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cerelife

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I finally bit the bullet and applied to be a vendor at a weekly producer-only market. It's mostly veggies, fruit, herbs, fresh bread and cheese, honey, and locally raised meat. There are a few crafters and one other soapmaker who's specialty is GM soap using milk from their own goats. It's only my second week, but I'm really enjoying it - some of the nicest people ever!! And I LOVE that the market offers double tokens for those using EBT (food-stamp card) for food/produce purchases! Great for low-income families to get fresh local produce on their tables and also great for the small farmers!!
So yeah, despite the current triple-digit temps, I'm really excited to be a part of this market :)
I'm still tweaking my booth and displays. Some things I make fresh when someone orders them, but I'm going to make a few of each of these things to have available at the market, so that will help fill my tables up a bit more. The tray in the middle of one of the tables is for testers of my whipped body butter; I have ice packs underneath them to keep them from melting (and I have to change the ice packs out every hour or so!) and I keep the ones for sale in the cooler. I've ordered a banner to go across the back of my tent with my business name and logo as well as the phrase "Uniquely Southern Soaps". Many thanks to the poster on here who provided the Pinterest link for my homemade banner across the front of my tent - I've had several compliments on it :) As for my paper lanterns...my husband asked me why on earth I needed to hang paper lanterns and I was like "Soap bubbles...DUH!"
Anyway, sorry for being so long-winded! I would appreciate any thoughts/advice on how I could improve my display. And please be honest - I'm thick-skinned; don't worry about hurting my feelings!
Thanks!

booth.JPG

booth2.JPG
 
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hmlove1218

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I think it's incredibly cute! Love the displays! I would suggest getting some more hight in there, but if you're anything like me, you add a new display piece here and there when you can. I started out with a set up much more simple than yours. You'll get there :)
 

not_ally

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I think it looks really nice and clean and fresh. I love the paper lanterns, they look so cheerful and contemporary. I would definitely stop at your booth. Also really like the sound of that market, what a great idea to even take EBT, let alone double tokens. I hope the people who use them in your area know about that, I know that the farmer's markets in mine are usually more expensive than regular stores, so they probably are not on the shopping list for most families using EBT.
 

KristaY

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My first thought was "very neat and tidy". That's a good thing when it comes to soap and body care, IMO. Your last photos are upside down so I had to stand on my head to make them out, lol. I like the simple table décor as it doesn't detract from your products. The lanterns as "bubbles"s is pure genius and absolutely adorable! The packaging is also very nice and simple. When you get your new banner it will help so people will be able to see from afar what your products are. I feel like you need something of interest though. Maybe more vertical display? More pop of color somewhere or a change of dimension? I'm undecided at the moment! I feel like wood crates that elevate some of the products would help with visual interest. Or a hanging display? Hopefully someone will come along that can clarify what's muddy in mind at the moment. Overall, you have a very nice booth display that doesn't look amateur-ish or cheap. Very nice!

ETA: Was it my imagination there were more photos or was I in an alternate reality for a bit? lol!
 

Susie

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I would totally stop at your booth! Neat, clean, approachable!

I would only change 2 things:

1. To have such an awesome name, and not see either a cat or the color blue is rather a shame...

2. Some sort of banner in front of the tables saying something about soap would be awesome. Or your logo, or something.
 

cmzaha

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I find the printed table runner to be very distracting from your product, and I would also use a cover that completely covers the table legs. Sorry but I find the paper lanterns to not add any professionalism to the setup, and my eye goes to them and not your products on display. You want your booth to pop with color either from your display, packaging etc. I prefer black so my labels and soaps add the color. Also adding more height will help eye appeal. One thing about doing markets displays are always work in progress
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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The right side feels very heavy and busy - it's not clear if the display proper stops with the right cake/soap stand or carries on round the corner to the bags and bucket. If it does stop there, it looks confusing in the picture. If it carries on around the corner, it looks a bit unclear and untidy, uninviting.
 

