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Whole Bead Show-Amherst, MA Sept 28th-30th

Hey Y’all in the northeast. Chase Designs (that’s me!) has a table at The Whole Bead Show in Amherst, Ma at the end of September. I’ll be selling beads, marbles, and some collector murrine slices. If you’re in the area please come on by. The show coordinators were nice enough to send me five VIP passes for two people each. Admission is normally $7.00. If you want one, drop me a note with your address Deanna @ chase-designs.com, and I’ll mail them to you. First come first serve. Hope to see you there!

ISGB Gathering~ Bellevue, WA

Hello, my dear blog followers. My apologies for my neglect. This year has been amazing and wonderful, though very busy. Demons of Bourbon Street is coming along nicely and headed to the editor soon. I know you’re waiting. It’s coming. I promise. :D

In the mean time, this weekend I am headed to Bellevue, Washington for the annual ISGB Gathering for glass bead makers. I’ll be hanging out in the vendor area selling murrine Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The great news is the vendor area is open to the public. So even if you aren’t registered for the conference, you can shop for glass supplies all four days. The bead bazaar is held on Saturday and is also open to the public.

Want to see what sort of beads Jade makes? Come on down. There will be a room full of awesome, ubber talented glass bead makers all in one place. It’s by far the best venue for seeing the top lampwork bead artists every year. Hope you can make it.

The venue is the Hyatt Regency, Bellevue, Wa.

Bead Fest Texas Report~The Buisness of Lampworking

Hey guys! Bet you thought I forgot all about you didn’t you? Nope. I’ve just been busy writing Witches of Bourbon Street, but I’m taking a break to give you the skinny on Bead Fest Texas.

This was the second year Bead Fest was held in Arlington, and my first year doing this particular show. In comparison to Bead Fest Philly it was much smaller. I’d say about a third of forth the amount of vendors as Philly.

The good:

It’s pretty close to me. It took eight hours to drive each way. Going I had my friend Susan Sheehan with me, so it seemed much shorter, especially since she drove most of the way. Our other friend Lisa Liddy was a vendor there, so for us it was kind of a girls weekend in addition to working the show.

The show was low cost (relative to the other ones I do).

I had a great day sales wise on Friday. (It’s a three day show). Easily my best one day total in a very long time. I had high hopes after Friday, let me tell you.

There were quite a few less vendors than I’m used to, so less competition which is always nice.

The bad:

We had to pay five dollars a day parking.

I had an artist’s table, which means one eight foot table (pretty standard). But all the artists tables were butted up against each other. I’d say there were twelve to fifteen tables all lined up with no room to get to the other side of the table. We had to trek all the way down to the end to get around to the other side. It wasn’t very convenient.

Perhaps the most unfortunate issue was the show was the same weekend as the World Series. The ballpark was literally right next door. The Rangers and Cardinals played both Saturday and Sunday night. To add insult to injury the Cowboys football games was Sunday at 3 pm.  Needless to say, Sunday was a snooze fest. I’m sure we lost many possible shoppers who were afraid of crowds and issues with parking. Luckily for those who did come out there was designated Bead Fest parking. However, if one didn’t brave it, they wouldn’t know that.

The good news is I made more than my formula on Friday, so the show was certainly successful for me. I’ll definitely be back next year.

Formula:

Table fee + electricity + travel fee + $100 a day I’m out of my studio (traveling, packing, manning my booth) = Amount  I have to make to consider the show successful.

Next show: Houston Bead Society November, 11, 12, 13. Only Greg is handling this one. I have a book to finish.

When Girlfriends Come to Town~Favorite Things Monday

So I guess it isn’t a secret I’ve been crazy busy. My poor blog. I haven’t written a Business of Lampworking article in a few weeks. I haven’t posted Book recommendation Thursday is over a month. And my online participation has been noticeably lacking in my favorite haunts.

