10 Tips for Merchandising

Want to create an appealing display in your booth or gallery space? These 10 tips will help you make more impact and increase sales.


1. Use natural materials. This works really well with designs that reflect nature, but can also be an exciting contrast with metals, glass or other modern materials. Shown below, jewelry artist Rachel Atherley uses driftwood in her display to highlight her contemporary patterned metal earrings.


Jewelry artist Rachel Atherley's display

Jewelry artist Rachel Atherley’s display


2. Make visually pleasing groups. Avoid displaying items in a line – stagger them instead for a more dynamic presentation. And when grouping, use odd numbers to give a more pleasing effect.  When you allow pieces to stand out, they have a higher perceived value.

3. Display collections together. Do you make sets or pieces that work well together? Display them as such, to cross-sell and increase the sale. Who would buy only a salt shaker without the pepper? When your display shows how integral each piece is to the set and makes visual impact with it, your customers will tend to want the package. Artist Charan Sachar uses this technique well.


Ceramic artist Charan Sachar creates dynamic groupings in his display.

Ceramic artist Charan Sachar creates dynamic groupings in his display.


4. Informational cards near the display help tell the story. Use the artist’s photo, and logo. One short paragraph can share what inspires them, and makes their work really special. Artists should supply these to galleries as a sales aid.

5. Use colorways. If your handmade items make a color statement, display them in logical colorways for a greater “Wow” factor. Check out how this fiber artist grouped her scarves in a pleasing rainbow display.

This display makes greater impact with work grouped by colorways.

This display makes greater impact with work grouped by colorways.


6. Make them touchable. Touch is one of the most important factors in making the sale. You will sell more when you display items accessibly, and encourage both retail customers and wholesale buyers to handle the merchandise. Place items in their hand if possible when showing your work to feed the sense of touch. This also encourages a sense of ownership.

7. Avoid clutter. Your work is special – respect it by giving some breathing space in your display. Take a look at this jammed jewelry case below. Nothing is given the space to stand out. It all lapses into “sameness” instead.


Cluttered display

Too much clutter makes a display ineffective.


8. Focus on the right height. Place bestsellers in the “sweet spot” – at eye level for most shoppers.  Don’t make them stoop down to see your work, but make tables and hanging displays at a comfortable height for customers to view and handle your work.

9. Use your wall space.  Use difference surfaces and heights to show work – but don’t forget wall displays. These can range from individual pieces to walls which burst with color.



Scarves in booth display

Hanging displays make a statement and invite touching.


10. Good lighting is essential. Even a great booth display is ineffective if the lighting isn’t good. Make sure you use the right type of lights and plenty of them. This can dramatize a display and grab attention, and make individual pieces of art stand out as “more important.” More great info about using lighting is here.



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