My Trade Show Booth {at The Upstate Women's Show}

I was privileged to have a booth at the Upstate Women's Show.
It was a 3 day event held at the TD Convention Center here in Greenville, SC.

The weekend was about pampering and informing women of all the services and products
available to them right here in their hometown!

My services are home staging, interior design, and organizing.
And I had to demonstrate that in a 10' by 10' space.

So, here's how we created interest in Hello, Home! 
(My hubby Mark and I hosted the space, and Mark did all the moving around of the big stuff
and I planned the space and moved around the little stuff.)

On Friday morning, we brought the items for the booth to the convention center.
My friend, Ann, kindly let us use many of her furnishings as props.
I brought all the smaller details.
Most of my own props and furniture were in homes that I'd staged and listed
and I couldn't very well go take the decor out of their houses, could I?
(Well, I could have, but it wouldn't have been very nice of me!)

Yes, the truck wasn't packed with items for the booth, this just happened to be
the smallest truck we could rent.

This is really all that was going into the booth.
(But not my Honda. That didn't go in the booth.)

When we first arrived,
we marveled at how huge the place looked while it was people-free,
how quiet the place was while it was women-free,
and how creative I'd have to be since I'd have to be working with RED and PURPLE as the backdrop.
Thankfully, the rug, pillows, and hanging mirror lamp that I'd brought had red in them.
I also took a quick trip to Target and got a red tablecloth overlay to coordinate with the decor.

We chose a booth on a corner so that we could be seen
by those crossing this intersection near the side exit.
We had the railing (below left, hip-high, draped in purple) removed.
See the power cord behind the Hello Home! sign?
We paid extra to have electricity.

So, the Mr. brought all the stuff in and now comes the part where I have to be creative
and figure out how to set this stuff so it can help ladies figure out what I do.
All the stuff you see below are the things I'd borrowed.
(Doesn't Ann have some cool stuffs?)
You can see her beautiful home HERE.
And the pink and aqua baby shower I co-hosted with her HERE.

This is how the booth looked the first day.
All day, ladies were wandering in and out of the booth, which was good,
but, they were trying to buy all the props.
They'd pick up the vase or pillow or baluster and ask how much it was.
After a while, I made up prices - like $250 for a pillow, and then
after their reaction of shock and mortification,
I'd go on to say that staging or organizing or redesign was a much better bargain
since I could do a whole room for that much.

This is our tagline.

I eventually bought these chairs from Ann when she no longer needed them,
since I loved them so much! They are now in my DINING ROOM.
The long ironstone dish below holds paint samples.

We needed electricity for these lamps, the light on the chalkboard,
and the PC/monitor so we could run our PowerPoint slideshow presentation.
The slideshow was a hit. Many times, there were groups of ladies gathered 'round
watching and commenting and asking lots of questions.
My business cards are in the mug.

This metal shelving was perfect to all-at-once display the elements of my services.

Simplifying, categorizing, and organizing.

Office organization, space planning, and time management.

Simplifying through colorizing: I wanted the color white to be the main attractor here.
Organizing through categorizing: grouping like items are eye-catching.

Craft room organization is one of my specialties!

I also love to bake and cook and love to show others how to have a functional, orderly kitchen
that works hard to help them work more easily.
My kitchen's baking zone HERE.

A rest before the afternoon rush.

After the first day, I rearranged the booth so the ladies would go around the booth,
and more eyes could see the popular slide show.
And so that everyone would quit trying to buy all of Ann's and my things.

I also decided to have a giveaway.
It was a Bathroom ReDesign in a tub.
It consisted of a Parisian-style can that contained:
a spa-like bath mat, a body scrubber, shower curtain, shower curtain rings,
bath and hand towels, washcloths, a makeup mirror, mother-of-pearl canisters,
and a silk tropical plant.
This was a hit, too.
I collected names of ladies and their email addresses so they could be contacted
if they won or simply to talk to them about what I do.

Day Two with the Mr.

Some fans!
On the left, my friend Ann, that loaned me the furnishings, and sweet sister, Sandra.

