Today’s guest post is by Lisa of Simply Baby Photography in Hawaii. It’s a post I’ve been begging her to make for quite a long time – it’s “simply” one of the best expo-booth examples I have ever seen. The fact she even matched her skirt to her booth is just the icing on top!
Twice each year, in spring and fall, my city holds a baby expo. The spring expo focuses on products and services for new babies and families, while the fall expo is geared toward older children and families, with an emphasis on holiday gift giving.
For my first expo, held in May, I chose to promote the baby side of my business- Simply Baby Photography. I selected a slightly less costly center booth so I would have 3 sides for image display. Booths run several hundred dollars for the two day expo, so I set an expo budget of $1500. My idea was to design a chic nursery space and display large images that could be seen from a distance. I began planning for the May booth in January, when expo registration begins.
click each of the images shown above for a larger version
attached photos courtesy of Thereasa Gwinn Photography
I built the walls of the both using 78″ high bifold closet doors found at a salvage and overstock warehouse for only $5/pair. (I bought 7 pairs- 3 for the back and 2 each for the sides) and hinged together using screw plates.)
Most of my furnishings were Craigslist finds. I scored a white mini crib for $20 and sewed my own bedding, including sheets, dust ruffle, and crib quilt. I re-upholstered the chair in the foreground to match the reverse of the quilt. I stored additional samples, sales material, and miscellaneous items under the crib.
The two damask chairs in back I found for $20 each, originally upholstered in a hideous yellow and green plaid. After refinishing and reupholstering (I spent $100 on supplies!) I got the shabby chic look I wanted. These chairs served as a great consultation area for potential clients to view books, announcements, and other product samples.
The table in front is another Craigslist find, refinished and gilded for use as a display table to hold business cards, samples and contest entry forms. Just behind it on the left is a console, purchased at Ross and refinished, with more product samples on top and additional promotional materials stored in the drawer.
More than a few people thought I was selling furniture! I wanted my booth to be eye-catching, and it did receive a lot of attention.
I had my Simply Baby booth sign custom made from plexiglass and vinyl decals and mounted in a curve, standing out from the back of the booth. The expo only provides a paper sign tacked to the curtains (the color of which, unfortunately, I had no control over), and I wanted my business name to be prominent.
I selected the images I thought best displayed my work in a clean, simple fashion, highlighting babies at the ages I most enjoy photographing – newborn and 7-9 months. My color palette of blues, aquas, and pinks complemented my vibrant apple green logo.
By watching for sales, I was able to order half off canvases for my display. The four shown are a 24×30 center canvas flanked by 20×24 canvases, with a 20×30 canvas on the right wall. I hung these using 3M Command self-adhesive hooks.
To the left, I created a gallery wall of 6 images ranging in size from 8×10 to 16×20. To save costs, I had all but the one 16×20 printed at Costco and mounted them myself. They were attached to the wall with self-stick velcro.
I wanted to put a rug or other floor covering down to cover the ugly cracked concrete, but couldn’t find an inexpensive, portable solution. A friend of mine recently “tiled” his booth floor very creatively, using con-tac paper cut into squares and adhered directly to the floor. Wish I’d thought of that!
Looking back, my front table was a bit cluttered, and there wasn’t much room for visitors to fill out their contest entry forms (I gave away a session and print). The seating area was used, so I’m glad I had that. Having a few large images on display drew a lot of attention.
Overall, the booth was a lot of work, requiring nearly four hours to set up the night before and two hours to break down, plus the two 9-5 days doing a meet and greet. I directly booked five sessions from the expo, and talked to dozens of parents. There were at least 5 other photographers with booths (coordinators make sure similar vendors aren’t nearby), though it was largely friendly and my booth received several compliments from my colleagues.
While the expo is billed as attracting a large number of upscale attendees, I found that those who stopped by my booth were largely price conscious and actually had a few Bugaboo-pushing parents literally gasp at my price list. The clients who did book were wonderful to work with and spent well.
Before the expo I laid out a list of goals to target. While many photographers book at the expo itself, that wasn’t a primary goal of mine – I did offer an Expo Special, but extended it for a few days after the expo and did get a few bookings in the 48h following the expo. I wanted to converse with a minimum number of visitors, get 200 names for my mailing list, and make a splash in the community to get the attention of both attendees and other photographers, presenting Simply Baby Photography as an upscale boutique studio.
I feel that I was successful in meeting all my goals, and the summer after my booth I grossed just over double my spring averages.
tag you're it: album • announcements • assembly • baby expo • birth announcements • booth • branding • business • business cards • canvas • cards • consultation • custom • display • event • Expo • expo booth • guest post • marketing • materials • nursery • photo booth • photographer • photography • referral cards • shabby chic • sign • supplies • trade show
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