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Cleathero Creations Cleathero Creations
Ripley, Queensland
Posts: 1,925

At a bear show which is the best position?  Wall or centre area?

We have been given a choice and I really don't want to get lost as this is my first show.

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

I liked center of the room, near the entrance door, just off the corner from end cap tables (they have almost no room to maneuver behind their table and the traffic flow keeps them moving on). At several shows I 'worked my way up to my choice' from around-the-walls-in-the-beginning.
There seems to be more 'buzz' in the middle of the room.
And not right next to a supplier because their traffic tends to back up and block the view of your table.

edie Bears by Edie
Southern Alberta
Posts: 2,068

A lot depends on the layout of the room - at the show Heather put on in Calgary there wasn't a bad table in the room and they were all separated so you had access to the front of your table from either end and the full space behind it to yourself. That said I generally prefer to be in the center myself - but that is partly because this particular room, that I have done the most bear shows in, I feel has a bit better lighting in the center and I don't like to have to lug along my own lights. Of course this won't be the case in all rooms. If you can look at the floor plan and try to figure out what the traffic flow will be like and whether all tables have the same amount of room behind (as Bobbi said) that might help you decide. Also if you are taking your own lighting to spotlight bears a lot of shows require you to have a table along the wall for plugging in lighting so check that out too.

Cleathero Creations Cleathero Creations
Ripley, Queensland
Posts: 1,925

Thanks, I have been before as a looker and yes now that I think on it They can't get from behind their tables.  centre it is!!

karenaus Melbourne
Posts: 694
Website

ooh Bronwen which show are you going to? You're lucky to get a choice specially here in OZ hehe..... here, a lot of bigger traders like to be in the wall spot so they can put extra stuff behind them (which also makes it harder to get in and out for the others nearby)

Jane D. Teddies to Treasure
Midland, Ontario
Posts: 201

Bronwen-I am not trying to be contrary here but I like the wall better.When I am collecting I tend to spend more time walking around the outside.To me the middle is more crowded and you can miss vendors by going down one side and having your back to the opposite table.If it's terribly crowded it's sometimes hard to turn.I am slightly agoraphobic so tend to like the outer edges.I will be sure to have a hot flash in the middle of a crowded room bear_grin As a vendor I also like the wall side.Enjoy your show and let us know what you decide and how it works! Sincerely Jane D.

Cleathero Creations Cleathero Creations
Ripley, Queensland
Posts: 1,925

May have to try one then the other.
This one is the summer doll and bear show in brisbane
It is in November.

All Bear All Bear by Paula
Kent
Posts: 5,162
Website

I prefer wall stands ... yep, it can occasionally be a squeeze, but I try not to spend much time behind my stand, I'm usually out front nattering!  I like the security of having a wall behind me and everything discreetly tucked away.

Good luck with your first show Bronwen!  Have lots of fun!

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

Great thought, Paula. Until a few years ago, one had to be juried into shows. Tables were  crowded much closer together. Show promotors often left too little room between/behind tables and your neighbor behind you. If one leaned over, the person behind you couldn't pass by: Bumping Bums!  Now there's usually space around each table or pair of tables. That's Good News & Bad News!

I too stood in front of my table - it was always easier to watch my easily palmed minis (yes, it'd happened to me more than once) - but I also felt more in 'contact' with the person(s) I was talking to. The table between us seemed more of a barrier.

I replied as a Vendor yesterday. Now as a Visitor, I much prefer the edges of the room. When 2 or 3 ppl are viewing a display, they don't seem to be blocking an aisle, even though there are also stands opposite across the aisle towards the room's center.

Being near the head of an aisle, I often heard collectors say, "Let's skip this row, it's too crowded."

Tami E Tami Eveslage Original Teddy Bears
Milford Ohio
Posts: 2,367

Paula, I too prefer table in the perimeter of the room for the reasons you stated. Also, like Bobbie and you mentioned, I don't tend to sit too much at a show.

All Bear All Bear by Paula
Kent
Posts: 5,162
Website

I'm not a great one for bumping bums either Bobbie!  bear_grin   

I did a show last year which was sadly faltering and so had viewer exhibitors than usual.  The stands were laid out on a kind of grid arrangement, but with no end tables to 'close' each of the central 'rectangles' (if you see what I mean?!) My table was placed at the end of the rectangle and so I spent the whole show feeling terribly exposed and worried about how easy it would be to slip unnoticed behind my stand, where of course my entire life was tucked away ... credit card machine, mobile phone, handbag, camera ... and so it went on.  It was a good job I had my other half sat behind the table to take care of security, if I'd been on my own it would have been a total nighmare! 

Unfortunately that kind of thing can't always be planned ahead for, so my advice to anyone booking their first show as an exhibitor, is try to visit the show before you book it (ie., plan at least a year ahead!) and think carefully about it from an exhibitor's perspective, rather than just from a collecting perspective.

