Thursday, September 4, 2014

Social Life, Networking and Beadfest

by Staci Louise Smith

I know you have seen me frantically prepping for Bead Fest.  Prepping for this show, is always more challenging then my jewelry shows for some reason.  Perhaps it is just because it is so many small little pieces with small little details to complete.  
It is worth it though.  Here is the booth, all set up and ready!

 set up at the show with Genea and Ricky in the background
 sugar skulls
 more samples

I know I have shared this before, but Beadfest is two fold for me.  It's a show, to sell my wares, perhaps gain some new exposure, and network.....and it is a wonderful and fun social time for me as well. The BEST part, is that the fun social part, often leads to networking.  

This year I shared a booth again with Genea Beads, and we shared a corner with Starry Road Studio and Wooly Wire.  So our booths were back to back. 

 our corner
genea and I
 Don running the Starry Road Studio Booth
Starry Road Studio booth

(I did not get as many pictures as I would have liked.....tooo busy selling and socializing)

I love being in a group with other handmade artists whose art I really respect.  Plus, they are friends, and we have a great time together.  It is safe to say we rocked our corner.

Barb B. of Second Surf and fellow LMAJ blogger came out and was my roomie and show helper this year!  It was so awesome to hang out with her, since I had only met her briefly a couple years ago, and talked on the phone with her and had online chats.  She is so fun, and was the best booth helper I could have asked for.  It was really nice to have breaks and know she had things under control.
Barb totally running the booth for me

I think we cannot run a business without the social aspect.  Beadfest is always a good reminder of that.  To just sell online, and never meet your customers gives you a distinct disadvantage.  When you meet them, you get to know them.  It inspires you, it gives you a boost, to keep creating new things.  I never tire of seeing what they do with my beads and components.  To see my beads used in such a variety of styles is always fun for me.  On the other side of it, I think customers like to get to know who they are buying from.  I know for me, when I buy art, I love to know the person who made it.  It helps me to connect to the art....after all, it is a little piece of them.  

very serious shopper / friend Kathleen makes beautiful jewelry with all kinds of gemstones and art beads

Each year Melinda Orr of Creative Bead Chat and Bandana Girl Jewelry / Orrtec hosts a get together for online friends to meet in person.  I cannot tell you how many friends I have made there.  There is just something so magical about meeting people in person.....and really experiencing them, their personalities (learning how to pronounce their and just getting to know them in person.  It has given me lots of laughs, as well as encouragement and business opportunities.  
(plus we drink wine and do bead giveaways and laugh and laugh and laugh!!!)
Karen Totten and Linda Landig
Barb with the youngest bead lover!!!!

So, whether you are selling beads, or making jewelry or selling jewelry, I encourage you to get into an online community of like minded people, as well as getting out into the world and meeting some, whether a bead show, vending at a show, or joining a guild or group of some sort.

It's magical.


Nicole Beadwright Campanella said...

Very nice post with lovely photos

Tammie Everly said...

I'd LOVE to come to Bead Fest next year and meet you & all my Inspirational Creative Heroes! Thanks for the post & I'm glad you had success.

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

Wonderful post. It really was a fun weekend of friends and bead shopping. Seeing photos of all your amazing beads makes me wish I was still at your booth! Yes, I really do get down to business when shopping for beads! ;) By the way, your booth looked fantastic!

Carol Dekle said...

Bead Fest sounds like a wonderful show! Connecting with like minded artists and customers is one of the greatest benefits of events. Congrats again on your teaching opportunity!

Mary Redman said...

Your booth looks great! I hope you'll come to Bead & Button some year. It was a treat to see your work in person but I wish I could take a class from you!

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