Yesterday, I participated in a well established and highly publicized local arts and crafts show. I've attended this show before, and found it to always be CRAMMED with shoppers. So you might know that the one (and only) year I decide to participate as a vendor, the shoppers and the sales just weren't there. Economy? MSU football game? Weather? Those are all possible factors that leave most of us jewelry vendors scratching our heads, and with much emptier coffers than we had expected. So after doing this very disappointing show, and finding that very few of the other jewelry vendors (although there were ALOT of us-26) did well either, I have to wonder - is beaded jewelry on it's way OUT, or are so many people creating their own jewelry that they are no longer purchasing it from others? And then there was the puzzle of the day ... ONE particular jewelry vendor, with tacky SHEETS for table coverings, plain, white unlit trays of SIMPLE, Swarovski crystal and silver jewelry - nothing special about it, no creativity to putting it together - was selling like hotcakes. Of course, because curiosity got the best of many of us, we had to go check her out. And we found that her prices weren't even rock bottom. They were the same as many of ours - and yet her table was the hit of the day.
I'm done trying to find the magic formula for shows. It is too much work and preparation for not enough sales as well as all the packing, and loading, and hauling and unpacking, and sitting, and sitting, and well, you get the idea. So I guess the sluggish Etsy, my actual retail bead shop - as well as the consignment sales I'm doing (that are doing very well) - will be my focus for the remainder of the year. Still toying with the idea of a home open house too - but that sounds like way more work that I want to do too - maybe I'll just plan lots of special beady treats at the shop.
So how are YOUR show sales doing? Is it worth the effort? Love to hear your 'chimes'.....