Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Megan's Booth - Part I - Bookshelves

Megan posted a photo of her booth on Facebook, along with the following note:

Hello again! We are barely one week in to our antique booth adventure here in Wisconsin! Four sales in our first week.  This is the current setup of our booth. I am hoping you (and the community) can give us some suggestions to make the bookcase display look more interesting/better organized. The owner of the antique mall has been generous enough to let us use the bookcases for free, so they're staying, but I'd like to make them more interesting. Thank you!

Here's a photo of her booth -

First off, shelves are wonderful in a booth with lots of small items.  A customer can easily see everything at a glance (as long as the shelves are not overloaded).

The bookcases are not Megan's so painting them is out.  Painting bookcases is not always necessary (or best) anyway. It just depends on the shelves and the booth.  I have seen perfectly lovely unpainted wood bookcase displays, like the ones below from The Farmhouse Studio.  Everything this vendor has on those shelves shows up very well.


The Farmhouse Studio booth is wider than Megan's booth.  That means customers can view the entire shelf from further away.  Since Megan's booth is more narrow, it is important to make sure the shelves are spaced further apart at the bottom, otherwise customers will have to stoop down to see the items on those lower shelves.  Most customers wouldn't bother doing that.

Megan doesn't use much floor space on the map wall.  That allows customers plenty of room to step back and see the entire shelf display.  If Megan ever puts a table or chairs or other pieces of furniture on the map wall, then the spacing of the shelves will need to be even further apart, meaning she'll need to remove one or two of the adjustable shelves.

When displaying on shelves, grocery store wisdom can be applied.  Since people tend to buy items that are displayed at eye level, grocery stores put the items they most want to sell on the eye level shelves.  In an antique mall, most customers browse through the store.  They don't work too hard or search through every nook and cranny.  The shelves at eye level may be the things that get the most notice.

Color grouping on shelves is an option.  If a customer has a room decorated with turquoise accessories, if they come across a turquoise display, they will likely take a closer look at it.  Grouping collections of similar items together is another great way to organize shelves.

It's helpful to move things around often.  If you have something good that should have sold, but hasn't, try moving it.  I'm always amazed that each time a booth is rearranged, it seems a number of items sell - often things that have been in the booth for ages.  When you move things about, it feels like you've brought in new merchandise.

Want to add a punch of color and/or texture to shelves without paint?  There's an easy trick to make the shelf back more special.  Cut a piece of cardboard to exactly the size you need, cover it with fabric (a scrapbook paper), and push it to the back of the shelf.  Change the fabric or paper whenever you are ready for a new look.  If you cut the cardboard to fit pretty close, it will easily stay in place without tape. There's a good tutorial on this method, here.

Megan has maps and globes in her booth.  She could back some or all of her shelves with maps?

Burlap usually looks nice as a backing.  If a booth has the merchandise to carry it off, there are other quirky options.  A sparkly/sequined fabric or a cowhide look could work in some booths.  The sky's the limit.

You can also attach the fabric wallpaper style using fabric starch.  Here's a good tutorial on that method.

Be mindful when choosing the backing.  Just because a backing is pretty, doesn't mean it will help your sales.  Remember, the point of the backing would be to bring attention to the things on the shelf and to show them to their best. If the background is too busy, customers may not notice what you have for sale.

 If a booth is a bit dark, a lighter backing would be helpful.  Megan's booth is loaded with wood tones - from the shelves and the pegboard walls.  A nice backing would bring in another element.

Another idea for bringing in a bit of light on the shelves - add a lamp.  The shelves would need to be rearranged and possibly one removed to create a larger space around eye level.   A larger space also leaves room to display taller things like framed paintings.

I have a few more ideas for this booth, so there will be a Part 2 soon.  If you have other suggestions for Megan's shelves, feel free to leave a comment!

One more thing - I almost missed this second photo from Megan.  Her shelves are already backed with wallpaper and she's open to switching it out.