Capitol City Visit

Capitol City Visit
Madison Wisconsin

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My First Show! Part II-- How it turned out!

Okay! I know some of you felt I was leaving you hanging with my blog post last week about my first vendor show. Well, here's the rest of the story!

All in all, it went well! I made my table fee back and I was able to make a little over what I would make in a day of being a substitute teaching (which I sometimes do). And as a bonus, I didn't have to discipline anyone's child! But, it was slowwwwww!

The set up went fine. It did take me from 8-9am to set up my booth. That was not including the time from 7:30-8am to unload and bring my things into the gym. Although we had been sent a floor plan, it was not easily understood and no one knew where to set up. I was given a place at the end of a row, by the door and felt this was a good spot. I was please with my display. The pampered chef vendor was behind me with cash and carry items and a home interiors type vendor was next to me. Across the aisle was a lady who taught sewing lessons. There were other jewelry vendors (4-5) spaced around the room.

I had sent personal invitations to this event. I knew some people had other obligations and some came and visited me and bought my jewelry! A special thank-you to those people. I enjoyed meeting people and talking to other vendors. I passed out business cards to many people, even though they were just "window" shopping. I reminded them that I was "local"!

I went into this experience knowing and actually, hoping, it would not be crazy busy. I went into this hoping to get some exposure and network. I got both my wishes! I made some contacts and got my name out there in the community. I have noticed an increase visitation to my website per my google analytics report. So, from that perspective; it was successful.

More importantly, I was able to personally observe what people were interested in and commenting on. This was very valuable information. I was able to talk to a vendor who makes jewelry her full time career. Her pieces are beautiful and well made but very different from mine! She, in turn, visited my table and commented on some of my pieces. One piece, in particular, is the focus of a new line of jewelry for me. I was thrilled that she called it "gorgeous".....it happened to be the piece I was wearing!
I found all of the vendors very nice and helpful. It was a good day for more than monetary reasons. I learned from it! I could do a show! I could compete for sales! I could do it!

I also know that I don't want to do a show all the time! Whew......it is a lot of work. You see, I am very organized and being that organized takes a lot of work! I also know since I just did my books for the last year that by far the most successful venture for me this past year was to do a house party! I would like to do two this year. One summer and one at the holidays.

I now have a plan, don't wonder about what I am missing (at shows) , have a couple of new design lines to work to on, and will looking forward to doing more home shows. I have been gathering post-show info from people I know that attended the show and those that did not. Come to find out, it was not advertised well. Our middle school families were sent e-mails and it was advertised in the school newsletter. Many did not realize it was going on. The signage at the event was lacking. Have you ever been to a show and wondered where to go? Many people entered the wrong door of the building and were unable to get back to the gym. I think this probably made people (especially mom's with strollers) angry! I know I wouldn't have been pleased. Sometime this week, I'll pass this information on to the organizers of the show.

I was asked at the end of the day if I would do the show next year (they are trying to make it into a yearly event). I said I would and I meant it, but maybe I'll help with the advertising!

Just a reminder that the lovely green handtwisted Sterling silver Disc Bead Earrings at the right will be given to my 50th blog follower! Come on and follow me! Also, in my shop, right now at;
http://carolsjewelryorchard.etsy.com
I'm having a giveaway for my 50th sale (next one---I'm at 49). Winner will receive a pair of all sterling earrings that are either sailboats or cutout hearts (winners choice). Stop on by and shop! You could be a winner! Thanks. Have a great week!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Be Festive, Wear Green!

Check out these green earrings! Completely handmade!
I was going to post these in my shop to sell, but I figured that I'd love some more followers, so why not have a giveaway!
The 50th person to follow my blog will win these earrings! They feature sterling silver 20G wire, handtwisted through handmade glass disc beads (made by a fellow etsian) and attached to sterling earwires. Stylish. Modern! They could be yours!
Just be the 50th person to follow me!

Things that remind me of St. Pat's.....

Green
Orange
Beer (particularly, green beer)
Reuben sandwiches
Corned Beef and Cabbage
Celtic Music
A date gone bad
A late snowfall in Western New York
Festivities like parades and dances
Green Carnations....
And finally,

The arrival of spring is close!

Have a great St. Patrick's Day! Be sure to stop back for part II of My First Show (how it turned out), later this week.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My First Show! Part I.

This past Saturday, the 13th, was the very first time I participated in a show. Now that it's over AND I survived it, I thought I'd share what led up to it and how it went!

