What I have learned about the Big Show

Never give up …. Insights

We learned a lot about this show.  We had heard how well vendors had done from some friends.  But they left out a few details about the show.

  1. Black Friday is not usually busy because we have  a local Civil War football game. However we did have $163.oo in sales
  2. Saturday reported by the vendors we spoke to,   was a day of a lot of looking. Customers just were not buying.    Marie wanted to try” Buy 1 get 1 half off ” sale.  We did this for 2 hours.  It was not my jewelry , not my pricing, it was just the customers were not buying .We did sell two earrings in a bottle.
  3. Sunday was a very bad day for  me, as I could not go to the show because of IBS issues.  On the good side Duane made the first sale of the day for $43.00. They made more sales in the morning and then afternoon nothing.   Today Duane and Marie tried a different approach ” 25% off” sale. Made a little difference but the crowds were not there.
  4. We find out later that day that Next weekend is the busiest.  Friday is a day where they get in free with canned foods. So we will get the seniors and the moms with kids in school, I am told.  Saturday should be based on the past busier.  And Sunday the last day is usually the busiest as customers are expecting sales from vendors that want to unload their inventory.
  5. A vendor next to my sisters booth is selling wire style jewelry that is .999 silver but not sterling.  She has signage that states for example necklaces $39 – $69. Even though each piece is priced. She also states that no handwritten signs everything should be printed and in a sign holder. Looks more professional she says. She was apparently doing ok.  But other jewelry vendors were having sales like us.

We have moved the bottle earrings down to table level as that seems to be were everyone was looking at them. We had them in two heights. So we changed that Saturday and basically put all earrings on one table. We have necklaces and bracelets on the other table.

But while I was at home and thinking about the customer flow I  thought about making a change. 08-DSC_9228 13-DSC_9233

I am going to move the glass shelves to the side isle and the earrings and bracelets to the front isle. The necklace will stay where they are.  Still thinking about this approach have not talked to Marie to see what she thinks.

Marie did go over and help my sister who was also having sale issues.  Marie changed her look as she was also on a corner selling her bags, to a diagonal look.  Kathy would have her back to the corner.  Well must have worked as she made $120 in sales. Her best day.  Thank you Marie for helping my sister too.  I am very blessed to have Marie and Duane and the girls in my corner as well.

I had two customers tell me my jewelry is perfect for Baby Boomers who have the money.  They thought I had well made , good designs, and beautiful jewelry.  They said I needed someone to help me Market my line and that I should go on Shark Tank and go on QVC.  I told them I had my jewelry in two salons. They said nopexpo  that is not the right place for  my jewelry.  They were so cute and you could see the wheels turning as they thought this all out.

Our daughters Elizabeth and Amanda have not sold any of their earrings for $5.00. But no one has even looked at them.  David has sold 2 of his Mind Craft creeper key chains. He has made $10.00.

That is all I have from this weekend of learning about a big show in Portland at the Expo Center.  I know it is not me, my prices, or my jewelry.  It is just the venue. So I am praying that they are right and that the final weekend is the best of show.  To date we have made a total of $268.00.

 Never Give Up! is our motto for Howling Dog Jewelry.

Thanks for visiting my blog and reading my story of the Big Show.

Cindy

 

 

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First Day Jitters of My Big Show Adventure…..

Where to begin

You know a well planned adventure doesn’t come without any hitches or bumps n the road.  We told Marie we wanted to leave at 6am as we had no idea what Portland traffic would be like. We were going to be prepared for anything. LOL! First of, Marie and Elizabeth were ready to go by 6am, It was the older folks Duane and I that weren’t ready.  You us old folks have to take our pills , have our coffee, take our shots, and don’t realize how much time we really needed as Duane set the Alarm for 5:30am.  So we were off at 6:30 because I needed to pack the too box, get receipt book, a few more earrings, and bracelets.  Then Marie mentions pens  and I am still loog for NOW my red bowl full of clamps to use on the sheets that covers our booth at the end of each day.  I will need to ha So we arrived at the Expo center 45ve another I SPY where is the red bowl Picture next week if I can’t find it.  Marie looked and she sent Elizabeth out to help and none of us could find it.  So we went on our marry way to the show.

