Designing a Booth for NYIGF- Part II

It has been a solid month since our whirlwind trip to exhibit at the New York International Gift Fair. We had a successful show and learned a ton about setting up a booth. There are definitely things we will do differently next time in terms of displaying the jewelry and preparing the booth. Mostly because we worked so hard leading up to the show that we were exhausted by the time the show started.

We chose to drive to New York because we had so much to pack. Most people ship their display but since we were still working on the design the week before we had no choice but to carry it in and set up ourselves. In truth we liked the flexibility of last minute decisions. Shocking huh?!

Driving into NYC was a piece of cake. I was actually feeling pretty confident about the driving situation until I almost got run off the road on FDR. Our set up day was on Saturday. We woke up bright and early and drove the packed car down to the Javitz Center.

Destination Javitz Center
Through Snow and Ice: Destination Javitz Center
We weren’t sure we were going to be able to park in front of the building and unload, so we had my brother drive the car and sit while we quickly took each load in. We didnt have anything that was too heavy to carry in ourselves. To our surprise many (most!) vendors were already set up.  Our booth was on the lower floor on the 8200 aisle. We really had no idea what to expect in terms of placement. I think next year we know that we will want to be further up the aisle, closer to the main entrance. I think it is also a good idea to be placed around vendors with similar aesthetics.
Our booth when we arrived to set up.
Our booth when we arrived to set up.
STEP 1: WALLPAPER
Our booth was a 10×12 foot space. We went ahead and paid to have dry walls installed. The dry walls are expensive but it allowed us to hang things. It also gives you the option to paint of wallpaper. Of course we wanted to wallpaper. We purchased 70 sheets of this gorgeous marbelized paper. It took the majority of our Saturday to get the wallpaper up. We used a sort of rubber cement instead of traditional wallpaper paste. It dried fast and clear.
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There was some sort of vinyl wrapping on our dry wall which made it hard to for the wallpaper to stick. So we had to peel of the vinyl which revealed plywood. Much easier for the glue and paper to stick to hard plywood. After we started getting into the groove things started moving quicker.IMG_8762
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Lee is using this rubber cement adhesive from Lowes. The glue dries quickly so you have to put the paper on fast.
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STEP 2: THE PANELS
We finally got all the paper on the walls. We were afraid we were going to run out of paper (not math majors after all) so we left empty spots where we thought our panels would go. The large blue things propped up against the walls are the acrylic boards with their protective plastic.
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At this point in the day we are realizing that there are something we should have changed in or design to simplify the process. Above is an image of the white vinyl we used to lie behind the acrylic panels to create a backdrop for the jewelry. We had to cut it down to the size of the panels in order for it to lie flat. In hind sight we probably should have just ordered white acrylic for the jewelry to fall against. Our thinking on using the clear acrylic was that we could change the way the booth looked by hanging different paper or fabric behind it. While it turned out looking fine, we did think it was one extra step that was a little fussy.
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Lee is drilling the strand-offs that will mount the acrylic boards. The acrylic boards will sit about 2 inches off the walls.

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All panels were finally mounted with the white vinyl behind them. Our idea was that these panels would be like magnetic boards where we could move the jewelry around in any configuration. One design revision for next market is possibly just using white magnetic boards instead of acrylic. However, it would take away some of the customization we like in terms of changing out the back-drop.
STEP 3: ADD NEON
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STEP 4: MAGNET TIME
We designed the panels so that we could use  magnets positioned to hang the jewelry. The only magnets strong enough to hold through the acrylic were rare earth magnets. You would not believe the strength of these things. You really have to be careful with them. Here Lee is below painting the magnets so they blend in with the white. She has them on a cookie tray to keep them in place.

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STEP 5: ADD JEWELSThe best part was adding the jewelry to the panels. But of course we were super rushed because we were running short on time. We re-arranged the panels throughout the show as we had more time to think about configuration.
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We had small acrylic “cards” cut with holes drilled on them to hold the earrings.IMG_8758
We had holes cut in the acrylic to thread the belts.IMG_8773
You can see in this image how we need lights on the two side walls. Next time!

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Last minute touches. And we are open for biz.IMG_8789
Glad we had our leather ottoman to hide things behind (and take a load off).STEP 6 : SELL SELL SELL
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STEP 7: PACK IT UP
Our breakdown was really simple. We really just had to roll up the jewelry and unscrew the panels and load in the car. The show ended at 1 and we were on the road by 4. Top 5 lessons learned:
1. Lighting is as important as people say
2. Bring your phone charger
3. Wear comfy shoes
4. Save time for Starbucks
5. Research your placement 

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See ya in August NYC.
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