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Morgoran

Craft Show inventory

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So I finally got into a big craft show... hooray! Only now I'm dreading the logistics. The show boasts 21k in attendance annually, with last year hitting 34k. The biggest show I have done had 3k visitors and only about 20-30 actually browsed through my stuff, lots stopped, but no one really looked or tried anything on. So I way overprepared and had tons of inventory just sitting around for almost a year.

So now the question, how much do you make for big-ish shows? This will be a wide demographic, think state fair without the rides. I was thinking around 100 pairs of earrings, as they are the cheapest and probably will sell the fastest, 30-40 bracelets, 20-25 Necklaces, wrapped pendants and gemstones (about 20), 10 dice bags, and 10 hackey sacks. Plus some unique pieces of nicer metals to oogle.

Most of my stuff is in AA, since it is the least expensive to start on with a good variety of colors, with some EC and plain copper.

And since I'm on booth topics, I would like to have a really nice earring rack, my last one was basically a chain with the earrings hooked into it. What does everyone use? I found nice velveteen neck and bracelet models, at Wal Mart of all places, but I have nothing for earrings.

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If this show lasts for more then just one day and lasts for most of that day, I'd personally make more earrings then 100. People don't mind spending $10 or less on a nice pair of earrings versus a $20-$40 bracelet or necklace. Appeal to the cheaper folks with a couple of more expensive pieces for those who don't mind spending money.. And what i find that works amazing for displaying earrings, especially if you have them on cards, but if not, that works too, are cooling racks. You can go and get a big one for .99 cents down at a thrift store so you won't hardly lose any invest in it. I bet someone has some better advice or experiance, but that's my two cents.

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I bought a revolving earring rack from Rio Grande for about $10 that collapses down into a thin box for portability. You just hang earring cards on them. If you don't want to buy earring cards, use your business cards. Punch small holes and hang the earrings on the back of the cards. Then customers who buy earrings get a business card automatically. Rio also sells little hang tabs to fasten to the back of your cards to hang on a rack.

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So I finally got into a big craft show... hooray! Only now I'm dreading the logistics. The show boasts 21k in attendance annually, with last year hitting 34k. The biggest show I have done had 3k visitors and only about 20-30 actually browsed through my stuff, lots stopped, but no one really looked or tried anything on. So I way overprepared and had tons of inventory just sitting around for almost a year.

So now the question, how much do you make for big-ish shows? This will be a wide demographic, think state fair without the rides. I was thinking around 100 pairs of earrings, as they are the cheapest and probably will sell the fastest, 30-40 bracelets, 20-25 Necklaces, wrapped pendants and gemstones (about 20), 10 dice bags, and 10 hackey sacks. Plus some unique pieces of nicer metals to oogle.

Most of my stuff is in AA, since it is the least expensive to start on with a good variety of colors, with some EC and plain copper.

And since I'm on booth topics, I would like to have a really nice earring rack, my last one was basically a chain with the earrings hooked into it. What does everyone use? I found nice velveteen neck and bracelet models, at Wal Mart of all places, but I have nothing for earrings.

SHows. I do a lot of shows. A lot depends on how big a space you have. I usually have a 10x10 space. I use 5 tables that are 48 by 24. I have 8 custom built racks for my earrings and displays. I've never seen a rack I was happy with or really wanted to carry around. so i made my own. Each rack can hold 48 pairs of earrings. I usually have 5 of them compleatly full of earrings with a smatterings of earrings on the others. The rest are covered in necklaces and bracelets, as well as a fair number of signs. Tables have my bracelet displays as well as various other things. The fifth table has my clearance earrings box and a digital photo frame i use to display necklaces. Also someplace around the booth my selection of armored teddy bears. Most of the space on the fifth table is for my work space. I find it's a lot easier to sell work if people acutally see you making it. Most people don't seem to understand that chain can be hand made.

