Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

[Interview] Having a home show


#1

I recently interviewed Alix Mikesell about her experience having a
home show, you can read the interview on my blog at

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#2

This is one of those things that folks who are looking for
alternatives or supplements to the art fair circuit should consider.
Years ago a number of craftsmen in my area tried home shows and were
usually disappointed. So we got a group together and made a studio
tour of it. It has turned into one of the best shows I do. This year
28 studios got together and printed a slick color brochure and
poster, we get TV, radio and newspaper coverage. Now in our 20th year
http://www.alleganyartisans.com It is on in 2 weeks. If there are any
Orcadians in Western New York State who would like to see my
workshop, this would be the time. I will be demonstrating chip
carving this year.

Stephen Walker
Andover, NY


#3

I read the interview, and it made me (once again) consider doing a
home show, but I was sorry you didn’t ask her the question that is
always foremost in my mind when it comes to home/studio shows. Maybe
others on Orchid have input on this.

My neighbors don’t know I have a studio in my garage, and I like it
that way. I am concerned that having a show here, even if only
advertised very selectively, might broadcast that there is valuable
stuff here. I don’t have a security system. So I always end up
deciding it isn’t worth the risk. What do others do about this?

Noel


#4

If anyone else is interested in more on having an “Open
Studio” sales event, you can visit the Professional Guidelines on the
SNAG website and find the “Open Studio” document. Lots of solid

And it’s all free.
Andy


#5

Noel,

My neighbors don't know I have a studio in my garage, and I like
it that way. I am concerned that having a show here, even if only
advertised very selectively, might broadcast that there is valuable
stuff here. 

I was thinking the exact same thing. I am new to this art (hubris?
Let’s not go there again!) as you know but I have spent a lot of
time and money accruing a large collection of lovely gemstones,
expensive tools and precious metal. The last thing I would want was
for people to find out that there are things of such value at my
address.

I would imagine that this was an even more appropriate case for all
you work from home professionals out there who are regularly working
with high carat golds, platinum and diamonds, etc. It only takes one
occasion for the wrong sort of person to find out the whereabouts of
such treasures and then not only is your inventory at risk but the
safety of you and your families.

When I start selling my “work”, I won’t be inviting anyone into my
home for the purpose of selling.

Helen
Preston, UK


#6
read the interview, and it made me (once again) consider doing a
home show, but I was sorry you didn't ask her the question that is
always foremost in my mind when it comes to home/studio shows.
Maybe others on Orchid have input on this. 

The issue of security is certainly a good point.

I have known people who dealt with this by having a friend, ideally
a friend with a large house, host the event. Then there is some
separation.

Also, I’ve noticed people who work with just sterling silver and no
gold or diamonds are less concerned with this.

Another solution would be to have your event at a suitable location
– one of the nicer community centers, or we have a pub around here
with an upstairs party space that’s often used for small auctions,
fundraisers, that kind of thing.

Of course, that ups the costs, but it’s always a risk when you’re
throwing your own event.

Elaine


Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay and


#7

Noel

My neighbors don't know I have a studio in my garage 

I totally Agree!!! I hesitate to have a show & tell for my daughters
kindergarten class (they ask parents for road trips to their place
of business if it’s interesting & a local news reporter takes a
photograph for the local paper’s community section) But I wouldn’t
want to broadcast to the neighborhood what I have going on here. I
don’t want to make myself a target.

Mary R.


#8
My neighbors don't know I have a studio in my garage 

Join a potter at their studio for the weekend!

M’lou


#9
One key questions: How was security handled? 

I agree with Noel.

Without knowing exactly who it is you are giving invitations out to
and without an alarm system in your home to protect your families
lives and inventory after the home show, you could be exposing
yourself to a very dangerous situation.

There have been Orchid forum members who have been killed in their
homes because the word got out in their community that they were
jewelers and someone came to rob them.

