disclaimer: I’m not an expert by any stretch of the
imagination…! The following info on retail vs. wholesale shows
is based on my personal experience participating in both retail
shows and wholesale Gift Shows (and Not cash and carry jewelry
Set ups for retail shows are totally different than displays
for wholesale shows.
At a retail show, you bring your inventory and sell individual
pieces directly to the end consumer. As you sell an item, you
get paid directly for it, and are able to give the customer the
item paid for at that moment. Your display can be as creative as
you want it to be…Your jewelry is displayed inside display
cases, safe from theft and fingerprints. You supply your own
canopy (most shows) and tables. Most retail customers expect to
ask for help when shopping for jewelry at a high end show. They
are usually not looking for anything more than something to buy
for Aunt Ida’s birthday present.
At a wholesale Gift Show, you bring just samples and take orders
from “buyers” who are retail storefront owners/buyers who can
(and should!) order many more than just one item.
Your jewelry is displayed out in the open, somehow pinned and
anchored to minimize theft, but still available for the buyers
to touch and feel the quality of your work. Many buyers expect
to be able to “buy with their fingers” - being able to touch
everything. They also want to see every possible combination of
color, charm or stone that is available…just saying, “That
pendant comes in 10 different colors” is not enough. They have
to see it in person. They are on their feet for 8 hours a day,
walking, talking and trying to make good decisions…the success
of their stores depends on having merchandise that sells!
To help them decide, your display should be clearly grouped,
either by line, group, type of work. Many exhibitors set up
their booths to resemble a retail store…with most everything
out in the open and grouped according to line. This type of
display also helps to show them how they can display your work
Buyers have 2 to 5 SECONDS to see your booth…just the time it
takes them to walk by. Their shopping mentality is much more
focused than a retail customer.You must display your work so
that it captures their interest in those first couple of
seconds. Your goal is to make them stop and look - and buy!
When you take their order, you agree on a ship date and payment
terms. I personally have a policy of COD on the first order with
subsequent orders on Net30 w/credit approval. I’ve found this to
be standard in the Gift industry. Some people will offer "terms"
up front if the buyer has a “credit sheet” with credit
references and bank Pre-payment (also known as “Pro
Forma”) is rare.
That’s the bare bones info on Gift Shows. I’m sure others have
had totally different experiences, and I’d love to hear those
I’ve never participated in a cash and carry show, I’ve just
shopped them. It seems that most cash and carry exhibitors show
mass-produced high end fine jewelry, with very little “art
jewelry”. Those shows kind of seem to be a mix of retail and
wholesale (without the sales tax!). Not my gig.
Hope this info is helpful…Good Luck!