I've not done an ACC show for a year or so, and have never actually
done the SF show, even though I've been juried in many times. I do
have a number of friends and acquaintances who do the show, here's
the problem. Unlike the flagship Baltimore ACC show where there are
three sections, one for wholesale only, one wholesale and retail
and one retail only, the SF show only has one section. Everyone
included in the show has to sell both wholesale and retail.
Is this a change in the rules? I don't think so. As long as I've
juried for the show it was like this; but back in the days when the
craft scene wasn't in crisis, ACC turned a blind eye to the
situation. Now ACC is cracking down.
The problem is that many artists for whom the SF ACC show is a must,
do not wholesale. Too many artists are willing to sit on their
hands and sell nothing during the wholesale only days just to have
a shot at selling during the retail days. This is unfair to those
who truly depend on both wholesale and retail because it lowers the
interest of wholesale buyers to attend the show.
The jewelers who don't wholesale might discount the price of their
work by 25 or 30 percent for wholesale orders, but most stores
today won't accept these terms. They need (want, demand) a higher
markup. The standard wholesale discount (keystone) is half of
The fact is that there's an explosion of competition in the craft
market today. Store owners can go to any number of shows and buy
goods from around the world. The last couple of years has seen a
lot of jewelers drop shows because they've become unprofitable,
even as the number of shows have proliferated. Jewelers who once
sold wholesale only are branching out into retail shows. Jewelers
who sold only at retail shows are trying wholesale while some
jewelers are opening their own retail stores because both the
wholesale and retail show markets have shifted so dramatically.
The jewelry industry, both wholesale and retail, craft and trade is
in flux and there's no end in sight. I'd suggest that everyone
involved in our industry be ready for change, keep your eyes open
and be prepared. The ride will be a bumpy one!