Ever do a show that makes you want to say HMMMMM!
Or maybe.....why am I even here?
You know, the last year I had my shop, I asked myself that DAILY. It became more and more apparent that while I had done all I could to make my shop space in the front of our building appealing....the location just STUNK!
And what a shame, too, as the shop itself was like a doll's house.
I loved it. But I didn't love that nobody came. I didn't love that it became more and more apparent that our jewelry was just not entirely right for our area. And, to be honest, I had to come to terms with the fact that my business is, and probably always will be, more effective on the internet at this point in my life. The shop was a distraction and money I didn't need to spend.
SO....we quit that "show".....and we came home.
Big diff, right? Do I miss my cute little shop. YOU BETCHA. Am I upset about the three years of head-banging I put into it?
I LEARNED SO MUCH! I learned right way/wrong way, how to merchandise product, how to juggle time better than I previously had. I truly could have learned it no other way.
It's all good. We were happy there....
And we are happier, here! What I NEED to grow is a great place to work. I don't need to worry about spilling stuff on the floors in a rented building anymore, and I have three times the working space I used to have.
But I had to learn that by DOING. Everyone has a dream they just HAVE to try. I am so glad I tried it!
Some of us have had brick and mortar shops in the past, and we no longer do. Each has their own reason for quitting that sort of business.
Others still find it a great experience. They possibly have just the right location or more money to spend in the area where they sell.
Yet that could someday change. For that reason, I believe it's best to be diversified, to sell across a number of platforms...really as many as you are able to manage and still do a good job.
Some say that shows are dying. I don't believe that at all. Some say that jewelry has fallen out of favor. I don't believe that either. Why don't I believe that, when folks are reporting slow shows and others are not selling as much jewelry?
I don't believe it because people wear jewelry. They DO wear it differently from area to area, they DO wear different styles. What's a favorite gift? WHY, it's JEWELRY!
I don't believe all shows are bad because I did many shows for many years, back in my earlier days. If I didn't have some health issues that make doing shows a bit rought, I would still look for a few to do every year. It's one of the best ways to see what people like in your area, to do some invaluable local networking, and to get that immediate rapport with folks. I LOVED to visit and joke with people at shows. I miss that! And I did well at shows...
BUT. Not all of them. I remember one show where we had actually been invited to have a very special spot at a county fair. They gave us a sheltered spot on the porch of a historical building on the fairgrounds. Alot of people passed by it and came inside the historical building. We couldn't help but have traffic! And it was so nice not to have to lug a tent with us.
We came to the show and the promoter was so helpful! Early in the morning we set up and then waited for people to arrive....and they did. MANY people.
Schoolchildren on buses coming to see the historical building for a class project, and Amish folks.
It was a three day show and we made 200.00. Disappointing! But interestingly, the sales we did make were for our more expensive, more showy things. Just the right people for that merchandise found us. And from that, I met some folks that invited me to come and do a lecture on handmade jewelry, which was a paying gig, and do a trunk show for a women's group at a country club nearby.
And from there, even more opportunities.
Another I often mention is the 25.00 high school table top show we did that didn't even bring the table rent back to us. All they did was come to buy the home made candy and cookies. What a waste of time, right?
Turns out the lady right across from me sold clothing and purses, some handmade, some not. (It wasn't a juried show, but that's another subject.....)
As the show was winding up, she cut across the aisle and approached me. She said, "You know, I think I would do better with my stuff if I had a nice line of handmade jewelry to go with it. I LOVE your jewelry! I do mostly trunk shows and home parties and I have quite a few booked. What do you say you let me take some of this jewelry JUST THIS NEXT WEEK.....and see what happens? "
I had no reason not to think it would be okay. Plus I am one to take a leap of faith, anyway. I didn't expect much but I said, sure, let's do it!
Only a few days later she called me on the phone and said, "You will NOT believe this. I have sold almost all that jewelry and I have a big check for you! Can you meet me somewhere? I'll give you the check and you can bring me more jewelry."
OHMIGOODNESS. Was that for real? Hmmm I thought....it's a CHECK. What if it bounces?
Oh well, time for another leap of faith. I met her, took the check...actually it was part check and part CASH....and gave her more jewelry. The jewelry again was promptly sold.
Over the next three years I made a lot of money working with this lady, until the whole thing had run its course and needed to be re-invented. By that time I was actively wholesaling and doing something else, so there wasn't any need to.
But see what I mean? NO BAD SHOWS.
When you do a show, it's another opportunity to set up your display, another opportunity to meet others who do shows in your area and network, a chance to show off what you do and pass out business cards. Often you can get some custom work as a result of the show. If you have an Etsy or other online presence, be SURE you let people know where to find you later if you are not doing another show in the area soon. Maybe it's just a bad day for people to buy. Another day will be a good day!
Look for the opportunities and keep working hard on each platform you choose. There are things to learn every day....and with every show or selling experience.