Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Aftermath of a Jewelry Craft Show - What to do after the show is over

What do you do after a jewelry craft show?



You evaluate.
Why and how?

I had a jewelry craft show last weekend.  I meant to let you know all about it , but just could not get enough time to write the post.

It was free,  a  no- booth- fee show and that is why I had taken it.  But was that a good thing?  You tell me your opinion at the end in the comment.

My story:
I thought before signing up what would I lose?  I'd get some exposure, know more vendors and people, see what people liked, what they picked up and put down.  Was price an issue?  It would give me all these valuable insights.

So I took all my inventory, did a practice show display at home, spent 8 hours on preparation ( not making any jewelry), took my tent and all my things, woke up five o'clock on a Saturday morning and headed for the show.

In the show I spent the whole day, that is ten hours from prep work to breaking down.  At night I was so tired I just took a couple of pain killers and slept.

Half of next day went unloading and recuperating.

What was it like:

I found the tent had to be set  on shredded bark. It is a farm.  I was wearing an open toe shoe!



 There was no traffic other than the vendors.  Many of them were grouchy because they were at the back and no one knew that they existed.  The promoters asked only donations from us but charged $15 tickets as entry fee from public  which we did not know before applying. This  discouraged outside traffic.

My neighbor   vendor was a deaf lady in a wheel chair.  When I saw that her friend/partner  brought some card board slabs to roll the wheel chair for her friend with a big smile on her face, I had a different perspecitive.  They sold bath products.

They were my only customers but bought $60 worth of stuff.  I bought from them too, which gave me a nice soothing bath later at night!

One thing I learned - to take notes objectively.  Here are the points I took notes on that may help you in such situations.  I got it from Rena Klingenburg's e -  book Ultimate Guide to your Profitable Booth  which I bought.  It has many good ideas.

 No I am not an affiliate of this product, just a fan of her website. Here are the points I checked after the show:

Event:A&Z show in Martinez:
 Date:Oct 2014.

My  expenses (show fees, advertising,
transportation, lodging, food): Minimal with in $5

My income (sales total; was it what you
expected?): $60. Quite bad but they say you have a profitable show if you have made 10 times the booth price.  I did.

The show itself (well advertised? crowd
size? problems? would you do this show
again?): No crowd. No I'll not.

My  promotions (What pre-show promoting
did you do? Did it pay off?): I e mailed my earlier clients. No ad cost

My booth (location, size, pros and cons):  Putting up a tent on wet bark chips was not fun.  But it did not have any wind, or other weather problems. So not very bad.

My displays (what got attention, what
didn’t work, what was a pain?): I got compliment for my booth but it was a pain. I need to simplify it.

My  jewelry (what sold, what was ignored,
what did people ask for?): $10 - $20 stuff.  Lots of compliments for hard work but no sales.

My  customers (age groups, personal
styles, spending levels, who browsed, who
bought?) : I had only 3 customers Age 45- 60.  Female.  But younger visitors appreciated the style.

My overall sales (small sales, big sales,
single purchases, multiple purchases? bought
for self or gift?): For self.

My specials (how did sale prices and
volume discounts do?):

My packaging (what worked, what
didn’t?):Worked well.

My pricing (most popular price point?
prices right for this show?):$10


What should I do?


More rings and simple earrings under $20, $15 and $10 range.

These adjustable  rings were a hit and sold most.


The biggest thing I learned from this show is:  The deaf lady in the wheel chair had a big smile and did not complain like us, other vendors! . Her radiance  and  positive attitude was contagious . And with all kinds of inconveniences we chat with sign language and body language, helped each other and had a pretty good time.



Saturday, October 11, 2014

All about Jewelry Craft Shows - Three most crucial things for a profitable craft fair



Three most important things for a profitable jewelry craft show.




I've been doing jewelry craft shows for the last four years and about six to seven each year.  Still there is so much to learn.   There is much info regarding craft shows in general in the web, my focus is only on Jewelry Craft Shows.

