Karen, I have no specific knowledge about this show, but, there are
lots of reasons to exhibit at a craft show. Some reasons are more
romance than reality. Your main concerns, it seems, is making
enough money to justify the event. I don’t think it’s possible for
most people to give advise about whether or not a specific show is
for you or not. Some may know the show but not your work and vise
versa. You have to decide yourself using your own criteria.
Folks, I've always done shows that are focused on "art" and have
stayed away from "craft shows" where I would have a booth next to
someone selling clothespin reindeer.
Every craft show has to be researched and judged on it’s individual
merits. There are thousands of craft shows in hundreds of cities in
the US. Every show has it’s own feel, attracting it’s own unique
cliental. It sounds as though you have attended this show before,
have there ever been jewelers of your caliber there? This is a good
measure of whether or not you would be successful. Bringing unique
products into a show for the first time can be richly rewarding or a
complete bust or somewhere in between. That is the risk of showing
in that venue. In a good economy, selling work that is within the
budget that shoppers are looking to spend with work that isn’t too
challenging for the clients taste and you’re all set for a good
show. Bring work that is too challenging or too expensive and you
may be set for disaster. <<The Philadelphia Folk Festival is a 3-day
"major event" that attracts top talent in music, as well as an
extremely loyal following of people.>>
But do people come here expecting to walk away with jewelry? Are
they going to hang out long enough for you to explain the uniqueness
of your product? If you have items priced to sell as impulse buys
then your level of success is better. Each show has it’s own range
of impulse price points. At some shows it’s $5, at others $500.
Talk to the show producers and ask them if they have any numbers on
this, or, find out who past vendors were and ask them what their
impulse buy items were priced at. If you can’t find this
you’re courting disappointment or at minimum accepting
the crap shoot mentality that craft shows can become.
Is it worth a $400 booth fee for a 10'x10' for the 3 days?
The general concessus is that you should reap ten times the booth
fee for a show to be good. Now, if this is your first time showing
there it may take a couple of shows to get to that level. But if it
is the right show and the right market for your work you will
eventually get to a level greater than 10x and make up for the first
show. If your average sale is $100 then you need to make 40 sales
to get to 10x booth fees, if your average sale is $50 then you have
to make 80 sales. If your average sale is $1000 you have to ask
whether or not the production company is really striving to bring in
shoppers who enough shoppers who would plunk down that kind of cash.
What is your average price per piece? This is a very important
number to know because you need enough pieces in the right price
range to even begin thinking about reaching your 10x booth fee goal.
And do you think that doing demos helps your sales?
No, unless you bring someone to do sales and someone to do demos and
the show really steers clients to booths that have demos, your
wasting your time. You are there to sell, not perform. Let the
musicians do the performing. If you want to bring some hand tools
to show clients the tools you use to make your work that works, but
keep your focus on making sales.
If so, what do you generally do? I hesitate to lug my tank and
torch around for something like that, but am scratching my head
about what people would find interesting to WATCH - I don't usually
think of jewelry-making as a spectator sport, if you know what I
First of all there better be a rule that vendors can’t bring
explosive compressed gas canisters to shows or else you will be the
reason that little rule gets started. One show I did a video of
myself and brought a little television to play the tape in a loop.
Even this was too distracting from making sales. I’d get talking to
someone watching the tape, answering inane questions then trying to
extricate myself without being rude when an interested customer came
by for the second time. People who want to buy generally don’t want
to waste time hanging around.
The crafts are juried, but in the past the jurying has allowed
some "mistakes" to slip through.
Sounds like they have spent more time deciding who the music
performers are than the crafters…not a good sign. I’d rather
exhibit at a show that attracts a few of the right customers (people
ready to buy and already educated about quality, price and medium)
using the rifle approach than exhibit at a show that depends on
getting enough people to walk by my booth to perhaps reach a couple
of interested, qualified souls.
Hope this is helpful