Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Post Bead Show Report

I returned home late Sunday from my first BIG bead show, sorry for the delay in blogging about it, but I needed a little break.

The show could not have gone smoother, it was really a wonderful experience. I have stalked the Innovative Bead Expo for a few years when they visit Rochester. I always felt that the show was organized and the people in charge and the vendors were always very pleasant.

I made a good choice, Renu and Sarita, the ladies that run the northeast Expo Shows made me feel so comfortable.

I arrived on Friday afternoon to set up, pulled up to the loading dock where some lovely people took all my stuff to my table.

As I was setting up my table they announced "Dinners ready." What??? Yes, they fed the vendors dinner, and on Saturday and Sunday morning there was a continental breakfast available for us. Speaking of the other vendors, more great people, full of helpful information and advice. I was in awe of all their knowledge about all things beads, I know lampwork, but that is the extent of my bead knowledge.

Then on Saturday morning at 10am the doors opened. I was so scared. The customers ran to familiar vendors and stocked up on what they needed. For the first 45 minutes it was very quiet at my booth, and I thought I can't take two days of this.

But as people stocked up on items on their lists, they started to check me out. There were husbands out on scouting missions, and reporting back to their wives. There were girlfriends doing the same for their beading friends. So gradually people started coming to my table and my customers were saying everything I wanted to hear.

" You made these beads?" "They are so different" "I have seen your etsy shop, and I knew your beads immediately."

Needless to say I was very grateful, I already have so much fun making beads, seeing customers enjoying my beads is more than I could hope for.

I have already signed up for another show in Syracuse, NY October 8th and 9th, 2011. I will also be doing an Expo Show in Rochester, NY at the end of October. So that will be a busy month for me, but I have plenty of time to get my inventory back up.

Here are a few pictures, it was busy so I did not have time to take more.

The show was in a huge banquet hall, so there was plenty of room between tables and it never felt crowded and uncomfortable. This was the Friday afternoon set up, I think I was the only one with a single table, but that is plenty for me.

This is what my table looked like before I added the beads. Some of the advice I asked for in a previous blog post was very helpful. Check out the comment section for information on what bead customers like to see at a show.

I purchased the plexi trays at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I was able to place most of my glass and enamel beads in these trays in one layer, so customers would not have to dig. Another advantage of the clear plexi is that the customers can get a peek at what is in the trays as they are passing by, and it made a few of them stop and linger a bit.

The color coding with wire for my glass beads really worked out well, a lot of customers commented on how easy it was to shop within their budget. If the beads were placed in the wrong tray it was easy to figure out where they belonged.

As I was designing my table, I noticed that it is easier with jewelry to create vignettes and themes on a display table. With beads this is more of a challenge, to achieve a little warmth in the display I used a couple lamps from home that had some personality but not a lot of light. I was lucky that the lighting in the room was very good. I also had some silk taupe fabric that I just folded in half and used as a runner. These were supposed to be bedroom curtains many moons ago.

I also provided a decorative mirror, so customers could hold a bead to their ear or a focal to their neckline to see how it may look as jewelry.

In the pictures below you can see how I ended up displaying my headpins, it worked out well. This is how I store my mandrels and some small tools in my studio, I use a coarse sand that Pottery Barn sells instead of regular sand. It is more expensive but it is more decorative and I think because it is coarser it holds on to the headpin wires better.

I also bought these sweet metal trays with birds on them, I think they were intended for bird seed but they were perfect for my glass eggs. I could have sold those trays ten times over.

I don't have a picture, but my Intuit Card Reader was a huge hit and worked beautifully. The customers got a kick out of signing there name with their finger on my iphone. There is no monthly fee as long as my credit charges are under $1500 a month, at that point it is more economical to pay the monthly fee and have a lower % taken off the payment.

Wednesday beads start up again next week.

I have plenty of glass and enamel left. I just put in some big orders for items I am out of, they should be here by the weekend and I will have them ready by next Wednesday.

If you are on the waiting list for a custom order I will get those started this weekend.

The shop is pretty empty so I will be posting a lot of teaser shots of what to expect next Wednesday. There are going to be a lot of new items.

Thanks for visiting, and all of your supportive comments about my show it is very much appreciated.


Deb said...

What an interesting post, thanks for sharing your experience, I found it really useful to read. I'm so glad it was a success!
Deb x

Lucid Moon Studio said...

Man, I wish I could have visited your looks like you have a great selection of beads! Glad it went well, and thanks for sharing photos of your setup - it looks great!

Lori~Studio Waterstone said...

You had me at "yes, they feed you"! AND, and I was googling all about the intuit card reader just yesterday! Yes! Your vote of confidence seals the deal for me. :)

I'm so glad you had a wonderful show - and equally glad that you wisely took a day off to rest.

SueBeads said...

Glad you had a great time and it was a great experience!

Shirley said...

Yeah!!! So glad you had a good time! This looks like it was a great show, wish I could have been there. Love the lamp idea. Looking forward to your new goodies. :)

Marie Cramp said...

WOW! Looks like you were well organized and had a blast! You are welcome to come and do a bead show in Calgary anytime! You have a place to stay at no charge if you do!! ;)

Love the beads!

Jenni C said...

Good to hear your first show went smoothly and was successful, you were organized with some great ideas.
Colored wire seemed to have worked well, good idea.

Diana P. said...

So glad to hear it all went smoothly. I'm thinking of doing my first bead show next spring and the tips people gave you in the prior post were really good.