So give or take,

250-ish pairs of earrings ($8 to $30, some half off in clearance)

75-ish bracelets ($16 to $150(one at $400))

10-20 necklaces ($150 to 350)

20-30 pendants ($12 to $30)

10-20 keychains ($10)

20-ish Hair accessories ($10)

2-3 teddy bears :D ($75)

Also, one inlayed sign with my buisness name, roughly 36 by 16. Used as bait to get people into the booth and get them talking.

I generally have another 100-ish earrings in back stock as well and a varity of other peices that There isn't quite room for. Earrings are 80% of my business and so cover most of the square footage. I try to keep my displays as flexible as possible, so I can fit into smaller spaces for winter indoor shows.

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...A lot depends on how big a space you have. I usually have a 10x10 space...

I do have a 10x10 space, so I think your layout will probably be similar to what I'm thinking, though my tables are 24X60, so I'll only have 4 of them.

...I have 8 custom built racks for my earrings and displays. I've never seen a rack I was happy with or really wanted to carry around. so i made my own. Each rack can hold 48 pairs of earrings...

Can you pop up some pictures? I'm thinking of assembling my own as well.

...Most of the space on the fifth table is for my work space. I find it's a lot easier to sell work if people acutally see you making it. Most people don't seem to understand that chain can be hand made...

I was planning on doing this as well, I can see the draw to actually watching someone make the goods.

So give or take,

250-ish pairs of earrings ($8 to $30, some half off in clearance)

75-ish bracelets ($16 to $150(one at $400))

10-20 necklaces ($150 to 350)

20-30 pendants ($12 to $30)

10-20 keychains ($10)

20-ish Hair accessories ($10)

2-3 teddy bears :D ($75)

I'm thinking that I'll be making around 200 pairs of earrings as a minimum, and probably 40 bracelets at least, more if I can. I'm betting that necklaces are probably going to just take up space for the most part as they will be the most expensive to cover the cost of making them, so probably 10-15 of these. I unfortunately will not be able to afford any precious metals for this show, I'm just getting started so I have no front money for that kind of supply, its all tied up in the cheap stuff. I like the armored teddy bears, if I though I could get away with selling them I would. thanks for all the info!

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Necklaces and the armored Teddy bears are really used as bait. i rarely sell them. I do work primarly in silver (and niobium, gold fill, EC) I always carry a line of aluminum as well, but i never mix it with other materials.

My racks are very simple ladders made with 1x2 and 1/8 steel rod. Spaced 3 inches apart, with fold out legs. Very basic and simple. Painting them this week, i'll see if I can get a pic or two. They are roughly 30 inches tall. The big problem I see with most spaces are the lack of elevation. So I made my racks tall. I put all my earrings on cards and put stick on plastic clip cards adaptors on many of my display peices. I hang a lot of stuff up. The more elevation i can get the happier I am. I'll try to remember to shoot a pic this weekend, I'll be at a Ren fair near Salem this weekend.

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This is unfortunately a not very good pic. It was raining bloody hard and i was trying to keep things dry by moving fast. You can see my racks and my set upt pretty well tho. What you can't see are the two lights tucked up behind the dags Run via a large battery. Makes a world of diffrence for events that are not in the sun. at this one even on a sunny day i'm tucked way back in the trees and extra light adds a ton of sparkle.

Booths are always a work in progress, and i can see a lot of places to improve on this one. Because this is a ren fair my Pop-up is covered in Canvas(well Army Duck) My sidewalls need some rediting so they hang a bit better. I'm still trying to decide how how to hang my chain inlay sign to get the look i want and still have it fold up into a small enough package.

Booth-1.jpg

Edited by Frostfly

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For my earring racks, I went to Home Depot and bought a piece of 8 foot wire shelving, split it in half with a hacksaw and hung up my earrings. I make my own earring cards and found these great 1" backs that are self adhesive and fit perfectly on my racks. They aren't beautiful, but they get the job done. Currently, I hang them from wire from the frame of my EZup. I'm looking into a way to attach them to this nifty A-frame thing my hubs made me for other jewelry.

