Archive for the ‘display’ Tag

An Upgraded Display: Mr M’s Got It Handled   Leave a comment

I’m now going a-vendoring solo more often than I’m out with Mrs M. I normally double my booth to a 10×20 now. And with more space in the booth … that means I need to up my creativity to maximize each opportunity.

After all, I can’t just show up.

I have no clue what this year will turn out to be – for any of us. But I do know, when craft fairs, art shows, street festivals & such are once again happening, I better bring my best ideas to market, because I expect customers will be very choosy. Resources will be precious. I need to respect that.

When I set up my “standard” double booth these days, I put a 6′ table front & center, and then a taller 4′ table behind it. That results in good things for the look of the display.

That configuration, though, creates a 2’x2′ space behind the 6′ table that is wasteful. After all, I pay a lot of money to rent that space. How to fill it?

This is a common problem for vendors: how to fill the booth with a pleasing display. I’ve gone through several iterations for Mrs & me. Want to see our incredibly humble beginnings? Here’s booth # 1, from March 2014:

Mrs. M and Mrs. M, before they opened on their first day. Smiles on faces, and that is a very good thing!

Only one direction to go from there!

But, on to the task at hand … how to fill that 2′ x 2′ space in 2020.

After a lot of thinking, I had the idea. For me, that usually results in a high-faluting, incredibly complex plan on paper, and here was this one.

That’s 4 pages of planning! No wonder it took me months to get this built.

Note that I custom build all of my display pieces. I believe that reinforces what I do as a craftsman: customers appreciate that I make everything they see. It’s how I get the best possible display for the boards & games & such that I make. Your mileage may vary.

The final result is that I took those 4 square feet of booth space, and will now effectively display 36 handled boards! That’s far, far better than my old display for handled boards, when I just put them in a crate on a table, or hung them from the rafters so people bumped their heads on them.

Yes, it happened. More than once. And, I’m sorry.

Clearly, I needed an upgrade.

I actually have 5x different shapes that will hang from the display. For pictures of my current inventory, go to the links at the bottom of this page. For brevity, here’s a picture & description of each of the 5 boards that I have now produced for this display. Note that one shape comes either with or without juice groove … though in this shape, I view these groovy boards as having crumb catchers, not actually juice grooves. But that’s me.

OK, OK. I know. One of the designs just has a hole, not a handle … but work with me here.

So, now, to the design of the display. I had a few criteria:

  1. The display has to come apart for transport.
  2. Signage must be integrated.
  3. Flexibility is a must!

The display piece stands well over 6′ tall. The base is 22″ square and is on wheels. The tower rotates on a Lazy Susan bearing, and is built (probably over-built) to reliably hold more than 100 pounds of boards. Hangers are removable, of course, and secured to the tower with french cleats. 4 bolts attach the tower to the base, and 3 attach the sign on top.

3 boards are displayed on each of the 12 pegs. 4 boards will fit, but I’m keeping the display to 3 each for both brevity and to make sure nothing will fall while customers are fondling the boards.

These pictures were taken on a windy spring day (on the patio!), and the 36x boards cards were fluttering in the breeze. I’m going to tuck those cards behind the boards when I set up the display, just to improve the look. My customers appreciate the cards, the identification of the woods and the care instructions attached to the boards … but with a breeze, they proved to be a distraction.

Lessons Learned

  1. The tower, even with the holes cut into each side, is heavier than I had hoped. It’s primarily made from 3/4″ plywood … I should have used 1/2″, I think. Cutting the weight by 1/3 would have been good. I am debating whether to build a shelf in the trailer to transport this piece and other tall display pieces.
  2. The Lazy Susan bearing works, but the assembly is too heavy for people to turn it comfortably, I think. That’s OK. I’ll either assist the customers, or simply let them pull the “hidden” boards from the other side of the display to see them.
  3. Love the sign. Mrs M takes credit for the slogan. After 41 years of marriage … I let her take all of the credit she wants.


Getting It Handled

A Charcuterie Board

Handles Are A Good Thing

Mr M’s New Booth # 4 (Part 2): Going Vertical

Mr M’s New Booth # 4 (Part 1)

Mrs M’s New Booth: # 4

Mrs M’s Handmade: The Booth, 10×24 (# 3)

Mrs M’s Handmade: The Booth, 10×12 (# 3)

Mrs M’s New Booth (# 2)

Things I Learned At The Street Fair (# 1)

Mr M’s New Booth: # 4 (part 1)   5 comments

Change is a wonderful thing … but creating change is a challenge.

Last year, Mrs M’s new booth premiered to hoopla and huzzahs. The proof was in the pudding: her sales went up significantly when we began using her purpose-built booth.

