How to be Successful in Craft Shows (now that things have changed)

Lititz Craft Show

Ah, craft shows….

Craft Show season is upon us!  It’s really already started, but it’s not too late to get in on the action if you’ve been thinking about it.

No doubt about it, craft shows have changed over the years since I started doing them.  It used to be that as long as a craft show had a decent number of attendees (a/k/a customers) you could be successful.  Or as some people say, “It’s a numbers game.  The more people, the more sales.”

But I have found people are buying quite as easily anymore at craft shows lately.

And even if the attendance is low, if you are in the right place you can still have a great show.

You may do well at a show, while the person in the booth next to you does lousy.  It is actually not a “numbers game” really at all, not in that way.

The good news is that you can still be very successful at craft shows with a little work.

  • You have to be prepared.
  • You have to know your target audience.
  • You have to choose wisely.
  • And you have to maybe change your expectations a bit.

That last one, change your expectations, yeah, I know it sounds a little gloomy.  I don’t mean for it to be.  You should always go into a craft show with optimism and hopefulness.  However, if you think about each craft show more as a time for research and really connecting with and getting to know your customers and less about making money, you will be happy with the results no matter what they are.

For example, I did a craft show not so long ago that I have done for years – ever since the show was started.  In fact, it was my first successful craft show that I did.  The last time I did it, it was a bust.  I was disappointed and frustrated with how much work it was.  As you may know, I sell jewelry so although it’s not a lot of heavy lifting, it is a significant amount of tedious work setting up my booth.

The reason I did that show was because I had always done it and always done well.  I hadn’t put a lot of thought or research into it, to be honest.  I actually had missed the previous year’s show as well, so  I wasn’t aware of the changes.  To continue to be successful at craft shows, you have to continue to do your research.

And I was disappointed because I went in with the wrong attitude.  I did meet a lot of people that day.  I learned a lot about what people were looking at and drawn to and about the items that they did purchase.  I learned who those people where, who they were buying for and what circumstances.

Instead of being thrilled with all that information, I was upset because I didn’t do as well financially.

Being prepared, knowing your customers, choosing the right show and going in with the right mindset are all crucial to being successful at craft shows.

Ready to try a craft show?

I have this amazing resource for you that is full of so much useful information and worksheets to help you get ready.

The price right now is just $6!  Seriously!  You can purchase it here and you’ll get a download link in your email:

Craft Show Tips 4.0
How to get ready for craft shows and feel confident and ready to take on any event, market or show that you'll be attending!
$6.00

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ECT TV Episode 13: How to Make Simple Jewelry

ECT TV Episode 13I love beautiful statement jewelry.  I love my jewelry pieces to be colorful.  I love lots of beads and wire.

But sometimes just a simple piece of jewelry is beautiful.

I know I have people who watch ECT TV who have never made jewelry before who are just considering it.  Some people have told me that they want to fix their own jewelry, but not necessarily make their own jewelry.  And I know I have more advanced jewelry makers as well.  But this week we’re going simple.

Once you can do everything in this episode, you’ll be able to fix chains that are broken, change out clasps or add pendants to new chains that are custom sized for you!  You will be able to make very simple earrings as well.

Here’s the episode:

ECT TV Episode 13

There are two quick and easy tutorials this week. You can easily get the materials from your local A.C. Moore and Michael’s. If you don’t have those stores, try your local craft or bead store or find interesting charms and chain from a nearby thrift store.

Simple Chain Bracelet:

Simple Chain BraceletSimple Chain BraceletTools and Materials:

  • Brass chain (A.C. Moore)
  • 4 7mm jumprings (A.C. Moore)
  • Brass lobster clasp (A.C. Moore)
  • Feather charms (Michael’s)
  • Wire cutters
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Bent nose pliers (or another pair of pliers)

Step #1

Simple Chain BraceletCut the chain to size with wire cutters.  Alternatively, you can usually open a link on the chain with pliers.

How to figure out what size to cut:  I like my bracelets a little loose, so I usually measure the chain tightly around my wrist and cut it.  When I add the clasp the bracelet is the right size for how I like to wear my bracelet.

If you prefer a more snug fit then measure around your wrist, measure the length of the claps and then subtract the length of the clasp from the length of the chain and then cut.

Step #2

How to open a jump ringOpen a jump ring.  Hold the jump ring with two pairs of pliers.  I like to use chain nose and bent nose.  The opening in the jump ring should be in the middle of the pliers.

Keeping the circle shape intact, push straight forward with one wrist and pull toward you with the other wrist.  The jump ring will open.

How to open a jump ringStep #3

Simple Chain BraceletFind the middle of the chain and add the chain to the jump ring through a link.

Step #4

Simple Chain BraceletAdd 2 feather charms to the jump ring.