Individual results may vary,
Nanz Aalund


#10

I’m with you Noel. My studio has a big front door too (garage). In
the summer I have the garage door open when I’m working. I have
strategically staged the usual garage junk in the front so the casual
observer has no idea what I do. It looks just like another messy
garage. My neighbor directly across the street knows what I do but he
is the only one. I rarely have a customer visit except for one
wholesale account.

I used to store my SS wire on a pegboard and SS sheet in a hanging
folder file drawer. A friend of mine and fellow silversmith made the
comment about visiting my garage some night. All metals are now
stored in the safe.

No alarm yet. The Lasersheild home security sold at Compusa looks
like an interesting option. In the mean time I could get one of my
dogs to sleep in the garage at night. Let’s see… There’s the 90 lb
chocolate lab that’s scared of every loud noise or the 5 lb Chihuahua
that thinks he’s a Pitbull…

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
http://rockymountainwonders.com


#11

the chiuaha they are nasty little territorial critters it will at
least harass the theif while he robs you lol

security…an old computer a camera that tapes to a hidden dvr that
is bolted to the house and an alarm system. basics an alarm system
and USING it still best idea for personal home security.

Teri
Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry
www.corneliusspick.com


#12
as you know but I have spent a lot of time and money accruing a
large collection of lovely expensive tools and precious
metal. 

Well, I didn’t know, but you just told me. I won’t try, but it’s
quite possible that in 5 minutes or less I can know your address and
see your house on google earth.

Scary, eh?

In addition to not having home shows, some of us could be doing even
more to hide our whereabouts. Unlisted numbers are a good start…

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#13

I want to share my experiences with home shows. I’ve done them for a
number of years and they have mostly been fairly successful but I did
one in September that was hugely successful. In the past a host would
invite her friends and provide refreshments. I also invited people
20% worth of jewelry as her thank you gift. Normally these parties
are like an open house and held for about 3 or 4 hours on a weekend
afternoon. For me this has always been an easy, economical, stress
free way to supplement the other shows and pick up a few new
customers.

Last month I did a party where I made more in 3 hours than I have
ever made in any art show. The difference? It was an elegant affair,
held in a gorgeous home in the evening. Women were welcome to bring
their spouses. I supplied the food and champagne because my host, a
hairdresser, has a huge following of loyal customers and I wanted to
make it really easy for him. I made a beautiful post card for him to
hand out for a month or two before the event. I am not kidding, it
was like a feeding frenzy at my table. My husband writes up the sales
and there was a line waiting to purchase. A line! I couldn’t believe
it.

My jewelry has a broad price range, $24 - $500 and is a combination
of assembled pieces with gemstone beads and items fabricated in
silver so everyone who came could find something but I think the key
here is that many who came were that target client we all hope for,
women with plenty of money to spend and an interest in adornment. I
certainly hope to repeat this show next year - same place, same time.
And you know what, everyone, including the host had a great time. It
was fun.

Beverly Jones
beverlyjones.com


#14

I’ll admit I didn’t read the article yet, and I apologize if this WAS
covered, but I’m assuming from the other posts this topic wasn’t
mentioned, either, and that’s the legalities of having a home show.
Perhaps this differs from city to city, but when I got my business
license & set up my insurance policy, in both cases I "promised"
that I wouldn’t have any customers coming to my house. The town
didn’t want lots of people parking on my street, I suppose, since our
neighborhood isn’t zoned commercial (not that an occassional home
party should be an issue), and my insurance people didn’t want the
risk of customers injuring themselves some stupid way while on my
property. I will say that a very small number of times I’ve had
someone come here to pick something up, but that’s a very rare thing.
Because of this “promise”, then I don’t intend to ever teach classes
here or have a home party, at least not in MY home. Yes, I suppose I
could have it in someone else’s, but then it looses a little value
since it’s no longer at the artist’s studio. Not that I could
actually have a party IN my studio, anyway! lol

Lisa
Designs by Lisa Gallagher
www.lisagallagher.com


#15
Without knowing exactly who it is you are giving invitations out to
and without an alarm system in your home to protect your families
lives and inventory after the home show, you could be exposing
yourself to a very dangerous situation. 

