I have done a number of different things, depending on the person
and their motives for helping me. Young students have helped me for
free, to learn about show biz. In that case, I would always give them
a gift of a piece of jewelry. I gave a friend just $50 for a one day
show one time, plus motel cost and dinner out. She was in the mood
for a road trip. For a longer, major show I have given a flat,
pre-arranged amount of several hundred dollers, plus road expenses,
plus a % bonus if we go over the projected sales that I was
estimating when I decided on the flat fee. This worked well.
There should be some margin in your prices for expenses related to
selling your work. Figure this out (or start adding it in!), and
offer as much as you can for good help. If someone turns out to be a
good salesperson and helper, and makes you happy to have them around,
try to offer them more next time!
Whenever anyone helps me, I offer them the option of getting jewelry
at wholesale cost (50% off) instead of cash. It is amazing how many
take (purchase) the jewelry with the money that would be coming to
them. This is a win-win situation for me, since it drastically lowers
my cash outlay for their services to me. One acquaintance helps me
every year for free at a local 2-day show just because she thinks
it's fun and likes to buy a lot of half-price jewelry. Win-win-win
Be flexible, let the helpers know exactly what is expected of them,
and try to make it as pleasant as possible for them. I do stay in the
booth almost all the time, by the way. No one sells my work better
than I do (with the possible exception of Cindy...wow, could she
sell! She just raved on about how great I was, and since she made
jewelry herself, she knew what to say in detail.).
I hope you will have many interesting experiences with helpers,
mostly good, as I have!
M'lou Brubaker, Jeweler