Friday, 16 September 2011

Craft Show Confidential: Flooring

Flooring is just as important as any other part of your booth. When I talk about flooring, I'm referring to all floor coverings - carpet, area rugs, hard floors, etc.

There are two main reasons why flooring is essential for your booth:
  1. Aesthetics
  2. Comfort
Let's start with aesthetics. You work so hard at perfecting the visual image projected by your booth. You strive to create an environment that matches your brand and adds value to your work. In general, your booth will look unfinished if you don't use flooring.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then here's the majority of my blog post:

This is the carpet that haunts the room where I do a craft show every fall. To say that it's ugly doesn't begin to describe it. It's like a casino carpet on drugs.

Now here's a picture of my booth:

You can just barely see the hotel carpet peeking out from under my area rug. Now try to imagine if I didn't bring my own rug - can you see how it would not only detract from the design of my booth but it would also draw attention away from my work?

When you take control of all visual aspects of your booth, you can shape the perception that people have of your work. A complete, well-designed display conveys an aura of "I pay attention to detail and my work is worth it."

And if you think that flooring is only for indoor shows, think again. In his article From the Floor Up, artist consultant Bruce Baker offers interesting insight into another reason why flooring is essential:
At an outdoor show, if you are trying to sell art and there is grass under your feet, you are basically having a yard sale no matter how you dress it up. Grass also gets worn out with a lot of foot traffic and, if it rains, there is the mud factor. People won’t hang around your booth if they are slopping through the mud.
Next, I'll talk about comfort. You're not the only one on your feet during a show. Walking a craft show as a customer, you can cover a lot of territory. When the floor of your booth becomes a comfortable landing place, people will stay there.

Bruce Baker seems to agree:
When we get tired, walking is easier than standing in one spot. As a result, many customers move on to the next booth not because they’re bored, but because their legs are telling their brain to “keep moving.” And that is exactly what they do—they move on before you have a chance to sell to them.
So how do you handle this? One option is to use flooring that is inherently comfortable, such as foam rubber mats. I'll talk about these more in my next post. Another option is to put padding underneath another covering, such as an area rug.

However you choose to handle it, not only will your customers benefit, but so will you. While I use an area rug in the main part of my booth, I have thick anti-fatigue mats behind the table where I stand. I have found that my legs are much less tired at the end of the day when I stand on the mats.

In a nutshell, a booth without flooring is basically naked. It's like getting dressed up to go out, but choosing not to wear pants.

Don't go out without pants.


Lizzie said...

Ha-ha.. funny joke about "pants" (of course, in UK, "pants" means something quite different to there in USA... so the joke is even more funny!)

That carpet! Yes, definitely a mat/rug or other covering. Your booth looks calm and relaxing - and quite welcoming. (somewhere to go and get away from That Carpet!).
I would want to go there and look at the interesting and well-arranged display of books (of course, being addicted to books, I might well come in anyway, even if there was no floor covering - but I probably wouldn't stay as long, since I'd be off looking for a drink, so I could swallow a pill for the headache brought on by That Carpet!)..

Good post - thank you for this. I will file it away in the "next time you decide to do a craft fair" part of my mind...

Blue Roof Designs said...

Lizzie -

Now I'm off to see what "pants" means...ah, that's funnier. :)