Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday Beads Later Tonight

Hi everyone beads will not be listed until later tonight. It will definitely be after 8pm, but I will give you a more specific time when I see how things go.

I promise to try and list earlier some weeks, I know my east coast friends need their zzzz's.

It was busy last week with the show prep and the stomach flu made the rounds. I also had a weird fever the other night that only lasted 5 hours and then I woke up feeling fine. At first I thought it was a really long hot flash, then I took my temperature and it was 100.

As you may know from the previous post I had a bead show in Niagara Falls this weekend. It was located directly across the street from the casino, which had the potential to be a very dangerous location.

I try to find something positive about every show, and of course the people were really fun and interested to hear about how I make my beads. But it was not the best sales wise, fortunately I always manage to make a little profit because my overhead is low.

Yes, people are spending less money and some jewelry makers have had to get a day job. In fact the vendor from New Jersey that was next to me said that five beads shops had closed in his area this year. I wonder if that has anything to do with Micheal's expanded jewelry supply department.

But it's not always the economy, I learn a lot at these shows from talking to my buying and non buying customers. Here are some thoughts I had this weekend.

* Duh, I should know this, I used to be in sales, and it takes a long time to establish a relationship with customers. After just 4 beads shows I am starting to see that happening. I even had a customer that was wearing a piece of jewelry with one of my components she purchased at a previous show.

* Unlike my online customers, everyone does not know about handmade artisan beads. I noticed that when I made a point to say "All of these beads are made by me" it actually stopped people in their tracks. Even if they did not buy it generated a conversation about handmade lampwork and enameling.

* Every customer does not have the potential to be my customer. I can't compete with the $3 strands of chinese lampwork, the customer that wants that product is not my customer.

* Make sure your customers know what beads shows you will be attending, don't assume if a show is not in their town that they will not attend. This may be unique to upstate NY but we do not have many bead shows and people will travel long distances to get to a show. I would say that at least half the people I talked to traveled 1-2 hours to get to Niagara Falls.

* Next time I need to have more examples of jewelry made using my components, some people would hold up a focal and say " It's beautiful, but how could I use it?"

* One customer suggested that I put some kits together, now these would be very basic since I can't teach someone how to enamel or do lampwork in a kit. But I am pretty good with color combinations, and there are a lot of first time stringers out there that may welcome a kit with the colors already coordinated.

I hope this helps some of you bead show newbies like myself out there, some of these points are even applicable to jewelry shows. If you have any advice it would be welcomed.

One more errand then I can get to Wednesday Beads, see you later.