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People Skills


Annette, I loved your post about how to act at a trade fair. You
really hit home on some very important points that would be
applicable to a store as well as a fair booth, like cleaning the
cases, interacting with the people, starting a conversation, etc.

We did our first trade show last week-end, and I can say it was a
success. This was in spite of the fact that we are a retail
business and there were other businesses at the same show selling
their products at below wholesale prices to anyone who attended -
wow, talk about tough competition! Anyway, I made a practice of
keeping our little tiny display case spotlessly clean, even if it did
not need cleaning (most of our beads were out in the open, but some
really pretty ones were in the case and it acted as a desk for
writing too.) I kept straightening and rearranging the beads,
welcoming people to “paw through the piles” and holding things up and
handing them over for them to see close up or undoing the hanks for
them to “try on.” (Hubby commented on how they all were petting the
beads - true.)

I just had to share one little story about this event when I read
your post. One customer took a look at some moss agate, held it up
to her neck, as if a necklace, and wowser! Her companion, my hubby,
and I all just ooohed and aaahhed it was so gorgeous. She did not
want to pay that much and, in spite of everyone’s encouragement, went
away without it. A while later she returned, looked at it again, and
went away again. Her companion, my hubby, and I almost cried, she
looked so gorgeous in that stone. (We almost gave it to her.)
Anyway, she came back again and bought it, saying that it was the
stone for her astrology sign. So, I asked her what that was and told
her that I now knew something about moss agate that I had not known
before and thanked her, with many more compliments on how truly
gorgeous it was with her coloring. And that was no lie! (I’ve never
seen a stone light up a face like that one did to her.)

So, bottom line is even if it is work (and it was) have some fun
with the product and the people. If it’s no fun, then change your
line of work as quickly as possible.

Sun Country Gems


On a smaller scale, I note that I have virtually NEVER sold anything
to someone I didn’t talk to first - about the piece, the stones, the
jewelry they were wearing, even their hair. A good opening comment
is, “It’s all real SOMEthing”, giving me the chance to say that ,
yes, they’re real cultured freshwater pearls, not pearlized glass;
or, It’s aventurine, not jade, which is why I can afford to sell it
at that price; or, It’s real 14k gold-filled, not plate or
gold-colored something. Even if it’s not intrinsically valuable, it
seems a lot of people appreciate that I’m taking care that they know
it’s a genuine but lower-priced alternative, rather than trying to
fool them or just saying I don’t know.

Tas <-- not into high end … yet …


If something is sold and sales tax is collected, it is sold retail.
If it is sold without collecting sales tax, it is a wholesale sale,
assuming the buyer has a legal resale licence. I have no idea what
"below wholesale" means, unless you buy something from a dealer, and
he sells the same thing to someone without a sales licence for less
than what he sold it to you for, including sales tax. I have gone to
gem shows and paid $60 for something, and found another dealer
selling the exact same thing for $30. The $30 item was not below
wholsale, it was that dealers wholesale price. If it was sold at a
price below what you paid for it, it is a signal that you need a
better source, you are buying small quantities and not getting price
breaks, or you are not asking if they can do better. Always, always,
always ask if they can do better. Or tell them what you have paid
before, and can they match it.

Richard in Denver


Aloha Everyone, We have several types of gem shows here in Hawaii.
Many people believe that “all gem shows” are at wholesale prices,
then why a company rep. attempts to sell that person, the person
retorts with, “I bought it at wholesale price.”

In Hawaii, if you sell wholesale, you must charge wholesale tax.
That tax is $0.005 on the value of what was sold. People who said
they attended an true gem show, were asked the following questions:

1-Did you need to have a business card?

2-Did you need to show prove of business by a bank check with the
company’s name on it?

3-Do you have a valid license ID#?

4-What is the position you have for it is printed on the badge.

The individuals I have been training for the company were
dumbfounded when they realized that no all shows are open to the
public. The is stored in a special Gem Show software
program to identify the person the next time he or she attends.

In understanding the various types of business, one company can be a
manufacturer, a wholesale company, and also retail. The ideal is,
not to undersell the retail price below what the wholesale price
would be.

In attending several shows myself, I always ask for the best break.
There are only a hand full of dealers we purchase from, because we
know it is a great wholesale price.

Let me give you an example: Amber. At the gem shows here listed for
trade people only, one amber dealer was selling their amber with
insects (upon scrutiny it was just wood caught in the tree’s resin)
sold that amber for $80.00 per gram. Their regular wholesale prices
were 5 times as high as the other vendors who sold at the show.
Regular nugget style amber necklaces were wholesaled at $2.00 per
gram, pushing the price to over $10.00 wholesale price per necklace.
We know this is not a good deal from experience.

For those we formerly purchased from, they gave us wholesale prices,
but to the people of their own race, those people got the wholesale
price though it was truly a retail sale. When asked about the price
difference, the native language was spoken, then the dealer gave us
a flippant answer. We no longer buy from this dealer.

Every time we attend a show, arms loaded with bags, and walk pass
his booth, he has not traffic, people sitting there with sour
looking faces, and then the look more sick when we say “HI” and walk
pass them. We do this for a reason. To teach that if you sale you
are a wholesale, the play fairly, if not suffer the consequences.
Once we stopped purchasing a variety of goods from him, checking his
site, his auctions, and other areas he sells on, there has be a
downward trend in the amount he once pulled in and what he pulls in

Before purchasing from any seller simply ask one question, “If I
find this same product at this show for a lower price, will you beat
that price, refund my money, or at least match that price?” The
seller doesn’t want to lose the sale. What may happen is that the
seller will calculate the difference in price, and ask you to select
more items that make up the difference. Herein lies the dilemma,
how do you know it is a true wholesale price?

Sellers like selling to the same purchasers. We missed 2 shows, and
one woman we purchase many bags of gemstone beads from, was a bit
miffed at us because we were not there when she was. Being upset,
she upped the price of the beads by a dollar or two. Understand, at
those prices, no one else could match it so we purchased from her

The next time we smoozed the sellers, gave them soda, shells, hand
made visors, and all of a sudden we were their "BEST CUSTOMER EVER"
prices dropped and the dollar stretched longer.

Once we did this, if the prices were lower somewhere else, or we
purchased too much of one thing and at the next show, the vendors
allowed us to exchange it. They also gave us better price breaks.

Why isn’t a Gem Trade Show considered as a large flea market?
People from different cultures do business differently. Why is
wrong to buying something for a great price, taking it to your
booth, then reselling it? This is what many businesses do.

Protect yourself by asking questions prior to purchasing. Make the
vendors accountable. Ask for a refund. If no refund, then the
vendor is in a precarious position because the seller knows many
potential buyers that could negatively impact the vendor’s sales.

TAX IS COLLECTED EVEN ON WHOLESALE. In Hawaii we must pay tax for
items brought in and pay wholesale tax if a licensed business buys
wholesale from us. Should we ship to the Mainland or around the
world, the local tax office will still see it as a sale and taxes
must be paid. The thing that changes is the percentage of tax.


If the answer is “NO”, then go early, and walk to the specifically
targeted items you are interested in, review the vendors
merchandise, ask the questions, prior to purchasing.

Our favorite time is closing? Why, vendors do not like carrying or
packing up large amounts of stock. Therefore, the vendor will give
fantastic prices if you purchase a bunch of pearls or beads,
whatever is in stock. Those are the greatest dollar stretching

Good luck to every one. We wish you all much happiness, health, and