We noticed on the way there was NO traffic at all. Everyone in Portland must be out shopping or had the day off.  We arrived 45 min early and they let no one in until 8am.  We finished the setup; 01-DSC_9221pricing, bags, and signs.  Even though we 1-DSC_9228-001had overhead lights it really didn’t make the jewelry behind the glass pop. So we sent Duane off for some under the counter puck lights.                                                                  1-DSC_9234-001    They really made a difference.

Now we are ready for the show to begin.  Started of slow then picked up and I sold two of my bracelets first offf. $69.00.  One of them had the spectra pearls in shades of purple  (sold $20.00) and the other was shades of blue with 2 pf those cute Sparkling Owls from B’Sue Boutique  (sold $49.00). That was a good start.  The day did not really get that much busier. Santa did not even have a waiting line.  So we felt it was a little slow but our booth did $$$ is sales. ( will give total at the end of this weekend)

From what we understand from seasoned vendors this was not bad for the first day. Saturday will be really crazy with a lot of people. Sunday will be busy from noon to 3 or 4 typically.  We have good feelings about Saturday doing even better than today.

We had a good time and the only thing we forgot was Water as their bottles of water were $3.50 each we sent Duane out for some water when he brought Amanda to the show. She had to march in the Thanksgiving parade in downtown Portland.  Ooor Duane was all over town getting us stuff and bringing Amanda.  During is down time he walked the whole show and realized he had forgotten business cards to pass out.  He has 5 more chances for that.  Tomorrow he is taking us and coming home to rest and will be back to pick is all up.

That’s about it for tonight’s blog and to all a good nite. Thank you for visiting and please leave comments.

Cindy

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Setup: Begins for the Big Show

America’s Largest Christmas Bazaar

Portland, Oregon

Day of the Setup:

It’s the day before Thanksgiving. The car is loaded with jewelry and trailer is loaded with all the display stuff. We have all the Holiday decorations. We picked Snowflakes as our theme for the booth.

Setup is from 10am to 8pm. So we are off for my experience of the year. Duane, Marie and I will be setting up as the teen daughters, Amanda and Elizabeth are in school.

We didn’t get there till 11am. Let me tell you people and trailers, dollies everywhere. People unloading their products on one of the coldest days.  We were all excited . Took several trips to unload.  Bless Duane and Marie for being the muscle, I could have not done this show without their help.  I am very blessed.

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We get everything in  the huge building, like 2 football fields big.  Now in the summer our booth allows people to come into the booth, but we are not a corner booth.  We can setup our booth within an hour. We have it down pat.  Well this setup was all new to us. 03-DSC_9199

We added to this setup; decorations more lights, and the booth is L shaped where customer don’t come into the booth.  So it took longer to figure out. We had to figure out traffic flow, theft proof the best we could, what tables we were going to use, where our glass shelves were going to go, how we were going to use the grids and still be within the guidelines of the show, and then where to put the other lights to highlight the jewelry.  Whew!  That’s a lot to think about. 04-DSC_9200

Duane and Marie are trying to figure out the tables and grids. I am unpacking all the boxes, gift bags, and tissue.  Making them handy in our bookcase.

Some more set up pictures.

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Now it is around 2:oo and Duane is ready to put the glass cubes together.  I had suggested that they were put together at home.  He said no problem easy to put together. You know where this is going , don’t you!  I was right, the fixtures store tripled checked the amount and sizes we needed. Sounds good until Duane started putting it together. Marie started to help him and they figured out that the sizes did not match. We had 12″ square glass, with 10″ x 16″ glass ( they were suppose to be 12 x 16 ).  So he gives a call and explains the problem they don’t have enough of what we needed but came up with another size that would work. Off to the Fixture store on the other side of town with a lot of traffic .

Marie then realizes this is going to take longer then expected because of our glass issue. We are at least an hour away from Hillsboro, and there is traffic, and she has a hair appointment at 7 pm.  Duane is still gone, she has no car and decides the take the max train home.  She leaves at 4 and Duane arrives back with some food ,water and the new glass sizes. Oh! and they gave me a $10.00 coupon and free Windex with paper towels for the inconvenience.

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He gets to the top row and takes out the last of the 12 x 16 glass only to find out they messed up again.  He was one short so the top middle is 12 x 12.  Its Ok as it works and we had a good laugh from the comedy of errors.  It is now like 6:30pm.  I am trying to put necklaces onto necks and decide which will go under the glass.  Duane is taking a much needed break before he puts up additional lights.  By 8 pm  we have covered things up and head for home; tired, cold, stiff and sore.  It had been a very long day.