navigator9

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Hey cerelife....it was me who posted the link for the banner. I think it looks great! It was the first thing that my eye went to. I think it's a good idea, in the banner that you've ordered, to have included the word "soap." You want people to know what you're selling. The next thing that my eye goes to is the patterned runner on your table. While pretty, it's a distraction. And a pop of color would definitely help. Because you have bleu in your name, a gorgeous robin's egg blue, or sky blue table covering would be perfect. And color definitely catches people's eyes. And yes, it should go all the way to the ground. More height is always a good idea, but you've got a good start there. I love the tin display pieces, and the blackboard signage. And I actually like the "bubble" lanterns. I would be heading over to take a look at your display. So if I had only one suggestion to make, it would be color, color, color. There are many articles you can Google about the psychology of color in marketing. Here's what one of them says about the color blue. "Blue is one of the most preferred colors, with the most positive connotations." Good luck to you, and stay cool. I don't think I could survive that heat!
 

lionprincess00

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I have to agree on the runners. They're busy patterned and my eyes went to that. I kinda had to draw my attention away to find the soap.
A solid black would help the pink cloth color pop as well as your soaps. I think something dark and solid could really set it off.
 

nsmar4211

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I would swap the front and back banners (when you get one) and/or make sure the front screams HANDMADE SOAP! When people look down the booths you want SOAP to catch their eye...

Table covers definitely need to cover the legs. And I agree the printer runners are distracting :(. I stole an idea from a fellow boother at a craft show and got the bed lifters and put them under the table legs. That extra 6" of height made a huge difference in the display! Have to be careful about measuring the table cloths though to adjust for the 6".

Leave the lanterns :). Maybe you could put the word soap on some of em? You may want to consider a backdrop at the very least too. Some fellow boothers used shower curtains hung on pvc that was bungied to the tent frame, some used sheets done the same way, I had a silver tarp for a while, and some had the actual sides that are for the tent (but let me tell you about HOT in the tent with those....but they look nice).

As to the layout... I fought with this for my booth. I ended up doing an L shape layout, table on the left and across the back. There was enough room for me to work in the one corner (tables didn't quite line up) or to stand on the other end also in the corner. And people could come into the shady tent area and not stand in the sun :).

The silver tiered thingie is a great display idea !

Congrats on the show!!! You're looking good so far :)
 
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cerelife

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Thanks for all the great advice!! This is exactly what I needed!
I originally had ice blue satin for a table covering, but it wasn't long enough for both tables, so I used what I had on hand. I'll be shopping for a larger bolt of blue cloth next week (AND make sure it's wide enough to cover the legs) since 'bleu' was always my preference :) I may go with a blue somewhere between royal and navy as that's the color of the print on my packaging and also for the print on the 8' banner I ordered. It breaks my heart to lose the fleur-de-lis burlap table runners, but after going back and looking at the pics again - yep, y'all are right - it IS distracting! Maybe I can find some other use for it. Again, thank you for pointing this out; it never even occurred to me!!
I found a couple of gorgeous antique wooden apothecary boxes a while back, but I didn't buy them because they were $100 each and my husband said he could replicate them for less than $10 - including 'distressing' them to make them LOOK old. So I'm gonna sweet-talk him into making them for me to add some height and interest to my display!
Thanks navigator9 for that banner idea!! I'm going to make another one for the front of my tables with something like 'Handmade Soap' or 'Southern Soaps' to get the word SOAP out there front and center.
My tent did come with panels that attach to the top with velcro and zip together if you want, but it's so stinking hot (104 last week) that I don't think I could stand it in the summer! But they will be handy this winter and when it rains :) I ordered an 8' banner for my 10' tent with the hopes that it would provide a bit of a backdrop...we'll see.
@ KristaY - there WERE more pics, but I couldn't figure out why they were upside down so I removed them!

@EG - the table display DOES go around the corner (two tables forming an L-shape), but the right side truly is on the clunky side. I didn't want 'negative' space, so I put a few of my bags on the table to fill it up a bit. These bags are another thing that make my husband shake his head..."Why can't you just use the cheap brown paper lunch bags like everyone else?" Because I'm NOT everyone else and I want my customers to know that they're getting something special. Even if it's just a free sample, it's still going in a cute little white bag with a gold foil label that has my name and logo on it.