I came to know about this 31 days blog, where you commit  for writing 31 days,  one blog each day in the month of October.  But by the time I came to see that,  11 days have passed already.  Oh well, I'll do with the rest of 20 days . Besides, writing every day is a big thing.  May be that is why I took to do the best I can.  What shall I write about?

I found  that I am reading and researching a lot about Jewelry Craft Shows lately and so I'd take my readers to this awesome journey for the month of October with me,  with  all that I find in my research, experiments, failures and successes.    So here we start with the three key, most important aspects:


For Whom:

For whom am I making and trying  to sell my jewelry?  Do I know them?

 Audience


 Know thy Audience   is the mantra for a profitable jewelry show. Knowing and connecting with my customers are important points.  How can I do that?

The first thing I must do is informing them:  e mail and snail mail  my customers of previous shows  with pretty pictures of my jewelry and a coupon, inviting them  to my current show. I’ll post it in Face book too.

 The connecting part is equally important as well. Listening to what they are looking for, remembering their needs and getting back to them  if possible, or just connecting genuinely,  are the key elements. That is what people remember and those are good karma as well.

I try to know about the traffic and the demography of  each show I participate..  For example, I am doing a show  next week where there was no booth price. I usually do not do these kind, but with zero booth fee,  I wanted  to give it a try this time.

I am definitely taking and displaying my low- end products more this time with a nice intricate wire work pendant as a FREE giveaway to collect names and addresses for interested customers in future.


On the other hand, another  show will be in a boutique environment, in an upscale neighborhood where the demography is very different.  I think my more upscale pieces will be appreciat there, though I'll take under $20 items but not my $5 items.

Why :

Why am I doing this show?  First of all I want to sell.   Also, because I am getting exposure to a lot of new people, local vendors and potential clients for my up coming shows with out any booth fee,   though I decide to give 10% of my sale as a token of appreciation for inviting me.

Network -
What I should do before and during and after the show as opportunity comes,  is to know the other vendors, exchange business cards and build a network.

After the show I must send Thank You notes to all my customers who bought my jewelry with a 10% off gift coupon for future  sales.  Also it is a great time to keep in touch with the new vendors I just would meet.In the past   I got great information about upcoming shows and other business related help from fellow vendors.  I came to know which shows are good and which ones are not,  quite easily.   I also support them buying from them and referring them to potential clients and my friends.

What goes comes around.


What:

What shall I bring?  Depending on the demography, traffic and other things,  like the season, trend etc I decide what to take.  For this no- fee show I think I am going to take more  under $20 things.

The OOPS BIN:

One of my artist friend takes her not so good finished products, we call  them our "pillars of success" and put them in a bin telling frankly that those are the  practice pieces, may be defective  and  not perfect and mark them very low, like $1 or $2 while she sells similar perfect products for $25.  It shows people  how much goes to learn a particular technique, how much time and material is spent that we do not get back.  People do buy them at that cheap price because they can break them and  re use the beads and findings. I think I might give that a try for this show.

Earrings:  I agree that earrings sell most in jewelry craft shows.  This time I am taking all kinds- studs, drops, hoops, elaborate chandeliers.  My price points are from $8 - $35.

I made some adjustable rings too.  I learned the basic technique  from Rena Klingenberg’s FREE  tutorial  and then improvised my own twist.  Let’s see how they move.



I’ll display some mid range and  higher end stuff  and bring along most of my inventory in case some one wants any thing special.

Slide show of jewelry- I’ll have a slide show of my high end jewelry pieces in my lap top and run it.
Will let you know next time what went well and where I goofed.  Please share yours too.  I’d be anxiously waiting for them.





 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wire weaving and how I solved a problem

I wanted to make a wire woven pendant.

 I had a  do nut bead which I wanted to adorn with wire weaving.

