Tutorial Tuesday - Tips For Show Booths

I recently was a vendor at my first fiber show, and I thought others out there might be looking for some tips on booth setups from the viewpoint of someone just starting out in shows or markets like I am. In planning my booth, I did a ton of searching on Flickr and Google to find pictures of others' booths. I also attended various local craft shows and had been a shopper at the particular show I was preparing to vend at, which was also very helpful in deciding what sort of fixtures I wanted to seek out. A good beginner's list of things to consider:

Alfabette Zoope display, Midwest Fiber and Folk 2010
1. What kind of budget and timeline are you working with?

2. Where is the show... indoors, outdoors? Under a tent (you provide or is one provided)? Will you be out in the open or amongst many other booths? What will the lighting be like?

3. Do you want people to walk into your booth, or do you want a setup where they come up to a table at the front or side of the booth rather than coming into it?

4. What kind of products are you selling and how can they best be displayed so they grab the attention of someone at first glance? What is your biggest draw/product and how can you showcase it?

Early on I had a layout in mind for my booth (which I shared with a good friend... a wonderful way to try something out but split costs and efforts for someone new to the show scene, in my opinion) that turned out to be fairly unrealistic for functionality and my ability to get all the fixtures I had been thinking of without breaking the bank. I had planned on using 8 gridwall panels and nothing else for my half of the booth, with a combination of shelves and hooks to hold shirts and yarn hanks. Thank goodness I had months of time to think and gather display equipment and finally realized changes were needed. I needed a table, otherwise where and how was I going to process credit cards? It probably would have worked out even without, because my booth partner's layout included tables, but had I been on my own, that would have been problematic.

Our booth layout plans. We used the plan on the right.
Traffic flow is important to consider. I found out about a week before show time that my friend and I were actually going to have a corner booth. Score! But scary... because of course all our planned layout ideas just assumed we'd have vendors on either side of us as we hadn't ponied up extra money for a corner spot. Some rearranging and refiguring ensued, but we took advantage of the two sides of visibility we now had and I ended up making use of both sides of my gridwall panels instead of just one. Appearance-wise it felt more empty than I would have liked, but I think the advantages of grabbing people from either aisle made it worth it. And an added perk -- I didn't have to put anything down below waist level, so everything was in reach and easy to touch, pet, grab, and examine by shoppers. We kept the middle of the booth nice and open so people could easily move through and see both our product areas.
BugSnugger's display at MFaF 2010

Variety is one of the best tips I heard while planning our layout. You want things at different levels to draw the eye. If everything is all the same, people are likely to miss things or not be drawn in to look at your products. I've seen display items vary from professional display walls to upcycled furniture and accessories. If it's done well and intentionally, you can make just about anything work! So be creative if you have a lot of lead time and would like to put together a more eclectic display. I ended up going with pretty standard show display items myself, but I lucked into the main structure (4 gridwall panels, as well as a bunch of shelves for them and a knucklebuster) by keeping my eye on my local Craigslist and ended up getting them slightly-used for at least 50% off retail.

Starving Artist Bazaar's display at MFaF 2010
Don't forget details like a color scheme (what color is your tablecloth if you're using one? Shelves? Baskets or containers? And so on. Having too much going on can really distract people -- you do want your product to be the star of the show, but you also want to make sure the background is interesting and helps pull things together. Also, don't skimp on your signage. Prices need to be labeled clearly on the products or on signs nearby that are easy to read. You want your business name to be easy to see and legible. Make sure you have business cards or something similar for people to take away from your booth because they just might look you up after the show and buy something in the future.

Samples in the BugSnugger/Huckleberry Knits booth at MFaF 2010
If you are selling an item that is used for people to make something else, samples are a huge help. I somewhat knew this, but didn't realize how many people would ask me how certain yarns would work up and I found myself wishing I had commissioned some samples as I had originally planned (and run out of time for). Samples sometimes sell the product, and certainly add some nice variety to your display. Definitely consider getting things made or making some of your own -- the expense will be worth it.

Alfabette Zoope display, Midwest Fiber and Folk 2010
I came away after my first show with a laundry list of changes to make, as well as a list of things that worked and I should build upon (not to mention a huge sleep deficit from the late nights taking care of last-minute details). One last piece of advice is to take notes! Ask opinions of friends and other trusted vendors. Seeing things through others' eyes can be such a help in figuring out what works for your products or how to improve upon the things that don't work as well. And also keep track of what sells and what doesn't, so you have a good idea what shoppers are looking for at each show you do and can plan accordingly for the future.
Submitted by Lori, Alfabette Zoope

Three for Thursday

Three rainbows, stocking on hyena cart tomorrow at noon est at K&F!




Wordless Wednesday

Mascarpone Muffins

These muffins are so easy and fast to make, as most muffins are. I used chocolate chips but dried fruit or fresh blueberries with mascarpone? DIVINE. Maybe dried cherries, sliced almonds and a little bit of almond extract? YUM! The mascarpone in the batter makes the muffins tender and moist. This is what the girls had for breakfast one day last week. They also helped me make the muffins, as you can see by the little hands in the picture. I also made tiny ones to freeze for faster bento backing when school starts. 
*this post first appeared on Give Peas A Chance*
Mascarpone muffins
1 (8 ounce) package mascarpone cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups or use paper liners.

Beat mascarpone and butter together until fluffy.

Beat in egg, cream and vanilla.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Add dry ingredients to the wet ones.
Stir flour mixture into wet mixture until just combined. As with all muffins don't over mix...
Fold in filling of choice.

Bake for 20 minutes.


Follow your Dream

Yesterday I stumbled across a blogpost on a photographer's website about this incredible woman - and I felt her story could be an inspiration to us all.