Step #5

Simple Chain BraceletClose the jump ring.  To close do the same thing as opening, but opposite.  Go past the point of closure a couple of times and then click the jump ring together – you may hear or feel a click (sometimes you don’t, though.)

Step #6

Simple Chain BraceletOpen another jump ring and attach the lobster clasp to one end of the chain.

Step #7

Simple Chain BraceletOn the other end add a couple of jump rings.  I like to use a couple jump rings even if the size is right with just one because it’s easier to put on the bracelet when there are 2, even if you never use the other one.

Simple Chain BraceletIdeas to Customize:

This bracelet is just the beginning.  Obviously you can add more charms, use different chain, different clasp, etc., etc.!!

Simple Earrings:

Simple EarringsSimple EarringsTools and Materials:

  • Brass wire or 2 3″ headpins
  • 2 Feather charms
  • Wire cutters
  • Round nose pliers
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Paintbrush, pen or something cylindrical to bend around.

Step #1

Simple EarringsSimple EarringsEither cut two pieces of brass wire to 3″ each;

or if you’re using headpins, cut the ends with the “heads” off.

(I used the headpins because I didn’t have any brass wire on hand, but I did have the brass headpins.)

Step #2

Simple EarringsSimple EarringsHold the wires together so that you can get exact copies.  Bend them around the paintbrush handle (or you can use a pen or something else).

One side will be a little longer than the other side.

Step #3

Simple EarringsSimple EarringsMake a bend in the wire in the longer end.

Step #4

Simple EarringsSimple EarringsIMG_1212Make a loop in the shorter end of the wire.  To do this hold the end of the wire in round nose pliers near the very tip of the pliers.  The wire should be at the top of the pliers, but not poking through.  Hold it so that the longer end of the earring wires that you bent is facing you.

Twist your wrist away from you while wrapping the wire around the pliers.  Twist as far as your wrist will allow and then readjust your wrist and pliers and complete the loop.

Simple EarringsRepeat for both earrings.

Step #5

Simple EarringsSimple EarringsOpen up the loop in the earring wire simpler to how you open up a jump ring, but you can hold the earring wire in your hand and use your pliers to open it.

Step #6

Simple EarringsAdd a feather charm.

Step #7

Simple EarringsClose the earring wire.

Repeat for the second earring.

Simple EarringsIdeas to Customize:

Again, these earrings are really just the beginning!  Use other charms, make bead dangles, add some chain and add the feathers to the chain, have fun!

Simple Jewelry———————————————————————————————————————-

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Simplicity and Meaning in Jewelry Design

SimplicityI am drawn to sparkly big jewelry, but I don’t often wear it.  I do have some beautiful elaborate statement pieces, but in my day to day jewelry I tend to go for simplicity.

Even in my jewelry designs, even though some are pretty unique and some pretty funky, for the most part they are more on the simple side.

Amulet Sometimes a particular material, supply or component will just call to you.  That was the case with this Thai Buddhist Amulet.

I love old things and things that look worn out.  I love the beauty of them.  I also love all abandoned buildings and places with history.  I love unique places and things.

And I love the beauty of this seemingly simple charm.

When I received it I considered what I would create with it.  Would I add it to a charm bracelet that I already have that has so many meaningful charms?  Would I put it on a chain with some other charms?

Finally I settled on this:

AmuletI simply added it to a long brass chain.  I knew I would want to wear it often.  It was handcrafted in Thailand of tarnished metal.  I did not want to take away from the amulet at all, so I left the necklace simple.

Amulet 2I made this necklace, put it on and I haven’t taken it off since.  I’m also considering a simple brass chain bracelet with this on it, but so far I love the simplicity of the long chain that it’s on.

Thia Buddhist Amulets are said to endow the owner with either a protective quality or would herald the coming of good luck and fortune.

The meaningfulness of the amulet is enough on its own.  The simpleness of the design (and I would hardly call this a design of mine, I simply added it to a chain), shows that the amulet itself has significant meaning.

Although I do agree with da Vinci’s quote above, I do think there is room for sparkly and flashy jewelry as well.  Big, bold statement pieces to jazz up an outfit and make you feel terrific.  Fun, funky jewelry to express your joyful and happy nature.  All of it.  It’s all wonderful and fun.  It’s the joy of being able to make your own jewelry.  You can make whatever you want.  And you can change your mind whenever you want, too!

Amulet

If you’re interested in making this simple necklace, here are the materials:

  • Brass chain (I got mine at A.C. Moore – it’s not actually brass, but brass colored.  You can certainly get brass chain other places as well.)
  • Brass lobster clasp (again from A.C.Moore)
  • A couple of brass jump rings (I had these in my collection already, but you can get them also at A.C.Moore or other places.)
  • You just need wire cutters to cut the chain and a couple of pairs of pliers to open the jump rings.

In seconds you can have a simple and meaningful necklace.