I think this is key to doing a home show in one’s own house. In the
past, I’ve done as many as 4 home shows a year, but everyone that
was invited was either known by me or my partner. I’ve never just
posted signs or invited just anyone…it’s too scary. I’m really
fortunate that my partner works for a large corporation, and so
wherever we have lived, I’ve instantly had a large customer base of
people to invite. Although I don’t know personally many of the folks
coming, they’re all corporate and work with him, so there’s an
instant built-in trust there. It’s easy to see that there’s a
definite advantage to knowing folks who work in corporate or some
other big structure, and who know lots of people that they can invite
from the office. Just one trick I’ve learned by doing home shows. (It
takes a definitely different approach to marketing if home shows are
what you do full-time.)

Also, people don’t come to my house to see my bomb-test-site of a
studio…they come to see my work. Rarely has anyone wanted to go
downstairs to see my mess (the show is upstairs in the dining room).
We also have an “umbrella” insurance policy that covers such things.
One can always check with their provider to get such coverage…
again, it’s something necessary if home shows are what you want to
do.

Overall, I LOVE home shows. I can create a very intimate setting and
talk one-on-one with customers. Most of these DO become repeat
customers as well. It’s the time to make that “connection” that home
shows afford that makes them so great. I currently live in
Asheville, NC and will be traveling to Pittsburgh in 2 weeks to do a
home show, again sponsored by the HR manager of my partners company.
Wish me luck!

Thomas


#16
In addition to not having home shows, some of us could be doing
even more to hide our whereabouts. Unlisted numbers are a good
start... 

Having just had a very good studio tour/studio show this weekend I
feel fortunate that I have a situation where I do not live with that
kind of fear.

I am mystified how people can be in business and hide from their
customers. I see lots of websites with no physical address or phone
number. What kind of confidence does this inspire with your
customers when you are deliberately hiding? You certainly need to
take precautions based on your real risk, but I think you need to
think hard about what you are loosing when you go this way.

This thread expanded to include 3 different types of show. 1. A show
at your own home studio. 2. A trunk show sort of thing at the
private home of someone else. 3. A Studio Show at your workshop that
is not necessarily your home. In my case I was showing at my
workshop, which is a separate location than my home, although I have
done it at home early on in my career.

Security is a big deal for jewelers, to be sure, but it has to be
taken in perspective. Your risk is a whole lot more if your work is
diamonds and gold than it is if you work in silver or even less
precious metals. Your risk is also a whole lot less if you live in a
lower crime area.

When we first started our local Studio Tour there was one woman who
had recently settled here from an urban area that was terrified
about having strangers come into her home studio. Those of us who
were natives were a bit surprised about her fear, because she was
making doll house miniatures, not especially inviting to thieves and
also there is very little of the kind of home invasion, burglary of
homes or personal attacks of the kind she feared.

Even though we have a low crime situation in this area, we do have
all the standard security precautions, safes, alarm system,
surveillance cameras with off premise recording, vicious dogs, land
mines, nosey neighbors. But there was a retiring jeweler on Main
Street of a nearby town that told me that in all his many years of
business he never experienced a hold-up or burglary, even though the
police were always calling him up in the middle of the night to tell
him he forgot to lock his front door.

My point is that these safe Mayberry kinds of places still exist.
The town mentioned above, Hornell, NY used to support 3 jewelers, but
they have all retired and there is no one left but Walmart selling
jewelry. If I wanted to do repairs I could have all the business I
could handle. There is a big vacancy in that area and I suspect there
is also in other similar small towns. 30 years ago young craftsmen
were settling in out of the way places like this, but not any more.
If the security situation really bugs you that much maybe you should
consider moving to some place safer.

Stephen Walker


#17
My point is that these safe Mayberry kinds of places still exist. 

I spoke too soon. The same day I wrote this there was a smash and
grab at a jewelry store in the next town to the west. Probably the
first such incident in many years.

Bad things even happen in Mayberry sometimes, but the guy that did
it is caught and jewelry recovered. The same actor has a long history
of boneheaded behavior.

Steve Walker