Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Craft show success!

Well, the largest craft show I participate in was this past weekend. Despite unexpected snow, there was a great turnout and I did fantastic! This has been my best show ever. Ever! I've done this specific show for 4 years now and this one was by far the best.

First, I want to thank Rob. He was a saint. He helped tremendously. Even when I didn't expect him to help. If I was busy with a customer and another customer wanted to make a purchase, he stepped up and helped them. He even made a few pieces right there in the booth during slower moments.

I had several return customers, which is always wonderful. I usually don't get to see my pieces again once I sell them. So when a return customer appears and they're wearing what they had previously bought, it makes it that much more special.

I even got another visit from "The Harmonica Guy". He had visited my booth last year. He's an eccentric guy who plays the harmonica. He told me he takes great joy in going to these craft shows and speaking with artisans and commissioning them to make him a harmonica holder using their specific craft. He's always wearing several of them on his person when I see him.
Last year he didn't commission one from me because he had just recently purchased one in chainmail.
But this year, we struck a deal! We discussed design details and color and size and all the good stuff and decided upon a price. He even gave me a harmonica to use while I'm making it, so I know if it is the correct size or not. I didn't get a deposit from him up front, and I know I should have. If he backs out of this, it's not like I can easily sell a personalized harmonica holder to someone else. But, I figure I have his harmonica! So, unless it's one that he doesn't care about, I'm pretty sure he'll keep up his end of the deal.
Right now, I'm waiting for my supplier to begin production on the rings I want to use for it. We had agreed upon aluminum rings and black anodized aluminum rings. But when I got home from the show that day, I noticed that my supplier had started making black anodized niobium rings. I would much rather use those than the anodized aluminum because in my experience the color layer flakes off very easily with the aluminum. The niobium will be much more durable.
Once my supplier starts making it in the ring size I need, I will contact the Harmonica Guy and suggest the new material.

I was also ambushed into joining a local guild. The Northern Virginia Handcrafters Guild is something I had thought of joining years ago. But I didn't because, at the time, they seemed to have requirements (as far as booth set up) that I couldn't afford to comply with. My mother is a member of this guild (and also the vendor in the booth next to me at this show). She's been trying to get me to join forever.
I would love to join because this guild runs several shows a year, all of which are very successful. It is very very difficult to get into one of those shows without being a member.
The vendor in the booth across from me at this show is the current president of the guild. My mother recruited her to come over to my booth and coerce me into joining the guild. They say that even though most shows are saturated with jewelry vendors, my stuff is very very unique. They said I would be a shoe-in to be juried into the guild as well as getting into most of the shows.
So I caved and agreed to join. I just need to find time to sit down and look through the website to see what I need to do.
It also means I'll probably be buying a booth display... i.e. pipe and drape walls. They assured me that I didn't need to do that right away, but I probably will anyway, especially since I did so well at this show.

So, there it is. My last show of the year and it was a huge success, complete with a commission as well as recruitment. A good time was had by all.

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