Studio Saturday with Rebecca of Songbead and The Curious Bead Shop

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 weeks winner is Monique of A Half-Baked Notion. Congratulations! 
You have won three copper frames from Gaea. 
Send Gaea an email with your address and she will get them right out to you.

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This week we visit the studio of Rebecca Anderson of Songbead and The Curious Bead Shop.
Right now, I am poised at the very beginning of a hugely busy summer for me and Songbead jewellery.  
I’ve got that feeling of nervous anticipation – the calm before the storm, so to speak. But not actually so calm! Here’s what the next two months hold for me, jewellery-wise:
3rd August – 25th August – The West End Fair, St John’s, Edinburgh
Added to that, with my other hat on as a classical singer, they also hold this:
10th July – rehearsal in London for Re:Sound’s Battles Within And Without
22nd July – 1st August – rehearsals daily in London for Re:Sound’s Battles Within and Without
2nd – 4th August – performances of Re:Sound’s Battles Within and Without
Can you do the maths…..? I am going to be one busy bee! And you may notice that the timings with all of my engagements are pretty tight…..including an overlap of the 2nd – 4th August……eek! Thankfully, I have a very, VERY kind partner who is going to travel up to Edinburgh and set and start up the fair for me. HUGELY grateful doesn’t even begin to cover it! 
This is definitely the busiest summer I will ever have had with jewellery. A 23-day craft fair……I have got to tell you, I am a little intimidated by just how much stock I will have to make! The West End Fair takes place in the very centre of Edinburgh, during the Festival period. If you are lucky enough to have ever visited my home city of Edinburgh during the month of August, you will know just what an awesome atmosphere the place has at that time, and how very, very busy it is! 
Pacific Heather

I count myself as very lucky to come from such a wonderful place, and am looking forward to spending almost a month there this summer. A rare treat, even if I will be working there every single day! I have been to this particular fair countless times as a customer – I always make several trips, however long I am in Edinburgh whilst it is on, and I am extremely chuffed that I will be a part of it this year. Anyone who has done super-long events like this before – any tips gratefully received! 
Flying Through Fire
Although I know that I will need a LOT of stock, guessing exactly what I will need is hard. The pictures here are some of my new pieces that I’ve been working on. I find I am making up two or three versions of each design where I can….I don’t always do this but I figure this will be a more efficient way of working for these events. 
Despite this, I anticipate that many of my evenings during the fair will be spent making, however much stock I have made up beforehand. I find that you can never guess what is going to be popular at any single event! I’ve been buying up art beads from some of my favourite makers. I got a fresh set of my signature tags made up too – big thanks to D’Arsie Manzella for these beauties! Look how teeny they are….
Despite any trepidation however, overall I am extremely excited about this summer and all it holds. I think I will definitely be due a good rest come September! 
My question for you this week is, what is your number one tip in preparing for craft fairs? Leave your answer in the comments below to be in with the chance of winning a set of handmade copper findings from The Curious Bead Shop, worth £15.50!

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer, currently living in Manchester, England. You can read more about her and her work at her blog, songbeads.blogspot.com and see more of her jewellery at songbead.etsy.com. She also has a supplies shop at thecuriousbeadshop.etsy.com.

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28 Comment

  1. Its All About Creating
    July 6, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Even though I am pretty organized have everything in storage boxes ready to go, I always print out my check list and go through my entire set-up ahead of time. I also have a written count-down check list that helps me keep organized with my inventory. So, I could not do without my check-lists. It seems basic, but it is my #1 tip–write it down and check it off. I love the handmade copper findings from The Curious Bead Shop, so I am crossing my fingers. -Marlene

  2. lindalandig
    July 6, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    I can not even imagine doing a 23 day show. Wishing you tons of stamina. A friend of mine was traveling through Sctland a few years ago and attended this event and thought it was quite amazing!

  3. lindalandig
    July 6, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    I can not even imagine doing a 23 day fair, nor the amount of prep that would be needed. Sending you wishes for tons of stamina!

    A friend of mine was traveling through Scotland a couple of years ago and attended this event. She was very impressed!

  4. Kathy Lindemer
    July 6, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    My number one tip for getting ready for a craft fair is to have a visual (sketch or photo) of how you plan to set up your table. I.like to take a photo of my basic layout so that when I get to the craft fair early in the morning and half asleep I use the photo to get set up quickly. This process also insures that I have packed everything I need.

