First - Congratulations! A 10-day show is a huge accomplishment,
particularly since you managed to pull it out of a near - disaster.
Second - Inhale Pink, Exhale Blue…! This isn’t World Peace…sadly.
“It’s Just Jewelry” - This is a mantra I have repeated countless
times over nearly 2 decades of regularly scheduled, monthly shows at
Saks in Beverly Hills, et al. (I’ve even managed to talk down a few
medication - challenged customers with the Mantra and a comforting
For a venue like Bergdorf’s - you should present yourself as a
professional. You are an artist, so you have some leaway, but for
emotional comfort and practical purposes, I would keep it simple -
especially since you will be wearing your jewelry, of course (!)
and you will also be demonstrating pieces from the collection.
Jacket, top with simply neckline, and pants are perfect. Keep to
solid colours and/or black simply because they will make for a better
background for your jewelry. The fake nails are a disaster - trust
me… But if it makes you feel more confident, get (or do) a simple
manicure, but with a clear polish, no colour - so you won’t have to
obsess about a chip. Don’t do anything radically new with your hair
or your clothes, or that’s all you’ll be thinking about. Your focus
needs to be on others, not yourself. And wear comfortable (but neat)
Do not let the idea of a “BG customer” be intimidating. You are
your best salesman. You know more about your work than anyone and
that’s exactly why you are there - to share the magic. If you love
what you do, and your designs have meaning to you - that’s what you
talk about. Let people in on the happy secret of the pleasure you
take in creating your work. It’s contagious, I promise. Absolutely -
yes - be friendly and warm, and smile. Always look busy, if only
fussing with the display or making notes. Some people are hesitant to
get “sucked in” by an over-eager “rep” or salesperson. Bored-looking
people are also a turnoff. Allow people their moment to approach and
cruise the case. In that way, you have a moment to take their
temperature, as it were. If they zero in on a particular piece, you
have an opening to comment on it - and introduce yourself as the
designer. If 2 or more are shopping together, and someone comments
favorably to another, use that as your foot-in-the-door opportunity
to say “thank you” and introduce yourself. If someone is wearing an
interesting piece of jewelry ( or anything else) compliment her -
start the conversation. Same if they mosey by with a cherubic child
or adorable dog. Say so - especially about the dog(!). Why not?
Everyone loves a compliment. If some keep on going - they keep on
going. But, others - because your kind words and interest
interrupted their train of thought - will stop for a moment, and
look, and - you have your opportunity to engage them. Some of my
best sales and best friendships happened because I took the time to
chat about things completely unrelated to jewelry (lol).
Don’t think that I am being mechanical about this - I am utterly in
love with what I do, and I’m most at ease when I am talking about my
work. Lots of folks will get it, a few won’t… This is Show Business
- you are selling the idea, the romance, of your work.
Management will undoubtedly frown on your handing out your own
contact But ask all the pertinent questions of the
person who is setting up the show so there are no missed cues or
stepped-on toes. It’s only a stupid question if you don’t ask it.
DON’T ASSUME - You already had a taste of how well that works. Get
policies clear - and certainly get the procedures very clear - about
how, where, and when you deliver your work, how the paperwork needs
to be prepared, how you get paid for sales, and how you get your
unsold merchandise back. Usually, even for a trunk show, merchandise
has to be ticketed before it goes on the selling floor for big stores
like BG. They should have this all spelled out on paper
for you. I have no idea how BG works - each store has its own arcane
way of doing things.Do you do custom or special orders? Customers
will ask. Find out what the store policy is for that contingency.
Here’s a thought: Do you live in NY? If it’s practical, even though
the show is coming up fast, you might consider calling the dept.
manager and asking if you may come in a couple of days early and
introduce yourself to him/her and meet the sales associates.
(Unless the buyer has taken care of that.) It might take some of the
edge off the newness for you, and your best asset is a supportive and
enthusiastic sales staff.
Good Luck - !