Monday, October 18, 2010

Craft Show Review

WHEW!  I finally got through my biggest show of the year this past weekend and I'm now dealing with the aftermath of unpacked boxes, jewelry to be resized, and just trying to catch up on sleep every chance I can get.  This week is going to be a whirlwind, what with introducing our newest addition to our family on Wednesday, finishing up the final inspection of the house, and finally getting started on the coordination of the book, but I'm up for it!

Here's how the weekend went:

When I start out for a show, I alleviate part of the stress of set-up by putting together four bracelet bars full of pretties, then wrapping them in tin foil and storing them in a box to take to the venue.  The tin foil keeps them from sliding off into a big heap in the bottom of the car.

at the venue, starting to set up
What you see below is the remainder of my bracelet inventory.  By the end of the show, everything I had brought with me was on the table.  I'm just glad I spent some late nights to get some extra things made, because my customer base tends to like bracelets the best.

I store my jewelry in under-bed boxes.

I got a few shots of the tables after I got set up.  I sold several leaf necklaces, but not this one, so you can expect to see it on the web site soon!  The pendant is an amazing gingko leaf, and the accents are copper chain, handmade lampwork glass, and onyx.

This is the larimar corner.  Larimar is a rare gemstone from the Dominican Republic. It's a natural blue gemstone, not dyed or treated in any way, and is highly collectible.  My stash is starting to dwindle, but it remains one of my more popular offerings.  I don't have much of it on my web site because it sells at shows quicker than I can get it on the site.

Like my purple and pink curtains?

I didn't get a chance to take a proper photo of this necklace before I left, and let me tell you, I was SORELY tempted to keep it, but I gave a little sigh and a pat and put it out for sale, and it's now living with one of my favorite customers.  Isn't it just too happy?  Those beads had been living on my work bench for a long time before I finally was able to even think about parting with them.

Enjoy, Roberta!

I'm grateful to Cindy Wimmer not only for coming to have dinner with me on Friday night, but for the following photo she took of my tables.

By Sunday, I was exhausted.  

When you do craft shows for a living, you are just ON the entire day, from sun up to sun down, usually with no food for hours and less sleep.  I was fortunate to have amazing repeat customers, people I consider friends, to help me along the way.  They'd come to shop, then watch my booth so I could race to the restroom.  One day, a customer showed up with a gift -- a venti Starbucks.  

My heart was hers all day long.

My craft show advice:

* Treat your customers well.  Offer free resizing, cleaning, and repairs.  Little things mean a lot.

* Even in October, be prepared for Christmas.  I sold out of almost all the Christmas bracelets and necklaces I'd made, and the holiday earrings were flying out the door.

*  Don't forget to ask for a wake up call.  Ha.  Snort. 

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.


  1. great tips and enjoyed reading about your preparations. I do a weekly market and sign up for annual shows throughout the year. I'm always looking forward to the annual shows but, it is a bit stressful the week before and I always feel in a rush to be ready. I think preparation is key but, I haven't quite got that down yet

  2. great tips and enjoyed reading about your preparations. I do a weekly market and sign up for annual shows throughout the year. I'm always looking forward to the annual shows but, it is a bit stressful the week before and I always feel in a rush to be ready. I think preparation is key but, I haven't quite got that down yet

  3. So good to hear you had a successful show. Your jewelry is beautiful so I can easily see how it would be a sell out for you. Now to B R E A T H E and relax...just enough to prepare for the holidays. Happy Autumn...

  4. I know I've told this before, but your booth is always so visually stunning -- it's like a boutique, except that the boutique staff is nice, not snooty. :-)

    I would have had a hard time giving up that necklace too. Is there any chance you'll make another one similar to it?

  5. Glad to hear that your show was so successful and I can understand that you had a hard time letting this beautiful lampwork-necklace go:-)

  6. Congrats on a successful show. You sure do have a lot of bracelets under your bed!!
    That tin foil trick will be put to good use. Thanks!

  7. I'm delighted it all went so well, Lori:) But I can imagine you're completely exhausted! And Christmas jewelry already ~aargh!! xx

  8. Your booth looks great Lori, and I'm glad to hear it was a successful show for you.
    My first of the season is this next weekend - am I ready? - not!

  9. Congratulations on a successful show! I can tell from the photos that you had some phenomenal pieces for your customers to choose from (larimar makes my heart go pitter pat!) so it's no wonder you had to haul out the extra inventory!

  10. Glad to hear that the show was a success! Must have been really good with all your inventory out by the end. The aluminum foil trick is a fabulous idea! I'll have to try that one. And sounds like and even busier week ahead, but it's all good. Kinda makes you feel alive...

  11. Lori,

    Thanks for sharing your show adventure with us. I guess we've all been through it before - the packing, dealing with long days in a tent, working with customers (love it), packing up really quick to get out and then dealing with the quickly packed up stuff when you get home.

    Your display looks awesome and I'm sure there are some happy ladies in your town.

  12. Glad you had a great show, makes it worth the work. Thanks for the hint about the tin foil could have used that yesterday, lol.
    ps that necklace IS awesome!!!

  13. Gorgeous photos of you gorgeous treasures. Wish I could have been there. That Ginko leaf necklace is fabulous. Love it!! So glad you did well and thanks for the tin foil idea. I have a 3 day event coming up in Nov so I appreciate you sharing your display ideas.

  14. So happy it all worked out well.
    I have my one and only show tomorrow. I have to take the day off from work to be ready. I never know if I have enough. I don't even have enough bracelets for one whole stand, I know that. Oh well. Maybe I can crank a few out tonight???

    Enjoy the day!
    Erin ;-)

  15. lori,
    i am so glad to hear things went well. a little under the weather here but very happy for you!

  16. Lori, Your display looks so professional! And, the jewelry is marvelous. You shouldn't have any trouble finding homes for all of it!

  17. Bravo! Thanks for sharing and your show looked fabulous! I love your ideas. I'll probably be moving back to South Carolina with family in 6 months and will be doing my jewelry for my income. Shows will probably become part of my source of sales I appreciate you sharing how you set up your booth.

    BTW - your lampwork beads are looking gorgeous!

  18. Lori, I'm so happy for you that your show went so're a pro! We all can stand to gain a lot from your experience and expertise. It was great to see you, meet some of your customers, and to enjoy that fabulous PIE!

  19. Congratultions, Lori! Love your setup. Thank you for always sharing your wisdom.
    And now, breathe. And try to get a bit of sleep.

  20. Congratulations on a very successful show. Your booth is awesome! I'm gong to remember your foil wrapping tip. Brilliant!

  21. What an amazing set up! I love your idea of wrapping the bracelets after you have them on the stands! I also love the ginkgo leave necklace, sweet! Glad you had a successful show!

  22. So all the stress was worth it in the end! :-) Love the tin foil idea, I will be seeing if I can incorporate that into my set up now! Congrats on your success.

  23. Congrats on a successful show! The table set up is wonderful.
    Bead happy!

  24. The photo's of your jewelry are amazing. I am so glad you chose to to share with us. You are so very gifted, Lori, and you will go far because of your passion for your craft.

  25. Anonymous2:24 PM

    Beautiful jewelry!! I love the bracelets!

  26. Congratulations on a successful show! Your work is beautiful, I can see why you would want to keep Roberta's necklace and that Larimar is the best! I especially love the one on the dress form with the cross.

  27. Great set-up. I LOVE that foil over the bracelet bar idea. That's freakin brilliant! Gotta love customer/friends helping out. Shows are so hard to do!

  28. Loving to see your gorgeous jewellery like that - just like a candy store! I'd love to see a photo of the whole booth to get the whole feel :)


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