    I have been luck to have visited Edinburgh once. I love the city and hope to return to it for the festival.

  5. Leigh Thow
    July 6, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Keep Calm and Bead on the day too, you are very lucky to have Helen 😀

  6. Alice
    July 6, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Oh my, I know how nervous I get before shows and I'm usually running up to the last second photographing and tagging. Your jewelry is gorgeous and I have no doubt you will have successful shows.

    I have huge totes that I keep all my props and table covers in so I don't forget anything. I also have a large bag for all the things I need to sell such as sacks, receipt book, money bag, water, pens, snacks, tape, signs, napkins, card reader, sign up sheet, etc. When I get home I immediatly restock for the next show.

    Best of luck to you on all your events!

  7. Claire Lockwood
    July 6, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    How good is Helen?! What a treasure! That's brilliant! I'm sure you'll have a brilliant time in Edinburgh. I can't imagine taking on that kind of undertaking right now. I'm doing a market tomorrow so the question's very current right now. My best tip (for what it's worth/I want to win some headpins!), as someone who gets stressed easily, is get everything done well in advance. But, as you say, you can only do so much of that before a 23 day show! Keep on beading on! x

  8. Claire Lockwood
    July 6, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    How good is Helen?! What a treasure! That's brilliant! I'm sure you'll have a brilliant time in Edinburgh. I can't imagine taking on that kind of undertaking right now. I'm doing a market tomorrow so the question's very current right now. My best tip is (for what it's worth/I want to win some headpins!), as someone who gets stressed easily, get everything done well in advance. But, as you say, you can only do so much of that before a 23 day show! Keep on beading on! x

  9. Claire Davis
    July 6, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    My number one tip for craft show prep, is to have everything packed away ready the day before, it sounds obvious, but there have been so many times when I have been up late the night before finishing things off and then end up going to bed too late and don't sleep well because I haven't had chance to wind down fully! So now I try and make sure I just chill out or whatever in the evening even if it means I may have a couple less pairs of earrings or something!

  10. Monique (A Half-Baked Notion)
    July 6, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    In my neck of the woods (otherwise known as the Middle-of-Nowhere), craft fairs are few and far between, and unpredictable. I always have lots of partially completed smaller projects for quieter intervals (often these sell better than the larger pieces) and easily customizable items. And always a handful of cute and inexpensive beads for the really young customers.

    Seriously, "Pacific Heather" has every one of my favorite colours in it, Rebecca!

    PS I'm thrilled about the frames. Emailing her NOW.

  11. Tracy Collins
    July 6, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    I have only done a few small fairs but for me being organised the night befiore is essential. I have a fair next weekend and have started preparations already in the hope that i will remember everything! Its usually price tags that get forgotten!

  12. Erin S
    July 7, 2013 at 12:32 am

    I never do craft fairs–not my thing at all. But I wish you luck with yours!

  13. Jean Yates
    July 7, 2013 at 12:46 am

    Dear Rebecca,
    You are such a lovely, talented person. I would love to go to Edinburgh as my family hails from
    Scotland originally. I have visited a number of place, but I have never been "home".
    Have fun with all your adventures.
    My tip for craft fairs is get your
    stock to show your personality, ALWAYS. However also study the type of buyers so you know if they will be spending a lot or a little. Hold back on selling your more expensive stock at certain fairs.
    When you are at an upscale fair,
    show your best wares! And have an assistant watching. 😉

    jean xox

  14. Nan Smith
    July 7, 2013 at 3:15 am

    Wow…. a 23 day fair! I can't even begin to imagine how much stock you will need! You are brave!!!!!! I hope you do really well and have a great time! (and sell everything!)

  15. beadrecipes
    July 7, 2013 at 3:20 am

    Having only done a couple of craft shows so far, I'm not really qualified to give advice! But what has helped me (other than poring over the beautiful pictures that you and others have posted of your displays to get ideas) is to have a photo of the set up on hand so I know what I'm doing, and to have things as organised as possible so that the set up goes smoothly. Wishing you lots of luck and sales for your busy summer, take time to enjoy the moments!

