Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Is it Better to Limit Colors in a Booth?

There has been quite a bit of discussion this week on booth colors.  I started it off by warning that the trend for the all neutral look may have peaked and it's definitely over-saturated.  In a sea of neutrals, anyone who uses color will stand out.  On the VSO Facebook page, I showed several booths using turquoise.  Some had red, white and turquoise and the one below was mainly turquoise and white.

I found this photo on Pinterest and it belongs to Mary at The White Barn.  Since I had been showing 3-color booths in the previous photos, I suggested that orange or red could be added to this booth to attract even more customers.  Mary wrote in and said she hates red and prefers the calm feeling of just turquoise and white.

Then, in another comment, Rhonda asked, "Can you have too many colors, even if you try to group and creatively arrange the items in a small booth? Or are the booths with more uniform colors, such as the one above more successful?"

First, for Rhonda, I really don't think it matters.  I have seen very successful neutral booths while other neutral booths bomb.  I can say the same for multi-color booths.  I wrote this post about how it's more important that your booth have great things that people want rather than a beautifully staged booth with few things people want to buy. I love love love a beautiful booth, but in the end, it's gotta have stuff people want to buy.

As for Mary's booth, it's beautiful just the way it is and as you can see by glancing in the booth, there are plenty of things people will want.  I see several items I'd want to go check out if I lived close by.

Restricting to two colors can be tricky.  The addition of a third color would likely increase sales.  I feel pretty sure that most every customer who sees this booth would love it, but many of those customers won't have turquoise in their decor.  They could still buy the neutrals in Mary's booth, so they'll still go in the booth.

Mary prefers calm colors.  So, no red.  No orange.  But, how about adding more green in various shades???  There's already bits of green.  Green is a popular decor color.  It looks great with turquoise - very ocean-y. The turquoise would provide the punch of color and turquoise seems to make everyone happy, even if they don't have it in their decor. The booth would have the soothing look that Mary wants.  BUT... it might increase her sales.  If a customer didn't have turquoise in their home, they might have green, which means they might see more that they would actually purchase.

Does Mary really need to do this?  Absolutely not!  If her sales are good and she's happy with her bottom line, then she doesn't need to change a thing.  But if her sales ever start to drop, she might try adding another color to the mix and see what happens.

A point that I wanted to make this week in talking about color was the wish for booths to not be so similar to others in the mall.  Several of my favorite booths are all neutrals.  Even though this trend has peaked, it's far from over and I hope these booths keep on going for a lot longer.  But, I see far more neutral booths that are just sad copies of the trend.  I'd love to see those dealers try something else.  Something more unique.  The trick for vendors is to put their own stamp on their booth.  I'm actually delighted that Mary wants to stand firm on her look.  She has a clear idea of what her booth is about and I'd be willing to bet it's quite popular.  If it weren't, I doubt she's be so set on it, right?

But if another booth in her mall decided to go with a turquoise and white booth, that would be a shame.  So, what's the difference when too many booths in a mall are all neutral?

For that matter, do booths really have to have a limited color palette?  Heck no!!!  You can get great stuff in as many colors as you like and create vignettes.  When you pull a vignette together, you can think about color.  You can have many different vignettes with different color palettes in your booth at one time.  There are many fabulous, very successful booths that do that.  They have every color in the crayon box, but they arrange it artfully.

The Bottom Line - 
There's no one road to success when it comes to booths. There are many different roads. You might as well look for the road that makes you happiest and gives you sales you are comfortable with.

Update: The following comment was left on Facebook by Mary at The White Barn.  It's her booth that's featured in the photo in this post.  The comment had so many good points that I thought it should be included in this post.

Since I tend to sell mostly vintage, I work with what I find. This will dictate the color scheme and sometimes my "look" isn't necessarily what I WANT because my finds aren't my favorites, and when they ARE my favorites and I get the "look" I want, customers carry them off immediately...sigh. The woes of good pieces-they don't last long. But I do confine my purchases to colors I don't mind in my booth, and if I HAVE to buy something red, it will go in the corner at the back, or in a buddy's booth.  My best booth looks usually last about one DAY. It is bittersweet-yay, the product sells, but bummer, I have to go rework the whole thing again. I do like to mix in some new market items to keep my booth fresh. One hundred percent vintage can be hard to display if you don't have some florals or textiles to break up the hard surfaces. Vignettes attract customers-I think they LIKE to see good ideas for decorating, but they must be changed often so your booth stays fresh and they keep coming back to see what you have done. Selling merchandise helps this a lot, but if sales are slow, go turn your booth upside down and change everything. Usually sales are much better when you move things around. Sometimes an item just doesn't SHOW UP until you move it. This happens at garage sales all the time. Move an item and it sells immediately. Thank you for the attention. I enjoy this topic-retail sales are fascinating. We humans are funny creatures!