Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My latest booth project & theft prevention tips

 Carol Dekle-Foss

With the luxurious days of summer coming to an end and the cool breezes of fall fast approaching, everyone seems to be in a hurried rush. Last minute road trips are being taken, school clothes and supplies are being bought, and for some, preparation is being done for upcoming fairs and festivals. Here on LMAJ, our very own Marsha Neal and Staci Louise Smith have been prepping for Bead Fest Philadelphia. It starts today and ends on August 24th, 2014. This is a huge event with over 200 workshops and more than 350 vendors.

Staci will be teaching tomorrow on how to make these Painted Polymer Fossil Talismans. We are so proud of you Staci! Good luck to you both!

I also have been prepping. The largest event for me right now is the American River Music Festival. I'm busy checking inventory, making new jewelry, and getting my booth ready.

This year, I have created pieces that are more expensive using gems and sterling silver. This has presented a challenge. I want to be able to have these items on display but I worry about theft. Some of them took me over two days to make. I poured my heart and soul into these creations. If one of them were to get stolen, well I would be crushed. Last year at the American River Music Festival, my booth neighbor left all his items in his tent overnight. They have security but the event is right next to a busy road. Someone got into his booth and stole an untold amount of jewelry, rock gems and fossils he collected from all over the world. It was awful, and he was in tears all the next day. There are those that target craft fairs for an easy buck, but if we are diligent, we can do things to protect our wares. The reality is though, there is nothing you can do to stop all theft.

Having a locked display case is the number one effective way to stop thieves, so here is my latest project to prevent some of my pieces from falling into the wrong hands.
The wine barrel, locking Plexiglas box and base were individual items that my husband brought home from work. His company throws away used advertising displays. The box was silver, the wine barrel unfinished, and the base was blue. All had company logos that I had to sand off.  I then painted, distressed and finished everything and put it together as a locking jewelry display case.
I think it's important to have jewelry out on display for everyone to touch and try on, but having at least one case is a good idea for those expensive creations.

Here's a little tutorial on how I made the logo. 
First, I created the image on Photoshop, then transferred it to the Silhouette cutter which did all the work cutting out the card stock. You could also cut your logo out with an exact o knife. 
I then taped the logo to the barrel and just eyeballed the placement.

I traced the edges of the logo with a permanent sharpie.
I then used this wood burning tool to burn in the logo. Wood burning is definitely NOT my cup of tea. I burned myself once. Only the whole tip of my finger, to which the skin is now peeling off. Just painting the logo is a painless alternative!
Here is the finished detail. 

Another way to protect your profits is to hide and secure down your cash box. This table is always in the back of my booth. It's tall enough for me to stand at when working and it has a hidden area. I keep a  director's chair in front of it as well so it's not easily accessible. 

This crazy contraption is under the cloth. I couldn't find a tall table with a storage area, so I made one! The cash box is screwed down and secure. The only way it's coming off is with a crow bar. I do wear an apron for small bills but when the traffic dies down, I add the larger ones to the box. 

Here are a few more tips for preventing theft.
  • Greet every customer that comes in your booth, this will make customers feel welcome and also deter thieves. 
  • Have a helper. This will allow you to take much needed breaks and also your helper will be able to greet and keep an eye on things.
  • Booth setup. Creating height is great for display. The only problem is if you are behind your high display, it will be hard to see people's hands and what they are touching. When designing your booth setup, just make sure there are no blind spots, and that you can see all that is going on.
  • Secure your items. Clips and pins are a great way to deter thieves because they have to undo them first, and run the risk of being caught.
I would like to hear about any special tricks you use to protect your jewelry or beads at fairs & festivals. Please feel free to share!

So what have you been doing to take advantage of the last days of summer? Do you have any rituals that you do to celebrate the changing of the seasons? I like to visit the coast before it gets too cold, it's very therapeutic and rejuvenating, plus its a great way to get out of the heat!


Artisan Beads Plus said...

It looks fantastic!!! As for theft, we have had a small problem with it. At one of our past shows this summer, some guy came in and was picking up and handling everything in an odd kind of way. I watched him the entire time. His behavior continue in the same pattern, touching and handling about 15-20 items. After he left, Bill went to check around. Sure enough a small wood-fired rabbit was missing from the part of the display that faces the road. Turns out that he already had stolen something before going through the odd behavior that he was probably doing intentionally. I was like, "what the hell would a 20 something guy want with a little bunny?" I guess the answer is that it is the thrill of the theft. We have gotten more careful and don't put small things out on front. I also make sure that my earrings are not easy to take off of the bar that they hang on. I don't make them too terribly tight, but tight enough to, hopefully, deter theft. And lastly, Bill made a collapsible checkout with multiple shelves in the back. I like you idea for the name though since the poster we have on the front is a little much. With that the money box is more protected, but we mainly use our square card and against Bill's fashion issues, he puts on a fanny pack. He didn't for one show and we had an issue with keeping track of cash!! Staci and Marsha, if you are reading this, break a leg!!!

Karen McGovern said...

Great post! Love the barrel display cases. You are so lucky to have access to this stuff! I also like the idea of an immobilized cash box. Good tips!!! Have a great show and I hope Staci and Marsha sell out at BeadFest!!

Shaiha said...

I really hate the fact that you have to worry about theft but I do love the wine barrel. That is quite the statement piece.

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

I am absolutley in love with that barrel display case! Best of luck to you at your show!

Brenda said...

Thank you! I really like your approach. It looks wonderful and not like everything is on lock down.

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