The Strawberry Festival always kicks off my spring show season. Year after year I have done this show, because its well organized, I love the other vendors, and if the weather is nice (which we typically have one rainy day, one nice day) I do pretty good there.
There is always sooo much prep work that goes into that first show of the year. After a long dormant winter, displays need freshening, I always decide to re-arrange something, and there is usually a new design that I need to make a bunch of.
Due to silver prices, this year that new design was using copper and bronze to create my same style necklaces and bracelets, without the extreme cost. I wasn't sure how they would be recieved, since I have been a silver artist since the start.
There is so much stress that can be involved, and I can be a wreck by the time it comes to actually doing sales. However, I tried something new this year, thanks to a post a while back by Lori Anderson, about enjoying the show. She basically was saying, it's not just about making money, but making friends, being social, making connections to people, ect.... (sorry Lori- if that is too paraphrased). So this year, I DID NOT keep a tally sheet. I did NOT do mental math to see what I was making, and I DID NOT compare to what I made last year, ect. I simply talked to people about my craft, laughed with them, smiled and had a GREAT time. NO STRESS! Thank you sooo much Lori- for you wisdom, and encouragement. I can really get hung up on whether or not doing a show is worth my time (which equals $$$, right?), but not anymore. I love what I do. People like my stuff. There is nothing I can do about turn out or economy, ect....so I just plan to enjoy my shows...period!
AND, I am so happy to say, it went well and they love my earthy, organic metals!!!!
I sold most of these and then some. I made bracelets all day sunday and my helper and me came home with the ones from our wrist sold! I guess I better get to makin more!
I learned some things from years of doing shows. I never talked much about my craft, because I didn't want to be pushy. So the way my new display is, I can stand behind the "counter" and talk to the customer, without being all up in their business. And I found that when I told each person that the metal components were all made by me, and the copper etchings were hand drawn, ect....they stayed longer, asked questions and fell in love the the process as much as the jewelry. I love to talk about what I do, and they enjoyed learning about it as well. So talk to your customers, not to sell, but enjoy each other and your mutal interests in jewelery.
I learned not to bargain. I keep my prices as resonable as possible. I have a formula, and that does not even count all the time I spend on shows and show prep. It only includes the actual "creating" time. So, I don't make much money for what I do, and when you bargain, not only do you cheat yourself, but the customer will think it was overpriced to begin with. Which in most cases, is not true at all.
And mostly, thanks to Lori, I learned to just have fun.
My daughter stopped by to see me on Sunday (she had a girl day with Nana), and she was sooo sweet. She sat right in the booth, and greeted EVERYONE who walked by. She showed people where the mirrors were and helped them to the rings, whether or not they wanted to look at them.
I love that girl. She totally showed me up in salesmanship. (is that one word?)
So it was a great start to the spring. I hope the weather is nice next weekend for my Mothers Day Show in Bethlehem.
What is the best advice you have about doing shows???? You best tip for a newbie (or and oldie in need of some better tips;)?