Jewelry shows

   I have been thinking a lot lately about other ways to sell and
or show (name building showing)  and would love to hear what other
jewelry artists have done or are doing. 

Hi Sharron, I have done in home shows for sometime. I can make more
doing this than going out to craft shows for a lot more expense.

Try asking one of your best customers to have a group of her friends
or family etc. to come to her house and have wine and cheese etc.
just light snacks they are not there to eat but to see your work. If
you have too much it becomes a party and you can loose their
attention. I like candles with a nice scent but keep good lighting so
you can have your jewelry displayed well.

With no over head and you can offer her a piece of jewelry or amount
off a piece for hosting the show. Also invite people on your own list
that like what you do and ask each one to bring a friend. I find that
you can talk about your work and give individual attention that a
gallery show can not do.

This is a good place to do custom work for someone who has been
waiting for some one to come along to make just the right piece for
them. Have them sign a guest book this way you can build a customer
base for further shows.

I tried doing this in my own house and have been successful but it
takes a lot of energy to do it all yourself. I sent out invitations
to each name of my list telling them what I was doing and wanted them
to be included in celebrating with me my newly created pieces. I did
this 4 times a year, spring, summer, fall and winter.

Now I have a person who sets up all the shows for me and other
artists of the same high end jewelry and art. I give her the pieces
and she takes care of everything. I make a few of the shows and
answer questions about my work. Of course she takes a percentage, but
gives me the jewelry back after the shows so I can display it
elsewhere. Much better than consignment where your work can just
dress up someone else’s display cabinet.

I hope this is helpful. My attitude is to keep it simple as possible
otherwise it is more trouble than it is worth. Good luck, Roxan in PA.

Roxanne, I read your latest contribution to Orchid with interest!
Several of us are talking about starting some home shows, and the
first question in my mind is how do you display your items? Do you
use a number of commercial props or have you created something for
just this purpose? Are you comfortable with your work out in the open
or do you use closed cases? Is it a good idea to have specific
lighting? It is hard to know how commercial to get in a home venue.
Do you aim to have a particular number of pieces? Any
further tips will be appreciated! Susan Ronan

Hi Susan, I try to have my jewelry displayed nicely on jewelry boards
or on individual velvet neck stands. I like people to be able to
touch my work. I don’t put it behind glass in this type of show. I
put them in several rooms with someone always watching the rooms. You
can always use a family member or friend who will do this. If you
don’t have someone available then keep your things in one room. I
feel by keeping it much more friendly but well supervised people feel
that this event is created just for them with a private showing. I
also put on the invitations that this is a private showing for them
and a friend. Do not make this kind of show too commercial, leave
this to jewelry stores or galleries. It needs to be professional,
just not commercial.

This is a great way for those of you who may not have any other venue
for your work or who can not afford to open a store yet. It is a
wonderful way to start a business, no overhead, you keep the profit
and everyone is happy. You must make sure that you reward your
sponsor with a gift etc. Just make sure you are clear on what they
expect from you. Let them know what they will receive from you before
doing the show.

Make sure everything is well marked with the price and is inventoried
on paper. It makes it much easier to keep track of your work. I
number my pieces so it is easier to find on the inventory. The thing
about in home shows is to do your home work before you get there.
Know the set up and where you want to put your work. Arrive much
earlier than every one else. Greet people at the door and direct them
to where your things are located. Let them browse but tell them about
your work.

I try to find a well lit room or use some additional lighting, but
keep is simple. It is nice to have a big mirror so they can try a
piece of your work on. Once someone has tried a piece on they are
more likely to purchase it . If they have to ask to get in a jewelry
case they may pass on it. People are impulse buyers out of site out
of mind.

Since you may not be able to bring all your work with you choose
pieces that fit the clientele but bring your best work. No close out
stuff unless you know it will sell. My experience is that those who
come to the show are really interested in seeing your work. You will
have a better return on your investment than at a craft show where
they may just be looking for entertainment by walking past your

This is a good forum to talk about custom work if they don’t see what
they want. Make sure if you are going to do custom work that you ask
for at least one third down before doing work for anyone. I also will
hold work on lay away, but I am clear on how long I will keep it and
they must put some money down on the piece. Don’t let friends take
advantage of you just because you are friends. They can try to get
you to take far less for your work then you know it is worth. This is
not a flee market where you can bargain to the cheapest price.

The one thing you need to avoid is letting this turn into a party.
Keep the topic of conversation on you and your work. If you use music
make sure it is not party music, something soft instrumental is good.
You want it to feel comfortable so they will buy but not something
they want to dance to.

This is a good thread I could go on and on but I hope this is helpful
to you. This is such a great forum for all of us to learn from each
other. I am always interested in how anyone else is being creative in
their business. Good luck and let us all know how you make out. Roxan
in Pa. where the leaves are already starting to turn.

-On the subject of in-home shows–I have been told by artists who
checked it out that if they had customers come to their homes to buy
that it caused problems with their insurance (homeowners, I think), so
you might want to check. As was pointed out in the thread about
torches, if they don’t know, they won’t hassle you, but if you make a
claim, and are discovered to have violated the terms of your insurance
certificate, you can find yourself S.O.L.(up the creek, as it were).
Just for what it’s worth—Noel