Monday, June 7, 2010

Lowcountry Artist Market Update

[all photos by lulaboutique]

Hi all! I just got back from my first craft show Lowcountry Artist Market and am totally exhausted. It went pretty well, although maybe not so smoothly.I will explain it in a bit.

As always, I put off everything until the last minute -- well, basically, I "thought" I had enough time, so I kept making more and more jewelry until Friday night, and then I started packing and making earring cards...and still didn't finish everything by 4am on Saturday. I slept for four hours, got up at 8, and then arrived the Music Farm at about 9:30am. The show started at 10:30, and I "thought" by arriving an hour early I was doing a good job.I was totally wrong! People started coming in about 10am, and I was still setting up and doing the last price tags at 11.00!! Argh!!

I think part of the reason I was really slow at set up was because of inexperience.I brought tons of displays but had no general idea how I was going to arrange them. Originally I was going to put all of the earring cards on two wire CD racks, but it turned out they wouldn't stay put on the racks.When one of the first few shoppers took a earring card off the rack, the rest of the earring cards all fell off the rack, so after that I decided to leave all earring cards on the table instead.

Other than the little set up chaos, I was pretty poud of myself for remembering a few things.

1. I asked to have a booth next to a power outlet when I knew there was going to be electricity available. I brought the extension cord, a surge protector and two small desktop daylight lamps with me. This was a little trick I read somewhere online a long time ago about jewelry displays.When having an indoor show, shine extra light at jewelry will make it look more sparkly and give it a more "expensive look".

As soon as I arrived the Music Farm, I was really glad I brought extra lights.The Music Farm was a pub and the lighting was pretty poor. My booth was actually at a prime location.It was right in front of the main door and received the best lighting, but it was still pretty dark. Quite a few customers told me " you are smart to bring your own lights". I believe these lights also helped me with sales.

2. I am glad I practiced using my credit card imprinter at home.

I just got a merchant account a few weeks ago, and also bought an imprinter for shows.I actually had no idea how to use it, and the instruction included wasn't quite clear. Luckily there I had an imprinter receipt in my wallet from another event I attended, so I used it as a reference and practiced using the imprinter with my own credit card. It turned out about 75% (!) of my customers paid with credit card. I was a little nervous when I received the first credit card payment, and almost forgot how to use the imprinter, so my little practice really helped me to remember the steps. 

3. I brought tons of pens and two notebooks for newsletter sign up.

I'm not sure why I remembered to do this, but I brought at least 5 pens and two notebooks.There were times when I actually had two customers signing up for the newsletter on both sides of the table, and whenever a pen was misplaced I could always pull out another one for the customer.

I didn't get a chance to look around during the show, but there is one booth I have to mention.When I arrived in the morning, I was surprised to see the booth across me was already completely set up!

This is Karen(lulaboutique, left) and her sister(right). Karen sells vintage style jewelry, and I just love her creative displays. I had been thinking about how to do a "vertical display" that is aesthetically pleasing, and  Karen's booth was such an inspiration for me. She used two large gift boxes to lift up the earring display.The boxes are so pretty that they serve as a decoration as well.The cork board on the left is another simple and gorgeous necklace display that I may have to try next time.I have been hanging my necklaces on standard white necklace displays.They look ok, but because all the chains overlap, it is not convenient to remove necklaces from displays for customers to try on. And if customers can't try them on, they are also less likely to purchase them.

Karen also uses frames to display her shop name and credit card sign.

From this angle you can see how Karen displays her jewelry at different height.

 

I went to check out Karen't booth during the slow hours.We started chatting, and she ended up taking photos for my booth for me -- Even tho I brought my camera, I forgot to charge it and the battery died just after a few crappy shots. So, all of the photos in this post were taken by Karen.Thanks, girlfriend! :D

5 comments:

::::Lula Boutique:::: said...

Hi Mollie! It really was a great show, wasn't it?!! I am really looking forward to the next one. ---We'll both be pro's at setting up our booths by then! ;)

Thanks for posting all the photos. Your jewelry and booth were fabulous! Loved the lights...so professional!

I'm happy to befriend a fellow jewelry designer here in Charleston. Keep in touch! ~Karen

Ellen said...

Good for you...shows are difficult under the best of circumstances...smiles.

Vema said...

Mollie,
I love your blog! Being a jewelry designer (and a vendor at times) myself, I totally can relate to your experience at the craft show, it can get very physically exhausting! I'll keep reading your posts.
v-

katrinag. said...

Hi Mollie! First, I really love your jewerly. I'm starting to design jewelry as well, so thanks for the inspiration. I want to say thanks for keeping it REAL about the craft show experience. I am learning a lot about this business. It will definitely help me with my future endeavors. Your jewelry sales are VERY impressive. Keep up the good work and HAPPY JEWELRY MAKING!!!

mu-yin jewelry said...

thank you ladies :D

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