Here are pictures of rack w/earrings and earring cards...(granted, the wood on the racks in the post above mine looks much nicer)

I'm not much help on how much inventory to bring. I find that every time I kick ass and make tons of stuff for a show, it doesn't sell as well as I thought it would. When I bring what I have on hand (which is always enough to fill all my displays for 3 6' tables), plus a little more, things seem to sell better. My personal opinion is that people get overwhelmed when there is too much stuff for them to look at.

Oh - I actually bring another table to use for working. People (especially kids) get fascinated by watching people work. I usually try to bring something big or bright to work on, just to catch attention. The blanket I'm working on has worked well for garnering attention.

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Edited by bikepartjewelry

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Earrings are best done on little cards - any style really but don't forget to put your info on them -- so at least people have your contact info i-n case they want a matching bracelet or necklace after the fact!! We use grid racks on a triangle, but this in NOT an outdoor suitable set up... wind makes a real mess of the whole thing :) I

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A small note on earring rack set ups, i honestly think it helps a little bit to have some space between each earring card, you don't want to jam as many onto whatever display you have, you want to space them out a little. That's just what i've noticed and think.

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A small note on earring rack set ups, i honestly think it helps a little bit to have some space between each earring card, you don't want to jam as many onto whatever display you have, you want to space them out a little. That's just what i've noticed and think.

and on this note, avoid the small/short ones, I have had better luck selling the ones laying down on the table since my small rotating rack was full. a taller stand up one that you can have space between the cards is best.

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For my first real show, this one went very well. We about broke even for everything we purchased, all the rings, the booth fee, insurance and all the displays for the booth. I ended up building my own earring rack and painting it with a metallic paint (oil rubbed bronze) which made it near black, but with a faint metallic undertone that aided in the shine of the whole display. I placed a completed stainless hauberk on a stand in front of the booth as my conversation piece to bring people in, worked wonders.

As far as sales, I sold more bracelets than anything else. Everyone was doing earrings, all the beaders, wire wrappers and what-not were all selling earrings. I had to drop my price way down just to move any, but not too low that it affect my total margin. I also moved about half of my necklaces.

So for my next show, I'm curious as to how everyone displays their different metals. Do you just mix them in or do you have separate stands for each of the metals? I'm thinking of doing separate stands for AA, Copper, and Stainless. Eventually I'd also add a precious metal display, once I can afford to get into the silver and gold market.

Edited by Morgoran

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So for my next show, I'm curious as to how everyone displays their different metals. Do you just mix them in or do you have separate stands for each of the metals? I'm thinking of doing separate stands for AA, Copper, and Stainless. Eventually I'd also add a precious metal display, once I can afford to get into the silver and gold market.

As a buyer, I like to see similar pieces beside each other so I can compare what they look like in the different metals. For example, I would like to see Byzantine bracelets in copper, AA, and stainless beside each other because I don't like to pick things up and move them around to make the comparison myself. I'm always afraid it will look like I'm trying to steal something. :unsure:

I can envision having a grid-like setup with each metal in a row and the different items in a column. I'll use AA, SS, CU for the metals and BR, NL, ER for bracelet, necklace, and earrings in the diagram below.

AA BR1 BR2 BR3 NL1 NL2 NL3 ER1 ER2 ER3

SS BR1 BR2 BR3 NL1 NL2 NL3 ER1 ER2 ER3

CU BR1 BR2 BR3 NL1 NL2 NL3 ER1 ER2 ER3

I hope this makes sense. If not, ask and I will be happy to try to clear up my foggy vision. :biggrin:

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Awesome, this thread came at the right time since I'm gearing up for my first big show in November. I attached a couple pictures of my earring stand that my brother made. The wood is pecan and came from a tree that the electric company decided to cut down because it was growing over a power line and apparently was too big to just trim... The screen is the cat resistant cloth variety, not the rust-prone metal kind. I'm debating whether I should use it at the show or not. It's the only wood display I have. However, I'm thinking of having him make me some risers, too.