@Susie - I'll be getting the blue table coverings soon! Our Minou's nickname is "Little Monkey" AND he will fight you for some king cake - so that was the inspiration for my logo...a little monkey wearing his king cake crown :)

@not_ally - this market is intentionally in an urban area to make it more accessible to low-income families and the staff are working to get the word out about the double EBT tokens. Things ARE a bit more expensive, but with the double $$, it's a win-win situation for everyone! And the market staff are taking an aggressive approach - they just got approved to take applications for gov't assistance here at the market...heck of a lot better than having to go to some stuffy office building staffed by people who could care less, right? Obviously I can't take the EBT tokens, but if someone is really into something I offer, I just stick it in a bag and give it to them. I didn't start making soap to get rich, and I'm not going to get poor by sharing. I figure that if I can put a genuine smile on someone's face, then my day at the market was a success.
 
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navigator9

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cerelife, I'm so glad that the banner worked for you. I'm pleasantly surprised at how great it looks! As for your husband's comment on your bags, I think you've got the right idea. When I was first starting out, I thought about what it was that made me like to shop in certain stores more than others. One thing was attention to detail. I love those special little touches that some businesses do. Small but beautiful things. I firmly believe they make a difference to customers, at least they do for me. So even if you do use brown paper bags, you can make them beautiful. You can stamp them, you can use a decorative punch across the top, if they have handles, you can attach a hang tag or your business card with a piece of beautiful ribbon. I stamp all of my bags with the company name and a decorative stamp, and when I use price tags, I stamp the back of those, too, so that even the price tags are pretty. Yes, it takes time, but I usually do it while I'm watching TV. I set everything up on the coffee table and stamp away. Stamping is one thing that can make a big difference without costing a lot of money.And stamping ink comes in all the colors of the rainbow. And I love your idea about your samples. Your customers will feel like they're receiving a gift! People remember things like that. And if you're trying to decide between the royal blue and the navy, for your table covering, I'd go with the royal, because you're trying to catch people's eye from a distance, and draw them in.

"if someone is really into something I offer, I just stick it in a bag and give it to them. I didn't start making soap to get rich, and I'm not going to get poor by sharing. I figure that if I can put a genuine smile on someone's face, then my day at the market was a success." I often have one or two customers, usually older ladies or sometimes teens who sniff and sniff and look wistfully, but you can tell they can't afford to buy, and like you, I'll give them soap for free, and say something like, "You're the 100th person to stop by my booth, or I always give a free bar of soap to people with freckles, in a purple sweater." It makes them not feel like a charity case, and it makes me feel good to be able to do it. The look on their face is worth the price of the soap to me.

Please be sure to post pics when your husband builds you those apothecary boxes, they sound fascinating, I can't wait to see what they look like. Wishing you lots of sales and cooler weather!
 

KristaY

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@ KristaY - there WERE more pics, but I couldn't figure out why they were upside down so I removed them!
Thanks for clarifying that, cerelife! I really thought I was imagining things, lol!

As for the table coverings, blue will be perfect. I also agree with Navigator about the royal. I think navy will be too dark and from afar it will look black. Since you want blue, it should be a definite blue.

You could also consider flat, bed sheets instead of a bolt of fabric. Much less expensive than fabric you have to buy by the yard. They have the wide seam on the top but it's easy to fold under and hide. Depending on the table, either a twin or double size should fit and go to the ground on the public side of the table. The blue you have in mind shouldn't be hard to find either (hopefully!). I got mine at Walmart for approx. $5 each.

Wishing you many happy future sales!
 

not_ally

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Man, cerelife, your booth is going to look fantastic! Would you post after pictures as well?

I am glad to hear that you live in a place that is doing so much outreach w/r/t helping people who use EBT cards buy healthy food. I live in an, ahem, gentrifying neighborhood, it used to be predominantly working-class/poor, but is filling up with trendiness and hipsters at an alarming rate. Anyway, I am often saddened to see the stuff in carts in front of me at the register, sometimes. Hard to know how kids can do well when they are not being fueled well, in part b/c their parents can't afford/are not sure how to do it.