I have this wonderful tutorial by Gailavira and some previous experience  with wire weaving.


Look at my first try that I did a couple of years ago.
Alankarshilpa-   SOLD

But after a  couple of years gap of doing this type of wire work I found I have lost a lot.

Now look what it is doing to me:







What's wrong?  Why is the wire not listening to my command?  Because, wires have their individual memory, and their way of acting out.  I was frustrated, because I had done this project.

What can go wrong?  I was using 20 g for the base frame.  The tutorial asked for 18 g.  I don't
 have it handy.  I was using 26 g  for the weaving part.



This  time I used 20 g , because that's all I have , but  I used 28 g.

Oh yes, it made a big difference.  The wire is much obedient now.  It is capable of following direction.

I am enjoying the over and under basket weaving motion now.  And look  I did two of them.



And a third one !



So I learned that:

1. Practice makes it perfect.  It took me 90 minutes to make the first one, 70 minutes to make the second and only 55 minutes to make the third.  I learned to track the time it takes to do wire work projects.  It helps me when I do the pricing.  Therefore I'd do an average to price them for selling purpose.

2. 20 g is fine for the base.  It gives me better flexibility than 18 g  for my hands.  But 26 g as a support wire does not work for me.  The brands of wires are also important.  I found art wire by soft flex works best.  It is a bit more expensive but worth it.


Now, which one do you like best. The 1st, 2nd or last?  I am taking a poll.




Thursday, September 18, 2014

Zentangles, Polymer clay and Kids


Zentangles, polymer clay, play do and kids…these are few of my favorite things.

I am out of town.  My etsy store is on vacation mode now.  But that does not mean that I am not working.  My brain and heart both are  working fine and hard .

Recently, I came across some thing called Zentangle.

What is Zentangle?   

 Some call it “The yoga of your  brain”

I like how  they define it saying - We believe that life is an art form and that our Zentangle Method is an elegant metaphor for deliberate artistry in life.

 It is doodling, but not quite.  It is deliberate, yet free, not busy work, but engaging.  Find out for yourself  searching in the internet  and then you’ll find that  you are kind of missing those 3” square papers if you are not doing it. 

And then I found another one in the web :



Here are a couple of my Zentangle art try outs 


Both my grand kids, one five year old and the other two are impressed and hooked like me.  And you can calm them easily taking out some 3” paper squares and a pen.

And here are some that my five year old grand daughter made;

My other favorite thing is playing with clay.  Recently I came across this wonderful site where I found I could transfer those zentangles on the clay, I mean polymer clay.


Isn’t it cool?

I could have my grand child draw some thing and then we could make a pendant with that.

But that did not happen yet.

Did you like  the zentangle video?  Tell me what come in your mind for a future project?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Polymer Clay - Lessons learned: Why some of them are brittle

Why   did some of my polymer clay work  break?




This was very disturbing.

I was feeling quite comfortable with my clay work and bought some more clay. Last time I worked mostly with Premo brand.  This time I picked some Sculpey lll as they were on sale in Jo Ann.  But not the Premos.

Some where I read there is not much of a difference among the different clay brands.

I learn a lot from the web and recently  I also  bought  some tutorials from Etsy.  Some of them are just  great and even free, while  the one I recently bought for $12  is totally junk.

Any way, after I doing some hands- on practices, I came to know that some where I goofed understanding  the Skinner blend thing.

 I don't have a pasta machine yet, I was using my rollers.  I was getting some skinner blend effect but not quite  what I had  expected.

Similarly I made some mistakes understanding the Sutton slice  too, but in the process I discovered some thing on my own which I came to know is called Marbelizing.

Any way, I was happy with my new discovery and here are the results:





When they were cured, I mean baked, I let it cool.  Then I sanded and polished and finally varnished it too for the gloss.

I put tiny holes using tooth pick on most of them, but forgot two.  I thought I'd do that when they are dried.

I let it dry for more than 12 hours and then I wanted to finish it with wire work.

