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Designing Displays for Art Shows & Retail Opportunities

Designing Displays for Art Shows & Retail Opportunities

You will need to set up your studio and make your sellable product look good, this is called merchandising. It’s easy to google search retail merchandising products and come up with a plethora of display options: acrylic stands and wire racks to hold your items, etc. This blog post challenges artists to spend some time merchandising your product and creating displays that are more effective.

Wholesale Displays: If you sell your items wholesale to another retail venue, think about how that store will (or won’t) showcase your product. It may be in your best interest to provide a display to help make your product look more appealing and sellable. This also looks very professional and a good way to operate with local boutique owners, galleries, and other retail spaces. If you sell your work at multiple venues, consider making a display that you can replicate or that is easy to create so you can have multiples.

Using Your Creativity: As artists, we use our creativity to make beautiful works of art and other merchandise, it’s quite hard to believe we can’t transform this creative problem-solving skill into designing a functioning display for our product. You don’t need to go buy fancy tools or know carpentry to design displays that work with your product.

Use your creative skills, keep your brand in mind, and figure out how to best showcase your items. You can always repurpose old furniture, alter existing displays, repaint surfaces or have someone build you a custom piece. Utilize Etsy as a resource for small custom pieces if you need certain sizes of bins or risers.

Watch the Customer: I once bought a fancy product spinner that sorted my 12 button styles into individual compartments. I noticed that people hardly touched or purchased my buttons when they were all perfectly organized and sorted. I learned through customer interaction that I sold buttons better when they were all mixed up in a low-wide box. This gave the customer a sense of discovery as they sorted through the different styles I had until they found a button that they liked.

Watch how people shop your product and make purposeful decisions based on how they touch and move your product. Be willing to change your display or alter it if you notice that customers do not touch or purchase an item.

Avoid using Acrylics: Clear acrylic stands seem great at first but have plenty more cons than pros. So we will start with the pro…acrylic stands are an easy solution if you need a display. Now for the cons:

  • They are overly used in stores and settings where people lack the skills to merchandise.
  • Instead of looking like you have a nice display, your set up looks novice and perhaps even cheap
  • The clear appearance is supposed to look unnoticeable but acrylic scratches easy
  • Acrylic stands are also are very expensive and frankly overpriced
  • Oftentimes they don’t properly fit the item we want to display

Signage: Don’t forget to use your logo and branding to create unique signage. Signage can be small and tabletop, large banners, flags, and more. Also, consider the look and size of your price tag. Some retail opportunities will provide a specific pricing and tagging procedure, some retail shops will prefer their own pricing system that utilizes barcodes compatible with their point of sale system. Note when special items need an additional information tag, for example, handmade scarves may need special instructions for care or washing.



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