The Studio – Jewelry Blog by Rio Grande

Business Know-How with Marlene Richey: Post-Show Savvy—Ten Things to Take Away

Apr 17, 2014
No Comments
Marlene Richey
Posted by
airstream

The lesson of any wholesale or retail jewelry trade show? It isn't over until it's over. The show doesn’t end when you start tearing down your booth. The ripple effect of sharing your work with so many people can linger, sometimes for years.

When I ran our jewelry design firm, I began keeping a spreadsheet of show-related sales, with date, customer, and what they purchased after the show was over. One time a customer called three years after a specific show and ordered a ring. She had kept the postcard I gave her at the show on her refrigerator all that time and saved up enough money to finally purchase it. This was a valuable lesson--the memory of a show can live for years .

airstream

One post-show success story: Metalsmith Kristin Lora, who made this little airstream trailer, is a veteran show exhibitor. She connected with Marlene Richey at one show and thereafter sold her work in Marlene's Portland, Maine gallery.

As you're packing up your booth and getting ready to leave the venue, don’t worry if you haven’t sold all the pieces of jewelry you'd hoped to. It's easy to feel disappointed when you don’t reach a goal. You'll probably begin to think about the booth fees, expenses of doing the show, the time and the work put into the show, the standing and smiling and answering the same questions over and over again, the frustration of not making as many sales as your neighbors seemed to be, and the exhaustion of the whole affair. Not to mention the slight to your ego. I have experienced all of this firsthand more times than I would like to admit. I have worked myself into a state of self pity, cried, and sworn I would never do another show. But along came the next show, and there I was ready to write orders and sell jewelry. All smiles.

Here are ten things that can help you get successful outcomes from a show even after the event is over:

  1. Follow up with people who showed interest in your work. Take time to contact them, answer their questions, and let them know they can still purchase the piece (and, until there are laws preventing it and if you they're out of state, they'll get it tax-free and save a few bucks!).
  2. Did you meet anyone from the press? If so, be sure to send them images of your work, your bio, your artist statement, and contact information. This is one of the most valuable things you can accomplish at and after a show. Find out if they're writing an article about a specific subject such as pearls or green tourmalines or local jewelry designers so you can send appropriate images.
  3. Look closely at your final numbers. Write out a list or make a spreadsheet. What were your exact expenses? What were your exact orders or sales? Does the bottom line tell you that the show is worth doing again? Does it have potential? Were there mitigating circumstances that affected the show attendance, such as a snow storm or a huge political event? One time we did a show in the Berkshire Mountains and on the Sunday of the show, world famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma was giving a free concert in the same town. The show was was painfully quiet that day.
  4. Reflect honestly on what the show taught you about your work. What pieces were picked up the most? Which ones sold the best? What "look" was most popular? Were people complaining about the prices? What should you make more of and expand upon for your next show? What pieces, even if you love them, generated no interest? Don’t make any rash decisions about pulling work or revamping your line after only one show, watch for an emerging pattern—this can take a couple of shows. What is popular at one show might not get a second glance at the next one and vice versa.
  5. What contacts did you make among the other exhibitors? Did you learn about other shows which might be a perfect fit for your work? Did you learn about online venues or meet new suppliers? Did any exhibitors share words of wisdom? And the fun part—did you get a chance to barter with other exhibitors?
  6. How did your booth look? Were you able to work comfortably in the space, or are there things you would change? Do you need more or better lighting? More polished signage? Did your booth look professional, enhance your brand, draw attention? What booths were you impressed by at the show and why?
  7. What did you learn about displaying your work? What would you do differently next time?
  8. Did you make any contacts with local stores or galleries that might be willing to carry your work? If so, can you take a day and visit them after the show? On more than one occasion, I've had luck selling to local stores at retail, open-to-the-public shows.
  9. What ideas and suggestions did customers give you that you could incorporate into your jewelry? Listen to your customers, they often have great ideas and suggestions you might never have considered.
  10. And finally, start your long-term show sales spreadsheet today!

