Sep 19, 2004, 3:06 PM
Post #1 of 1
We are still planning for a recurring bead show.
We've seen interest wax and wane in being involved in one, but we are still plodding forward. We've seen several recent efforts by other groups met with limited success, and limited enthusiasm from the local community.
In order to have such a recurring show -- even one like a 20 vendor flea market, not even a 50 vendor convention -- requires a strong community show of support and interest.
1) Interest in attending -- on a regular basis. Not just once, but showing up, and buying from the vendors, supporting them, making them feel welcome to come back, *NOT* going to check prices, then order on-line, or somewhere else.
2) Interest in attending and giving classes and demonstrations. Giving support to making a recurring show a learning experience, and one that is memorable. The Bead League (http://beadleague.com) idea was to foster a community of local beaders, and beader weekends, of "retreats" and classes on a recurring basis. There is more information on it in our shop, and here in the forum.
3) Interest in spreading the word, not just to a friend or two, but to civic groups, charitable groups, social groups, educational groups (homeschooling, PTA's, and such), and more. The idea is that handicrafts and beading are GREAT fundraising ideas, and they are not "junk" or "spam" *AND* they can teach real skills in both salesmanship and creativity. Like a "Junior Achievement" concept, making and selling your own products is a great way to support your school, church or civic group. You are not involving a 3rd party such as a candy company, magazine wholesaler, or similar, and you can adjust and tailor the products to your market -- and respond as needed. If beading becomes an _activity_ then the increased interest will help propell other bead shows to come to town. (demand brings in supply)
There is much more YOU can do, even if you are not a bead shop, bead designer or seller.
One company has personalized products that can be ordered for a fund raising event. I showed a group of girls how they could make the same item, for far less, and put far more into their pockets.
They were a key chain, or zipper pull. About 4-5 inches long. They take a 1.5 inch split ring, about 12 inches of ghana cord, 1 ceramic bead, 2 crow/plastic beads, and 4-7 letter beads. Total cost was under $1.50, and could even be closer to $1.10. It took about 5 minutes to assemble. The novelty company's sales literature showed them being sold at $6, with $2.60 going to the organization. That is $3.40 cost to make. That's over $2 in "profit" to the novelty company at the above rates! For a civic or social group to make and sell these items, there is a $1.50 cost (being generous) and even at a $5 price point, a bit more attractive than $6 (or $6 for one, $10 for two), the profits realized by the group for their "labor" is $3.50, at $5, and $4.50 at $6.
But, it requires a group to committ TIME to the project, to reap the additional rewards. On a $6 item, wouldn't your "sponsors" be much more happy to learn that *ALL* the profit was going to their sponsored organization? At almost 2x the rate of buying pre-done novelties?
The items that can be beaded, and customized, are endless.
And, you dont' have to have a single sales drive. You can have several sales drives, at different times of the year, and a website for people to order at different times. But, you need a committed group to organize it.
There are so many things that can be offered in beads -- from low end plastic "fun" items, to higher end mommy type bracelets in sterling silver and swarovski.
Anyway, the point of the above is that INTEREST drives the bead shows, and INTERACTION drives the interest. Get involved, create interest, and the bead shows will follow.....
PUGDOG's Rock & Bead Shop
Pittsburgh, PA 15217