Thinking of doing my first show!?

I have been fusing dichroic glass and setting them in silver and am
thinking of doing my first show. Reason being is that I am having a
tough time finding good retail outlets for my jewelry. I sell fairly
well privately but would like to take the next step and plus I need
a better feedback. My work is at the high end price wise an
therefore if a shop is to double the price it ends up being kind of
high for the type of work that they sell in their stores. (I sell my
stuff or $50 - $50 and they would need to double that price ) I also
am not doing well getting any responses from the shops I do send my
literature to - I guess that’s normal in this business? I just got
an application for a really wonderful show in new england and would
like to give it at shot - have attended it for years and know my work
should do well there. I do have a few problems though. Besides the
slides of my work which I do have, they want a photo of my booth
which at this time I do not have a booth yet. I was just going to
make several boxes (22"x26") out of wood that have the glass on top
that I can open up and make a nice display and then set them out on a
covered table with some sort of background behind me. ( I was
thinking of buying the boxes but the prices are high and I think I
can do just as well with my own.) I am not sure that this would cut
it as far as judging goes (the kind of fake set-up ) - I really want
to get into this show though and feel I really couldn’t lose if I
bomb since they take a percentage of your profits (which if I do do
well would be pretty high - 15%, but I’m willing to take that cut
for this show) instead of an all out fee which at this time I am not
ready to commit to. Also, how much inventory should one have for a
two day show - I had figured on at least 100 pieces. thanks,

Elle, I am also preparing for my first retail shows, I did exactly
what you are thinking of in terms of the booth. I wrote a note
directly on the bottom of the photo explaining my entry level position
and was accepted to two shows this way. Every one has to start
someplace. Betty

Elle, Congratulations on taking the first steps in running your
business. You’ve got a few things going on here. First, if you want to
be seen as a professional you need to think of yourself as a
professional. If you want to get into galleries you need to have set
wholesale and retail prices. Figure out how much time it takes to make
each piece, material cost and how much you need per hour. When you
figure that out that’s your Wholesale price. Your Retail price is (at
least) double that. When you sell retail shows you should sell at your
retail price. When you apply to galleries you need to be very clear
about your wholesale/retail prices. Galleries will generally not want
to do business with you if you’re underselling them. The 15% that the
show is asking will come as less of a blow if you’re selling at your
retail prices. You’ll need the “extra” money anyway to cover all the
costs associated with doing shows. Now for booth pictures: If you
don’t have a booth shot most places will let you send in a picture of
just your display (it’s not faking it) or even submit a drawing (shot
onto a slide). They usually just want to make sure you have a
professional setup that will fit in to their show. You could try
calling the show promoter to see what they will accept. I also
recommend that you pick up a copy of the book “Crafting As a Business”
by Wendy Rosen. It covers all of this in much more detail. And get a
subscription to Crafts Report.
Good luck…there’s a lot to it!

Amy O’Connell
Amy O’Connell Jewelry

Hi Betty, Thanks for your reply. So you did not have a photo of your
booth? What really shocked me was when I was checking shows in my
magazines, all of them now require a booth shot. I can really
understand that because I have been to some crafty type shows and have
seen real crappy booths. I am also shocked at the prices now being
asked for shows. I used to do shows 15-20 years ago and then had to
stop because I started teaching and no longer had the time for them
and also kind of gave up my painting which is what I started out
doing. I remember even the big shows were not that expensive to get
into and all they required was slides of your work. I am really
getting excited about getting back into the show scene as I really did
miss it. I know that I can do well but I just need to get into a
good show for starts. I was even thinking of drawing my booth out for
them so they would have an idea of what it would look like. I do have
a feeling though that a slide is the only way with this show. It is
one of the best shows around and every one wants to get into it. Here
is where I move my couch and set up my table in front of the curtin
for a shot.
Thanks again. Elle

hello all - went back over some applications i’ve received from the
coconut grove show down to a $15 one in another state & the wording
varies from “3 (4 or 5) slides of current work and 1 slide of your
display” to 3 (4 or 5) slides of work & 1 slide of booth setup" - the
one committee member i asked from one of the top shows said it might
be enough to send a slide of your display table - surface - whatever

  • with the display pieces holding your items EXACTLY as you would set
    them up at a show & then explain that your tent is a such-n-such
    brand tent (do not even consider doing an outdoor show in florida
    without a tent & side curtains!) someone at one of the shows asked me
    what mine cost & when they heard the demise of $1000.00 in its
    purchase, they answered, "but i saw one at s—'s for under $200.00!"
    so you might check on that source. there were a couple of glass
    artists at my last show - the boca raton museum art show 2 weeks ago
  • who opted for no tent, but their work needed the sparkle of
    sunlight & their setups were waterproof - but unless you’re a glass
    artist … you might consider doing shows where you can rent a tent &
    have it already set up for you before you get there (a few rental
    times will pay for a tent though). good luck - ive