Jewelry Business: Focus on Presentation at Your Next Show

Running a jewelry business is an exciting proposition. Based on our research, many of you do run a business. Your jewelry business models include selling at art shows, in galleries, and selling online. From the questions we receive, we also know you’re interested in learning how to improve your businesses, expand them to the next level, and in general, improve your presentation.

We are listening and adding more and more business courses all the time. Check out our current jewelry business and other jewelry course offerings.

While in Tucson this year, I met with Becky Nunn of Nunn Design. We touched on the presentation topic specifically, as she had been faced with redesigning her booth as well as factoring in the logistics of getting the materials on site. I was amazed to learn about the magic behind the beautiful and elegant aesthetic she created. Post Tucson shows, Becky put together a series of jewelry business articles on all she did to accomplish the new look and feel.

With permission, to follow are excerpts from Becky’s articles, outlining how she created her new booth design.

Nunn Design jewelry business jewelry show booth displays

“Designing an indoor trade show or craft fair booth can be overwhelming! Making a list of all of the decisions that I needed to make and the design solutions that I needed to solve, helped me to move forward with such a big task.”

Here are Becky’s 7 steps for designing an indoor trade show, or craft fair booth and a little on how her efforts came into being:

1:  Trade Show Booth Side Walls
2:  Signage
3:  Lighting
4:  Tables
5:  Displays
6:  Floor
7:  Shipping

Nunn Design’s previous set up that Becky and her team repurposed--all steps are detailed in Part 1.

Nunn Design’s previous set up that Becky and her team repurposed–all steps are detailed in Part 1.

For most standard trade shows, the booth contract typically consists of supplying pipe and drapes. The pipes and drapes are installed to separate your booth from your side and back wall neighboring booths. In order to create a hard fabric backdrop you will need to have a separate pipe and drape set-up just for your booth.

Nunn Design jewelry business jewelry show booth displays

1. Trade Show Booth Side Walls

For the trade show booth walls, I knew that I had a limited amount of design solutions to decide from.  After speaking to Kathryn and Christee in the warehouse, we determined we could repurpose our previous trade show booth muslin fabric curtains, and table covers, by pulling out the grommets, removing the hems, dyeing the fabric and sewing the panels together into large backdrop fabric curtains.

Nunn Design jewelry business jewelry show booth displays

2. Signage

For the back wall of the booth I wanted to have a series of photographs that would easily communicate “what we do.” I selected 4 images from our 2018 Master Catalogue  and used frames I purchased years ago from Creative Co-op. They originally had glass in them, but we removed the glass to avoid the glare from the lights (actually, truth be told, the glass broke years ago so we removed it!).

Nunn Design jewelry business jewelry show booth displays

3. Trade Show Tables

My husband Brett was the mastermind behind the construction of the tables. He suggested trestle style legs for the base with a wood surface for the top. I wasn’t sure what a “trestle style leg” even was, so I did an Internet search. From the search I was able to visualize some great possibilities of what we could create.

After asking myself a series of questions, the new table construction began. Here is the list we used to help us get to the end result:

1.     Do I want wood trestle legs or metal?
2.     Can I buy ready-made trestle legs or will we need to construct them?
3.     How many legs/tables will we want to build for a 10 x 10 booth?
4.     What is the overall feel that I want the tables to have?
5.     How would we ship the tables?
6.     Are there weight/size limitations for shipping?
7.     What is the most cost effective solution for creating the tables?
8.     The tables need to be easy to assemble.
9.     There needs to be storage space under the tables for personal items.

Nunn Design jewelry business jewelry show booth displays

4. Lighting

To get clear on my lighting needs, I started by making my list of questions. (Are you seeing a pattern in my process for designing? I tend to ask myself a lot of questions and get clear on what it is that I’m trying to solve.)

Here are the questions I asked myself:

1.     Where will I need lighting? On the signage and tables?
2.     How will the signage lighting attach to the pipes and sidewalls?
3.     How many signage lights will I need?
4.     How will the lighting tie in with the look and feel of the trestle tables?
5.     How will the table lighting attach to the tables?
6.     Where will all of the cords attach to the power strip?
7.     How many extension cords will I need?
8.     Will I be able to hide all of cords and keep things tidy?
9.     What is my budget?
10.   How expensive are the replacement bulbs?

To get started with exploring my options for trade show booth lighting, I did a Google search for inspiration.

Power to the Lighting
To simplify things for us, I had multiple extension cords that plugged into a main power strip. For turning the lights on and off, we were able to just flick one switch on the power strip during opening and closing of the booth. Editor’s note: Check your exhibitor information, as you may need to pay extra for electric at your booth. Once all of the lights were plugged in, Cheryl climbed under the tables and hid all the cords.

5. Displays

I have an abundance of displays from past trade shows. What I knew I wanted with this new booth design was a really simple and clean look. I wanted our booth to be the calm in the storm.

Mannequins lined the back wall of the booth on risers, offering a stair stepped visual while the front display held only two. I purchased these mannequins many years ago from a company called Creative Co-Op. They are no longer available (sorry!).

The original mannequins from Creative Co-Op were covered in muslin colored fabric. The look worked great for our past trade-show booth design, but for this booth I wanted a more contemporary look.

Nunn Design jewelry business jewelry show booth displays


After doing some research and consulting with mixed media artists, I decided to try staining the muslin fabric with Walnut Ink. I tested the ink on some scraps of muslin before taking the leap. I loved the look of the Walnut Ink so I stained all of the mannequins that I had.

Nunn Design jewelry business jewelry show booth displays

6. Flooring

To be honest, I had this Turkish Kilim rug in my past trade show booth stash. I bought it over 25 years ago from a friend who was importing them direct. Sometimes I think about how crazy it is that I bring such nice things to trade shows, but heck, I’m into using things that I have!

Nunn Design jewelry business jewelry show booth displays


7. Shipping

I discussed shipping a wee bit in Part 2, but here is some additional things to consider when shipping your trade show booth to your show.

Shipping UPS or with a Freight Company
I live in Port Townsend, WA, so shipping our booth on pallets or in a crate with a freight company is out of the question. It is outrageously expensive to ship from Seattle to Port Townsend and we would need a loading dock. So, we don’t ship our show samples this way. But for some of you, this will be a great option! It allows you to ship all of your boxes on a pallet that is shrink wrapped together. Items tend to ship well and there is very little damage.

Drayage Fees
Depending on the show that you are exhibiting in, there can be extra expenses in drayage. Drayage is the cost that the show charges from the shows loading dock to your booth. If the show does charge drayage (and it is expensive!!) it is ideal to ship your items to your hotel or friends house and haul it all in yourself.

To read Becky’s jewelry business tips and information in greater detail, start with Steps to Designing an Indoor Trade Show or Craft Fair Booth – Part 1 then continue through the series. There is a lot of great how-to information in these posts!

Thank you to Becky for detailing her experience and sharing it with us. And thanks to you, too! We love hearing from you and encourage you to continue reaching out so we can continue to add workshops you find helpful in improving your jewelry business!

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