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Traveling set up for wholesale shows

Hello to all! I just have some questions regarding going and doing
large vendor shows like in Las Vegas, Orlando, New York,
Philadelphia… I have only done outdoor art shows that are a days
travel or less from my home. This year I am doing a large indoor
wholesale show and it’s only 2 hours from me. I think I need a moving
van for all the stuff I am traveling with! Wow, it’s over the top set
up! My question is how does everyone else do it? Do you always drive?
Do you have a trailer, van, truck and personnel? Do you pay the
vendor people to set up for you? I am amazed at my own circus of show
’stuff’…displays, tables, etc… Does anyone have a good
streamlined approach? Thanks for any and all advice or ideas. I am
all ears! :slight_smile: joy kruse

In the short time ive been following this forum, I dont think ive
seen any posts from wholesale jewellery makers.

This indicates to me that just about everyone here is a one man band

Nice and simple if you can get it work for you.

So before you look at the logistics of what amounts to commmercial
shows, you need to ask the question, do you have the production setup
to mass produce your work? And have you been quoted what it costs to
take part?

You will be up against some big, well established mass producers. do
you think you will have an edge over these? to make it worth your

Also you need to go and look around such a commercial venue to see
what is on offer, at what prices and terms of business you expected
to offer. You will be expected to quote for a minimum of 10 off any
item, at a trade price.

From what you describe you have only designed, made and sold your
work retail.

My view is that it is still the best way to make the most of your
time, doing everything means you make the profit on every operation.
Its better to be a big fish in a small pool than a small one in a
big pool.

Fill us in with some more about such commercial events.
Getting back to the logistics side, Bigger events or art shows are
worth exploring up to say 3 to 400 miles away.

for that tho you will need a proper commercial truck with everything
set up in it, along with, what we call caravans, towed behind to
live in. the longer the event the better use of your time. the average
show I do is 4 to 5 days, the longest is 10 days. thats some 600
miles away in Europe.

I take with me my exhibition unit thats 20 by 10 ft marquee, with a
small version of my normal workshop. so I can make almost anything on
site. As for mass production, yes I do that too. In 1989 at a 5 day
event I minted a commemorative plaque for the event at the event. Made
and sold 1000 over the show duration.

Have fun!!

Joy, for a wholesale show you need a clean display, samples but not
inventory, photos of your work to hang from the walls since jewelry
is small and you have about 3 seconds to capture a buyer’s attention
as they walk down the aisles. email me privately at dee at
deejanssenglass dot com and i can help you with pics - i do both
jewelry and functional glass. D

Dee Janssen
Dee Janssen GlassWorks

I have not done wholesale, but have considered it. Many of the large
wholesale show have programs for emerging artists (first time at the
show). Contact them and ask. I think Wendy Rosen’s shows can provide
a mentor. Many have specific requirements for your booth, so check
carefully. I talked to a woman going to one and she had to buy
carpet and fireproof panels.

Have a great show,
Melissa Stenstrom

Here is my situation so you all can advise me better…

I am a small operation. I do have one part time employee and I wish
she was full time and she probably could be in the future. I do
repairs, sizing and some custom design for two local brick and mortar
jewelry stores - I have a few galleries I already sell in but they
are in very seasonal locations (summer time), I sell online and at
art shows myself at a retail price the same as my galleries, I teach
some classes. I can do mass production work and have several
pendants, rings, earrings and necklaces that are production pieces.
One necklace I only have a dozen of at one time, the others I keep
100 each of them in stock and as soon as I get 3/4 of them gone I re
stock them which is usually summer they are all gone and christmas
they are gone again… Winter here is slow - jan, feb, march is time
to make, make, make. I feel like I am caught in the middle of ‘go big
or go home.’ - Making 1000 pieces at oneshow and selling them all is
a thought my mind cannot even imagine. That’s a wesome. I don’t think
I’ve ever even attended a show that large. But you’re right I need to
attend some big wholesale shows as a spectator first.

