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Credit Card acceptance and other show issues


#1

Hello everybody!

I know that this has been discussed in the past, but just like the
cell phone deals I am sure this is an ever changing thing. I am
looking to start doing the art show and I need some guidance in
regards to who to use for credit cards. I see ads in the Crafts
Report but I have no idea what is a good deal or a bad deal. Any
guidance would be greatly appreciated.

My other major issue will be my tent. I will be borrowing one for a
while from a friend. I had thought about and EZ Up but I think those
are sort of looked down on. I did not see many of them at the art
show at Mount Dora. I did not see brand names on allot of the other
tents so I don’t know what they were.

My last issue is lighting. I am building my own jewelry case, great
thing my last employer taught me, and I am using tempered glass. My
cases will be 47 inches tall so people do not have to bend over. I
really hate doing that my self so I am not going to make my
customers do it. I am not sure if case lighting will work too good
from the front. I do not want to obstruct customers view. Any
thoughts on this?

If you do the art shows, any photos of your show booth would be
greatly appreciated for what I might learn. I have agonized over the
booth layout. I am sure I will learn allot the first year of doing
this.

I would love to hear from any one that does the art show circuit for
advise. Like good shows, bad shows and other pit falls.

Thanks!
Rodney S. Carroll
RC Gems


#2

I can help with the payment acceptance dilemma. I have been working
with a small company that specializes in custom credit card and
check payment acceptance programs. They can beat the rates and have
better service than 89% of the banks credit card systems I have
encountered to date. They also have a great “Giftcard” program that
costs only 30 cents per card.

Please contact me offline and I will give you more about
the wireless and internet credit card systems that are user friendly
for Art Show participants and small jewelry businesses.

Virginia Vivier
Artes Primitiv
Tucson, AZ
520-616-8683
@Artes_Primtiv


#3

My new jewelry cases are also made out of tempered glass and are 38"
(case bottom) - 50" (glass top) off the floor. I found my lights
from an ad in the back of Lapidary Journal. They are very bright
halogens but they cool off very quickly. They can make them in any
length you need and you can specify if the cord extends from the
left or right side. I bought (3) 49" light bars that have 5 lights
each and got many, many compliments from fellow jewelers on how well
they worked without being noticeable (they mount in the upper front
corner of the booth and face away from the customers). The bars were
around $145 each. Here they are in action:

http://www.borntobeworn.com/images/big/Booth&Me.jpg

I ordered them from Future Designs, 1-800-326-4256 in Miami, FL (no
web address given).

I also struggled with my booth layout (how to be inviting, have the
most linear space) and got some great advice from Orchid. I had
some gorgeous 2’x3’ canvas posters (which roll up into a cardboard
tube and are easy to transport) of my work made (requires large
format photography) that hang from 3 inside walls of the booth. I
have 1 case across the front and then zig-zag the other 2 cases
across diagonally. This gives the most space to the shoppers so I
store as little as possible in the booth (there is a 1’x4’ covered
table behind the cases under which I store my stuff – the top is
used to hold credit card machines, calculators, etc.). I also have
a 16"x16" 50" tall pedestal in the opposite front corner of the
booth to hold my guest book, business cards, post cards (not shown
in the picture) so people can grab my cards or sign the book at
their own pace. Another thing I’d recommend is some of that squishy
foam flooring – customers notice it and hang out longer (at least
they say they do). Although I own tall director’s chairs, they take
up too much floor space so I got 2 13"x13" tall bar stools from
Target for $24 each that scoot under the lip of the cases (that way
I can lean or half-sit on them and still be close to standing
height).

Good luck!
Elizabeth
www.borntobeworn.com


#4

Hi I would use tube lighting to run around the inside of the frame
of cases it doesn’t obstruct views and is cheap :slight_smile:

America’s Only cameo Artist
www.cameoartist.com


#5
I had thought about an EZ Up but I think those are sort of looked
down on. 

As the owner of an EZ-UP, I certainly hope that this is not true.
Why look down on such a nice, simple, inexpensive, durable, portable
little shelter?

Why shell out over a thousand dollars on some canvas palace that
takes an hour to set up, weighs 178 pounds, leaks when it rains, and
gets mildewed, frayed, and smelly?

Personally, I like the neat, uniform look of shows where most
exhibitors use EZ-UPs. Having more “standardized” shelters means
that the exhibitors’ work, not their tents, takes center stage -
customers will focus more on the uniqueness of your work and your
displays and not think twice about your tent, which, when you get
right down to it, is just there to define your space and give you
some shade.

