Wednesday, June 17, 2015

First Show of 2015 (and first blog of the year too)

Well I've been away for a long time but in my defense, I've been busy creating new designs and exploring the possibility of wholesaling.  If you haven't seen my new pieces, you need to stop into Jansjems.

But I digress.  I've been to Upstate NY and it was definitely worth the trip.

Last weekend I participated in the 44th Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council June Art Festival in Glens Falls, NY.  Having been encouraged to get out of Western Mass. and head for NY state I chose this show to give it a try.  And now I see how the big shows do it.

LARAC is a well oiled machine, an organization with a gift shop right on the park where the show took place.  Their advertising includes a 23 page magazine insert into the local papers and available for each vendor and  all 10-20,000 customers.  It includes a show map, info on all the vendors and their booth location, and lots of paid advertising.

I drove the 2 1/2 hours by myself and was fortunate to be placed between 2 men who have been doing this show for years.  Ralph helped me get my tent up on Friday and John was a wealth of information about this show and others.

Saturday was packed and even tho the show doesn't open until 10 am, I had customers and made sales starting at 9am.  These are the people who come to buy.  As one vendor put it, "The husbands are home mowing the lawn so the wives come to shop."  While the steampunk jewelry still brings people into the tent, most of my sales were bronze and silver pieces that day.  The weather was great and the food vendors were across the road from my group of booths, so traffic and sales were steady all day.

Sunday, unfortunately, was typical of many shows I did last year.  It's the day that the strollers attend bringing dogs and children and elderly relatives.  Sales didn't even start until after lunch so I was a bit worried.  But I did end up selling about half the amount of Saturday, mostly steampunk designs, so worthwhile in the end.

Glens Falls is a larger city than I anticipated and there are lots of cute little shops and gift stores there that I'm disappointed I didn't have time to explore.  The list of restaurants seems endless and there is lots to do in the area so it's a great place to vacation.

All in all, it was a mostly positive experience.  Had it not been for the person who stole one of my silver rings, it would have been completely positive.  Turns out that a couple of other jewelers had rings stolen as well so someone was working the show.  I was later told that this bad element has been in attendance for the last couple of years.  Keep that in mind if you do any shows in that area.