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

Unless there's a physical indication for remaining seated, I've always thought it to be more Welcoming to be standing. I'm looking for one more image on our computers of a seated vendor at a woodworking show, for an articl;e I've written. It's definitely off-putting to not make eye contact with as many ppl as possible.
It's also is a fine line to walk, to look/be friendly but not pushy. That's a whole different topic! But to be standing at the same level as the person you're interacting with or be physically closer (w/o your display as the barrier between you) is just more professional and a better business practice.

Standing on the concrete floors for days every month or two are what helped pushed me over the line to getting new knees. There's no Good Answer!

edie Bears by Edie
Southern Alberta
Posts: 2,068

Some interesting thoughts here! I also agree, you HAVE to be standing to make sales! You have to look interested and friendly and approachable! I have done shows where we were in booths and standing in front of our booths and others where you are behind a table. I think you can be approachable either way. If it is not too busy I like to be out in front but with minis if it is really busy and you have a crowd in front of your table then I find it easier to talk to people and keep an eye on the minis from behind the table as then you are facing the people and not looking at their backs (which as I said is different if there are only one or two people then you can be beside them and it works great). I think now that I reall prefer to have a table as long as you do have easy access to the front so that you can be behind it when you need to or in front when that is better.

At one show I did I was so sick I couldn't stand up, so had to sit behind my table - had an allergic reaction to a drug I was on for a bad cold/flu - and really wasn't "up" for conversations or anything - I don't think I sold more than a couple of bears! So that really showed me how important it is to be "there"!

One show where I was on an outside wall, my booth was about even across from the ends of the two booths at the ends of middle rows and the traffic flow didn't work for me at all. People would come down the row look at the booths on the end wall from them and then start down the next middle row just ahead of my booth and then when they came back down the next row they had missed my booth and I am sure a lot of them didn't even realize it! I got all the people going around the edge of the room but I know that some of the ones just going up down the rows missed me completely! I do think though that a lot of the shows are maybe not so big any more so maybe it isn't as much of a problem now.

karenaus Melbourne
Posts: 694
Website
Bambridge Bears wrote:

May have to try one then the other.
This one is the summer doll and bear show in brisbane
It is in November.

Cool Bronwen, good luck for that, don't be nervous you will do great! bear_original  I will look forward to hearing how it goes! Karen

edie Bears by Edie
Southern Alberta
Posts: 2,068

Standing on the concrete floors for days every month or two are what helped pushed me over the line to getting new knees. There's no Good Answer!

Have you tried wearing Crocs, Bobbi? (those soft plastic shoes that come in all the bright colors - for anyone who isn't familiar with them - and there are a number of knock off brands now too) I wore them at a 3 day antique show on cement floors and my feet and legs didn't get sore at all. A lot of the doctors and nurses here are wearing them now as they are so comfortable and easy on the feet!

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

Yes, I have 2 prs that sit stylishly at the back door on the mat... Part of my Garden Art!   I wear orthodics (sp?) in my shoes and the heel-shaped molded bed in Quarks/Crocs don't allow them to fit in.

I founds some Birki Professionals (Birkenstocks) on eBay last week from Germany, which have their standard removable cork footbed. I'm hoping that the orthos will drop right in after removing their cork.
I have 2 prs of Birk 'mules', like clogs but with the 1" raised back, which hide my orthos. They're of wonderful leather - the only problem is that they're each $180...

Also, I wear an 11.5, which is nearly impossible to find and need a deeper toe bed (like Men's shoes have) but are also nearly impossible to find. All of these things put together means I'm constantly on the hunt for shoes that look nice... and fit!

Thx for the suggestion, though. They're great for adults. I've heard and read of many school districts that have banned them, unless the strap is swung down to heel position. They're awfully loose and the way kids run around I'm not surprised that the school nurses and emergency rooms are seeing lots of falling accidents from them.

Cleathero Creations Cleathero Creations
Ripley, Queensland
Posts: 1,925

I have been reading all the hints and tips so good shoes are a must as well.  I am going to have to print out all the good stuff otherwise I will surely forget something.

