Our 1st Retail Show- Backpeddling

So… in a previous post we showed you the layout we planned on using in our very 1st retail show in Raleigh, NC this past weekend. And I must say, I was VERY encouraged by all the wonderful suggestions that post received. A couple of suggestions were so helpful that I made plans immediately to incorporate them into our display, even though set-up day was only THREE DAYS AWAY! But then I got an email from a friend that literally turned all my plans (and my layout) inside out, and I mean that… in the most LITERAL way!

How could ONE email be so persuasive? That’s because it was from Audrey of Pin Peddlers and she’s been displaying at both wholesale and retail shows for a long. LONG time, so when someone with her experience takes the time to make a suggestion, it’s definitely worth listening to! Here’s what she suggested…arrange out tables along the OUTSIDE perimeter of our booth (instead of the inside, which is our norm) for the following reasons-

  • shoppers are more inclined to shop when they don’t have to come INTO a booth to do so.
  • there’s more room for shoppers along the outside perimeter than within the close confines of the booth.
  • we can work from the INSIDE of the booth to assist shoppers, which means…
  • our personal items, phone, camera and money will be much more secure.
  • we will be in a better position to keep an eye on our patterns and notions from within the booth.
  • we can place the notions & zipper spinners on the corner so 2 people can shop the notions at the same time.

It was a “EUREKA” moment!

Why didn’t I see this before? And with only three days to go before set-up day, could we really make this big a change on such short notice? And even though there were all the above-mentioned advantages to the perimeter setup, there was one very MAJOR drawback to it, that being a significant reduction in linear display space. The images below show this graphically. Just click each individual image to see a much larger version while I walk you thru them.Β  πŸ™‚

We originally planned to use this set up at the Expo. It provided 22 linear feet of display space.
We originally planned to use this set up at the Expo. It provided 22 linear feet of display space.

This perimeter setup option would have provided us with 16 linear feet of display space
This perimeter setup option would have provided us with 16 linear feet of display space

By modifying the perimeter set up just a bit, we were able to gain an extra 2 linear feet of display space.
By modifying the perimeter set up just a bit, we were able to gain an extra 2 linear feet of display space.

The image at left represents the layout we shared with you in a previous post which was very similar to our Quilt Market layout, and it was based on this layout that we ordered our booth furniture which was as follows; oneΒ  8ft table + one 6ft table of standard height, and two 4 ft high-boy tables.Β  And you also might remember from that post that our display was a bit crowded because of the added pattern bins for our retail customers.

Moving now to the center image, it should be pretty obvious that setting the tables up on the perimeter results in a MAJOR reduction in display space. As a matter of fact, our linear footage decreases from 22 feet to only 16 feet! YIKES! But here’s the deal, the advantages Audrey outlined for me were SO appealing (particularly the security advantages), that I decided to tinker a little further, which bring us to the right hand image, which as it turns out is the layout we decided to go with…

It’s kind of a cross between our old traditional layout and Audrey’s perimeter layout. We still have the security advantages of the perimeter layout while gaining back a very crucial 2 ft of linear display. And, don’t tell anyone, but once we got to the venue we saw that since our booth was located right next to a dead area, we could steal another extra foot by scooching our end pole 12 inches over to the side.

So how did it all work out?

Remarkably well actually!

And as it turns out, I owe my friend Audrey a great, big THANK YOU!

I’m really glad she felt comfortable enough to suggest “the obvious” to me! Oh yeah, this new layout was a little crowded… so crowded in fact that we couldn’t get all of our bags on the counter area (had to hang some of them from the curtains), but Audrey was right. It really was a great layout for a retail show! And here’s the thing… There were even a few cool benefits to this layout that I didn’t anticipate!

So stay tuned for the next post in this series,

when I’ll share those details and how we incorporated some of YOUR suggestions into our new display, along with pictures of how this new layout actual looked during the Expo!

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8 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. Very cool layout. Looks like the bottlenecks would have been few in that one. Was it a successful show for you? Hope so!

    • Thanks Keyna.
      Overall I would have to say that it was a success in that we accomplished what we set up to find out. We were certainly satisfied with the outcome.
      Stay tuned for the details in our next post in this series!

      Enjoy the holiday week to come!
      πŸ™‚

  2. I think another benefit of the new design was it gave room to bring people in a bit. The aisles can get so crowded they are hard to maneuver. This brought the shoppers in out of the main aisle. Working a quilt guild show for many years, it’s sad to say you have to worry about sticky fingers! The new layout seems to have helped keeping an eye on everything. You were behind it all without your back to anything. Love to see how you plan everything out.

    • Thanks Kathi! I sure did appreciate Audrey’s timely suggestion. Isn;t amazing how sometimes it takes someone else to see the “obvious” for you?

  3. Wow, drawing looks great. Don’t keep us waiting too long for more on just how well it went. I especially like being able to step out of the flow of traffic to shop without being “nudged”. Big question..was it big enough success to continue going to retail venues? I know- stay tuned for the next exciting episode. This is sew much better than a soap opera. Does that make it a sew(p) opera? Sorry ’bout dat..couldn’t resist. Glad it went well for you and your awesome products. Thanx for including us in the process.

  4. I am so glad that your change in the layout worked out better for you. It’s awesome that some small changes make a big difference.

    I have been following your posts and I know you have a number of people that “can’t wait” for the new backpack style purse. This isn’t to bug you but I am curious on how the production for a bag works. Could you do a post on how it all comes together and the final pattern ready?

    • Thanks for commenting Joyce but I’m a little confused by your question. This is actually the 8th purse Pattern that we have “chronicled” in this way. If you want to check out some of the other past series we have written, I’m thinking that maybe reading a few of them might answer some of your questions? Then again, maybe I’m misunderstanding your question? In which case maybe you might want to more clearly define what it is you have questions about?
      πŸ™‚

  5. So thrilled I stumbled upon this layout in Pinterest. I too did the interior perimeter of my booth, trying for a boutique experience to pull people into shop and step out of the aisle. Reading this posts, helps to see that yes they want to step out of traffic, but they don’t want to commit by stepping so far in.

    reworking all of my booth plans for upcoming shows.

    I had made a very cute checkout stand that held my banner and within the cubbies my purse, cashbox etc. This does keep those things more secure, just need to rework banner location on the occasion I don’t have a back wall to hang it.