There are certain assumptions I will make before we start discussing presentation of products:
- Business Plan or at a minimum you have notes on what ou want your business to be theme, market, etc.
- Know what products you will be making
- Research ideas.
If you havent, that is the first thing you need to do. It saves $$$, frustration and copy-cat syndrome. Think through before you leap and spend those $$$ to play. At least have a direction in mind.
The first thing that you really need to be firm in your mind is the market you want to draw into your business. Who is your client? You do not want your packaging/presentation to reflect a younger client when your market might be upscale 30 50 year old market. Know your market well! There is nothing to stop you from also having some products geared to other markets but if your main market segment is a certain age group or economic group that should be the prime focus.
Do you have a color scheme that is in your logo or your banner? If not, think about it. You may not have the banner yet but at least have an idea about colors. Its a good idea to take what you have in a logo and bring it into your packaging or presentation.
Wander thru the $ store. If you feel you have limited creativity, take someone with you that can see beyond the thing. When I see something say like a basket I dont see a basket I am able immediately to transfer that basket into something else. I see beyond the functionality of what it is. Not sure if its a blessing or a curse!
Think about packaging wrapped or naked; cigar bands, shrink wrap or boxes? How do you want to present your soaps to your customer? What works in your community? Know your marketplace. What works in one market will not work in another. Listen to your customers.
Research Research Research
Check out what other vendors are doing in your community or online. Make a note of what you like about the packaging and what you dont like. AND, then never, never, never copy cat. Create something for yourself! There are so many ways to do a concept, but the interpretation of that concept can be your own. Copying someone else is not flattery its outright stealing.
My suggestion would be to play around with an idea before you totally adapt it to your packaging. Especially if you are not certain which packaging to go with.
In my early days I went with the masses and did cigar bands. Didnt like them at all. Changed to shrink-wrap. Tested out a few other ways until I finalized my packaging to what it is today using gift-wrapping. Yes, it is labor intensive, but it fits my market and is functional at the same time. At a quick glance I want to know what my customers are purchasing what type of soap. I have a basic recipe, basic plus silk fibers, all veggie, tea, garden, DSM and high-end oils. By the choice of wrapping, I know what they are and the customer also knows (repeat customers). For me it works plus it compliments my theme of contemporary Victorian. My market is an upscale 30 up age bracket.
I have carried my contemporary Victorian theme in my logo and in the banner for my booth. I use folding banquet tables that are easy to setup and not heavy but will hold up to 200 lbs of product per table. The tables are covered with an envelope. The fabric envelope fits over the table to the ground. This concept prevents blowing around and with a simple opening in the back hides all the empty containers or extra product that you put under the tables. In my case, I chose black at the table coverings. I use a different fabric in a color that compliments my banner/logo as a topper angled and tied at each end for interest.
Instead of normal displays I have selected square low baskets purchased at a dollar store. Again, I angle them and a scent is put into one basket. Each of my baskets hold approximately 12 bars of soap. Since I have all bars wrapped, I do have one totally naked bar on each basket so that a customer can pick it up and see what the bar looks like and how it smells. I also have ½ oz ¾ oz samples in little gift card envelopes with website, email on it plus scent variety on it.
I use a 3 shelf wood freestanding unit that folds flat for easy transportation. It was a natural wood that I have painted a flat black. The 3 shelves compliment the table toppers. I also use twinkle lights when electric is available to accent the setup and create an ambiance. Netting is also effective and use it to hide some of the overhead booth supports.
My theme is create your own private sanctuary and that is what I try to convey in a warm, inviting ambiance. A little bit of lace in a few baskets, a reed diffuser that adds scent and attracts the customer to the room scent section. All of these visual affects tie into the theme and draw the customer in. My table setup draws them in rather then have a U where I am in the center of the U and tables around me I have an L where the tables frame the inside of the booth and customers are drawn into their private sanctuary.
Much of this does evolve as time goes on. The trick is to think through a lot of it so the evolution process is less time consuming and definitely not as expensive. Go to various craft shows. Check out the competition but also just check out other artisans booths. I adapted a jewelers setup to suit to my concept. The table envelope is the perfect to avoid wind blown skirting and visible inventory.
If you are doing upscale-juried shows, the booth presentation is important. It all becomes important. It sometimes makes the difference in getting points. How important is that point system? Jury fees are non-refundable. Higher the points and depending upon the shows jury system, it can mean not have to re-jury the next year which means no jury fee. Many shows do give cash awards. Wouldnt it be nice to end up with a bigger profit?
Photos will accompany article when new booth is ready