Friday, June 19, 2015

How to Survive a Show-SHOWTIME


We are ready to go but before you walk out the door. Double check your bag make sure you have everything. 

Additional items to consider bringing: 

Water Bottle-I recommend bringing two-one that is frozen (open and drink some of the water before freezing) and one ready to go. If the show has food and snack vendors, you could end up spending way too much for that bottle of water. If they don’t have food and snack vendors, you have water! You can leave the frozen on in the car and it will be ready to go after the show. 

Snacks-You should also bring some snacks-in bar form. So if you get hungry you have something other than that $7 dollar greasy hamburger they are selling. More money you don’t spend on overpriced food and beverages more you have for the things you want.

Cash-At least $10 dollars in small bills for parking if needed. And at least $100 from your budget in cash, in case a vendor does not take credit cards-odd I know.  

Mobile Phone-Make sure your mobile phone is charged and if you have the WiFi and Location GPS on turn them off, they will suck the life out of your battery. Try to keep your mobile for today for calls and such. 

Sunscreen-If the show is outside, bring sunscreen. The one memory of a show you don’t want is sunburn. Even on a cloudy day you can get sunburn, so sunscreen is our friend.

Packet of Tissues (or a bunch in a Ziploc) and hand sanitizer-just in case the bathroom runs out of tissue and soap. It has been known to happen, while it will be restocked when you need it you need it.

At the Show

Be Prepared for Crazy

There is no way to tell how crowded a show will be your first time going. If it is hot and popular, it could be like going to Disney World. If is more local, it could be like going to a local store when there is a bit of a crowd.

The most important thing is be patient. Usually booths only have a few people manning it and some only one person. The larger booths may have one person whose sole job is to keep an eye on stock and theft prevention, they are not ignoring you but have an equally important job task. Just be patient and wait your turn. Also for the single vendor booths, the person watching the booth may not be the vendor but the person next to the booth watching it, while they heed the call of nature or get something to eat, and they might ask you to wait until the person comes back. And the old adage always applies- you have no one until you walk away from the booth and then everyone is wanting to buy.

If an item proves to be popular, rather than fight for an item, ask the vendor when they expect more and do they accept phone, email or online orders for it. If it is the newest and hottest item, expect it to be like the stories you see on TV where people are selling a $50 dollar item for hundreds of dollars on eBay. More will come out, and if you can wait then pricing will be in your favor. It is marketing and supply and demand principle. 

Don’t be tempted to start buying right away

Instead, go around and see what other vendors have and the prices they are charging. Exceptions to the rule- limited stock or limited runs.

In the Fiber World, indie dyers become very popular and at shows they have been known to sell out within the first hour of opening the first day for a 3-4 day show. Crazy I know.

Also commemorative items, some of the big shows for Fiber like Rhinebeck, vendors will make show specific items and once they are gone, they are gone no more will be made.  

You want to get these items first and right away. 

Fiber people are crazy, I am telling you-I can because I am one of them.


Most shows do not allow photography unless arrangements have been made in advance (ie press).
Most booths with finished products will not allow photos to be taken because of design theft.  If you want to get a photo with someone (like Tim Holtz) ask first and you might have to step into an area outside the booth. 

There are exceptions: I was at a show and a person wanted to take a picture of a finished necklace I was looking at and the vendor moved it as she was taking the photo (she didn’t ask) and told her he did not allow photos of his finished products. She went on and on about how pretty it was and she just wanted a photo (hello bead show booth with supplies-he was no fool). And he told sorry his policy is no photos without permission. He held on to the necklace while he helped me get the supplies to make it and I was paying, he had me come to a table behind the booth and let me take pictures of it. The woman asked why I could –he said she just spent money to make 2 of them, so yes I could take photos of it for reference. If you are buying supplies from the vendor to make something they have on display they will often let you take pictures for reference-they are making money off you.

You don’t want people to steal your designs and profit from it, you should respect others for the same.

Make Friends

Everyone here shares your interest and it is a good time to meet new people. Exchange contact information and follow up on it that night (send an email or a message or make a comment on a blog post). If there are designers or artisans there ask if they have a moment to talk and ask them about their process and inspiration. This kind of knowledge is invaluable and cannot be translated to a book easily. If you see people working on projects ask them about it, if is something you might want ask them where they got the pattern or if they designed it ask them if they plan on making the pattern available because you would like to make one. 

Remember you have shared interest in common and that is a connection to them.

Don’t Get Overly Stressed Out

Shows can be stressful because of everything there for sale. You ca easily get overwhelmed. Stick to your list-these are items you want and need (or have plans for). It is better to get them than what appeals to your eyes at that moment only to have buyers regret later when you can’t remember why you got them or what you want to use them for (I know I have a slew of them sitting in my collection). Unless inspiration hits right then and there and you know how you will use them (use that notebook to sketch or write it down then buy).

Have fun- you are surrounded by bead, supplies, inspiration and people of a like mind who understand you without knowing you. Heaven in my eyes.

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