I used 20 g wire and immediately one of the earring pieces broke.

I thought I'd use 22 g .  Again the same thing happened.

Finally it took 24 g for the wire work with all the twisting, turning, swirling that were involved.

But why should it be so brittle?

I did not have this problem with the other ones I tried last time?




I researched and found that the reasons could be:

1. I used Sculpey instead of Premo and several sites concluded that Premo is a stronger clay after baking than Sculpey.

2. My pieces were not consistently 1/4 inch thick.  That is one criterion I must remember.  The baking time is 275 F for 30 min for 1/4 inch thickness.

3.  Sculpey says to bake in  275 F for only 15 minutes .  I did it for 30 minutes.  Is over doing bad?  There are mixed opinions on that. So from now on I'll probably use Premo, but be extra careful with Sculpey lll since I already have some of that left, and I like this design with thinner width.  Some  say it is okay to mix two different brands.  I might use the scupeylll as a core with Premo on the top.


I came to realize that unless I  really do it, I can't tell how much I have really internalized this new medium.

 
Another Polymer clay jewelry article:


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Thursday 30

I  came across this wonderful blog - Alice dreaming where I got this super cool idea of  30 Words Thursday .

So,  I can write only thirty words  no more no less - and that will be my blog post.

I was thinking about FREEDOM since tomorrow is  4th of July -our Independence Day

And I came up with this quotation from Nelson Mandela.

That is my 30 words Thursday blog post!


"As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to freedom, I knew if I didn't leave any bitterness and hatred behind I'll still be in prison."



 

Friday, June 27, 2014

How to put a Navbar on my blog and organize posts accordingly

How to put Navbar on my blog and organize posts accordingly - that was exactly what I had been struggling to find out lately.



You may laugh at my problem but I am sure there are people who are just as web savvy as I am.  The learning curve is different for each of us and we are at different spots in that huge curve too.

But I found out that if you are persistent there is a way.

There are lots of generous people out there who are willing to share what they know.

Just put your problem in the search and you'll get some where.

First of all, there are some  You tube videos  by John Sommers   that were were helpful.  But you do forget important steps  just viewing or listening. You need that guide when you are doing it.

 So I went to this site.  She explained it just in a way that I could understand.

I printed out this valuable post. Just follow the steps.

How I put the Navbar:

She literally took me by my hand, follow the steps in her blog. and I could put  the Navbar in the  Lay out page of  my  blog

At this point I have just two labels or titles or categories - Business and Tutorials.

I have 155 posts so far.  They are  all over my blog  .  I wanted my readers to find what they need, when they need,  that I have taken time to write for them.

I want to share my mistakes and my success to help  others.  That is why I was trying to put a  Navbar in my blog.

Why didn't I do it earlier?

I tried,  but I was not this persistent .  I was determined  not to quit until I  learn it and find it,  this time.

And I did. And if I can,  I am sure any body  would too.

Organizing the posts under the relevant labels:

Now organizing my posts according to the labels is another road block where I got stuck for a long time.

This wonderful writer whom I don't know personally, cleared it for me.

All you have  to do is go to your post and  at the bottom, just before the comments, in my case,  you see the picture of a  pen, click it. 

It will take you to the HTML page where you  write, where you can edit your work.  At the very right hand side you'll find the word Label with a little tab icon.  Just write your label there, for example I might write the word Tutorial or Business for my two labels that I am working on.

Now click View Blog.  You'll find at the very end of your post - just before comments- the word Label and your specific label ( tutorials in my case or Business) .

Now if you click that word all the posts that have that particular label will appear there.  So you will get all my tutorials under the Tutorials heading.

Isn't that cool?

And most importantly I learned something that I was trying to learn for a long time.  It was great sharing it with you.

I have tried many blogs and web sites that tried to answer this question or solve this problem.  These two were the most lucid ones for me. And I want to thank them profusely.
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