You see, this upcoming weekend is Bead Fest Texas. I leave Thursday and will be back Monday. Speaking of Bead Fest, if you’re anywhere near the Dallas/Arlington area, here is a coupon you can print to get in free. I will be in booth 611.

Anyway, I had a show in Philly at the end of August, and Hottimes on the Mountain at the end of Sept. The combined events severely depleted my bead show stock. So the last four weeks I have been scrambling to catch up.

In addition I’ve been working feverishly on Witches of Bourbon Street, the second in my Jade Calhoun trilogy.

So you can imagine how excited I am to have some girlfriend time. My good friend, Susan Sheehan is arriving today in  about three hours now. We’re picking her up from the New Orleans airport, taking her out on the town, and then spending the next few days playing in the studio before we drive on out of here for the show. Susan will be in both 609 right next to me, and our other dear friend Lisa Liddy will be in booth 607 right next to Susan. It’s gonna be a great show!

 

Online Sales and Galleries~The Business of Lampworking

The International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB) hosts a booth at The Buyers Market of American Craft (BMAC) every year in February. BMAC is the show gallery owners shop at to fill their stores. Members of the ISGB have the opportunity to participate in the show at a reduced rate. It’s a great opportunity for artists to get a feel for the show without a huge financial risk.

But how does an artist balance online sales with gallery sales? Many people will say galleries will not deal with artists who sell online. My question is as a modern artist: How can you not sell online and expect to be successful? The trick is to respect your wholesale accounts.

By this I mean: Do not undercut galleries by selling to the general public below your retail price. Your retail price is usually double your wholesale price. That means you should not list a piece on Etsy for one-hundred-dollars and expect to sell the same piece to a gallery for one-hundred-dollars as well. The gallery must mark your products up to earn a profit. If they can’t, why would they buy from you? And why would anybody buy a piece from a gallery for two-hundred-dollars when they can order it direct from the artist for half the price? Or worse, the person buys from the gallery, goes home and Googles the artist’s name and finds out they’ve overpaid. That gallery just lost a customer. Bad business.

So if you want to sell to galleries and maintain a working relationship, respect them and their need to turn a profit.

Also consider making pieces specifically targeted for galleries. These are pieces you do not offer online and are exclusive for wholesale accounts. That way there isn’t any danger of undercutting and the gallery can then charge whatever they want for the piece. The rule of thumb is wholesale is fifty percent of your retail price, but galleries sometimes mark things up two to two and a half times. If you’re selling it at double your wholesale, you are still undercutting them and they may choose not to do business with you.

I’ve already mentioned the BMAC show which is one way of introducing your work to galleries. Another is Wholesalecrafts.com. They are an online gallery exclusive to wholesale venders. Consider putting together a brochure and mailing it to the galleries you are interested in.

For local galleries call to set up appointments to meet with the gallery owners/buyers. Do not just show up with your work in your hands. Often the buyer won’t be in, plus you need to respect their time. Also they could feel put on the spot and that isn’t a great way to start a business relationship.

Be prepared. Know your wholesale terms. What dollar amount does the gallery have to meet in order to qualify for wholesale? Do they have to meet it again each time the order, or can they reorder less at wholesale rates after the relationship is established? Will you accept net-thirty payment terms? Does the gallery have to pay upfront? Are you willing to offer pieces on consignment? If so, have a boiler plate contract ready to go. Does the gallery pay you if items get lost, stolen or broken? What is the consignment rate? fifty-fifty? Sixty-forty?

The more professional you are, the more likely they are to take you seriously. We artists can be flaky. You don’t want to give them a reason to say no.

With all this said, I confess, Greg and I don’t sell much work through galleries. We have done some in the past and may in the future. But currently, I just have too much on my plate with online sales, shows, wholesale bead and murrine accounts, and the books I”m writing. Adding wholesale gallery accounts and doing it right is just one too many things right now. It’s important to know your limits.

Good luck!

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