As far as which craft show juries might be open to fine jewelry, I
can’t say. In fact the only thing consistent about craft show juries
is their inconsistency, so all you can do is give it a try. Or, as
someone once said, make your annual charitable donations in the form
of jury fees.
However, I can make some suggestions about which indoor, retail, fine
craft shows to consider and most of them are in the East. The three
at the top of most people’s list would have to be the Philadelphia
Museum of Art Craft Show, the Smithsonian Craft Show and the ACC
Baltimore Winter Craft Show (which is both wholesale and retail).
Jurying for ACC and the Smithsonian is already completed for 2001 but
jurying for the PMA show, which is in November, has not occurred yet.
If you’re curious about how much a jeweler can gross at some of these
shows, ACC sends summaries to its members which are based on feedback
forms collected at each show (not everyone responds). As an example,
here are the figures for Baltimore Winter 2000 retail for metal
jewelry based on 53 responses: Total sales $715,944; average sales
$13,508; range $350-$50,000; median $12,000. (For the sake of
comparison, here are the wholesale figures for the same show with 102
metal jewelers reporting: Total sales $2,418,421; average sales
$23,710; range $2,245-$267,000; median $13,750. Don’t forget that the
profit margin is twice as high at retail, based on keystone pricing.)
You can expect your expenses to range from, say, $2000 to $4000 for
one of these shows unless you’re local and have no travel or lodging
fees. By the way, to exhibit at an ACC show you must join the
American Craft Council.
Beyond the “big three,” there are several others with very good
reputations, not all of which I’ve tried. There are the other ACC
shows (some are more solid than others, like Atlanta and St. Paul, but
all have potential); Crafts At The Castle in Boston; the Westchester
Craft Show in New York; the ACE Craft Show in Evanston (a contender
for the top three); the Washington Craft Show in D.C.; the Artrider
shows in New York and New Jersey (Artrider’s Crafts Park Avenue shows
have been very good � at times); and, on the West Coast, the
Contemporary Crafts Markets promoted by Roy Helms & Assoc. I’m sure
you’ll hear from other Orchidians about still more.
For show listings, addresses, ratings and much other info, I suggest
you subscribe to the ArtFair SourceBook (800-358-2045). Another good
source for show feedback is the NAIA (National Assoc. of Independent
Artists at http://naia-artists.org/work/99ShowRankings.pdf). If you
decide to apply to any of these shows, first call the promoter and ask
for both application forms and a copy of the previous show’s program
or exhibitor list. Then get on the phone and start calling other
jewelers for feedback. It’s what I did and most folks are very
helpful although some would rather not encourage more competition!
Just keep in mind that no matter what you hear, your experience at a
particular show may be very different from that of others, at least
that’s what I’ve found. Good luck.