The show next weekend is my first one since going solo, so I'm a little anxious about it. I want to make sure that I come in and set up professionally and have a polished presentation.
To do that, I'm double-checking everything. The booth isn't completely done yet, but it is done enough for me to do a real trial run. Here are the questions I needed answered:
Q: Are the grids too heavy for the frame or do they strengthen it and make it rigid enough to handle their weight?
A: They add a massive amount of stability to the structure. When they are tied into place, the booth doesn't hardly wiggle, even when all of the garments are hung.
Q: Does the booth need more side-to-side sheer support, especially with the metal grids on?
A: No. It's perfectly stable.
Q: Are the grids ugly? Do they need to be covered in canvas from the inside of the booth?
A: No. They are mostly hidden by garments. The grids with matching waterfall racks look really professional and unobtrusive to the garment display. They also let air flow through the booth.
Q: Does the booth need solid side walls on the outside?
A: No. In fact, the breeze blowing through the booth is nice. It would be sweltering otherwise.
Q: How am I going to display scarves? Several rods? How are the scarves hung?
A: Hanging them from the lower rung of the clothes hangers hung from a rod looks really professional and gives easy access to see the options. The metal grid is convenient for mounting the rod with no additional hardware to build.
Q: Do I need to build a special mounting system for the mirror?
A: No. It has mounting slots on the back that zip-tie onto the metal grid. It looks tidy, and stays level and secure with no extra futzing.
Q: Is the electrical inverter so loud that it needs to be kept inside a cabinet?
A: No. If the inverter is in the space behind the booth, it works just fine. It'll be even better when there's a back wall to hide the view. Crowd noise should make its presence completely undetectable. Same for the printer. It'll be like magic - I ring people up and process their payment on my iPod and by the time their garment is in a bag their receipt has silently emerged from the hidden printer.
Q: Once the garments are in the booth, is there room for me to stay in the shade and greet people.
A: Not really. I should step out of the booth when people arrive so they have room to explore the merchandise themselves without bumping into me.
The other thing I did today was to hone a preflight checklist. Everything that got packed into the van was added to the list. At the dress rehearsal, anything that was missing got added to the list as well. Little things like the change box, sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and first aid kit are easy to forget. They can make a big difference.
And today I finally got my "Welcome to the Show" packet in the mail. As I suspected, they expect a rapid dropoff of the booth and everything that goes into it during a specific timeframe. I should be good. The booth unpacked from the van in less than 5 minutes, set up in 30 (including unpacking and hanging merchandise), tore down in 20, and was back in the van in 10.
This week's task list is looking way more manageable now: finish more red garments, finish the booth walls, and build a "counter". Whew!