Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How to Survive a Show with your Bank Account Intact and with a marriage intact.


Whether it is bead, jewelry, stamp, scrapbooking or even wholesale shows, shows are a great and fun way to see new products and/or different products in one place. Shows are also overwhelming, many times hot due to the people in a hall that is not well airconned to begin with. Worst-it is very easy to get caught in the OOOOH SHINEY Moments and spend way more than you planned (or worse max out a credit card) on things that may not be a true value but more like items in a grocery store where they tempt you with things you really don’t need at the registers.

Pre Show

Getting There

If you have to travel a long distance and stay at a hotel for the duration-you want to make your plans as far in advance as possible. If you want to stay in the hotel where the show is being held-make reservations as soon as possible because they usually only allocate a certain amount of rooms at a show rate. Also if you can and desire to-think of sharing a room.

If there is a group of you, consider a suite, even though you may not be able to fit everyone at least you will have a place to gather without having to be in common areas. At a yearly convention I use to go to, we would rent a suite with a kitchenette so we could eat in and have a place to store food easily. Those not staying in the suite would help offset the cost so we were all paying about the same rate per night.

You need to look at all the fees involved and plan accordingly-is it better to stay offsite and rent a car so you can go other places or can you easily use public transportation. What is there to eat around the hotel, is it so isolated you have to eat there if there is no transportation or something within walking distance, etc. The more you have to spend here, the less you have for the actual show.


Pre-register for the show, if possible. This puts you in the will call line/pre-registration lines and some shows let you pick up stuff the day before so you avoid at least 1 line.


IF you want to take classes, register as soon as possible. There are some that will close within minutes of registration opening if it is someone with a major following-Tim Holtz is one where classes will close quick or if the HOTTEST new thing is being taught. Many shows, if classes are being taught, it is by vendors to tempt you to buy more after the class. 

Personally, the classes would have to be something I have no clue how to do and could not easily learn on my own or with someone I really want to learn from, why-I want to spend my money on product not instruction. Also, classes tend to be $$ at shows it depends on what you need to bring. Also unlike taking a class at say Michaels with Kim, you can’t bring everything and the kitchen sink to classes. You have to plan ahead and bring only what they say you will need-plus you got to lug it around without the benefit of a shopping cart.

What to Get? Aka how not to spend your retirement fund.

First, you need to figure out what you need/want to get. It is best to make a list in Excel of what you want and its priority, then you can do research online and with local stores to see what you would pay for the item. Remember to include shipping if you are ordering.  This way you can budget for the show and know if they are giving you the best price. Also you need to allot some money for items you see that you didn’t plan on-like that perfect bead to finish off a project. 

Spreadsheet example:
Amount Needed
Laura’s Beads
Something About Beads

3.5mm ID Jump Rings

Ring Lord $20 includes shipping




If you don’t see your highest priority items, you can either put that money into the show budget for things that catch your eye or save it to order it so you have it.

I tend to look for items I can’t get locally easily-like chainmaille jump rings or items that I like to look at before buying online-natural stone beads and freshwater pearls. Then there are some vendors the amount you get for the price makes it better to get at the show-I can get seed beads at several local stores but Fiber and Beads gives a lot more seed beads that makes it less per gram than local shops.

Also you might have artisans who make their product themselves or make kits for purchase.
If you will be only saving a few cents buying at the show over a local shop, I prefer to get them at a local shop because you are supporting local businesses who need our $$ to help stay in business and be there for use.

The easily way to build your list is to look at projects you have in your pipeline or classes you are going to be taking (We allow you to bring whatever supplies you have even if they did not come from Michaels, which is why you pay more for a class. There are some stores that charge less for classes but you must buy all your materials from the store.) And if you are like me, items that you need to finish a project because what you planned for didn’t work as you hoped.

Once you have your sheet filled, make sure you print it to bring to the show.


Most shows know who their vendors are going to be well in advance of the show and will often publish them online. Check the show’s site for vendors. Also check the vendors that they list for shows in the state within the same time frame of the one you are going to, especially if it showing TBD on your city’s page. The reality is many vendors go from show to show especially if they are in the same state unless they are a local store setting up a table to help promote their store locally.

You can click on the links or google the name (if needed) to get their website and see what they normally offer, they will have similar at the show just not as much on hand. Many will carry items not listed on their site but items in their stock that they can sell that people may want instead-an example is they had a vendor in the past that did Chainmaille jewelry and show only that for sale on their site but they brought rings and sold them in addition to finished pieces (which is odd when you think of the people who would go to a bead show). If they offer online sales, then you can see how much they charge for items and can get an idea of what you might pay.

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