Give serious thought to all the wonderful opportunities this show has given you to improve your jewelry, your booth, your brand, your selling skills, your prominence in the field. And take stock of the contacts and the friendships you made. Remember that even if your booth isn't crowded with customers, the time you spend there surrounded by your work and other creative people, may reward you in surprising ways. As an illustration of this, I spent one dreadfully slow show writing out the beginning of a business plan for a retail gallery that I ultimately opened in Portland, Maine.  Not exactly what I had in mind as a take away...but very worthwhile!

stamp-box-blogbanner

Comment on this article

Santa Fe Symposium: Not Just for Manufacturers

Mar 11, 2014
No Comments
Bernadette Bennett
sfs2

Even though Santa Fe Symposium started as a forum for manufacturers—and still benefits them in a crucial way—it also attracts a wide variety of people whose lives have been positively altered by their penchant for making jewelry. From the emerging artist to the manufacturing guru, this event is well known among jewelers as the powerhouse of jewelry innovation. Learn more about what’s happening at this year’s event, and then register to join us!

...Read the Rest

Business Know-How with Marlene Richey: Doing a Jewelry Trade Show—It’s Show Time!

Feb 20, 2014
No Comments
Marlene Richey
Posted by
bree

In Marlene Richey’s first two posts on “Doing a Show,” she helped you apply, be accepted to, and prepare for your first jewelry trade show. In today’s post, she shares the nitty gritty on what you can expect at the show Itself—it’s show time!. Marlene has the experience and wisdom to break it down for you! Grab a notebook and get ready to take some notes and then knock some socks off at your first (or your next) big show!

...Read the Rest

Five Reasons to Attend Santa Fe Symposium

Feb 17, 2014
No Comments
Bernadette Bennett
SFS

Every year in May—this year May 18-21—the greatest minds of the jewelry industry convene in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Experts from around the world present their research, attendees listen intently, and everyone absorbs more priceless knowledge in just a few days than a desert soaks up in a hard rainfall. This yearly gathering of experts to discuss opportunities in the industry is the Santa Fe Symposium. Here are five reasons you should come!

...Read the Rest

Business Know-How with Marlene Richey: Doing a Jewelry Trade Show—You’ve Been Accepted, Now Prepare!

Jan 16, 2014
No Comments
Marlene Richey
Posted by

In Part Two of Marlene Richey’s multi-part series on “Doing a Show,” she helps you prepare for your first big wholesale or retail show! Good preparation is key to a great outcome and Marlene has the experience and wisdom to break it down for you! Grab a notebook and get ready to take some notes and then knock some socks off at your first (or your next) big show!

...Read the Rest

Business Know-How with Marlene Richey: Doing a Jewelry Trade Show—Why to Do It and How to Begin

Dec 18, 2013
No Comments
Marlene Richey
Posted by

Marlene Richey’s next four Business Know-How posts will be dedicated to successful exhibiting at either wholesale or retail jewelry shows. Today, she dives into Part One with a list of the reasons to exhibit at a show and lots of great advice about the application process!

...Read the Rest

JCK Las Vegas 2013: The Recap

Jun 3, 2013
No Comments
Amy Cliser
Posted by

This weekend, I attended my first JCK show—and wow, was there a lot to take in. Rio Grande’s booth was chock-full of tools and equipment—and the “Rio Superstars” who demonstrated them to scores of interested individuals asking, “So, how does this work?” The air was filled with the great energy of questions, sharing, and “ah-ha!” moments.

...Read the Rest

All I Really Need to Know I Learned at MJSA Expo

Mar 18, 2013
No Comments
Peggy Jo Donahue
Posted by

We are just returning from the 2013 MJSA Expo in New York. MJSA Expo is the perfect arena for all kinds of jewelry-related information sharing and today, The Studio is honored to have MJSA Director of Public Affairs, Peggy Jo Donahue, share what she saw and learned at this year’s show!

...Read the Rest

A Gearhead’s Dream: The International Manufacturing Technology Show

Dec 19, 2012
No Comments
Krista Klein
Posted by

Krista and friends drool over the latest in every kind of technology—plasma welding, hydroforming, automated production systems, gear generations, three-dimensional printing on a massive scale—the list goes on and on! Check out her discoveries at IMTS in Chicago. . .

...Read the Rest

PMC Conference 2012

Jul 2, 2012
No Comments
Yvonne M. Padilla

Last week the PMC Guild hosted the 6th bi-annual conference celebrating all things metal clay. And what a week it was! Classes, demos and seminars were just some of the great activities enjoyed by conference attendees, including our own Yvonne M. Padilla!

...Read the Rest