I've done a small show in my hometown earlier this year, and I've been to a lot of the other smaller shows in the area as a buyer and to scout the show for future reference. I'm fairly confident I'll have the most unique jewelry at the show in November. Even at the bigger juried shows, I haven't seen much chainmaille. I don't do wire wrapping, or a whole lot of beadwork, so chain and viking knit is the majority of my booth.

Yay for shows! *faints from nerves* My show's two months from now. I'm doomed.

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Edited by Bane

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So far I've never been to any kind of fair or show as a seller. I've always been too poor to get all the supplies, the vendor's license and the cost of the booth. I just missed the Ren Fair this year in Bonney Lake, WA. It's last day was the day I was moving. I plan on going as a vendor next year. So I have a year to figure out the name I'll be selling as, the license, and all the materials. I plan on having AA, BA, Stainless and some precious metals. My mom said she'd help out. The name is what's stalling me though.

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@Brimley's Mom: I am with you when presenting product. I sort by weaves(aside from precious metals) not by metal. I find a section of weaves looks more neat and uniform and the customer can easily grasp that they then have various options available in each style. I have learned over many years of retail experience(at least I like to think so) that there are numerous visual queues that either assist or distract the customer. Using dark solid backdrops so your jewelery is easily defined to the eye. Creative displays> For a while I used a couple of cheap eight bottle whine racks holding cigar shaped glass vases I purchased at the dollar store. In the vases I attached small suction cup hooks that I would hang the ends of my simple strand necklaces from. It gave the effect of the chains pouring from the bottles. The customers loved it and was complimented often. Only reason I no longer use them is to make use of the space. Too much inventory to make it realistic. Many people are attracted to bulk. For them I have trays filled with scale flowers and rubber ring bracelets. Walmart knows that a pallet of product just sitting in front of the customer implies(correctly or not) that they are getting a bargain. Height also needs to be capitalized on. Foe the taller folks who may not focus as well at item at their hip. Duplicate items displayed at different heights will draw in folks who might pass by just unaware or that just missed the items obscured by other patrons browsing your wares.

@Bane: Nice little screen you got there. It will serve you well until you grow out of it. One suggestion. I recommend you find a background for it as the nature of the screen blends the earrings into whatever is behind it. In the image it is very distracting and makes focusing on your hard work a challenge. A dark panel behind would remove the transparent nature of the screen bringing the focus back to your product.

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@Bane: Nice little screen you got there. It will serve you well until you grow out of it. One suggestion. I recommend you find a background for it as the nature of the screen blends the earrings into whatever is behind it. In the image it is very distracting and makes focusing on your hard work a challenge. A dark panel behind would remove the transparent nature of the screen bringing the focus back to your product.

Yeah, see, I'm not really sure I'm going to use it. And the background of my back porch would be distracting no matter if I have cloth on the display or not. LOL. If I do use it I plan to have it on a corner of one table. The way it's made requires that it be set near the edge of the table in order for the stand to hold it, so the tablecloth would act as a solid back drop. I'm going to be using black tablecloths so it should be good enough. My issue is I don't make many earrings. They sell fine, I just don't like making them.

The show in November boasts more than 150 different vendor booths. It's not juried, though, so I'll be mixed in with the rabble. Most of the jewelry in this area is of the poorly made, chunky fake "turquoise" variety. I wasn't exaggerating when I said there is no chainmaille. I know that if I sit there and make some chain while I'm at the show, I will have a crowd around my booth. If I were to have a large inlay (I've been planning on doing a banner style inlay like frostfly's) or a hauberk at the front of my booth, I'm pretty sure the crowd would cause the cops to hover, as well. But hey, built in security! ;)

