Questions about exhibiting at first show

I will be exhibiting at my first craft show this year. Probably
the Chicago ACC or the West Springfield ACC show. Most of the
rings that I am currently making for this venue are not sizable
in the classic sense and are made to order. My question is,
should a greater percentage of the rings I make for these shows
be sizable? Do the retail shoppers expect to take the jewelry
home with them or will they be willing to place orders? Should
I make a few different sizes of each ring and hope to sell them
at the shows (taking advantage of the instant gratification-type
buyer)? Both of these shows are retail shows, If it was a
wholesale show I probably wouldn’t be as worried about it, but I
don’t want to tie up all my resources in one type of jewelry if
it is not as popular or saleable. Nor do I want to be stuck
with a bunch of odd size rings (especially since they are all 18
or 22K with stones).

Larry Seiger

Dear Larry: Never exhibited at any ACC shows, but I’ve been to
the show in West Springfield, so as a retail customer I can tell
you that aside from having a custom-made pair of shoes (on my
wish list), if I can’t take it home, I’m not going to buy it. I
might, given the best of circumstances, order a custom made
jacket. Even though the quality of the items at these shows is
outstanding, I’d have to say they are still high-end impulse
items from the retail perspective. I’m sure that if I’m
completely off, you’ll be getting other commentary very soon :)!
Andrea Guyot/Guyot Brothers/Attleboro, Mass

Hello LS Hancock, First show huh? The ring size quandry is
tricky. I do it both ways. I make a bunch of bands in all
different sizes which are in the lower price range so I don’t
have too much money tied up in stock. Should you continue doing
craft shows, you will find that it’s good to have at least one
easily reproduceable item, and band rings are ideal with
multiple applications; they stack, they serve as guards for
rings that are too loose, they’re easily mailable, etc.
Periodically you check sizes and make replacements. Of course,
no matter how wide the range of sizes you make, someone will
want one bigger or smaller than you happen to have available!
For rings with stones, have at least two made up in the most
common size for each style of women’s rings. Plan to sell one
and take orders with the other. The ordering works fine if you
are local. People are more confident of your reliability if
they know they can actually come to your place. It’s more
problematic if you’re from more than an hour away. If you take
credit cards, that helps your reliability factor, plus enabling
that “impulse purchase.” One thing you might consider for on
site ring sales is to design the band to be stretched up to fit.
There IS a limit of course, but it may work in with your size
choices to think of a size 6 as being stretchable up another
half or so. I do some rings with a sort of “~” in the shank
which stretches quite nicely without affecting the design - a
bit like pulling an accordian apart. Consider the time it will
take to do that bit of work, and if you’re solo with noone else
in the booth, you might NOT want to divert your attention from
monitoring and sales. Good luck and have fun talking to all
those people. Judymw Judy M. Willingham, R.S. Extension
Associate 221 Call Hall Kansas State Univerisity Manhattan KS
66506 (785) 532-1213 FAX (785) 532-5681

I don’t size rings at all. Ever. I have a lot of one of a kind
rings that are very intricate, and to size them would be a
nightmare. I warn the customer/store that that is the case before
they purchase the rings, and I am adamant. Funny thing is, if
they love the ring, they will almost always find another finger
for it to fit on. If they are desperate, and unless its
impossible, I charge a small amount extra, and they pay the
shipping, and I remake the ring in their size, with a 4-6 week
delivery time…They have to be pretty desperate. I make mostly
7’s and 8’s…average sizes will vary depending on which side of
the country that you are in. In the colder climates, I find that
8’s an 9’s are the average. I also have a cast line that comes in
whole sizes only, from 5-11. One of those will fit just about
everyone, but I don’t ever carry a sample in each size. If I
don’t have the size, I have them pay for it at the show, and
then I send it Priority mail when I get back to the studio. Odd,
you’d think that I’d lose sales because of this non-catering, but
if anything, the customer seems to see me as the cartoon
character archetype of the eccentric artist, more exclusive, and
therefore more desireable. Silly silly…Because I work alone, I
just don’t have enough time to do that much more work that it
takes to please everyone.

Lisa, [Raining and chilly, I’m taking my son to the orthodontist
this morning. Life is grand :slight_smile: ] Topanga, CA USA