Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cleveland By Hand

Last November I did the Cleveland By Hand art fair at the I-X Center in Cleveland and really had a fun show. Time with friends and plus nice sales means I can't wait to go back. That plus one of the best Mexican meals I've ever had at a funny little restaurant near the show. Can't wait!

The show is connected to the Fabulous Food Show and this year, Pat and I are going to find a way to go get in. We could hear all the enthusiasm so now I want to see for myself! That was a huge draw for patrons, some of whom I would bet had never been through an art fair before so it think we benefited from them being next door, in the same room. Boy you knew when Paula Deen hit the stage! A big roar from enthusiastic fans!

Back to the show. Not sure how many artists were there but it was the perfect size show. Easy to walk, easy to go back and find that favorite person again. Tons of clean bathrooms so no lines (okay, that's a personal favorite). A show director, Jay, who actually walked the show solving problems and looking for input. I saw him constantly throughout the show. Do you know how rare that is??? And he stopped and listened. This is a very good thing to be reminded of a few days before the event, the Garage Sale Art Fair, that Michael and I put on.

Here's to show directors that consider the artists to be the important part of the show!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Garage Sale Art Fair time

This Saturday is the 13th Annual Garage Sale Art Fair in Kalamazoo Michigan. We've done everything we can to get the information about this great event out to our customers and friends, now it's just waiting for the event to finally get here. We have a great group of artists this year with both new people and returning favorites. It should be a great mix!

I finally started today to get my own personal things ready to sell at the show, forgetting how much work it is! Going through all my jewelry and deciding what to sell off at huge discounts and what to save. Gathering all those odd pieces I made that don't match anything else. And those pieces I just don't want to see again!

Plus I'm bringing some of those art pieces I've collected over the years that I just need to make sure get a good new home. Some are still loved by me and some have been replaced by new favorites. I just don't have room to keep everything so this is the perfect time to clear things out.

Then there are the supplies. Haven't even started on those yet but I should have a good pile of things I bought to make --- (fill in the blank) but haven't. Sometimes once I get them in the studio I can't remember what I had planned for them or I've tried but my idea isn't working like I'd hoped so they get pushed aside. That's tomorrow's project.

My hope for the show is record crowds of people wanting to buy just what our artists are offering this year. I want both artists and customers leaving with big smiles on their faces, clutching something wonderful they found at the show!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Buyer's Market - Wrap Up!

Home again and pretty much recovered from the show. My shipping crates were delivered today so tomorrow I'll start the job of unpacking and sorting everything to be packed away until my next wholesale show.

This was a LONG show. It was slower than most wholesale shows for me so the days dragged on but it really had it's high points. And these are their pictures (with my apologies to David Heston who I didn't get a picture of).

So, the picture above is of Patricia Tschetter and Marilyn O'Hara. Marilyn kept me fed and filled with fresh juice during the show as well as just being a good friend! Her official job was in Patricia's beautiful jewelry booth! Luckily, they were just down the row from me so I saw them often.

The picture on the left is Michael, Grace and Don. Grace was at the show helping Michael which meant that Michael wasn't around as much. He gave me wonderful dark chocolate on Valentine's Day. Wonderful man! So if I mention Don, I have to mention his wonderful girlfriend Jorn as well. She saved me at a wholesale show last year.

The picture on the right is David Smallcombe, also a jeweler, since we're in the jewelry section! I know David from doing retail shows in the midwest since he's from Kalamazoo. He was a peach and took a box home for Michael that had some of my poles in it. I really want his wonderful pricing spreadsheet!

On the left were new neighbors, Ashley and Alberto Parada standing next to a poster of his beautiful work.

On the right is Amery Carriere who was a great addition to our little grouping! Wonderful woman with beautiful jewelry. Plus she also uses rose gold which I love!

In case you haven't discovered yet, it's the people that make a show. Your neighbors make all the difference and I'm blessed with very good ones at the Buyers Market!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Still at the Buyer's Market - a rant!

I want the media to stop talking about how dire everything is! People are walking through the show looking like the end is near. End of what, their livelihood? The world as we know it? Their life??? Yikes!

Yes, it’s tough out there. I know it first hand, just like most everyone else. But I’m not giving in to all the doom and gloom talk or I won’t be able to get out of bed in the morning! I’ll hunker down even more than I currently am, cut my expenses to the bone and try to make it through, still making a living doing what I love.