They had kept the overhead huge doors open all day with no heat. Our hands were freezing along with everything else.  We got home around 9:30pm and my hands are still cold.

Some more setup pictures

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THE END OF A VERY LONG DAY ……STAY TUNE FOR MORE INSIGHTS

Of a very Big Show

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Next steps on the road to a big show

Inventory System Established

I started with my friend 5 yrs ago, Marie Roozen to make money for Christmas. Jewelry by two friends was born. We found out that Intel had Holiday craft shows on 4 campuses. No fees for the table.  Duane  (my Hubby) just had to be the escort.  So bought $600.00 worth of Gemstones and started creating necklaces  and jewelry sets.  We did this for 3 yrs and then Marie went to college to become a hairdresser.  I had to come up with a different name.

The Howling Dog Jewelry was born due to my little partner Mesha a long hair Chihuahua who liked to sing to mattress commercials. He is now 14yrs old and will sing on command.   Marie was still there to help me sell at Intel. I am very grateful as a blind artistmesha I needed someone with good eyes to help deal with more than one customer at a time. Marie totally understands my eye issues. Howling Dog Jewelry was still a hobby. Inventory what’s that?  I kinda knew what I had and I knew that I made money on each piece. Intel show averaged $600.00  year.

Still with a mindset of this being only a hobby I started selling at a 12 week summer market called Tuesday Night Market Place.  Show cost was $485 for the 12 weeks. My avg. for the past 3 years was about $1100 a yr.. Still NO Inventory per se , I knew I needed something but didn’t know how to start one from  hobby mindset to a business one. Inventory what is it?

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Fast forward to today,  I have finally figured out an inventory system. Now I will be able to track sales, in turn will help me be better at purchasing products for my jewelry lines and styles.  This is a sample of what I came up with:

Love Beetle Rocks Line; BugN, Bug NS, BugB, BugBS, BugE, BugR,BugBr

Rose Jewelry Line; RN, RNS, RB, RBS, RE, RR, RBr

These stand for Necklace, Necklace sets, Bracelets, Bracelet sets, Earrings, Rings, and Brooches

All jewelry has been inventoried , priced, and labeled with inventory codes. Then we will inventory what is on display and a quick inventory at the end of each day. Well, that is an ambitious plan but I think it might help with what sold compared to receipts and check to see if there was any loss do to theft. Or we can just do a final inventory at the end of the show. If you have any thoughts on this please share. 

Thank you for visiting my blog.   I will be blogging my experience.

Cindy Peterson

Howling Dog Jewelry

“Follow your artistic passions, even with vision issues”

 

 

 

 

Getting ready for the biggest show ever!

What can I say my friend suggested  I try this big Christmas bazar known for being the largest in America. So this is my big show for the year 2015.  I have done summer markets in our town but they are small. I do well and have a following.

This summer I really ramped up my jewelry making and thinking about some lines.  I took a build A Line Master Class last winter with B’Sue Boutiques and learned a lot about building a jewelry line. My first line was Love Beetle Rocks ( read more about this line in previous posts).  As I have used ceramic roses in that line and I do play around with polymer clay decided to practice more with my rose making ability.  With practice you do improve.  I also have my friend Marie Roozen helping me and even her roses have improved with practice.

Marie came up with a formula to make our clay flowers look like sating roses.  They are just so petty.  Here is a sample one in a necklace that just sold on my Etsy shop.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/howlingdogjewelry

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Marie and I are making them in all colors now.   Because this big show is in Portland and the city is known for its roses, I came up with a new line I am calling the “Rose Jewelry Line”  The line consists of  Necklaces, sets, bracelets, earrings, and rings.  All have one of our handmade roses on them. I have also used in my designs, fine silver, matte black, brass, antique brass, and satin matte gold finishes.

I have put a lot of thought into what would make up this line and ended up with collections within the line. Here are some samples of this Rose Line

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Added my Roses to Butterflies and bezel bracelets.

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So this was the beginning of a new jewelry line which also goes well the the Love Beetle Rocks Line. I think I have finally found my artistic voice with my jewelry. I love the mixed media look so interesting to look at and always unique.  Thanks for vising my blog. Would love to hear your thoughts. I will be posting more on my “Getting ready for a big show”