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Report from Tucson September 2003


#1

All, I just got back from being a dealer at the G+LW in Tucson. In
my display I have custom facetted custom cut cabochons,
and jewelry. I sold by dollar amount of total sales, 60% cabs, 30%
jewelry, and 10% facetted stones. As far as interest by customers,
90% looked at the cabs and 10% looked at the jewelry and facetted
stones.

Across from me was one of the largest colored facetted stone dealers
in the USA. He did not make expenses at the show from his booth. He
had I would estimate over a million dollars worth of inventory and
sat reading the paper most of the show.

Of the customers at the show I would estimate that 80% were there
only to buy finished jewelry and beads made in China, Thailand,
India, Mexico, and Bali. The show was well attended and dealers in
products from these countries did very well.

We did OK. Made expenses and maybe pocketed $1,000 after
subtracting cost of product sold. I could have made more working in
my home shop and selling on EBay. But, in neither of these places
would I meet face to face the five new customers that bought my
products and promised to be back again.

Gerry Galarneau


#2
Across from me was one of the largest colored facetted stone
dealers in the USA.  He did not make expenses at the show from his
booth.  He had I would estimate over a million dollars worth of
inventory and sat reading the paper most of the show. 

I read this quote and realized that maybe the reason this dealer did
so poorly is because he was reading the paper in the first place.
Activities such as reading, talking on the cell phone, and talking
to other dealers at a show, put the message across to the buyers
that you are bored and your product is undesirable. If sales are
slow at a show, try to look busy by cleaning your cases, rearranging
your inventory or such. If you can engage a buyer in conversation
about anything, even if it’s asking advice on good restaurants in
town, other buyers percieve you to be engaged in a business
transaction and will come over out of curiosity.

I totally agree that we, as American craftspeople cannot compete
with lower cost imports coming over from overseas. What I try to do
is to offer a totally unique product. When I go to Tucson in
February, more than half of my dealers and over 80% of what I spend
goes to American dealers by coincidence. I shop with companies that
go to great lengths to provide material ( mainly cabs) that nobody
else has. Price is less important to me. It is irrelavent if I can
mark the piece up and sell it. I’m finding more and more that my
customers are shying away from faceted colored stones. They can buy
them on QVC for heaven sakes!!! They also have expressed fear that
they are supporting terrorism by buying them.

Wendy Newman
Moab, UT
www.goldgraphix.com


#3

Gerry, Thanks for your report from Tuscon. In it you wrote:

As far as interest by customers, 90% looked at the cabs and 10%
looked at the jewelry and facetted stones.

Regarding customer interest - is this much different than in past
years? Do you think the interest in cabs is a result of the trend to
large pendant jewelry? And/or do you think the market is showing less
interest in cut stones and more in opaque stones such as jasper,
agate etc?

I have noticed that the home shopping channels seem to be showing
more jewelry made with jaspers etc. recently.

Sincerely,
Dan T.