Monday, September 27, 2010

After the Show

I had my first craft show since March this past weekend, and felt so out of practice!  Normally, I have at least one a month, with multiple shows in the fall and winter, but this year I decided to take time off to rejuvenate physically and mentally.  I picked my top five shows and dropped all outdoor shows -- except for this one, because I felt a late September show would have reasonable weather.

Ha!  I ended up feeling like this....



Friday set-up was a fair treat.  Brutal sun and heat made schlepping boxes and tent poles OH so much fun.  We also learned that Annapolis is fighting the good fight of the stink bug.  Good grief.  Not just one, or ten, or twenty.  Entire convoys of the things decided to come see what we were doing.

Saturday dawned just as hot.  Heat index of 102.  But this is my job, and I must persevere.  I was prepared, though!  I had my trusty palm leaf fan I bought from Pottery Barn -- heavy duty and up to the task....


I was also blessed by a group of customers who drove down from Northern Virginia just to shop.  One called it the "Zachary Tuition Fund Trip" and I was overwhelmed and humbled by their love and support.  These are the sort of customers I am lucky to have.

Here's a business tidbit that I'm sure all of you jewelry designers already know and do -- treat your customers not as if they are only going to shop with you once.  Treat them as if you want to keep them for life.  What I mean by that is yes, your jewelry is knock-out gorgeous (yes it is, I've seen it, you guys ROCK) but concentrate just as hard on customer service (and I know you do).  I offer free resizing, free cleaning, and free repairs for what they've purchased.  I also give 10% discounts for repeat customers.

The details matter, too -- packaging, signing invoices with my name and a thank you -- and here's the big one.  If you're doing a craft show, no matter how you feel, no matter how well or how badly the show is going, SMILE.  If you smile, you'll find it harder to stay in a bad mood, and smiling is contagious!

(Just my personal thoughts -- there are LOTS of ways to be successful!)


My new sign with my new logo isn't in yet, so I made do with the old one.  The craft show was in a lovely park, and I was set up in the grass on the edge of the brick sidewalk.  Photos of my booth never look quite like actually LOOKING at the real thing, but here you get the idea -- dark purple table drapes with ivory over the top so the jewelry can show, things on various levels, and traditional and non-traditional jewelry displays.  I like to set the booth up like a boutique.


Saturday had a 102 degree heat index and Sunday poured the rain down for the first hour or so and was cool enough that I wished I hadn't worn shorts -- a carbon copy of last year's show.  But even with the rain, it was a success.

Although I did really well, I've decided against doing any outdoor shows next year unless they're in April.  There's just no way to predict the hot weather, even into fall.  I absolutely can't stand the heat (let's not even TALK about the headache it triggered) and I will be looking for another show, hopefully in the spring.  So that means I'll be able to go to ArtBliss next year!  I heard it was a fantastic event and I already can't wait to go.

So there was my weekend -- how was yours?


 PS:  Don't forget to enter the free book giveaway!  
Just click here!  Ends September 29th!

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and writes the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.

26 comments:

  1. Wow! What a weekend for you! Sorry about the heat, and I do feel your pain, but your booth looked absolutely lovely! Good for you for sticking it out!

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  2. Lori, your set up is lovely. I completely agree that customer service is at the top of the list of things you need to deliver along with that smile. I'd even go so far as to say it's awfully important for those browsers out there. I can't tell you how many times I've had people who browsed for months at the monthly market I do come back and buy a bucket load of stuff in a few months. Smile even when it's hot and you just want to crawl under a table and nap. Goes a million miles in good will.

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  3. Oh, Lori, those are such good suggestions, ALL of them. And your booth is lovely. I am constantly looking for things to "re-purpose"
    for jewelry dispays. I walk through Goodwill with earrings in hand to hand on various things! But I'm totally with you on the outdoor shows. I've done them for over 10 years and last year I decided no more. That was after my tent blew over(for the third time) in 100+ heat!

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  4. I wish I didn't live on the opposite coast.