And it’s not that I got jealous, but I did feel that Mr M’s Woodshop was being left behind. I needed to up my game … I have done a few display pieces and stitched them together into a booth display, but have never actually had a unified display for the Woodshop. By summer, that will be remedied.

Meanwhile, here’s where we started, so you know I have only one way to go. Note the vomiting of cheese boards across my table with the lovely table-cloth. Note the custom laminated sign. Note that I don’t rate being in the picture.

Humble beginnings.

Mrs. M and Mrs. M, before they opened on their first day. Smiles on faces, and that is a very good thing!

For the 2nd iteration of the booth, I had graduated to making display pieces … but never enough, it seemed, and always with issues in the execution.

I should get better help.

The 2014 booth included vertical towers that didn’t come apart and step units that did. Neither choice was correct.

By the time we hit 2015, I had learned from some of my mistakes. The step units now had removable posts to hold the product in place … but those removable posts all-too-frequently were removed when you picked up a board to look at. The non-folding towers were gone, but a purpose-built display for my engraved boards did make an appearance … and died later that year, since I assembled it with hardware not meant for multiple uses. I used wood screws, not machine bolts, and the red oak screw holes lasted for about 20 put-togethers, and then they were done.

See those sous chef boards hanging on a rope? They looked great most of the time … but if people leaned into the table to look at a board, they often hit their head. After a few months of that, I finally decided that people hitting themselves on my display was a bad idea. I’m quick, you’ve got to give me that.

That was my approach to product display for the first 3 years of Mr M’s Woodshop. People have put up with my shortcomings, but it’s time that I should act like a pro and build a display that’s as good as my cutting boards. I’m actually building a few more pieces, but these are 2 of the 3 major pieces for my display. Mrs M will eventually get a couple of new cabinets to match mine. All told, the entire booth should be upgraded & complete in time for Mountain Fest in Tehachapi this August.

August, he said? I can barely control my chortling, how about you?

Meanwhile, here’s  a photo array of part 1 of my new booth that premiered last weekend. Note these features:

  • 4 drawers in the big cabinet to hold product, accessories and who knows what else.
  • Both pieces are painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. There’s also a wax topcoat. We’ve got a 2-tone color scheme, with the top of the big cart a darker color than the cabinetry. The custom mixes of the paints were also combinations of 2 colors, interestingly. Everything came from Refined by Cindy Rowley. Cindi was a huge help consulting with me on how to do this properly – it’s the first time I’ve done distressed water-based paint since building sets at Mizzou! Highly recommend you check out Cindi’s store when you get a chance … you’ll even find some of my boards for sale there. Cindi’s now begun her 2nd year selling boards from Mr M’s Woodshop!
  • Each cart has a removable skirt that’s velcroed in place. The skirts cover up the wheels; we couldn’t have those unsightly things visible. Some events even require that! Kudos to Jan Sandstrom who finished the skirts in record time, and even brought them to us.
  • It takes a village.


Mrs M’s New Booth: # 4

Mrs M’s Handmade: The Booth, 10×24 (# 3)

Mrs M’s Handmade: The Booth, 10×12 (# 3)

Mrs M’s New Booth (# 2)

Things I Learned At The Street Fair (# 1)

Mrs M’s New Booth # 4 (part 2)   Leave a comment

It’s been a long wait for me to complete Mrs M’s 4th booth.

But then, I ought to know that it’s never easy getting to the finish line.

Mrs M was promised these display pieces last year. Foolishly, I got busy making new product that was selling, and didn’t make time have a chance to finish these pieces until someone was beyond frustrated with my prioritization of products that sell over one-off projects that just sit on the table.

Hmmm. Maybe my priorities were off. Ya think?

With these 2 pieces to hold Mrs M’s Lip Balm as well as the spectacle that is ZooSoapia, Mrs M’s booth is now complete with her purpose-built display.

Except for the rolling cart for the testing station.

And except for the rolling cart for the wrap station.

Those shall wait for another day, another season, and a time when I don’t have too many things that must be done looming over my head. Those frustrations, however, are for another time. Today, we celebrate the new stuff!


Mrs M’s New Booth: # 4

Mrs M’s Handmade: The Booth, 10×24 (# 3)

Mrs M’s Handmade: The Booth, 10×12 (# 3)

Mrs M’s New Booth (# 2)

Things I Learned At The Street Fair (# 1)

Mrs M’s New Booth   7 comments

After experiencing the altered reality that is a craft fair, Mrs M and Mrs M got together and discussed what they wanted their booth to look like.

After a fair amount of research and seemingly unending some discussion … I started cutting boards. Here is the new booth that displays the lotions of both Mrs Ms and the wooden constructions of, uh, well, you know.


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