Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Plan

Do you sell your jewelry or beads at shows?  If you do, then you will know what I mean when I say, "What is your plan?" 

I don't know about you, but I agonize over shows.  My plan is usually, simply (ha! never simple!) this.....to have some of everything, in every size, shape and color.


But you know what.......even with a lot of hours, hard work, and determination, I never get there.  Because there is so much more that goes into shows, that the actual making of the jewelry somehow doesn't always get done!  Now, don't get me wrong, I have plenty to sell.  Yet, I always want something new at each show.   I always want to fine tune my display (and to prove it, you can click here to see my displays through the years, and how much they have changed).

 I always need to make a new sign for something.  I always need to run out and get things at the last minute.  And I never get to make all the wonderful things that fill my head, fill my sketch books, & fill my lists.

I think I am learning, that the plan, is simply that, a plan.  It is not the only way, or the way it has to be, but a plan, to guide me along, until I simply run out of time.  I am learning to go with the flow.

So what is your plan for shows?  Do you feel like you never get done all that you want to? 

8 comments:

urracaa.com said...

As a marketing and brand strategist I think plans should be as simple as possible. Otherwise you simply do not get around to executing them.

Everything revolves around making choices; what to do and what not to do.

I had a colleague once who when he had to make choices due to time constraints, made them by looking which choice made or saved him money. If the choices didn't deliver, he wouldn't do it.

VanBeads said...

This is the first year that I haven't done any farmer's markets or craft shows since I had my son in 2008. Prior to that, I had done shows here and there, but never anything on a weekly basis, and certainly never more than one a week. During the first three years of my son's life when I was earning 100% of my income from shows and farmer's markets, I did three - sometimes four - shows a week. And having high-end beadwork to sell was certainly a challenge. If I had a particularly good show, it wasn't like I could go home and whip up a new batch of pieces for the show in two days. (Each of these pieces takes, on average, 10-20 hours to make!)

I can remember sitting on the back porch with my husband while our son was asleep, putting fused glass earrings on wires until the wee hours of the morning. I can remember frantically putting together beading kits the morning of a 5 hour drive to a show in Syracuse. And I can remember waiting for my son to go to sleep so I could print out 100+ new tags for my beadwork pieces. It was hard work, and it was exhausting at times, but the payoff was when I had a great show and finished with empty tables.

I can remember one show in particular that had been booked for me through a small business program in which I was enrolled. We were all under the impression that I would be selling my work, but when I arrived at the show after a five hour drive complete with friend enlisted to watch my booth while I taught classes, we discovered that I had been given display cases as part of the show exhibits instead of a seller's booth. Of course, I had absolutely no displays for these kinds of cases. My friend and I tried not to panic, and instead found the closest Michael's craft store where we bought scissors, stick-on letters, poster board and some pretty glass stones. We threw together the display by the seat of our pants, and quite honestly, it was beautiful! There was definitely no plan for that one, it was one of those, "Toss it all out the window and start from scratch" kinda situations.

Good luck with your shows!

Alice said...

My sister-in-law owns a photography gallery in the Crossroads district of Kansas City. The first Friday of every month all the galleries open to the public and loads of people flock there to socialize, eat, and hopefully spend some cash.

It's nearly a 4 hour round trip for me, plus lugging my tables and displays up a flight of stairs, it's not easy, especially when you figure in 5 hours for the event itself.

Each month I think 'wow, I've got an entire month to make stuff before the next show'. But it never fails that things come up and I end up pushing up against the last week with making new pieces, photographing and tagging all my stuff.

I've had basically the same display style since I began showing in 2008, and have been wanting to change it up for better interest. But time flies by so quickly that I never seem to get it all together.

Finally this past two weeks I've pulled together items that go along with my idea for a travel themed display: vintage luggage, vintage postcards, and old globe, and some maps. Now all I need to do is practice setting it up so I can do it quickly at the show.

Doing shows has never been easy for me because of the travel, and the fact that I require someone to help me lugging all that stuff up and down. Plus, this aging bladder won't make it through these long events, and I absolutely hate leaving my booth unattended. Anyone else have this problem?

Staci, I'm headed over now to check out your display photos.

MaCarroll Beads said...

Wow! That looks like lots of work. I don't do shows, but my husband does. He has the Pottery Fair this weekend. He made a display a few years ago that comes apart and goes together like lincoln logs. He does seem to have added stress leading up to it. Maybe that is why I haven't been wanting to jump into something like that. I watch him and think I prefer my online selling. I do like to go and visit him like I will this weekend ;o) Great job with your set up. I'll check out your others .....
MaryAnn

Patty said...

Your booth looked great, Staci! I love the historical perspective, and can totally relate to the need to overprepare. Half the fun of doing shows for me is figuring out the display plan, and as you found it's a big stress reliever to do at least some form of a dry run before the big day, even if it's just a quick sketch on paper of how you'll display what you have. Sometimes after I do this I find that I actually have more inventory than I thought I did, and can relax and focus on my top priorities (making more of the things that sell, etc.). Thanks for a great post!

mairedodd said...

your booth does look great... i love how you take the space and make it like a room, to be entered... this is one area i definitely need to spend more time on... it is a bit daunting for me!

Kelli said...

I can SO relate. I'm never "finished" with my booth. It's a never ending process.. always on a quest to make it look better, yet easier to put together, AND lighter to pack/haul. Not and easy undertaking. LOVE your display!!!

Izzy said...

I've not done a show yet because the idea is a bit overwhelming. I will one day and will take my inspiration from you. Nice set up!

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