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Bead and Button Report

I’ve been home from Bead and Button for a week and I’m just now getting back into my regular routine. I actually got home last Tuesday night and by Wednesday I was off and running with everything that didn’t get done while I was gone. I’m semi-caught up and didn’t want to forget to give you the dish on how the Bead and Button show was this year.

A few years ago when I was researching shows and trying to decide which ones to do, after each one I would scour the internet looking for a results posting. It isn’t something that is easy to find. And shows like Bead and Button are expensive to do. How’s a girl to know if it’s worth it?

If you have good friends in the industry who have done the show you might feel comfortable asking them. However, it’s awfully crass to ask how much someone made isn’t it? Usually the question is, was it a good show? Was it worth it? I’ve asked those questions myself. But everyone has a different barometer of success. And sometimes people don’t want to say they had a bad show, always putting on the happy it-was-good-face.

Once when trying to decide if I should do Best Bead in Tucson, I emailed a respected friend and colleague who had done that show for quite  a while and gave her a breakdown of what numbers I thought I would have to do in order to have a successful show and just asked if she thought that was reasonable.  That worked pretty well, but again, she’s a friend of mine, so I felt comfortable doing that.

As always, I don’t like to talk about exact figures on the internet, but I’ll give you some specifics.

Last year was the first time I attended Bead and Button. A friend and I decided to share an eight foot table to keep costs down. That gives each of us four feet of isle real estate. In hindsight, we both agree that wasn’t the best move. You see, that only leaves space for one customer at a time to browse your wears.  Now, it is my understanding the sales were down across the board last year at Bead and Button with the economy in the toilet. I don’t know anyone’s actual numbers but my own. I barely made expenses and that was only because I luckily ended up with a free hotel room. Expenses included booth fee, travel, and food. Plus the show takes up a full seven days that I’m out of the studio. Needless to say last year wasn’t a success.

Still, one bad show in a bad economy wasn’t enough for me to give up on Bead and Button, the show that everyone in the industry says is the place to be. Instead I signed up for an eight foot table, did a lot of brain storming on revamping the table display with Greg, and worked like a dog to fill that table up.

I somehow managed to fill the table, but barely. Seriously, by mid-day Saturday the table was looking woefully understocked. I should have brought at least twice as much as I did. That’s all good though, right? It means I was selling stuff, right?

Exactly.

Everything came together. My table looked gorgeous (in my opinion–Greg did a great job–and others commented on it as well), I had good real estate (a full eight foot table in a good row), and the economy didn’t seem to be as much of a factor. Of course, I’m sure the beads themselves had a least something to do with it. :)

I came away making four times as much as I did last year, picked up a new wholesale account, and made a contact for Greg to teach this fall. Overall it was very successful and more importantly profitable for us. We’re already signed up for next year.

For what it’s worth, I didn’t hear anyone grumbling too much about sales this year. During a bad show, when another vendor asks how things are going–and we all have a lot of free time during those shows–you usually get a crunched up face and a shrug or a slight shake of the head. This year, I got the impression most everyone was pleased with the financials, but again I only know my numbers.

Crunch time

Thirty-seven days and counting until I leave for Milwaukee for the annual Bead and Button show. If you could see my table right now, you’d be horrified. It is woefully empty. The next month will be spent chained to my torch, whipping out production. How did this happen? Orders. That’s what happened. I love orders, but it does put a crimp in my production schedule.

This morning I got the look and the quiet announcement I had five weeks to get my act together. To which I said, “I know! I know!” I have a plan. I’m good with a plan. In fact I’m great with a plan. Give me a plan and I’m super woman. Yes, really.

Then Greg mumbled, “Man, you have work to do.” That’s when the freak out started. Time to make a list. Seeing it in writing will either kick me into high gear or…never mind. Let’s not talk about that.

Bead and Button, you don’t scare me and I’m gonna kick your ass. Or at least bring a table full of sparkling beads. Are you coming? Stop by booth 1238 and see my FULL table. Of course if you show up on Sunday, I hope it won’t be totally full, if you know what I mean.

Bead and Button-The Before Pictures

Writing goal check in: 1174 words written yesterday.

Last week Greg and I spent some time revamping the show table display. For every show we have scheduled we set up a mock table in the dining room so we can decide on inventory we need and what needs to be revamped. With each show we learn what works and what doesn’t and where we want to make changes. This year the table is getting a major overhaul.

I spent a good deal of time looking at other table displays and figuring out what appealed to me in terms of showing off inventory. So far, my favorite has been JC Herrell’s display. If you are a  friend of hers on Facebook, you can  find her display here.  You can see I have borrow heavily from her aesthetic. Thank you, JC!

Ours is still a work in progress. The cream display on the left is being redone, and please ignore the weird thing to the right of the marbles. That’s an idea in the making and will look nothing like what you see there. I need a special display for my ring focals and Greg and I were brain storming. I still don’t know what it will look like, but Greg is mulling it over. He has ideas, which is always kind of dangerous. :P No need to worry though. See that light bar? Yeah, he built it. Pretty cool huh? The only other things I need are white inserts for the bead trays. Got to keep everything orderly.

So, for the next few months I will be buckling down and filling this table. Much of what you see on it right now is Greg’s inventory and of course, the murrini. We have a ton more than what you see there, this is just mock up. Man, I have work to do.

On to the show:

Happy New Year!

This is what’s going on in my world today:

It’s cold here in Louisiana–shush all you people in the snow. I moved here for warm temps, not forty-degree freezing arctic B.S. Okay, maybe not freezing, but when one is used to seventy degree weather, forty is just not okay.  Even my dog is cold.  I didn’t position him that way.  Hubby called me into the living room after finding the little one wrapped up.  Yep, it’s that cold.

The holiday’s were great.  We spent them in California, with family, where we encountered some twenty degree weather.  Seriously.  Okay, so northern California near Sacramento, but still…  Anyway, it was really great to just hang out with everyone.  I was pleasantly surprised to come home and find a bunch of orders. And even more surprised that I whipped them all out in a few days.  So that leaves me all caught up and ready to get busy on stock for the Tucson Best Bead show for early February.  Woot! I’m excited.

Stop by if you can.  I’ll have Greg with me for once.

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