Monday, November 7, 2016

Lessons Learned from Holiday Craft Shows

Baymoondesign at Biggs Museum of American Art
I spent the weekend doing my two craft shows for the holiday season.  It was a lot of work preparing for them since I hadn't done a show since May.  They were back to back which was physically demanding.  I have to admit I was shocked to see this photo from my Saturday show which was at the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover, Delaware.  I look calm and organized in a serene setting.

Actually, the day was a bit of a train wreck for me!  I have learned from past shows that before I put all of my jewelry and cards on the table,  I need to make sure that the table is positioned correctly and lite as best as can be.  The lighting was really poor when I first got to the museum because some of the lights were not working at all.  I hunted down some museum workers and begged them to help with this.  I have learned from past shows that lighting is critical to selling jewelry.  Extra track lights were brought out and positioned so that they lite my table.  Then I set up.

Lesley Campana from The Celtic Knot Studio
My neighbor to to my right for this show was Lesley Campana of The Celtic Knot Studio.  She had some lovely handwoven scarves, table runners, hand towels, and dish towels.  I think some of her prettiest items were scarves woven from silk.  Lesley was a huge help to me.  I had a big problem with one of my tables right in the middle of the show.  The table with all of my handmade cards came crashing down with a loud bang.  Lesley helped me pick up and organize my cards after I got the table up off the ground.   Lesson learned from that episode--make sure the table legs are locked and once again make sure the tables are positioned perfectly from the beginning!   I am still working on that lesson.  I was lucky it was the cards that fell and not my jewelry.

Magnolia Baskets 
My neighbor to the left was Denise from Magnolia Baskets.  She makes Nantucket baskets. teaches classes in how to weave and sells weaving supplies.  She helped me with a few Square Reader problems.  I had lots of trouble with my Square as did others.  Denise,  Lesley, and I helped each other out and learned from our errors.  Most of the problems were operator problems and not Square's problem. Lessons learned there, get to know the folks that are next to you at a show.  You can all help each other out.  I learned a lot about Square, however, I fear I will forget it all by next show in May!

Ginny Barney, Mixed Media Artist
Ginny and her assistant (aka husband) had a wonderful selection of cigar boxes that she magically made into little works of art with their own personalities.  I can appreciate her efforts since I am still working on finishing two cigar boxes of my own which are not nearly as detailed as hers.

                                                   The Photography of Carl Forsberg 

I met Carl Forsberg previously and he helped me get into a show.  Once again, it is helpful to network at these events.  His photography is beautiful.  He sells his photos as prints and also cards.  His subjects are birds mostly and they are just stunning.  I learned a lesson from Carl here at the show.  He had some of his cards for sale in the museum shop and I looked at how he displayed them in clear acrylic containers and it dawned on my that this would be a great way to display my handmade cards in shops.  Another opportunity for learning!

Baywood Golf and Country Club, Millsboro, Delaware
Next day I had a show at Baywood Golf and Country Club, Millsboro, Delaware.  I always love seeing how they decorate here.  It is just gorgeous every season.
View from my table
I enjoyed the day here even though my sales were terrible.  Unfortunately, the organizer of the event who was new this year did not organize or advertise until the last minute.  I knew that attendance would be terrible because of the lack of advertising.  I also knew that would result in poor sales.  The only reason I did the show was that I love seeing Baywood in the fall and I already had the hard work done of pricing etc. for the show and went with a minimal set up.   The day wasn't wasted.  I met up with 2 friends and we chatted for awhile.  I was the star of the Square Reader here.  I helped my neighbor get his Square working!   I also made a contact there that should help me get into a show next year.  Lessons learned here --Be careful and know who deal with! A lot of publicity is key to an event.

Along those same lines, Heather Powers of Humblebeads gave me some advice on where to sell my jewelry when I was at one of her workshops.  She strongly suggested that my art jewelry should be sold in an Arts venue like Delaware By Hand which is sponsored by the Biggs Museum or in trunk shows in high end stores.  Great advice!

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