Here I am sharing my experience after participating at the American Made Show in Washington DC.
The show was originally done in Philadelphia and now it has moved to Washington DC, in my case it was the best thing that happened to us since we are in Alexandria only 15 min away from the DC Washington Convention Center. What a blessing huh?! 🙂
I haven’t done the former Buyer’s Market of American Craft in like three years. For personal reasons I wasn’t able to attend and my little baby now two was one of my biggest reasons. Anyhow this year wasn’t a excuse to not attend because it was right here, so close to where I live.
I also thought, many local business and businesses from nearby areas like Maryland, Delaware & Virginia could also attend and I am sure there are lots of small businesses that unfortunately sometimes they don’t even travel to the popular trade shows.
Any how the 1st day was the opening reception and many artists knew it was a lookers day and there weren’t many lookers anyway but ok is just the preview.
We still had Saturday, Sunday and Monday to sell. I must say my best day was Saturday. Although I know is hard sometimes to get people in your booth and sometimes you literally almost have to pull them in to your booth but we got to do it, right? And that was the case with me and the Tenessee Aquarium these gentlemen were literally walking by and they already passed by my booth; I said to them (cause I looked at their badge Aquarium): why don’t you come and look at my sea life collection. And their face was like sea life? Oh OK, so they came I explain them all about my red & black seeds and silver work and they said we may come back, three minutes later they said you know what, let’s write the order now. I told them it is incredible how times have changed if I wouldn’t mentioned sea life when you passed by you wouldn’t event know about my work.
I know sometimes is hard as an artist to speak about our work and we just sit on the corner waiting for people to come visit our booth, but we have to be more social, outgoing, friendly without been pushy.
I just hope that what I mention through my blog helps other jewelry designers, artisans, etc to reach their goals and expectations.
Some artists didn’t sell a lot. Luckily I have to say we had a GOOD show it wasn’t WOW, but we are happy with the turn around and we hope to come back in 2016.
Why some artists didn’t sell may be cause the show was done within only two weeks after Christmas and many stores haven’t, yet work their inventory? Some artists because their collections is not cohesive, some don’t have a line sheet, just a post card. You need to take this seriously and learn, from every show. Trust me every show will make you a better artist.
Now some artists may think that they didn’t have a good show because they didn’t write many orders during the show, although you SHOULD KNOW, after the show you may get sales and most importantly re-orders. But in all honestly how many of US, DO FOLLOW UP? well you don’t like? I am sorry but you MUST FOLLOW UP. Once I heard at a conference about trade show sales estrategies, and it mentioned that most of the times 70% of the times sales happen after the show.
Sometimes you don’t pay for your booth during the show, you pay for it after the show, when you follow up and if you count how many times that same account re-orders within one year then you will realize that the show was worth it.
I am truly thankful to have long time supporters like the National Building Museum buyers, who have worked with me for over three years and YES I met Michael at the Buyer’s Market of American Craft and then new accounts like Dancing Tree whom I met last year through Acre Show New Jersey in August and they came to see me and place their third order during the American Made Show.
How can you help yourself as an artist? if during the show you see there aren’t many buyers, what do you proactively do with your time? During the slow times at the show, I started to investigate more about market place, and now we are working on uploading my designs to the site. Also during the show how many times did you use social media? I posted pictures of my booth, invited people to come and visit us, ask my buyers to have a picture with me and use these pictures to promote my work. I also took pictures of lines that have been purchased by a new shop and instagram/tweet about it saying this new design is coming soon to… also filmed my collection and I am currently working on a video that will soon release through youtube:) Use your time wisely:)
So of course there are plenty of things to do while we don’t have buyers at our booth.
I wish you best of luck in your next show:) Hope to see at the American Made Show in 2016