What is good lighting for selling beaded jewelry at art and craft shows? Can bad lighting hurt your sales? How can you arrange your lighting, so it helps you sell more of your beaded jewelry?
After several years of experiments, I can share my ideas, mistakes, and suggestions!
Let me start with the most important statement:
Lighting is crucial for jewelry display and profitable trade. No jewelry presentation can overlook proper lighting fixtures. No art and craft show jewelry booth should be set up without lighting.
How Good Lighting Can Improve Beaded Jewelry Sales At Craft Shows
Six common lighting mistakes when setting up your craft booth:
- Not using any light is a huge mistake! Even if your booth is set outside and the sun is shining on your handmade jewelry. The sun will travel across the sky, and your natural lighting will disappear.
- Using decorative lamps as the primary light source. While night table lamps and floor lamps can certainly add to the whole decor of your booth, they fail to emphasize small artworks.
- Using too much of bright light.
- Directing light into the face of a customer.
- Using different light fixtures or those that don’t coordinate with the booth design.
- One source of light is not a good idea.
What type of lighting is right for handmade and beaded jewelry presentation?
There are three types of indoor lighting:
- Ambient/ Artificial
Artificial general lighting might be necessary for certain conditions. For example, when I participated in the art show in the open air, my booth was set under the tree. After sun rays had lighted my jewelry for several hours, the sun turned, and suddenly my booth became very dark inside.
This was the only case when I had to use the long fluorescent lamp attached to the top structure of the booth.
Task light might look like what you need to attract attention to a jewelry piece. However, I think, some task light lamps create a strong contrast between light and darkness if positioned to closely. The jewelry piece in the spotlight might not show all the details, and the other beadwork around it won’t be visible.
Accent lighting focuses light on a particular area or object. It is commonly used to highlight the art object or any other object in the interior. It is more focused and usually softer than a task light. I recommend accent lighting for beaded jewelry presentation and sales.
Why is good lighting important?
At the recent show, one of my customers commented on a perfect lighting while trying to resist buying one of my shiny bracelets. She said:
“All that jewelry looks so good under the special lighting…”. I sensed doubt in her voice, but she finished her sentence: “I just can’t resist buying!”.
In fact, beaded jewelry with shiny glass beads and crystals always catches the light, no matter where you are. There is no doubt, beaded jewelry piece is the first to attract attention, and only then the rest of the outfit will be noticed. It is just in human nature to pay attention to the bling. You may argue that only women do that. I disagree. Many men walked their wives or girlfriends to my booth and paid for the necklaces that they chosen and approved. It wouldn’t happen if men were indifferent to the shiny elegant beaded jewelry.
Correct lighting just helps your customer to see all the “bling” hiding in your piece.
Color matching is also important for many customers. Without proper lighting, your customer might not see the colors, buy the item and regret it later. I think, regretted purchase is worse than no purchase at all.
During the years of experiments, I tried different inexpensive solutions. I also observed other vendors and noted my experience as a customer.
I started with a PVC pipe construction that my husband made for me. He made it for one eight ft table. We used inexpensive construction clamp lamps, and it worked. He painted the PVCs with a metallic paint, and they looked awesome. However, the structure was a little wobbly, and we kept tripping over the supportive “legs” of each pole.
Later I added some lights for new statement pieces. Again, I used more affordable solutions because I realized, I might need to change and adapt to new conditions.
When I rented a bigger booth, I decided to try powerful construction lamps: one for each table. Big mistake! The light was too bright for my customers. It might have created an uncomfortable atmosphere. Besides, the light was blinding them when they leaned over the table to talk to me. It also hurt my sales that year.
Finally, I decided to stick to spotlights to accent my work and make customer experience pleasurable. I am sensible to the interior lighting. I imagined my every customer could be, too. So I returned to the PVC construction: three poles connected at the top and the bottom with extra support at the bottom. The right position of each lamp was essential: they were attached to the top horizontal PVC pipes and therefore completely out of the way of a customer. The lights were directed slightly at the angle, just like it is recommended. I noticed that this setup made me very busy at the show. It also helped my bank account (the smile of success).
Perfect Lighting Is…
- Accurate and balanced
- Low heat and light weight
- Assembles in minutes with no tools
- Transportable and easy to store
- Clean and attractive looking
- Power saving
Lighting On A Budget
Lighting up your booth on a budget is not an easy task. For a very budget conscious artist (well, most of us are), consider designing your own structure. Knowing your usual display arrangement, you will be able to invest only in those items that are necessary.
When I was shopping for my first show, I didn’t even know if I will continue participating in such events in the future. I went to Ikea and grabbed a couple of table task lamps. They have become my supplementary lights that I could move around whenever I want during the show. Years later I still see art vendors using these lights for smaller displays. There is nothing wrong with that. Most of the time they meet all the requirements of the “Perfect Lighting” list.
Some Lighting Do’s and Don’ts
- Lighting should enhance your product. Do not let your lighting become the central focus.
- Good lighting isn’t noticed. Try to minimize dark shadows. Create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
- Avoid lighting that creates a distraction! Make sure your lights don’t shine in the customer’s eyes!
- Do not use one source of light.
- Use as many lights as you need to highlight your beaded jewelry. Make sure your statement pieces are lighted the best possible way.
- If you can’t afford too many lights, do not create a big display.
- Set up your lights, so they are not in the way of a customer. Light structures must not become an obstacle.
- A visible tangle of wires might ruin the neat look of your booth. If they are not part of your booth design, hide them!
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