    Love that bracelet.

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  5. Your booth looks great Lori, but I hear you about the heat. We're getting it too now, after a summer of cool weather. I go to Palm Springs for a craft show, so I feel your pain! Take care, Martha

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  6. -I love that photo of the bear. I totally know that feeling.
    -I'm sorry the fair was tough but it's really great that you have people coming in from out of state just to buy your work! That's amazing. Of course, I'm not surprised since YOUR JEWELERY ROCKS!
    -Thanks for the reminder to smile. Sometimes it's hard when things are going just a little too slow but you are right - they are contagious.

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  7. What a gorgeous set up! Sorry it was so hot for your show but pleased you did well. Miss you!

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  8. I love your craft stand!! I heart the banner and your display is purfect!! I will be having my craft show on October, wish me luck! :D

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  9. Congrats on a successful show, even if the weather wasn't what you had hoped for. Your booth looked gorgeous.

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  10. Hey Lori
    Thanks for sharing the insights to successful shows. The weather is difficult to predict...and yes, we had it all this weekend: heat and rain, and lots of stink bugs throughout! The good news is that this helped make your decision, that you'll join us next year for ArtBLISS! Yippeeee! :-)

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  11. Lori your set up is awesome! That sucks about the heat, I didn't realize you guys were still that hot there. Great advice on dealing with the customers.
    I hope Zack's first day of school is a blast!
    Take care!
    Beth

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  12. Your set up looks beautiful - I cannot belie ve it was 102 !!!! What torture - your probably still dehydrated !!! Happy Tuesday - I am glad it went well : )

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  13. Well, congratulations on a great show! Your loyal customer story is heart-warming -- how blessed you are! Your booth looks lovely!

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  14. Great booth Lori! It looks lovely. I think your ideas about customer service are right on. Thanks for the reminder.

    Enjoy the day!
    Erin

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  15. Glad that your show was a great success, despite the heat! Your booth setup is stunning and it does look like a boutique! Thanks for the tips!

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  16. Your display is great ... very inviting. I think September in the Mid-Atlantic is HOT! much, much hotter than June. June would probably be a good month too!

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  17. Sounds like you had a great show, Lori! Congratulations!

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  18. Sorry about the heat and the bugs! :( But very glad to hear you did well....
    Your booth looks great....I miss doing shows - I really have to get back out there...it's been over 3 years.

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  19. Your booth and display is fabulous, Lori! Hope to join you at ArtBliss next year!

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  20. I really enjoyed your outdoor show experience, but I didn't feel the heat or the bugs! Awesome display, no wonder you did so well, plus your wonderful smile and jewelry to be desired :) I would love to elevate items, especially that shelf unit, but the wind would do me in. If the sides are on the tent, they would knock it over, although we do fasten to the top with bungies. I did a lot of outdoor shows in northern Wis. this summer, mostly successful. I've noticed that people are buying more gifts this year! What about the rest of you?

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  21. Your set up looks fabulous! I'm so glad things worked out despite that crazy weather.

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  22. Love your booth, very welcoming! Thanks for the great customer service tips, these are so important. I'm so happy it was a good show for you.

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  23. OMG....I can relate as we have had 109degree temps here for three days and I had such a struggle. I so feel for you having to setup in such heat and then having rain...oh my. Your booth looked lovely, your lamp work beads simply gorgeous...so glad you did well despite the weather.
    Tootles
    Diana

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  24. I just got back from vacation and I'm trying to catch up things...

    I have to say your booth setup is fabulous, Lori! :) I just checked out your new website and it looks great too!

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  25. I love seeing the picture of all your pieces set up! So cool!

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  26. Your set up is just lovely and your tips and pointers much appreciated. I've just started doing a weekly outdoor market and now we are coming into summer I have to say I'm dreading it a bit. Had to buy an umbrella and stand yesterday because last week I cooked and it was only a fairly mild spring day.
    As the sweat is pouring off me I'll remember your tip to smile!!!!

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