What it was: A vendor show, not a craft show. This was hosted by our local middle school PTO in an effort to raise money for educational opportunities for middle school students. Table space (10 feet) was a mere $35.00! A friend of mine who sells Southern Living at Home shared this opportunity with me and I registered the day I found out about it! (about 6 weeks ago).
There was a large variety of hobby, craft, and home based businesses from Sewing Lessons to Mary Kay Cosmetics to Silpada and Pampered Chef!

What was I thinking?! I was thinking, WOW, local exposure for only $35.00. Wow! I can try and sell some items I have been storing and haven't gotten around to listing, yet. and wow, what did I just do? I've got to get busy!

A month before; Since I had a lot of stock made, I spent time going back over everything to do a quality assurance check! Then, I started on my tags ( I make individually typed tags on labels and attach them to decorative paper ). These are then attached to the piece of jewelry with an inventory number and finally a price. All of this (the name, inventory number, and price is recorded in a notebook). Each piece is also all photographed.

Two weeks before; I needed to work on my booth display. I had already bought an easel, a large (2x3 white board), a table cloth but knew I needed to put it all together in a mock display. At this point, it was too early to do that but I did start pulling things out that I could use.....a couple of metal baskets, two wooden displays for bracelets and necklaces, a white leatherette bracelet display, and some other items.

You see I wasn't a complete novice. I had a little experience as I had been a featured artist at a shop that I had jewelry on consignment last May at an open house. However, it was about this time that I found out what kind of competition I would have! There were to be about 20 vendors and 4-5 of them featured jewelry! Okay, I'm getting nervous now!

One week before; I finished all the inventorying, photographing, and recording. About this time, I had my husband set up my table (the exact one that I would use) in our family room. For the next several days, I arranged and played with my display! Finally, the day before the show, I was set. And so , I took it all down, packed it up, and gathered everything I needed (or thought I needed in a couple of totes)!

By this time, I was kind of in a bad mood. Wow! What a lot of work! And making my bad mood worse was my nerves! I knew this was only a small local show but I was nervous!

How would I fair?
How stiff would the competition be?
Would I be organized enough?
Would the event be a success?
Would I be satisfied with how I did?

All these questions and more were swirling around in my head!! I have to admit, I lost more than a little sleep!
This is where I will leave you for now....Stay tuned for part II, coming in a couple days!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Shades of Green; Happy St. Pat's

Click to play this Smilebox greeting: Shades of Green
Create your own greeting - Powered by Smilebox
This free greeting created with Smilebox

The Learning Curve; Changing from a PC to a Mac.

Well, I thought I would write about how my week has gone from frustrating to satisfying involving our new computer system.

About 10 days ago, we purchase a brand new Mac os-X computer. It came ready to work, right out of the box! Wow! That has never happened with any of our PC's. For the first few days, all was well. I wasn't having too many problems learning commands that seemed pretty similar to our ten year old PC.

Well, my frustrations started at the beginning of the week...last week. Over last weekend, my techno-savy son transferred about 5000 photographs for me from the pc to the mac. My old system supported Microsoft digital library and an old Picture It! program that I used every year to make our family calendars. The new system had iphoto on it. The problem was that what used to take me literally seconds for picture editing, was now taking minutes! I think the height of my frustration was Friday when it took me a half hour to adjust just 3 pictures. And I'm just talking exposure! The iphoto wasn't doing what I needed it to do. And I was impatient while trying to learn it! This was not a good combination.

So, I knew I needed to start researching my options. The new machine was great, learning a new software was not. The first thing I did was google photoediting software for macs. Then, I also posed the question to the forums on the etsy site. The nice thing about this all was that what I found out from the google search and from practical experience of other etsy artists was compatible. I also downloaded a free trial of adobe photoshop for 30 days.

Here is the forum link;

Well, by Saturday morning I was playing on the photoshop and able to adjust about 5 pictures in about 15 minutes. It has the easy cropping tool, exposure adjustment, and visible pixels at my fingers tips. At the same time, by afternoon; I was able to play with the iphoto and see that it also had some really neat applications as well. The iphoto works well as the bridge program for the adobe.

So, all things considered, my learning curve was relatively short. Don't get me wrong, I'm still learning both programs but it is definitely more enjoyable than it was! And I'm also glad to report that the smilebox program I have for posting slideshows still works well on the mac. I've posted some of my jewelry with green components for St. Pat's. Take a minute, let it load, and enjoy!
The music is nice, too! Have a great week!