Saturday, January 28, 2012

Trade show booth design ...

I just returned from my first market show with my new ACEQUIA Bath and Body Collection and am so pleased with the reception we received from buyers and retailers at the Bath and Body FINDS Temp Show in Dallas.

For years, I designed large island exhibit booths for clients with major budgets ($100,000 - $250,000 per show) and managed their on-site marketing and public relations. That was no problem.

I'm pretty experienced at getting the biggest bang for your buck. But, now with my own start-up company, I wanted to be equally as creative with my little space (10' x 10') and a tiny (really teeny, tiny) exhibit budget. It took a lot of thought to design and build a trade show booth on a shoestring budget.

I started by evaluating the elements that came standard with the booth (three sides of white fabric paneling and a light bar with three spotlights). That's it ... basically it's a blank canvas. So, I began by designing on my computer an elegant look that reflects the luxury branding of our soaps and lotions. That was the easy part!

Translating a design into reality with minuscule funds was a bit of work! First, I sourced a spectacular, low-cost chandelier, Flokati rug, resin planters and plants and desk from various retailers. Everything else had to be handcrafted, so the challenge was building and sewing all the other elements. Hubby and I were one very busy design/build team. 

I found two, inexpensive (and rather dingy) ottomans that just needed some new upholstery. That was my first sewing project. I added more time on my sewing machine with making the draperies and valance from beautiful silk fabrics I found with a price discount. Love those bargains!

Hubby crafted a spectacular light box to set atop the desk, and I finished it with matching white paint and trimmed the lower rim with a silver metallic to give it a more interesting profile. Next, I had an adhesive decal made with our logo and branding -- so easy to apply on any surface.

I really wanted beautiful panels with moulding or elegantly framed mirrors, but simply did not have the budget. Instead, I bought a roll of reflective Mylar film and a couple of bottles of Window Writer paint in white and began drawing my own moulding on the mirrored surface. I finished off with a little ornamental design on the top panel.

Viola! It really was a fun project and a great show for our product debut. Now, I'm just hopeful we'll have a bit bigger budget next time. This 'design on a dime' theme was a challenge!

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