Hooray for April! Which is to say, hooray March is over and out. Yay, for the big show being done with, for the peas starting to sprout, for school vacation, and for the start of the regular retail art market/show season.
I know that some of you are waiting to hear how the wholesale show went, and the short version is: It was a total bust.
The long version, for those who like to read about disasters, is below.
The Boston Gift Show was the wrong show for me and my product in every way. It turns out I just can’t compete with the manufactured jewelry that the souvenir shops that attended purchased in gobs. And, even though I was in the “handmade” section, I had buyers asking me who my manufacturer was. To answer that, (first I’d take I’d a deeeeeep breath, then) I’d explain that each piece is made by hand, by yours truly. When that wasn’t enough, I had to explain that hand crafting my pieces was actually a choice, and no, I wasn’t interested in learning more about having my pieces cast overseas (in China!) for a higher profit margin. (Insert blood-pressure-controlling breathing exercises here)
The good news is that now I know which kind of shows not to do, anyway. The smallish person inside me wants to say that it was a waste of time, money, and resources (read: babysitting favors), but it really wasn’t. In preparing for this show, I started to seriously think about the wholesale aspect of my business. For the first time, I clearly defined a few lines of jewelry and nailed down the pricing, as well as got the catalog done and onto the site. I can use the promotional posters at my regular retail shows, and I sent postcards out to most of the New England craft galleries. Having my brand out there can’t be doing me any harm. So, not a total loss, but I’ll admit is stung a bit to do so horribly. As a friend put it, doing this show was like I took a weekend-long business course. She’s so right. I went to school, and I’m pretty sure I just graduated magna cum laude.
I know that doing anything new is risky in some way or another, and shying away from risk is not something I am prone to do. So guess what? I’m applying to another wholesale show — the Buyers Market of American Craft — soon, and never looking back.
Here’s to getting schooled, and learning lessons.
I have some other AG Ambroult news for you, too. Stop by in a few days to hear about what I was up to this past weekend, and the new “product” I will be offering. In the meantime I’ll be finding my way back to the online spaces I have missed in the past month.