How to Display Soap

How to display soap at a fair, craft show or store


We have used baskets to display our soaps for years. Mainly because baskets create the illusion that there is more soap than you actually have. When soaps are stacked on top or each other or in a straight line from front to back, it creates the visual of a single product – the eyes only see the first bar. But when the soaps are haphazardly arranged inside a small basket, the presentation is rustic and inviting. It lures customers to actually pick up the soap and smell it. Below is a basket of soap from our store. Notice how the soap spreading in all directions gives the illusion of quantity? Baskets are easy to find. Just look in local dollar stores, especially around the holidays. We know one soap maker that uses HUGE baskets, actually they are wicker laundry baskets, completely filled with bars of soap. For her, it makes for a better presentation because she only makes about eight varieties of handmade soap. So, this large quantity of only eight types is a very impressive display. It tells her customers, “I make soap, lots of soap and there’s plenty more where that came from.”
displaying soap baskets

Setting up an entire soap display for a flea market or craft fair doesn’t have to be difficult. We do it with nothing more than a six foot table, two wooden boards, some mini milk crates and two pieces of cloth. Below are two pics of just such a setup. I managed to dig through the computer to find photographs from our first year of setting up at the Nashville fairground flea market. As you can see, this is before we started using baskets for the soaps. But, we brought so MUCH soap with us that it still made for a good presentation. I also know it is an old picture because we haven’t colored our soy candles for years.
The above setup is in a 10 x 10 booth space. In the background you can see booths behind us that are facing another aisle. In the first pic, the table on the right is set about two feet from the back of the booth space. It is a six foot long table. The table beside it that helps create the L-shape is a four foot table. This way, we can stand behind the table. It leaves enough room for two folding, camping chairs (we would take turns sitting) and the stair-step effect on the table gave lots of room behind it for – the cash box, shopping bags, lunch, credit card slips, etc.

How to create the stair-step. Set up your table. First, cover the table with your first table cloth. To create two tiers, you will need: 2, six foot long wooden boards as wide as — the milk crates you’re going to buy.
Set up three milk crates in the middle of the table, one at each end and one in the center. Behind those crates, you will need six milk crates set up the same way but stacked two-high. These are mini milk crates. They are also found in many dollar stores but you can also buy them in stores like Office Depot for around $2.00 each. Stores such as the DOLLAR TREE sometimes carry them for $1.00. Next, place the boards across the milk crates which creates your shelving. Now, take the second table cloth and drape it over your makeshift staircase. By placing the crates in the middle and back of the table, the table itself becomes a third (or bottom) step in your display. In the left pictures above, you can see we went one step further and created a small shelf BELOW the table using a few boxes and another wooden board.

If you want to make an L-shape, set up the four foot table beside your six foot as we have done above. In these pictures, we used burlap to cover the shelving and a dark green tablecoth for the table. Later on, we began using all solid green and liked it much better. If you choose fabrics that are 100% polyester, you will find you don’t have to do a lot of ironing before a show. Just wash and carefully fold or roll the fabric. Of course, you want to pick a fabric color that reflects the theme of your company. We chose green because the word Green is in our company name. Also, earth tones and greens give off a more natural appeal to showcase natural products.


You’d be surprised at how much you can fit into a small space and still make it look good. Below is our display back when our products were in the store called THE BLACK LION located inside Opry Mills Mall. The mall is currently closed due to the flooding of Nashville in May of 2010. However, we had pulled out of Black Lion the previous February to focus on our retail store. The space you see below was simply an L-shaped space made up of one, eight foot wall and a side wall that was less than three feet wide. Additionally there was table space in the center of the booth.
The tall shelf shown on the right side of the photo was provided by the store. The shelving to the back of the pic was made using simple strips of wood nailed together for the shelves. The end pieces and one center piece used the same wood made into a straight ladder shape, allowing the shelves to slide through them from the end. The entire unit was mounted to the wall with L-brackets. As you can see above, there was plenty of space to display soy candles, lotions, creams, sugar scrubs and plenty of soap and gift sets.

Check in your area for antique stores or craft malls that rent space. Before committing to a lease, shop in the store a few times and see if the staff is helpful and friendly to their customers. Also, is it on a busy road or tucked away on backstreets that no one travels on? Hopefully, the picture above demonstrates how much you can do in a small space.

The two pics below are of our first and second store locations.
TIP – place best seller items at eye level. The only thing that should be on bottom shelves (shelves that are level with the floor) are extra stock, decor or empty gift baskets waiting to be filled and sold. Rarely, do customers like to bend over and shop on the floor. When designing your displays, keep everything in easy reach.

I hope the few tips and photos I’ve given here half stirred some ideas in you. The most important thing about how to display your soap and other products is that the style reflects the message you are trying to convey. Sometimes it can be simply the color scheme, the choice of fabric, a little bit of signage and a few simple baskets.

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