Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you’ll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize
each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.
***** This week’s winner is Starry Road Studio! You won a Colored Wrapped Key Pendant! Just email Miss Fickle Media by clicking here and she’ll get that right out to you! ************************
This week we visit the studio of Lori Anderson. I’m preparing for my biggest show of the year, the Craftsman’s Classic in Northern VA, so if you’re in the area, come by and say hi! I’ll be the booth with the hot pink curtains.
This year, as with all years, I feel rushed and more than a little behind. I always debut my holiday jewelry at this show, and while you may think October is a little early, when I went to Target yesterday to pick up Halloween candy, they were busy setting up the Christmas trees. I’ve also learned from experience that people are LOOKING for that sort of thing at this show and I’m ready for them. Bring it on.
In the past few weeks, I’ve moved my beading table (read, kitchen table) to the library of the house. I set up one of my 6′ show tables and now I have this wonderful natural light that has helped my eyesight tremendously. I have to get up and down and up and down and up and stub my toe and down again to get to the beading cabinet, but I’ve found it keeps me more focused. Fewer extraneous beads make their way to my table — although it doesn’t look like it in this picture.
The wooden tray is all my staples, things I use all the time. The plastic tray is all my holiday jewelry stuff. The stuff on the floor is just stuff on the floor.
Stop it. I’ll bet you have that, too.
I also have taken over the living room couch in the evenings as I set up my business card station. SOME of my business cards have spacer beads attached to them, and I bought this cool ribbon punch
to make the work easier. Cut the ribbon, string on the beads, tie a knot, pretty pretty. I’m not totally insane — I only make a certain number of these, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. But they’re fun. To look at. Not to make.
(Yes, my thank you notes are stored in a lunch box. I like cute.)
Then there are the official Bead Chasers. When Zack is at school, I resort to these two. They aren’t very reliable in the picking-up department, but they do at least let me know which direction that expensive Bali bead skittered off to.
Next comes the Sticking of the Stickers. I usually discover I don’t have enough stickered boxes two days before the show, resulting in mayhem and general waving of hands and gnashing of teeth. All of my boxes have inside a business card (non-beaded), an organza bag, and the sticker on the top. Pink top, purple bottom, and I use Papermart.com
to buy almost all my supplies.
And then there is my new sign, which proved QUITE the theft deterant at my last show. Who could resist the serious little face of my sweet nugget?
The three days before the show are sheer pandemonium and utter chaos in the house. The office is a mess of boxes. The van is half-packed. I do have a list my husband and I check off (he sets things up, I decorate, I un-decorate, and he tears things down, while Zack asks, “Are we DONE yet?”). I always forget something. (Thank goodness my hotel is near a Target. Once I forgot socks. Once, pajamas. One memorable time, cash.)
Don’t get me wrong. I love to do shows. My customers have become friends. Many of them read my blog and stop by to visit, ask about Zack, give me book suggestions, share bits of their life. I don’t care if they stop by merely to play dress up and then go on their way without buying a thing. I still feel the connection. If a customer has become that close to me they make a point of stopping by to say hello, that’s a customer for life. They just didn’t need something right that minute.
So that’s the tidbit of information I’d like to leave with you. Yes, you’re exhausted, have worked your fingers to the bone, are likely eating bad restaurant food and sleeping in an uncomfortable hotel. It may be a show where you have more looky-loos than buyers.
If you treat your attendees with respect, smile all the time, engage them — give them a reason to remember you beyond your beautiful jewelry — they’ll take your card and keep it. Get their address and email if you politely can (and tell them why). Market judiciously but respectfully. It takes time. But you can build a customer base that will do your marketing FOR you. Word of mouth is HUGE.
Take your talent on the road — but don’t forget your smile, your natural charm, and your passion for your work.
Have fun out there.
Want to win a lampwork focal, picked out by me?
Answer this question in the comments below:
What is the funniest/craziest thing you’ve heard in a craft booth?
(yours, a friend’s, or one you’ve shopped in)