  16. Angi
    July 7, 2013 at 10:34 am

    WOW! I can't imagine a 23 day fair! What courage you have! I'm a pretty new designer and have not done a fair yet. So, no advice from me. Wishing you good luck, good weather and great customers!

    Angi Mullis [email protected]

  17. SmittenBeads
    July 7, 2013 at 11:36 am

    23 days is very impressive Rebecca! I used to do the bath Christmas market which was 10 days. I would start making stock in July for it. The footfall was probably around 20,000 on a Saturday. My tips would be: Have lots of change and a money belt or bag to keep your takings on you, I hate to say it but the bigger the event the more chance of theft so you will need eyes like a hawk, I learned over time to not get upset when my jewellery was pinched and not to feel stupid at having missed someone taking it, most thieves are professionals. Take a packed lunch and drinks, it can be expensive to buy food very day and hopefully you will be so busy that you won't have a chance to leave your stand anyway :)Try not to spend all your takings on other peoples stalls! Lastly take plenty to make, I think you will be very busy! Good luck, I wish I lived closer I would have come for a visit. Now I'm off to find out about your singing thing. Claire Xx

  18. SmittenBeads
    July 7, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Oh one more thing, always always leave longer than you think for pricing, I always leave it to the last minute and make the mistake of thinking it won't take ver long 😉 xx

  19. Divya N
    July 7, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Wow stocking for a 23say show must be like running a marathon. my best wishes to you.People have left some really great tips here and I would like to add one more – having a stash box. I carry one for all my shows with extra lengths of chain, cord, rings, earhooks, metallic beads/spacers and tools so I can do customization or alteration on the spot. also beads break at times with travel and it is fruitful to use any dull moments at the fair to do repair so its ready for the next fair.

  20. elise thomas
    July 7, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    You have such beautiful pieces, I'm sure it will go well! I don't do a lot of shows anymore, but my tip from when I did is to have fun.

    Even if sales aren't what you'd hoped at a particular show, it's still an opportunity to gather customer feedback about your items. Also, if all else fails, go shopping! Good luck 🙂

  21. Cheryl Roe
    July 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Do NOT procrastinate. I always wait til the last minute to price and package everything and am exhausted the first day of the show. When will I ever learn.

  22. Klassy Joolz
    July 7, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    WOW…you are amazing!!!! I hope you do really well!!!

    My tip would be wear comfortable shoes!!!!

    Smiles, Pam

  23. Despina
    July 7, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    From what I've seen, I'd advise you to have a stash box for quick alterations or to make some extra pieces, in case your exhibits hopefully get sold 🙂
    Best of luck

    [email protected]

  24. Anzia Parks
    July 8, 2013 at 1:05 am

    Wow a 23 day Craft fair! I am prep/product overload just thinking about it.

    Blessings and awesome Sales!

    Anzia aka Zia Parks

  25. Dzign by Jamie
    July 8, 2013 at 2:35 am

    Love all the beautiful items you've created!!

    The one think that I always did and enjoyed was setting up my tables at home to make sure I had everything looking as nice as I could. It was also good because I could make sure I had everything I needed to do the set up. Then pack it all up and have it ready to go.

    Take a few pics so you can remember what you did.

    Also, every new season do a set up well before your first show so you can make sure you have time to buy any new props you may need.

    Good luck, and have fun!

  26. Lucid Moon Studio
    July 8, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Organization is key! The better organized everything is, the easier the setup and take down will be. I've never heard of such a long craft fair, but it sounds wonderful! Have fun 🙂

  27. Ellen Lambrix
    July 9, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    23 days.. pfieuw, I would be nervous too!
    But I'm sure you will handle it perfectly, with grace!
    A tip..?
    You've done so many craft fairs, so you know what to bring with you. You know how much stock you need (a lot here so bead bead bead!)
    Your stall is perfect and your pieces are to die for gorgeous. There's no doubt about that.
    The only tip I can give is: selfconfidence!
    Repeat the mantra: I can do this! And you'll be just perfect!

    Succes Rebecca!


  28. thecolorofdreams
    July 9, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Making similar items in different colors. I find people like a certain style earrings but would like them in black instead of blue. You have your work cut out for you with that long of a fair. Your jewelry is beautiful so I am sure you will do very well!

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