cjsmum Happy Little Souls
Sydney
Posts: 230

Hi Bronwen,
Just a quick point of view from an organiser, I absolutely agree with everyone's comments- there are positives and negatives for being in either position.
In planning a floor plan it's a bit like an "impossible puzzle" with no picture to follow, and a lot of work goes into designing it to make sure that the mix is right otherwise visitors aren't happy being "pushed around" and traders don't return because no one can find them.
I cannot speak for all shows (especially mixed craft such as Australia's Stitches) but for the one I plan and most "artist events" there are a few golden rules for layouts- I know what everyone sells and unless a brand spanking new trader, I know what their table layout will be like. So miniaturists don't go side by side (unless they ask to), nor do they go next to huge teds, where they will be overshadowed. Traders with accessories and vintage pieces need to be scattered, not to mention the traders that need to get to the front easily will need access or those who prefer to be behind the table need space behind them.
Traders with backboards generally won't get placed in the first aisle blocking the view of the rest of the show. 
Suppliers do need extra space for any crowds that accumulate, but generally there has to be a table across from them, so the artist that gets that one needs to be well known enough to "hold their own"!
International and interstate artists need to be spread out, and it is fairly (dare I say) cruel to place a new trader next to a seasoned pro, who sells out at every event they attend(although its good for the networking and advice- it can be daunting to many to have there precious new bears overlooked because they happened to be next to "such and such") very hard on the ego.
There are always exceptions to the rules, I haven't even mentioned personalities, friendships and histories that are also taken into account- but rest assured the organiser will try and take these into account also.
Even then, when all is said and done, you can turn up on the actual day and the table people have delivered the wrong size tables, so carefully laid out plans get shuffled and jumbled to make the best of it.

So in answer to your question wall or centre: it doesn't really matter- everyone is different, as different as the bears we create and by the end of your first show you will realise what suits you best. All that matters is that you are there smiling and engaging, meeting and greeting! Cliche I know but it works!

Good luck
Mel

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

We're so glad a promoter checked in on the discussion; you've pointed out many organizational conditions. It's most interesting to hear how it's done in areas outside of one's home territory.

For the major show promoters in the US (I've exhibited in shows put on by about half of them - the upper East Coast is the only area I've missed), the rooms tend to be huge rectangular hotel ballrooms. (Daphne - that natural lighting is STUNNING!!)
There are tables that ring the perimeter of the room and then banks of back-to-back tables with end-cap tables (Paula - that was a horrible set-up. The potential for real trouble and the seeing our 'stuff' underneath was not attractive. That's why we usually/always have end-capping table set up in rows through the rest of the room)

There are the very large shows like IDEX and Toy Fair, where space is sold as a 10' x 10' booth space. The table arrangement in those shows is usually a U or L shape and it's expected that the exhibitor will be in front or or inside the set-up. Those tables are pushed back to the perimeter of their space. The exhibitor and their prospective clients are then inside this little 'room' setting and nor congregating in the aisles.

Depending upon how many rows of tables the promoter allows, there is too much or too little space between tables in the artist's area, rarely just right. Too much is always better though, but it also forces one to be really tidy or have table skirts that completely surround the table. I personally don't like to see "Pretty on the front and from any side or rear view, see  jumbles of plastic bags, boxes, luggage..."

Our two largest suppliers, the Blocks/Edinburgh & Dale Junker/Intercal are set into opposite corners with loads of room around their multiple tables.

Our bear types - vintage, minis and international - are spread throughout the room but not usually separated away from side-by-side, Big names are mixed with newbies, though the international artists are often highlighted by being placed prominently at the end caps across the room.

Backboards or displays higher than 6' are not allowed. I don't recall having seen displays that high that could not be seen through; shelving/stocked boxes or vintage items are lighter  and airy looking. The ones using a solid pegboard style are the suppliers and they're already against the wall.

What is a favored spot (as I described for myself up above) may not be the choice of another. Most  promoters will ask if you have a choice (and electricity/lighting is one of the choices.) I too usually attended each show during the previous event to see the traffic flow,
the types of goods this agent attracts and how the room is lit/layed out.. and is there total silence, almost apathy or is there a real energy, a buzz, in the room. 

So in answer to your question wall or centre: it doesn't really matter- everyone is different, as different as the bears we create and by the end of your first show you will realise what suits you best. All that matters is that you are there smiling and engaging, meeting and greeting! Cliche I know but it works!

Ditto!

psichick78 Flying Fur Studios
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,073

This has been interesting to read! I can see advantages to both, the wall and the center.

I would also like to Ditto what Mel said as a show promoter. I tried my best to create a good floor plan for this past show and it was a tough puzzle. A lot of thought goes into a floor plan and although I tried to make everyone happy I know this can be an impossible feat!
I was lucky enough to be able to create a round floor plan where I feel no table had a 'better' spot per say and the customers had to walk in a circle and see every table anyway.

it's nice to hear what everyone likes though I've learned a thing or two.

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

A round circle - how interesting & unique!! What was the shape of the room, Heather?

Cleathero Creations Cleathero Creations
Ripley, Queensland
Posts: 1,925

A circle wow.  That would be different.
You guys are just a wealth of info and I really appreciate it.  It's good to be able to come and chat to people who don't look at you strangely when questions are asked LOL

psichick78 Flying Fur Studios
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,073

Bobbie, the room was square, but the two back corners had doors that I couldn't block, so the figuration ended up being round. I thought it was perfect because no table got left out of the natural walking flow.

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