June 30, 2007

Random Acts of Beadiness

New at my Etsy shop this weekend: Random Acts of Beadiness.
What is that? Well you choose from one of the following themes: water, earth, fire or floral and I surprise you with a custom made set of disk beads! It will be like opening a Christmas present, but without the toaster or Chia Pet surprise.

I'm offering a 10 and 20 disk bead set. Be adventurous!

June 21, 2007

Etsy Goodness

I created this treasury on Etsy. Please go take a look and click on the images and leave juicy comments! There are so many talented artists on Etsy, I could spend all day there. But I have orders to fill, so you go hang out there and have fun shopping for me!

I have new items in my shop too: www.humblebeads.etsy.com

Show update: it was alrighty. It rained - never a good thing. But hey you take your chances, roll the dice and then move on!

June 15, 2007

A Great Big Pile of Jewelry!

That's what is sitting on my desk, all ready to go tomorrow. Now if you read this, send thoughts of sunshine. I get so nervous about the weather when we do an outdoor show. 30% chance of thunderstorms, see shows are a gamble. They even give you the odds to place your bet!

Dragonfly necklace with a humblebead, a boro glass bead and hammered brass dragonfly. Oh, hammering your brass pieces are fun, you should try it!

A different version of my dragonfly necklace.

And now, the showstopper. Drumroll please...

This necklace is created with 40 disk beads, 2 long Chrysanthemum beads and a clasp that I am in love with. Now the big question, will it end up on the table tomorrow?

June 13, 2007

Finding Arts & Crafts Shows

First things first, all shows are a gamble. You may do great a show one year and have slow sales at the same show the next year. You just never know, what you can do though is make informed decisions about what shows seem like the best fit for your jewelry.

Before you go running off to find shows, take a moment to think about your customers. Are they busy mom's on the go, fashionistas, alternative artsy indie girls or no-nonsense business women? Each one of these women go to different types of shows. You'll need to put on your detective hat to find the right fit.

I can only offer you my experience and what I know. My customers are women in their 30's - 50's. They are usually married, work and have disposable income. They love handmade items and the arts in general. They support their local art museums and organizations. They collect handcrafted items. They aren't worried about trends, but see jewelry as an expression of their individuality. They love to give gifts that are meaningful and well thought-out.

My best shows are art fairs and shows that are hosted by arts organizations. I wouldn't do well at a country-craft type show. My customers aren't there. I do better in urban areas in larger cities.

Where to find shows?
*Ask other artists/crafters.
*Go to shows and see what events your favorite artists are doing.
*Get connected with the local art groups in your area.
*Find out if your state has an arts commission or council, here is a list of them.
*Network with guilds/societies in your area. We have a fiber arts guild & a bead society. Both put on shows for their members and announce upcoming shows in the community.
*CraftLister is a list of craft & art fairs.
*Looking for big shows? Sign up for Zapplication, most of the larger shows use this service.

In general, it's better to attend a show before you sign up for it, especially ones that charge higher fees. Stay away from 1st year shows, it's such a gamble. Exceptions would be organizations that you want to support.

June 11, 2007

Preparing for Arts & Craft Shows

I've been selling at Arts & Crafts shows for 14 years. I've never done a national art fair, but I've done way more than my share of local arts fairs, market days, school and church arts & crafts shows, artist's markets, farmer's markets, bizarre bazaars, etc.

Some things I've learned along the way...

1. Do NOT design the week before the show. Now is not the time to try new designs or spend hours "playing" with the beads. You need to have your product line developed by now and spend your time wisely making multiples of the ones you feel will sell the best. Hate making more than one of something? Have a basic design and change out the colors.

2. Diversify your price range. First, have a few 'show-stoppers' in your booth. These are the items that you can see a mile away. They should have your blood, sweat and tears poured into them and cost a few hundred dollars. People will ohhh and ahhh and want to try it on. You never know, you might just sell it. I can remember how excited I was when I sold my first $300 necklace! Most will look around at what is in their price range. So have a good amount of items in that middle price range. Now, I like to have 40-50% of my inventory in the impulse buy range. For me these are items under $30. Small pendant necklaces and earrings fit the bill.

3. Don't guess prices at the last minute. For pete's sake, what business does this? This is really bad to do if you are worried about selling at a show. What happens if you underprice yourself and Ms. Fabulous Gallery Owner spots your work and asks if you wholesale? Be prepared. I love Eni Oken's price calculator. Have a formula and stick to it.

4. Get the word out. Don't count on show producers to do all the advertising. Let your customers know when you are selling at a show. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, etc. about your upcoming event. If it's a large show, it doesn't hurt to let the promoters know that you are available to talk to the press if they need someone to interview. Have a press release and print ready images available on your website. I made the cover of our local weekender guide by talking to the promoter before the show.

5. My best, most important piece of advice - go to bed early the night before the show. I know, there is never enough time and you could make 10 more things if you only get two hours of sleep. You will do better at the show if you are rested. Period. So plan ahead, try to have everything done by 5pm the day before a show. Spend some time not thinking about the show, go out to dinner, watch a movie, hang out with the fam'. Be prepared on show day to sell, not curl up in a ball to take a nap at the back of your booth!

*yes, I am guilty of all above mentioned sins, but have turned from my evil ways. mostly.

Gruene Market Days

Okay, there are beads on my computer desk, trays of beads on the dining table with half-finished projects, beads on all three of my work stations, a stack of dishes in the sink and my children have gone native. That can only mean one thing, I'm getting ready for a market day this weekend.

Fillin' up the ol' jewelry stash. Making lots of bracelets. Some new necklaces and everyone's favorite, earrings, earrings, earrings.

If you are in the San Antonio/Austin/Hill Country area, come out to say hi! Gruene's website. Lots of cool pottery, jewelry, bath & candle stuff, good eats, cute things for kids. Everything is handmade.

Don't live in driving distance? Well meander over to my Etsy shop and snatch up something before they head to the show.

New this week:

June 10, 2007

Color Challenge

Last week I was looking through the Bead & Button Forum and ran across this thread on a Color Challenge. I love a good challenge and when I saw this photo, I knew I had found my latest inspiration!

Photo provided by Alohabc

Maybe these inspire you too, you can find them in my Etsy Shop. They would love to come visit your bead box for a while!

June 3, 2007

New Kits & Beads

Being the busy beadmaker that I am, I have a whole collection of little goodies to show you.

Quick, go to Barnes & Nobles and check out BeadStyle Magazine. There I am right on page 98. I'm offering kits...

Chrysanthemum Beads in 5 colors...

Starter Kits...

and 2 limited edition Chrysanthemum Beads in Woodland and Mint Chocolate.

You can find them all here: www.humblebeads.com/dragonfly.html

Use promo code M2007 for free shipping!

June 1, 2007

Napkin please...

Do you need to drool? All I can say is WOW, my heart is fluttering:

I'm busy filling orders and working on lots of new beads that will be on my site before the end of the day. I also have a new kit that will be up next week. Why a new kit? Well, to go with my new BeadStyle article that will be on newsstands on the 5th.

okay, back to the orders...