Merchandising Tour: Set up your booth and grab a beer while everyone else is still hard at work

Show booth setup doesn't have to be stressful and time-consuming. SNEWS looks at how Nikwax and Ruff Wear simplified the process at Outdoor Retailer.

Checking out the booths at Outdoor Retailer is a visual merchandiser’s Disney World; the colors, the innovation, the creativity and the inevitable surprises in design never fail to excite. Anyone who has had the benefit of walking the floor before the show opens, it is a whirlwind of excitement, exhaustion, and might we add a tiny bit of cursing, before the doors open and it’s showtime! Show booths can be effective without being complicated and don’t need hours of confusing construction to make solid brand statements as seen here with Nikwax and Ruff Wear:

Nikwax’s ( new booth went from the sketchpad to finish in just three months with the new 20-by-20 booth only taking three hours to assemble thanks to it’s slab and slot system. The old booth used to take three people two days to put together. Even better, the new booth packs down to just 4 feet high. The booth construction is based on a gravity lock system so no tools are necessary for setup with the hub of the booth holding the entire show’s stock. Nikwax’s booth is hinged so it packs right back into the crate it arrived in. No waiting for the crate to be delivered means the Nikwax folks are all packed up and heading out without delay at the end of the show! Booth design was by Russ Colquhoun of Origami, Inc. ( and is made of O-VOC FSC prefinished Nauf Baltic Birch.

Ruff Wear’s ( new playful and colorful booth not only sets up with just a Phillips head screwdriver, but it went from 3,300 to 2,000 pounds allowing for additional savings in freight as well as time. The booth has no fasteners, and pieces just slide into each other.

The pet product company's old booth used to involve an extra night’s stay at the end of the show because exhibitors have no idea when their crate will come back from storage. This year, they walked out at 5:30 p.m. on the last day because their booth IS the crate.

Ruff Wear's Greg Freyberg (retail brand planner) and Patrick Kruse (founder and owner) built the 20-by-20 booth in Patrick’s backyard from start to finish in just two weeks. The booth is versatile and can convert to a 10-by-20 booth by simply removing one of the desks. Wood is a maple plywood from Home Depot with a soybean based finish, which is nontoxic and durable. The lights are "chicken lights" also from Home Depot running about $6 per light. The corrugated metal vent pipe used to display collars and leashes came from recycled construction materials. The finishing touch was the use of PlusFoam carpet squares instead of traditional carpeting which had been the culprit for much of the previous booth’s weight.

SNEWS® Merchandising Tours are designed to provide inspiration, ideas and the confidence to think “out of the box.” Join one of the Merchandising Tours at Winter Market and see for yourself. Would you like to join Robin Enright, merchandising editor for SNEWS® and the founder and CEO of Merchandising Matters (, during Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2012 for the sixth Outdoor Retailer Merchandising Tour program, co-sponsored by Outdoor Retailer and SNEWS? Email to put your name on a contact list for more information and to ensure your name is on the registration list for the next Outdoor Retailer Merchandising Tour Program, Winter Market 2012 -- spaces are limited.



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