The one small show I've done was a local Garden Day show. People showed up to support the local alternative school and get their hands on some plants and check out the agriculutural stalls. Not to mention the local radio station was there for their garden talk show. I was one of two jewelry booths. Imagine, me with one tiny 5' table and no canopy, two spaces down from a full-on fake turquoise jewelry booth. They had it all - big, showy tables, things were hanging from their tent, wonderful displays. But as nice as their booth was, it looked like every other jewelry booth at every other market in this area. It was so windy that I couldn't even put my earrings out because they blew off the table. I had no displays, so everything was laid out on the table flat. The other jewelry booth had a pretty good day. Plenty of people stopping to look and most of those bought something. But hose people didn't hang around that booth and talk about the jewelry or anything, really, with the ladies running the booth. I had less people buy, but from about 10am to about 3pm (9-4 show) I had a crowd of people at my booth almost constantly. They were attracted by the fact that I was sitting there working on a simple FP bracelet in BA. They stayed because I could describe the anodizing process, the technique of making viking knit, and explained how I made every last one of my pieces. Surprisingly, the only buyers I had were the 50+ crowd. And only one of those was a copper purchase. The lady that bought the copper bracelet for herself brought her husband back to my table with a bracelet he had that needed a different clasp. I fixed it right there and they went away happy. I got a lot of evil looks from the ladies at the other jewelry booth when the crowd shifted. I think it's because all they could do was tell people they went to Michael's (or some wholesaler) and bought a bunch of cheap beads and strung them. While I was over there explaining why that one necklace cost $150 (90+ feet of sterling silver wire in a double weave viking knit with a handmade malachite pendant). I'm not coming down on the beaders, but it seems that the most common jewelry at shows in my area is the cheaply made variety. The only place where I would have real competition in the handmade category is a juried show that only lets handmade artisans in, and you can only sell what you make. Part of the application process involves sending a picture of you actually making the product.

For that show it was my brother and I alone. My brother wandered off a LOT while I sat and made stuff and talked to people. Since I only had the one small table to watch over, I could very easily yell if someone tried taking something. At this next show I'm planning on having both brothers, my husband, and my dad (big scary guy) at the booth with me. I'll have a lot more inventory to keep an eye on. That is one thing I can't stress enough. NEVER do a show alone. No matter how big or small the venue, bring at least one other person along to help you keep an eye on things. Since I plan on demonstrating my mad chain making skillz at the show in November, I'm definitely bringing security to keep an eye on things while I'm distracted by whatever I'm making. Also, since I use Intuit GoPayment and my brothers and hubs all have iPhones, they will be put to work with helping people make decisions. Dad's not technologically inclined, so he'll just have to stand around and glower at people. :)

Sorry if this was more rambling than it needed to be... ^^

@Doom: When in doubt, use your real name. Mary Sue's Jewelry is just fine (not saying your name is Mary Sue...). Also, if it's Your Name Jewelry, you don't have to get a DBA. I'm still working on getting my DBA for Viking Jones Jewelry. DBAs don't cost much, but they only last about 10 years (I think). At my bank, in order to get a business account, I have to have a DBA. If I had called my business Sara Jones Jewelry, I wouldn't need a DBA. As it is, I have to have a separate account in my name and I can't change it to an actual business account until I have my DBA. As for vendor licenses, I don't know about that. I have my tax permit from the Texas State Comptroller and unless the city laws say different, that's all I need for the markets I plan on doing. There are a couple places that need additional licensing for certain items from the city where the market is located (if I wanted to sell animals at Bussey's Flea Market in Schertz, I need a permit from the city of Schertz to sell it). If I want to sell food, I need documents from the health department (obviously). But the laws are different for different states. Good luck with everything!