In addition, the folks at EZ-UP seem quite willing to stand behind
their products: when the stitching on the handle of my roller bag
came undone, it was replaced with a brand-new bag, no questions
asked. All I had to do was fill out an online form and send a scan of
the receipt, and they didn’t even make me return the damaged bag.
This is the sort of service that merits repeat business. [Usual
disclaimers.]

Cheers, and happy booth planning,

Jessee Smith
www.silverspotstudio.com
Cincinnati, Ohio


#6

Greetings Rodney,

I have been using Credit Card Clearing Services,
http://www.mcvisa.com , for several years and I am very happy with
the programs and prices. Plus, you will like the personal service
Kevin gives all his customers. There is a plan suitable for every
need and his prices are the very best in the industry. His equipment
is the latest and there are many flexible options. You can start out
small and grow with your business. He even has a plan where you can
use your cell phone from shows to phone in purchases.

Best Wishes,
Josh Powell
http://www.badartgallery.com


#7

Hi. I have had very good luck with Arts & Crafts Business Solutions
(aka TEAMAC) (800-873-1192). It’s a group of artists that formed a
credit card processing company.

Allan Mason
silvermason.com


#8

The problem with EZ-Ups is that the corners can puddle rain,
especially if they are not fitted with the special little extra
supports made for the corners. This can be a problem for the owner–
I’ve seen one collapse during the night from heavy rain, which was
pretty hard on the (ceramic) contents-- or it can be a problem for
neighbors-- once, a next-door artist with an EZ-Up borrowed my broom
during rain, and used it to push up his water-filled corners to
empty them–right into my booth. The stuctural elements are also not
as strong as some more expensive tents. I have a Light Dome, and it
takes a long time to set up, compared to an EZ-Up, without a doubt.
But when other tents were sailing into Lake Michigan in a
microburst, mine was unphazed. Plus it has walls that zip in the
middle as well as the corners, and a sky light. Lastly, the frame
can be used indoors without the top, and can be any size square or
rectangle up to 10 X 10 when it is “topless”. I cannot regret the
investment, even though I do a very limited number of shows.

–Noel


#9

Just wanted to comment that EZ Up makes several levels of
enclosures. They vary from the occasional back yard use to a
commercial grade. We’ve used their covers for over 9 years, up to 20
shows yearly, and are still using the same ones. Ours are the second
from the top grade.

Unfortunately we’ve had rain downpours & high winds, 60mph +. We
live in Texas. Never a problem with the enclosures but scared me to
death with all the lightning/wind! We roll up the side covers & keep
them handy in case of bad weather; saved us more than once! We use
the sides with the zippers; much sturdier than the velcro. Velcro
won’t hold in our winds in west Texas. We added grommets @ the edges
of the sides so can bungee down to cut down sun, wind, cold. We use
the ground stakes with 12" depth & also a 25# lead shot bag @ 6
legs–we use 2, 10x10’ covers placed side by side; also use the rain
gutter placed between the 2 tents, keeps rain out of the inside.

Check out www.ezup4u.com He attends the Tucson show @ Electric Park
every year & we highly recommend him.

The usual disclaimer…we’re just satisfied customers.

Leroy & Marcia Ingham
@Leroy_and_Marcia_Ing


#10

I totally agree with Noel’s assessment of the Light Dome. I’ve never
regretted getting mine, and I feel the extra time is well worth it.
I feel secure in it, no matter what the weather, and I think it
presents a much more professional appearance. Plus, it has
significant resale value if you ever decide to bail out. The EZ-Up is
just OK for benign conditions and casual use.

Allan Mason
silvermason.com


#11

Hi Rodney,

My other major issue will be my tent. I will be borrowing one for a
while from a friend. I had thought about and EZ Up but I think
those are sort of looked down on. I did not see many of them at
the art show at Mount Dora. 

I know we just ran into each other at the Tarpon Springs Art
festival last weekend, nice to see you! I don’t remember if we
talked about my Show Canopy (tent). I don’t know if you’ve gotten a
canopy yet, but just incase you haven’t I thought I’d give you the
info. on mine.

I did not see brand names on a lot of the other tents so I don't
know what they were. 

Besides the EZ-Up, the most common tents in use out in the art shows
are:

The “Craft Hut”: http://www.crafthut.com/
The “Light Dome”: http://www.lightdomecanopies.com/
The “Show Off”: http://www.newvp.com/

I use the “Show Off” from New Venture Products Inc. I really love
mine, it’s been a great show canopy. The company is in Florida.

New Venture Products Inc.
14115-B 63rd Way N.
Clearwater, Florida 33760
1.800.771.SHOW(7469)
fax: 727.524.3110
http://www.newvp.com
showoff@newvp.com

Best of luck with your tent choice, and with the shows!

Warm Regards
Sharon Scalise
@Ornamental_Creations
http://users.netconnect.com.au/~sscalise/