Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wanna Ride, part 2

A few days ago, I made a checklist of things I need to do to make a transition to doing bridal shows with my jewelry. The last item on my list is the need to update my display.

My current booth display is great for craft shows, where customers "cash and carry" their purchases, but it's not really a very "boutique" style display. For one, we need to do something that varies the heights of the displayed items -- right now, there is some variance, but everything falls within the same 2 feet -- I'd like to go beyond that (see the photo on May 22, 2009). I think I need to add some busts to show off my necklaces -- right now I only use 2.
I need to decide on a color scheme -- right now, my displays are all white (with deep green table skirts) -- do I want to stay with white? Or would the jewelry be more striking on black? Or some other color?
I probably need to decide which pieces and colors of jewelry I'll show and whether or not customers will be able to purchase on the spot or if I will only accept orders.
My current show displays are also great because we can set up and take down quickly -- an important factor in craft shows, but probably not so important in bridal shows.
We need good lighting systems and a nice little music system might be nice.
My current setup is quite flexible and will accommodate a variety of booth sizes. I'm thinking that we're going to tape off the floor with several different booth sizes and use cardboard templates to plan the spaces.
I have some ideas to utilize some of what I already have (a budget concern) as well as develop a more "boutique" look -- and fortunately, I'm married to a wonderful woodworker who can do cabinetry work -- we'll be utilizing his skills! More thoughts later ....

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wanna Ride?

My husband is such a sweetie! And he's very encouraging about my jewelry business, especially about taking it in the direction of marketing to brides. Doing craft shows has been good but we get a lot of feedback from people indicating that my style is really perfect for weddings. Keith has researched a bit and found a number of Bridal Shows coming up in our area and figures we should attend a couple of them to see how they're run, what kinds of setups vendors are using, what kind of traffic there is, etc.

I've already done a bit of research myself to find out booth sizes and fees -- needed to start somewhere. Found that "bigger" shows are pricey .. at least, compared to what I've been paying for craft shows. Most of my craft shows fall between $50-100 for a booth of 10x10 to 12x12. The bridal shows I've found run closer to $800 for an 8x10 or 10x10 space. I'll be continuing to look! And I'm developing a checklist of things I think need to be done before I dive headlong into doing Bridal Shows:
1- continue show research to find out which shows are the best attended, as well as requirements, space available, booth fees, contacts, set up and take down arrangements
2- focus new product development on bride's accessory needs (bracelets, hair and veil accessories)
3- develop a catalog/brochure
4- develop a procedure for taking orders, including a policy for quantity discounts, special requests, and financial arrangements (deposits, cancellations, returns, payment terms)
5- develop displays, pricing and policies for consignment sales through bridal shops (shows will put me in contact with bridal shops as well as with brides and there may be consignment opportunities)
6- packaging -- right now, it's simple tags and bags -- may need to spruce that up
7- upgrade my booth display
There's a lot involved with this ... we'll save it for the next post.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday coming up, I'm not sure how far I'll get with my list but this should be an interesting journey! From time to time, I may need to ask for input too. Wanna ride?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

further explanation

I was in a rush earlier .. so here's a little more explanation for my last post.

In August, I did something (a mystery) to my knee -- got a small tear in the meniscus and did some damage to tendons and ligaments. A doctor friend advised me how to take care of it .. the meniscus is doing much better, the tendons are going to take some more time. Better all around ... just getting there really slowly.

And it's interfered with my life some. It's been very uncomfortable to travel so all those miles have been rough. If you don't know me very well, my husband and I are missionaries (build church buildings) and our income comes from churches and individuals who support our ministry. Several months ago, we thought we would have some open time this fall and scheduled visits with several churches to update them on what we've been doing. As it happens, we have had some project delays and are still in WI -- the churches have been in other states -- so we've been on the road a lot. We also helped our youngest daughter move from MI to CO.

The discomfort makes me tired ... I sleep alot when I'm home. I've had to limit my physical activity ... REALLY limit. Everything I've done over the past few months has been critical... nothing that wasn't essential. It's actually produced a sense of pressure ... I can't drop the ball and everything I do HAS to be done. And I'm always wishing I could do more ... it's been frustrating to deal with the limitations.

So when I say that I did some work outside today ... it takes on a whole new meaning!!

I'm trying to work smarter, not harder. I've done several craft shows -- they've gone really well. I was very excited last week to get the order for all the jewelry for a wedding!! And at that particular craft show, there were several inquiries about other weddings.

SO I'm in the wee beginnings of checking out wedding shows and how to market to brides ... if anyone has tips, they would be most appreciated!! Undoubtedly, I'll be posting about my research and decisions ... I'm excited at the prospect!

Today, I'm trying ...

... to catch up! In the past couple months, we've put close to 15000 miles on and my bum feels every one! I'm also working on a couple new design ideas for my jewelry business and I'm getting ready for my last craft show of the year this weekend.

I've actually been avoiding Etsy a bit. I've had some ideas for new designs working around my head but I didn't want to be influence by anyone else's work. I don't know that the designs will be really novel -- you can only do so many things with a particular combination of materials -- but they will be as individual as I can make them.

I've done several craft shows this fall -- some have been wonderful, others not so much. Last weekend was a bit of a disappointment except for one thing --I sold a whole wedding! I've made jewelry for brides before or made earrings for a wedding party but haven't done a whole wedding -- so I'm EXCITED about it!

And this week, I'm trying to get some loose ends tied up -- our weather has been way too nice but it won't last much longer. So I'm trying to do some of the outdoor things I've been putting off. Also starting to think about Thanksgiving -- I'm doing a lot of cooking next week -- just thinking about it is making my mouth water! I'll post more about our menu and even a recipe or two later this week.