Now, it's nerve-wracking enough to be in a craft show with pottery, woodwork, 2D art, and the like and worry about other jewelery vendors, but to be in a show where the entire body of work IS jewelry takes an entirely different level of nerve and let's just go ahead and say it -- confidence.
I wasn't worried about my jewelry -- the show promoters do a good job of mixing things up, and there are only 42 exhibitors. I'm used to doing shows with 300 vendors, so I was glad for the calmer set-up and the quieter chaos. (Don't you like how that word pairing sound? "Quieter Chaos"?)
No, what I was worried about was my energy. See, at shows I am ON. I am excited and exuberant and cheerful as a Jack Russell Terrier who hasn't seen his master in a week. I spend so much of my time working alone and living in a rural area that I look forward to the actual show date -- all the freak-outs over "do I have enough inventory?" by necessity are now over and now it's time to have fun, invite people to come into my booth and play dress-up, and relax.
|a necklace that sold at the show|
Fortunately, over the past six or seven years I've built a solid customer base in the Northern Virginia area and many of my customers have come to be good friends. One brought me a gift of hot chocolate mix and cinnamon sticks, and many gave me enormous hugs. Awesomely, a lot of them bring back their jewelry boxes to recycle, and I fill them up again. These customer-friends always seem to come right at the beginning of the show, so they got my spirits going in a wonderful way.
Another thing that made this show wonderful was meeting a Bead Soup Blog Party participant, Sandi Volpe. I'm always nervous meeting for the first time fellow beaders who've read my blog -- isn't that crazy? When people come into my booth to look around or perhaps buy, I'm totally fine chatting. I think when I meet people who I've "met" online, I get shy and wonder, "Am I what they expected?" and feel like a sixth-grader at the school dance.
Sandi, however, is a LOVELY person, inside and out, and just as real as she can be. You know what I mean by real? Someone who doesn't have a shell, or a reserve -- just a really sweet person you'd all love to know. And she brought me the most lovely gift...
The flowers are watercolors done by a friend of hers -- extra special! I was so touched. I absolutely CANNOT solder. The two times I tried, I burned my fingers, singed the paper inside the glass, and breathed in too much of the sal ammoniac fumes, even with ventilation, so I love to own this artwork.
The show was an enormous success, but I would be lying if I said it wasn't a tough show for me to get through. It was harder to be chipper and find energy, but in this business, if you're not, you're toast. Your potential customers walking down the aisles can sense it, and they won't enter a booth with a bad vibe.
Marketing is just as important, and these days, really, MORE important, than how beautiful your jewelry is. If you're negative, if you ignore your customer, if you don't smile, if you sit in the back of the booth and read a book and barely look up to acknowledge their presence -- your chances of sales drops dramatically.
|By The Big Harumph|
Marketing stats say you have only three seconds to attract a customer to your booth. Granted, the way your booth LOOKS has a tremendous amount to do with that, but you can't deny the power of personality.
Believe me, I know how hard it is to be Miss Congeniality when the crowds are low and the heat is hot and you've got that one customer that wants to pick apart everything you've made and tell you everything that's wrong with it. I did one outdoor show when a swarm of stinkbugs decided it was mating season on my tent roof. And at one show, I had a customer hurl a sign at me because she disagreed with where I said Larimar comes from (I was right, by the way). So it's safe to say, I've been there.
BUT YOU CAN DO IT! And the dividends are huge. Maybe you won't sell a lot that day but if you go back to that show, or you do another show where those customers might venture, they'll remember YOU were the one with the smile. And smiles definitely are contagious, both to the customer, and to you! Start smiling for no good reason and it's kind of hard to quit.
|My dearest husband, taken by my son Zack, so it's a teeny bit blurry.|
When the show was over, though, I was so darned glad to see my husband come to help me pack up and drive me the two hours home I could have cried. This wonderful man drove two hours to help me set up, drove two hours home, drove two hours to come get me, and (ok, you've got the math by now), two hours back. He shrugs it off since his daily commute is over 70 miles each way, but I know he did it because he loves me.
And then I hit the bed to watch a movie.
|Me, again taken by my 8-year old, so a little blurry. But by then, so was I!|
Hug the ones you love.