And I’ll finally give in and use my Marriott points for work hotel rooms instead of saving them for a vacation somewhere. Big sigh…

Buyer's Market - Day 3

Day 3 of the wholesale show starts with a Table Topics event sponsored by CRAFT. My table topic is “What I Wish I Knew My First Two Years of Business”. This is a subject near and dear since there are so many things that could be made so much easier for a “newbie” if someone would just point them out. So I take my 33 years of experience and break it down to 2 pages and lead a discussion with anyone who wants to join. It’s fun and we all come away learning things.

Because I’m leading a table topics session, it’s a scramble to get back to my booth and set up for the 10am opening but I made it. Michael was there with goodies and fresh-squeezed juice which is a great way to start the show!

It’s very quiet in here today. Very few people and just no energy at all. Hopefully that will change soon. Before all the artists fall asleep in their booths! It’s warm in here which doesn’t help either!

It’s being said that one of the things we’re running into is that Valentine’s Day is on Saturday and that’s a big holiday in the retail world. So the thinking is that galleries will come after Saturday.

Are we being delusional???

Monday, February 16, 2009

Buyers Market - first full day

It’s the first full day of my wholesale show. Boy, it’s just hard to get into show mode. Normally before a show you’re buried in the studio, barely seeing daylight or other people and just scrambling to get those last minute jobs and ideas done before the show. All those great ideas you had at the last show that you wanted to implement before the next show, now you find your notes so you try to squeeze that in too. So by the time you get to the show, people can ask a nice, normal question and your brain just doesn’t want to fire out an answer! They kind of look at you sideways wondering if you’re all there and all you can think is, would a nap help.

People are nervous about orders this year, both buyers and sellers alike. The buyers don’t want to over spend and are hesitant to try new work or anything really out of the ordinary. The sellers are all wondering what they’re going to do if the orders don’t come in. Actually, this sounds like an absolutely normal, first day of the show!

Normally at the wholesale show, people walk the show, looking at everything and making notes then come back through and place their orders later. Then there are the wonderful people that just walk up, like what they see and order. I would be that type of buyer… If you love what you buy, you will be able to sell it to others!

So the first full day of the show is now done! On to day 3!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Going to The Buyers Market

Well, we made it to Philadelphia and the Buyers Market of American Craft in one piece! Our flight was cancelled due to fog so we got in about 4 hours later than expected but with Michael’s help, everything worked out. We got my display framework set up before they shut down the convention center on Wednesday and I finished the set-up on Thursday morning.

Before finishing set-up, we had a great breakfast at the wonderful Amish place in Reading Market Terminal. Where I met these two, one from Santa Cruz and one from West Philadelphia, who declined to be named! They ordered the Scrapple which I’ve heard about but never actually seen in person. It was described to me as all kinds of meats mooshed together into what looked like a loaf shape and then deep fried. They gave it interesting reviews so I had to get a picture of them and the scrapple! So guys – if you want to be identified, just add it in the comments and I’ll give you credit!

With set-up finished, the jewelry preview opened and for the next 3 hours, we were back in the show business!

Monday, February 9, 2009

30 hours until Philly

The last few hours before I leave for a wholesale show are always rough. Have I made enough cute new things? Do I have some items with a low enough price to make them affordable? Does everything look the same??? When did I decide I loved squares so much? And whose bright idea was it to use 22k gold in this economy??? What in the heck was I planning on wearing!

Oh yes, everything is very calm around here... I'm sure Dick can't wait until I leave!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Still working...

Yikes! Punched up my blog to make a quick post and realized that once I picked up my hammer again, I stopped blogging!

I was reticent to pick up my hammer again after having surgery which affected my right arm. Thanks to Jerry Broderick, my great physical therapist, my arm is getting stronger and pounding is going well. Not ready for a full day yet but getting there!

My once a year wholesale show (the Buyers Market of American Craft) in Philadelphia starts next week and I'm not even close to being ready. But I will be. At least as ready as I can after a few strange months.

I'm cutting way back on the number of pieces I'm offering for wholesale because the more I offer, the more time I spend trying to catch up. I can't get ahead and that really takes away the fun of making jewelry! So I'll have a nice selection but not massive amounts. I'm a one person studio (by choice) and it needs to be manageable and still be fun!

More to come!