These ladies are other home stagers in town.
Marcia and Tonya and I became friends and helped each other out in our businesses.
Though life's circumstances, they no longer stage here.

This is the giveaway Bathroom ReDesign.

The experience was exhausting but so rewarding!
We met so many wonderful people who were there to discover what our city
has to offer them for services, goods, food.
I made new clients that became friends and I had fun in the process.

From my experience, here are 20 tips for setting up a trade show booth:

  • Contact the venue as soon as possible so you have a choice of booth location.
  • Find out about the other vendors and where they are located, if possible, and if there are vendors that are similar to you, try to get your booth in a different location so you have your own unique spot.
  • Sketch out the floorplan of your space and decide what items you want in it and where you want to put those items.
  • Vertical displaying is a very wise use of space. You can't change the horizontal square footage, but you can maximize your setup by having vertical options.
  • Bring pens, scissors, tape, rubber bands, tie cords, extension cords, snacks, water-- you never know which one of those that you'll need.
  • Get there early to set up. The show started on Friday at 10 AM and we were set up by 9 AM.
  • Have a giveaway of some sort to collect contact info from people so you can market to them, if they give you permission to do so. On the contact form ask them if they'd like to be contacted. I personally don't like to be hounded and pestered and I'd never do that to anyone else, either.
  • Cover your tables to the floor. The space underneath is invaluable to hide extras that you'll need but don't want to display.
  • Keep your purse at home and your cell phone in your pocket. (I kept my car keys, some cash, and my cell phone in my pocket.)
  • Don't forget ambient lighting. Use lamps: table, hanging, or floor. They warm the space and make your space approachable and cozy.
  • Add a rug or chair from home. These attract visitors to check out your display.
  • Make sure you have plenty of business cards/brochures. Hundreds of them.
  • Don't eat, talk on your phone, read a book, or text while you are in the booth. It's totally unprofessional.
  • Group your display items by color or type.
  • Smile and be friendly when people approach your booth. Don't act desperate or indifferent.
  • Get friendly with the other vendors around you. This is just as important as interacting with the visitors. I met some vendors whose business could benefit mine, and vice versa.
  • Something I now have, but didn't at the time, was my logo on a huge sign or board. Get yourself this essential part of marketing. Your sign will attract people from across the room, so get a high-quality one with clear graphics.
  • Use multi-media to enhance your presentation. Produce a short video about your product or have befores/afters in a PowerPoint slide show. It's amazing how many people would watch the staging/redesign/organizing slideshow and take a business card, but didn't really want to have a chat. The pictures and words on the monitor were worth 1000's of my own words sometimes.
  • Make sure whoever "mans" your booth knows all about your vision and passion for your service or goods. 
  • Pray that you can be a help and blessing to whoever God sends to you through your business.


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  1. Your booth looks fabulous...LOVE that pretty rug!!

    1. Thank you, Martina... it was a lot of fun! I think I need to ask Ann if that rug is still available and buy that, too! I had considered i once upon a time :)

  2. A friend and I are doing an outside art fair in April. We will definitely be adopting some (okay, most) of your suggestions. I'm never seen a similar post. Thanks for thinking about the rest of us out here.

    1. What's funny is, there was not much info for me when we did this show, either. Happy I could bless you :)

  3. Great advice, Leslie! Anyone preparing for a booth-type show will greatly benefit from this post. I hope your experience, professionalism, and networking will bring in new business for you!

  4. Lovely inspirations! I'm just getting ready to do a major deep cleaning of my home. Then the fun of some redecorating!! Yes!

  5. I love seeing your beautiful smiling face in these photos! Looks like your trade show was a success! Thanks for sharing all the tips and great ideas.

  6. Hi Leslie ~ Just a few lines to say 'thank you' for your lovely hospitality in having the Creekside Blog on your Inspiration List! Day in and out, your readers continue to drop in for a little visit ... and I so appreciate it! Thank you again for your kindness ...


  7. This is excellent. I'm just starting out as an organizer in Ottawa, Canada, and I've been wanting to do a trade show, but wasn't sure how to set up my booth. You've given me so many ideas, thank you!


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