By Jen Tubbin
Second Nature by Hand

Want your customers to take you seriously? Then design a booth that shows you mean business!

We all want to buy good stuff from good people, right? We read reviews. We check Trip Advisor. We talk to our friends about our purchasing experiences. When you make the leap to set up a booth at a show where store owners across the country come to buy for their store, you better look like you mean business. Booth space is hugely expensive, like — “I might need to sell my house if this doesn’t go well” expensive. Planning your booth space is important to your long-term goal of reaching new customers and also important to the goal of being able to keep your house!

Size Matters

Booth size, that is! A 10×10 booth space is REALLY pricey, but unless you are lucky enough to score a corner, you’ll probably need something bigger. Your customers do not like to “bump butts” so if you’d like to have more than one person in your booth at a time, your space needs to allow it. You need to have enough room for customers to move freely and allow for a few people at a time to comfortably shop your booth. Having multiple people in your booth creates a buying energy that others notice as they walk by. That extra space also allows some breathing room between you and your customer. I don’t know about you, but if I see someone who is RIGHT. THERE. WAITING. FOR. ME. TO. ENTER. THEIR. BOOTH. I end up walking by because I don’t want to risk getting too close to them and then having to walk out past them if I decide not to purchase their product. As an introvert, that’s the stuff that goes through my mind. Just sayin’. Choose a corner location or at least a 20×10 and you’ll have more customers.

Build it and they will come

When you look like a well-established, reputable business your customers will also feel that you are a reputable, well-established business. A booth made from reclaimed timbers and handmade flooring produces more sales than a booth made from apple crates — go ahead, ask me how I know this. When your booth presence shows that you mean business, you will do more business. There’s a trust factor there that your customer appreciates. A booth made from apple crates makes you look a little too mobile, like you may or may not be around to ship their order. Show them you mean business by creating a professional booth display.

Location, location, location

Improving your booth location at market may take some time. Be patient. Take the opportunity to improve upon your location as you are able. Sometimes you just have to wait for the prime space exhibitors to die. Get them to will their spot to you. Just kidding about that. You must get in line and work your way up.

Shoulders to knees

As mentioned previously, body parts are important. Remember that your prime selling space is from shoulder to knee. Do not place your items on the floor and expect that people will bend over to pick up the product or check pricing. See aforementioned rule on bumping butts. People do not want to bend over. Display your items in the shoulder to knee zone.

Be nice or go home

People enjoy buying from people they like. Your relationship begins when a customer notices your product. Your relationship continues as you talk with them about your product story. The deal is sealed when you both realize you have similar goals and the opportunity to make a positive impact for one another. Be genuine. Be authentic. Be you. And the sale will come naturally.

Funding the space

It never gets easier. And booth prices go up. So, if you have the answer to funding the space, or maybe you have a rich Aunt, we’d love to know about it!

After years of intense focus on creating and building a small business, Jennifer and David Tubbin have achieved the ultimate goal as entrepreneurs—having others see the value in the business they’ve created.  The acquisition process has provided an amazing learning experience for the couple and growth opportunities for Second Nature by Hand.  Through a crazy word-of-mouth network, Second Nature by Hand has become an artisan business that stands shoulder to shoulder with companies much larger than itself.  The brand is known for quality, handmade, one-of-a-kind products from vintage and reclaimed materials and superior service to customers.  Following the acquisition of the company, Jennifer is now able to focus on the aspects of the business she enjoys the most, product development and design.  In addition to refocused work duties, she looks forward to more family time and homemade meals on the dinner table.