I'm appreciative of the compliments my booth gets but it's not really that big of a deal. The difference between my booth and a simple bare bones one is only about $300. I do A LOT of shows and it's taken me years to refine and upgrade this shit. I've spent a ton of money getting it right so just learn from my mistakes!
Don't let other artists' presentation or portfolios intimidate you from doing a flatstock.
Lotsa good info in this thread.
I've never really tried any kind of browser racks. I've occasionally had portfolios on tables, and people like flipping through, but they didn't seem to be sales machines. I think I may take another stab at the browsers now that Tuffy has shared a link to those collapsible crates. I've typically relied on wall display alone... that's fine if I have a double space, but pretty limiting at a Renegade or Chicago FS where doubles can't be had.
Ok while I've never done a flatstock I've done other print fairs with booths and I've always thought having a bin or table to display extra wares on besides the walls is essential. For one you get to show off more stuff and have the chance at a few extra sales. ok that's obvious. Secondly people walking by like action in a booth. If your booth is slow just start moving stuff around in your bin or on your table and you'll have people stop to look. Nature abhors a vacuum, and people are less likely to enter a booth that nobody else is showing an interest in. Strategically place your bin or table so that when people come in your both you can trap them in the booth (a partner helps). Don't be nutty about it, be cool and sly, get them talking about junk and when someone comes by get them trapped in the booth too. You think this sounds crazy? Well maybe, but it's a fun game to play and I actually think it helps sales. My record is 12 people trapped in a booth of about 10'x4'. Also, while it's fatiguing, try to stand as much as possible. Walking by a booth with nobody in it but a dude sitting in a chair is depressing.
i really appreciate you sharing your advice and story, mikeage. reassuring/comforting/inspiring. thank you. great input tuffy, francisco, crosshair, and squeegee. appreciated. all of it.
the logistics of packing/travel/set-up worry me more than the booth aesthetics, but i should know going in, that the first few shows will be sloppy, awkward (drunken) and lesson-filled. a "stop thinking about it, and just do the damn thing" affair with me. i'll probably be hitting people up with dozens of questions. (e.g. "how many posters of each design should I bring?") aiming hard for Austin next year.
pardon the hijack.
it's amazing how many boxes people bring with them to a flatstocl. in chicago there are people that look like they're moving in. but like tuffy said, that's probably built up over years of doing it. my experience was super easy: shipped two 19x25 french paper boxes of posters to austin and checked two on the plane. had a carry-on backpack with some clothes and that was it. my only regret was only having the one pair of boots for 4 days straight.