Monday, September 10, 2007

Show time!

Well, I survived my second little jewelry show yesterday. Unfortunately, it was pretty much a bust, financially at least. I did make back my booth fee, but not much more. I guess street fairs are better if you are are selling food or perhaps something inexpensive geared to kids. I did have fun talking to my friends that stopped buy, and I had a nice time talking to some strangers.

I especially enjoy the kids. A group of boys about my daughters age stopped by, and I really wowed them by explaining how lampwork beads are made. I bring my hot head torch, some colorful rods, canes, coated mandrels and beads still on mandrels to use as audio visual aids while I explained lampwork. It's fun to have kids think what you do is really cool. I also had a lovely young girl, jr high school age I think, who claims that she's know since she's small that she wants to work glass. She was really interested in the lampwork process, and was pretty excited to find out that it is something that you can do in a home studio.

The other highlight of my day was having a little helper for a while. The girlfriend, who convinced me to participate in the street fair's, little girl. She the one "modeling" a necklace in todays picture. She's a spunky little kid and I really enjoy hanging out with her.

Selling jewelry is difficult because there are so many people selling jewelry at festivals, and it's hard to be "competitive" price-wise when you actually make your own beads. I don't think my prices are at all out of line with those of other jewelry makers, and considering each piece has one or more original handmade beads my prices are probably actually reasonable. Of course not everyone grasps or appreciates the difference between handmade lampwork and store bought components. And "reasonable in the lampwork world is rarely "cheap". I'm also the first to realize that everyone is on a budget, and jewelry is a luxury item. I know that I do much more looking and admiring than I do buying when I attend a fair. Perhaps the local street fair isn't quite the right venue for my work.

I have wondered if having a tent would have improved sales. I thought my display was attractive, but perhaps that big white canopy would have imparted a feeling of professionalism and desirability to my work. Or would it have just been a waste of a few hundred dollars all for naught. It would be nice to be able to answer that question.

My display actually received quite a bit of attention. I used a pretty cross stitched floral table cloth that I thought nicely complimented my work. I had many, many people come up and admire my table cloth. Is it better to use a plain, less noticable table covering as to not take away from your beads? Or is attention getting with booth decoration a good thing? It would be interesting to know the answers to these questions... although I suspect the answer is "it all depends" on the day and the show.

It's a good learning experience.

You can catch a glimpse of my pretty tablecloth in this picture. My sister bought the table cloth while she was in St. Thomas V.I. on her honeymoon and later gave it to me. It's all beautifully handstitched... (probably by children in a third world sweat shop, but beautiful work non-the-less!)


Anonymous said...

There is absolutely no way to predict what will help you sell or what will work against you. You could sell your butt off in the pouring rain and sit for hours without any activity on a beautiful day.

donna said...

Hey, isn't that the table cloth I sent you years ago? I bought in the Carribean and after having no room to store it and no rectangular table, I thought you would appreciate it. I rather liked it on your display. And I think you should get one of those tent tops. They are very inexpensive anymore and you could use for backyard parties. I wish I could have come to your show...or a backyard party or anything you do.
From your little sis

donna said...

Well, I guess I should have kept reading. I see you remembered about the table cloth and even gave me credit. Looks beautiful even 22 years later.