This season for tradeshows is almost here. In fact, we’re just under one month out from the biggest show I do every year (yikes!). As I’m preparing to show my newest collection at NY Now (formerly New York International Gift Show) – I thought I’d share some tips for preparing for a show.
Exhibitiing at a wholesale or retail show for the first time is super intimidating. Just remember that most people looking at your stuff haven’t seen it before! Even if you’ve seen a piece 1,000 times – it’s brand new to someone else.
Make sure your work is displayed clean and clear. Your display should reflect the mood of your work, but certainly not overshadow it. I often see the most incredible displays, but have no idea whats they’re selling. My work is very rough and organic so I use slabs of wood, shells and other found objects to display my work on a handmade table that helps set the mood. I like to make my display feel like a store that I (and my customers) would want to shop in.
Make sure that your prices are clearly marked on your pieces. You can use jewelry tags, small stickers or have a price list out. I once saw work displayed on a piece of black slate with pricing written in chalk. It was a great contrast for her hand forged, high polished silver jewelry.
Know your stuff! Make sure you (and any assistant you have helping) knows the pricing, materials, and other important information about your work. This is your work – don’t be shy and let people know what makes it special. Buyers want to know why their customers will want to purchase your treasures.
Bring snacks, seriously. Usually at a show I’m too busy to slip away and take lunch. I always pack granola bars, apples and peanut butter, and other snacks that are easy to eat and filling. Bring a reusable water bottle (I also always bring my own coffee in the morning) so you can refill. Snacks and drinks are either super expensive at tradeshows or not readily available. Dont’ forget to stay hydrated if you’re under flourescent lights all day. No one wants to buy jewelry from you if you’re hungry, thirsty and grumpy – trust me.
You can have the most incredible work displayed really beautifully, but if it’s not illuminated correctly no one will see it. Most convention centers have high ceilings with flourescent lights. Make sure to read your contract really well so you know their policy with bringing your own lights. Most of the time you can, and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to ask questions. I buy a strip of track lighting from the Hardware store and hang it to the cross bar of the booth with zip ties. You can also purchase extra lights to add to the track and point directly at your jewelry.
Make sure to have a postcard with an awesome picture, some info about your work and how to get in touch with you. You have tons of people looking at your work, so make sure they remember you!
Interested in learning more? Check out our Jewelry Production class where we’ll cover creating jewelry efficiently for large and small production, pricing, and how to get your work out!
Are you looking to take the leap and exhibit at a trade show? Here are some local ones in New York City: