What a wonderful opportunity! Congratulations to you.
You hit upon something that I struggle with every day. I was raised
to be modest and feel that my work should stand on its own two feet,
but I also recognize the need to promote it as it has no “voice” on
its own. My personal style is very casual and I have to forcefully
remind myself that I’m the “first line of promotion” for my work, by
wearing it at every appropriate opportunity. As a result, I have a
few select pieces that I set aside for myself to wear. These are
pieces that fit my personal style, while also showing the (hopefully)
unique characteristics of my current work. The pieces change
periodiocally, and I’m always open to selling them off my neck, which
has happened surprisingly often at shows.
So I would say that you should first design your outfit to show off
one primary piece of jewelry that highlights your style, but that YOU
are comfortable wearing. Don’t pick a piece that you designed for a
market that’s not “you” because you won’t look comfortable or natural
wearing it and it may work against you.
Now, you don’t say what you’ve been asked to speak ABOUT. If you’re
speaking about your experiences in the war, then see if there’s a
way that you can honestly weave into your talk a discussion of how
that profound experience is manifested in your jewelry designs or has
changed the way that you approach design. If possible, use a few
"before and after" slides of your jewelry to visually show the
impact. That’s not “sales” per se, but it’s showing your work, which
is the first step.
Finally, ask the organizers of the event whether they are providing
a “backgrounder” on you to attendees. This might be a simple
2-paragraph piece of text in the program (in which case, make sure
that it discusses your work and includes your website address) or an
illustrated brochure (in which case, make sure it includes a couple
of photos, if possible, of your “best” pieces). Don’t be afraid to
ask if you can have a display case available in the room to SHOWCASE
(don’t say “sell”) your work for the audience.
Personally, I’d avoid using the venue for any type of hard selling;
but be open to the discussions as they arise, have business cards,
and be willing to set up personal appointments with any of the
participants to show them the full range of your portfolio. If you
have an upcoming show, of course that woudl be the perfect
opportunity to “invite” them to attend, as well.
I’m sure that others may have some opinions on how to handle this
wonderful opportunity. The important thing for you is to be
comfortable with the approach you’ve decided on, and to keep it
consistent with the expectations of the organizers by discussing them
No Limitations Designs
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