Art fair artists and other vendors ask me all the time: when using the mobile boutique at a show or marketplace, do you have to arrive early for setup? What if your neighbors are already set up on either side? Can you squeeze the mobile boutique in between the booths? It doesn't look like the trailer will fit!


The basic answer is that you don't have to show up early. If your booth neighbors are already set up on both sides of your empty booth space, you can maneuver your booth into place easily. You won't even bump into their booths/tents at all! Your artisan pottery and glasswork neighbors will be especially relieved :)


It will require an extra step or two. I did it twice recently at show, and it added on about 5 minutes extra to setup and takedown. Here's what you do: unhitch the trailer/booth directly in front of the open space. Then you boost the booth up on the jacks and remove the trailer. You roll the trailer back underneath the booth at a perpendicular angle, from the front (door side) of the booth. Then you can lower the booth onto the trailer, roll it back into the space, extend the jacks to elevate the booth, remove the trailer, and finish setup as shown in this video.


I plan to create a video soon, showing how it works. In the meantime, here are a few still pics:

Questions? Want to order your own mobile boutique?Please get in touch.

Updated: Oct 17, 2019


My mobile boutique setup at outdoor and indoor shows, and in transit

I get asked one particular question about my mobile boutique very often online, but rarely in person. The question goes something like this:


"Can you use this setup at a juried art show? Don't they require you to use a white tent?"

People don't ask this nearly as much in person, because they usually see me at a juried art show, and my presence exhibiting there in my mobile boutique pretty much answers the question.


My basic answer as of this writing (Sept. 3, 2019) is: Yes, most of the time juried art shows are happy to include me with my mobile boutique setup. The occasions when I'm not allowed to use it are becoming fewer. I'm currently booked through next April at juried shows where I'm approved to use the mobile boutique. I still have my old white tent, but I don't expect to use it any more.


Here are a few more thoughts, based on my first six months (Feb. through Aug. 2019) using my mobile boutique at juried art shows:


1. Many shows seem to require that all exhibit tents need to be white. They DON'T usually require the artists to use tents in the first place. Their rules leave open the possibility to use other types of booth structures.


2. Most show directors understand that my setup offers many advantages for their show or festival. It provides a unique point of interest, and it helps with safety and security for everyone around. For example, my booth is never blown around by a storm or wind gust like many of tents. I provide a stable, level ground for visitors, whereas most of the tents use an uneven, irregular ground surface as a floor. Also, my visible security cameras help prevent theft for my neighbors, too, not only for me. Usually the show directors understand these advantages based on the annotated booth shot in my application. I also usually reach out by phone or email to see if they have any questions or concerns, and I point out these considerations as needed.

3. I've done eight juried art shows so far this calendar year (Feb. through August 2019). Six of them have allowed me to set up with my mobile boutique. Two required me to use my old tent setup instead, because I had applied with an older booth shot, taken before my new setup was ready for use. Grrr. However....

4. All my upcoming art shows for the next six months have already approved me to use the mobile boutique. The process is getting easier. During the application and jurying stage, my annotated mobile boutique 'booth shot' (see below) is helping to proactively explain how my setup easily fits into art show booth spaces, and addresses some potential concerns. I'm also becoming increasingly selective about my show participation, and I heavily favor the ones where I can set up the way I want.


Here's my most current booth shot for my juried art show applications. I submit it with the notes, shown above in white font. I believe the explanation is helpful for my chances of admission into the shows. I block out my company name signage because many art show juries don't want to see any artists or company names in the application materials. help I realize this isn't a perfect booth shot, because it's taken at an angle instead of head-on. I should also probably remove or edit out the fans and mirror, which are a bit distracting. I'll probably reshoot it soon.

5. Finally, to return to the white tent topic: I can actually put up a white tent over my mobile boutique. It seems kinda silly and completely superfluous, but the dimensions fit and it's not too difficult for me to do it on occasion. In fact, this fall I'm participating in two outdoor weekend gift market events (separate from the juried art shows) where the organizer approved me based on my willingness to put up a white tent over the building itself. OK, no problem...


Update, Oct. 2019:

And here's what the mobile boutique looks like when covered with a white tent. Occasionally a show director just really needs to check off the 'white tent' box for all exhibitors!

I'm the metalsmith/artist who dreamed up the first Shop On the Road mobile boutique prototype, for use in my own art business. Now I'm producing them for other artists and exhibitors.

Doug Heifetz

© 2019 by Shop On the Road