When I go to an art show I have a small enclosed trailer packed to
the top. My car is a Honda pilot and I usually try to keep
everything out of it except myself, my clothes, a small cooler and
my jewelry. When I go home I park the trailer and put the jewelry in
the safe and I’m done. I have a young family. Being gone on the road
doing shows as my main source of selling is not an option. Being
home and working is wonderful! And I am making a living but Idon’t
turn anything down. I say yes to work… Fixed a maple syrup still?
The other day, funny repair!

I would love to have more galleries/stores… I guess is all I’m
saying? How do I get there? Patience and Persistence? I’m ready.

Thanks for any and all comments in advance… I will take your
experience and wisdom to heart so be honest and tell me how you do
it or how you would doit now? Sincerely, :slight_smile: joy kruse

One sentence sticks out in your outline, that is, being on the road
doing shows is not an option.

However one day shows need as much setup and take down as a 3 day
show, It might be an idea to rethink your family arrangements so you
can do at least a couple of larger shows in a year. thats not to say
one day shows dont work.

I showed my work weekly on the railings of Hyde Park in London some
120 miles each way every Sunday. That was enough to ask a fair
maiden’s hand in marriage some yrs later and set up a home and
workshops. Im still here some 44 yrs later! As is the maiden.

I did the London weekly trip for 7 yrs, till the travelling started
to get to me.

Then a move to again a weekly local market in a small town only 35
miles each way. That worked well with a 10 ft display stall. That was
also for 7 yrs. A friend was taking some space at a pop festival in
1984 where 45,000 people came over 4 days.

I gave it a try and sold out. This decided me to up my game to bigger
events, and ive been doing these ever since.

To return to your circumstances, The key is to get exposure to enough
people in the 8 hours your on show so to speak.

In the RIGHT place, then wont have to sell wholesale. From your
outline I think your doing everything just fine. a real grafter.

Congratulations, it sounds as if you are working as much as you can.
So many times I hear of people who think they are doing it as a
living, but they are not out their pushing their products.I like you
have numerous avenues. But i have never mass produced anything to
your extent. I complained about one necklace that I had to do 100
times, and I think I will always hate the orders for the earrings. I
find myself snoozing while mass producing the same 100 pair of

How I have coped with the situation. I have targeted three large
hotels, and one hospital. I would rather have 4 large clients, than
to travel to weekly bazaars, though that may change if I marry. By
having large clients, I can spend months building up orders. I spent
7 months preparing an order that ended up 133 necklaces, and 30
bracelets. It was worth the time and investment.

I have to decide what I want, and who I want to be, and as long as I
am working the tourism trade, I will be faced with having to make
cheap earrings, bracelets and necklaces. I have decided that I want
the custom work, the repair work, a few galleries, a few hotel gift
shops, and I enjoy one hospital here. Then I will do the local
farmers market, because it gets me out, and I have friendsthat i
visit with. So my methods and motives have evolved.

I admire you and your orderliness. Blessings pat

Just wanted to thank everyone who chimed in on the how to travel to a
large tradeshow.

Especially Judy Hoch…thank you. I went and did a vendor show for
the past 6 days and I learned a lot. It was both a good experience
and a humbling one. My priorities were set straight and my thoughts
are much more clear on the direction that will be best for me - I
just have to believe and stay true to myself and trust myself. I
guess I needed a crash course. Nothing beats experience. So tired
today I literally cannot keep my eyes open! Thanks again! :slight_smile: joy

I did Boston Buyers Market many years ago, and flew in with an
Abstracta Display Systems case set-up, using plexiglass instead of
glass. This consists of pipes which must be assembled on site, and
it is used by many wholesale jewelers. The black pipes probably hold
up better in the long run than the chrome ones do. Photos for the
back of the booth, and fireproofed fabrics for the display case
fronts & sides. I saw that some jewelers rented tables and display
cases from a local company who delivered them to their booth. I had
to rent a carpet, which was in the booth when I arrived, as was the
pipe & drape. Your wholesale shows will be able to tell you what they
supply and also what is available to rent.

Good luck! Price your work carefully!
M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA’louBrubaker/