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Friday, December 14, 2012

Exhibiting at Shows and Lessons Learned

In November and December 2012, I participated in 3 synagogue Hanukkah Bazaars. My specialty is creating Jewish jewelry and kippot, so I was excited to be there.

Pros:
  • 1 of my new customers who purchased 2 headcoverings from 1 show suggested my name to the 2nd show, so I attended.  
  • They used a central checkout system, so I didn't have to worry about change or payments.
  • Part of my show sales went to the synagogue(s) as a donation.
  • I was able to get my name and business cards out there into the Jewish community.
  • My first round table set up (way too much)






 Cons:
  • The number of jewelry vendors allowed was not limited, so there was a a lot of competition.
  • All items were not handmade - Handmade cannot compete with resellers (especially jewelry resellers).
  • The number of attendees and foot traffic was light.
  • At 1 of the shows, I did not make back my fees, and the community is not my target market, so I won't be back next time.


Thanks to my hubby and schlepper


What I noticed was sold by others at these shows 
  • inexpensive mass-produced jewelry (earrings under $5)
  • vintage mass-produced jewelry
  • handmade jewelry around $15-20
  • Avon
  • scarves, hats
  • kid's items, toys





  Lessons Learned and future considerations for me:
  • Ask if the show features handmade items
  • If it's a mix, consider lowering booth fees (only 1 table)
  • Limit the amount of items displayed*
I used a round table for the first time and wasn't sure exactly how to set up. Usually, I move jewelry around during the show. At the last show, I began putting things away, reducing my display choices. When I limited the quantity of available items, people purchased or stopped to asked questions about my jewelry and kippot.




Now I understand why some of the successful Etsy sellers produce a few variations of the same item. Too many choices of my handmade jewelry designs overwhelm people and instead of purchasing, they walk on.

I always bring too much jewelry to shows, figuring people need to see it all in person. 

My Show Specials:
  • I emailed some clients and friends a discount coupon (3 friend showed up)
  • Bracelets, scrabble tile and glass necklaces under $10 will be 1 section of my display 
  • I'm hoping that these smaller items will sell and help me earn my booth money back.
What lessons have you learned at shows?