Archer

5 Comments

  1. Gina L Davis says:

    Hi Kristen and Lindsey;

    I saw your post in Tuesdays Together. I am a local Memphian also. I really love this post, it has some really great tips.

    Look forward to the opportunity to meet the two of you and the next Tuesday Together.
    Gina

  2. Looooved the tips and ideas! I’m from Canada, about to board in my first Market, and it’s helped me loads!
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Y’all!!! I saw this post on Pinterest and I’m gearing up to do my first show. This post has been SOOO Helpful, I’ve written so many tips down.

    Thank you SO much for sharing not only your tips, but incredible resources!!

    • ARCHd says:

      Hi Derika! This makes us so happy that the blog is helpful. Please feel free to reach out to us if you ever have any specific questions! Best of luck at your first show! -Kristen and Lindsey

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