ETA: I have a "big monkey" and a "little monkey" as well, aka Freddie and Patsy. Sometimes they are "big monster" and "little monster", though.

ETA again (sorry): I love that you and navigator both give soaps to people who look at them wistfully. It is such a nice thing to be able to do, and such a nice thing to get when you are not expecting it, I bet.
 
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navigator9

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Just a suggestion, here. If you're going to continue doing fairs and markets, you might want to consider this. I used to have a variety of table coverings when I started out doing craft fairs. The night before, I would wash and iron them, pack them as carefully as I could, and still end up with creased and wrinkled table coverings after packing and unpacking them. Oh well, at least they were clean. Also, I was always worried about people tripping on the excess fabric at the corners, and had to pin it out of the way. One day, I went with a friend to the $1.99 a yard fabric store. I was looking around and saw fabric in a green that matched my branding. When I got closer, I saw it was polyester knit, and thought, "Oh, why couldn't it be some nice fabric?" But the color was so perfect, I ended up buying it. I made a slipcover type table covering....one piece for the top, one piece to go around the four sides, with a slit in back so that I can get my stuff under the table. One long seam, and no hem needed because it's polyester and won't unravel. It was the best thing I ever did. I just throw that thing in any box, whip it out at the venue, slide it on over my table, and voila....no wrinkles....perfection every time.

If you don't sew, they also sell them. I haven't seen these in person, so don't know exactly what the fabric is like, but the price is good, and if you read the reviews, people seem to really like them. If they had these when I started out, and I knew about them, I would have grabbed one and saved myself all that ironing (ugh) and expense of trying out, rejecting and buying new ones. And even now that I do know about them, they don't make them in my colors. Wah!!! But they do make them in royal blue!
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008TLBDMQ/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
 
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houseofwool

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Navigator, you are right about the polyester. That's why most trade show table covering are poly. Wrinkles fall out so easily!
 

navigator9

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Navigator, you are right about the polyester. That's why most trade show table covering are poly. Wrinkles fall out so easily!
Exactly, and the night before a craft fair or market, I don't know about you, but I always have my hands full, and the last thing I need to do is iron yards and yards of fabric, fold it up and try to find a place to pack it where it won't wrinkle. Using polyester makes all of that unnecessary. I'll take all the help I can get! lol
 

nsmar4211

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Oooo speaking of tablecloths, I got my final coverings from here

http://www.linentablecloth.com/

Cheap prices, and the polyester behaved even when I stuffed it into those reusable grocery bags. Iron? I don't even own one. I did find a water bottle helped , spritz and let them air dry and the wrinkles came out on their own as it hung.

The sashes I used for the corners of the tent, looped them and then just let them flap in the wind. Cheap, so they only made it one season before starting to fray...but you get what you pay for
 

navigator9

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Oooo speaking of tablecloths, I got my final coverings from here

http://www.linentablecloth.com/

Cheap prices, and the polyester behaved even when I stuffed it into those reusable grocery bags. Iron? I don't even own one. I did find a water bottle helped , spritz and let them air dry and the wrinkles came out on their own as it hung.

The sashes I used for the corners of the tent, looped them and then just let them flap in the wind. Cheap, so they only made it one season before starting to fray...but you get what you pay for
OMG! Thanks so much for posting that link. I have been trying to find some turquoise polyester forever. The site you posted didn't have the fitted tablecloths in turquoise, but they did have regular ones, so I ordered some and will make my own fitted tablecloths.

smileys-thanks-771216.gif
 

nsmar4211

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You're welcome :). Totally forgot I wanted to post that until I read the "go out and try to buy stuff" post. I remember looking for bedsheets that were affordable EVERYWHERE , lowest was $10 each... was discussing it with a fellow boother and she told me where she got hers.. LOL.

Mine withstood rain, soil (i sold plants), and even a spilled drink. I only washed them after the spilled drink. I went with a dark purple and a dark green. Glad I could help!
 

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