In the 1970s  Diana Nyad was a long-distance swimmer who broke various world records and set more than a few (including the one for circling Manhattan Island which has yet to be broken). But her dream was always to swim from Cuba to Florida (a 100 mile swim). She attempted it in 1978, but the swim had to be abandoned due to bad weather conditions and treacherous currents. She swam from the Bahamas to Florida in 1979 (a 102.5 mile swim), but never got around to her original goal.

Nyad's life took a different turn after that. She was a tv and newspaper journalist for almost 3 decades before she made a decision to fulfill her dream.

Three decades!

Now, at age 60 she is ready to take on the challenge of making her dream a reality.

Without a shark cage this time!

On July 11th 2010, Diana completed a 24 Consecutive Hour training swim, (also without a shark cage)  - in preparation for the swim she has dreamt of for so long.

Her FB page can be found here, and you can also follow her on Twitter.
For myself, I am really looking forward to the big swim!

Making Fruit Look Good

"Can I bring anything?"

I seem to ask that question at least once a week throughout the summer months as the invitations to pool parties and BBQs pile up. 

I used to rack my brains trying to come up with something which would keep me away from my stove, but which wasn't a salad. 

Then a few weeks ago I ran across a tutorial from fruit-basket-creations and my life became simpler overnight.


2 pineapples
Half cantaloupe (or a small one)
Half honeydew melon
2, 16oz strawberries
Black grapes (oz)

Their tutorial makes it really simple to spend some fun time in the kitchen and, best of all, you really don't need to invest in fancy tools or equipment. Chances are you have everything in your kitchen already. 

And boy, do the kids love to wield those cookie cutters!


Flower-shaped metal cookie cutters
10” Bamboo skewers ( oz)
1 Melon baler
1 head of lettuce
Bunch of green or purple kale
Crinkle cutter (ripple potato slicer)
Some pairing knives
Medium basket or plastic container or ceramic container
Cutting board (optional)
Clear plastic wrap (cellophane wrap)

The only thing I'd recommend is putting some pebbles at the bottom of the basket (the fruit tends to make it top-heavy) and using some floral oasis (those green blocks that florists soak in water to keep everything fresh and stable) on top of it to fit the skewers into.

Instructions for that top basket can be found here.

Ever Wonder?


Why the sun lightens our hair,
but darkens our skin?

Why women can't put on mascara
with their mouth closed?

Why don't you ever see the headline
'Psychic Wins Lottery'?

Why is 'abbreviated' such a long word?

Why is it that doctors call what
they do 'practice'?

Why is lemon juice made with
artificial flavor, and dish washing
liquid made with real lemons?

Why is the man who invests all
your money called a broker?

Why is the time of day with the
slowest traffic called rush hour?

Why isn't there mouse-flavored
cat food?

Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?

Why do they sterilize the needle
for lethal injections?

You know that indestructible black
box that is used on airplanes? Why
don't they make the whole plane out
of that stuff?!

Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

Why are they called apartments
when they are all stuck together?

If con is the opposite of pro, is
Congress the opposite of progress?

If flying is so safe, why do they call
the airport the terminal?

Three things I love on Hyenacart...

1.  Spots!  I love browsing around and checking out the amazing items that have been spotted by other HC shoppers and artisans!

This weeks most spotted item, a collab by RSE, Dwell Wool Knits, Laines Magnifiques, and NatureBabyKNits.

2.  The forums:   A great place to see what's going on in Hyena land!

3.   Cute fluff!

Custom diaper options from Holden's Landing.

Check out Hyenacart today...find out what you love!

Asian Noodle Salad

This cold noodle salad is actually made with linguine, but if you want to use soba noodles they would be wonderful too. There are quite a few recipes online for this dish, one at Pioneer Woman- probably most popular and here at Savvy Vegetarian.
So, here's how we make it around here.

1 pound cooked linguine or soba noodles. Rinsed with cold water

Vegetables and Herbs- pick what you like, this is great to clear out your fridge at the end of the week too- use a lot, they are soo good with the dressing. I forgot the spinach for this batch and didn't use broccoli.
Napa cabbage - 1/3 sliced thin
Purple cabbage- 1/3 sliced thin
Bell peppers- red, yellow, orange and or green - I use thee colors, slice half from each
English cucumber- peeled and sliced or regular cucumber peeled, seeded and sliced
3-4 stalks of tender celery with leaves- the inner stalks the leaves are so flavorful, chopped
Bean sprouts- a couple of hand fulls
Thinly sliced carrot- you can use a julienne peeler or buy grated carrots
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro leaves or Thai basil
1-2 scallions sliced
Baby spinach
Baby broccoli florets

Protein- Optional
Tofu- firm tofu, wrapped in a clean kitchen towel and weighted with a plate and canned good to press out the liquid. Cubed then fried in a little oil until crisp.
Chicken- leftover roasted chicken shredded or grilled

zest from 1/2- 1 lime
1 1/2 limes- juiced, I usually add 2 limes because I like it tart
3 tablespoons sesame oil
8-10 tablespoons olive oil
6-7 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar- not packed just lightly scooped
4-5 tablespoons of grated ginger- I use my micro plane (we love ginger)
3 cloves minced garlic, I grate it also
2 jalapenos seeded and minced (I use these as a garnish too)
1/3 cup Cilantro chopped

Sesame seeds
Thai basil
Lime wedges
Sliced jalapenos

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing (except the cilantro) until the sugar is mostly dissolved and combined- I've also thrown everything in a blender and it works fine. Stir in cilantro. Toss the dressing on the noodles, protein and vegetables in a large bowl. Serve with garnishes.
This is best eaten the day it's prepared unless you leave out the napa cabbage, cilantro and Thai basil and sprinkle them on top when ready to serve.

First posted on Give Peas A Chance.

Friday Funny: If You Love 'Em