Edited by Bane

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@Doom: When in doubt, use your real name. Mary Sue's Jewelry is just fine (not saying your name is Mary Sue...). Also, if it's Your Name Jewelry, you don't have to get a DBA. I'm still working on getting my DBA for Viking Jones Jewelry. DBAs don't cost much, but they only last about 10 years (I think). At my bank, in order to get a business account, I have to have a DBA. If I had called my business Sara Jones Jewelry, I wouldn't need a DBA. As it is, I have to have a separate account in my name and I can't change it to an actual business account until I have my DBA. As for vendor licenses, I don't know about that. I have my tax permit from the Texas State Comptroller and unless the city laws say different, that's all I need for the markets I plan on doing. There are a couple places that need additional licensing for certain items from the city where the market is located (if I wanted to sell animals at Bussey's Flea Market in Schertz, I need a permit from the city of Schertz to sell it). If I want to sell food, I need documents from the health department (obviously). But the laws are different for different states. Good luck with everything!

Thanks, that helps me a lot.

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Awesome, this thread came at the right time since I'm gearing up for my first big show in November. I attached a couple pictures of my earring stand that my brother made. The wood is pecan and came from a tree that the electric company decided to cut down because it was growing over a power line and apparently was too big to just trim... The screen is the cat resistant cloth variety, not the rust-prone metal kind. I'm debating whether I should use it at the show or not. It's the only wood display I have. However, I'm thinking of having him make me some risers, too.

I've done a small show in my hometown earlier this year, and I've been to a lot of the other smaller shows in the area as a buyer and to scout the show for future reference. I'm fairly confident I'll have the most unique jewelry at the show in November. Even at the bigger juried shows, I haven't seen much chainmaille. I don't do wire wrapping, or a whole lot of beadwork, so chain and viking knit is the majority of my booth.

Yay for shows! *faints from nerves* My show's two months from now. I'm doomed.

Your stand is lovely, and is probably the first sort of thing I'd think to use. I was just thinking of how I've seen people just hang the pairs on a mesh screen. Only problem is you don't get to put them on cards, and therefore lose a little advertising. But, I guess you have to decide if it's worth it or not.

As a buyer, I like to see similar pieces beside each other so I can compare what they look like in the different metals. For example, I would like to see Byzantine bracelets in copper, AA, and stainless beside each other because I don't like to pick things up and move them around to make the comparison myself. I'm always afraid it will look like I'm trying to steal something. unsure.gif

I can envision having a grid-like setup with each metal in a row and the different items in a column. I'll use AA, SS, CU for the metals and BR, NL, ER for bracelet, necklace, and earrings in the diagram below.

AA BR1 BR2 BR3 NL1 NL2 NL3 ER1 ER2 ER3

SS BR1 BR2 BR3 NL1 NL2 NL3 ER1 ER2 ER3

CU BR1 BR2 BR3 NL1 NL2 NL3 ER1 ER2 ER3

I hope this makes sense. If not, ask and I will be happy to try to clear up my foggy vision. biggrin.gif

As a buyer, this would definitely be helpful. Especially if you're using several different silver-coloured metals. Or if you've got a bunch of different coloured metals (I'd be temped to put AA, AN and AT near each other for colour comparison)

I always feel really bad about picking things up and moving them around. I think about how the seller must feel, with the displays that they've worked so hard on being messed up and moved around.

This is unfortunately a not very good pic. It was raining bloody hard and i was trying to keep things dry by moving fast. You can see my racks and my set upt pretty well tho. What you can't see are the two lights tucked up behind the dags Run via a large battery. Makes a world of diffrence for events that are not in the sun. at this one even on a sunny day i'm tucked way back in the trees and extra light adds a ton of sparkle.

Booths are always a work in progress, and i can see a lot of places to improve on this one. Because this is a ren fair my Pop-up is covered in Canvas(well Army Duck) My sidewalls need some rediting so they hang a bit better. I'm still trying to decide how how to hang my chain inlay sign to get the look i want and still have it fold up into a small enough package.

(removed the large image)

This is exactly the kind of booth that attracts me. Your earring racks/displays are what I'd call "perfect". Your set-up looks really professional!

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Your stand is lovely, and is probably the first sort of thing I'd think to use. I was just thinking of how I've seen people just hang the pairs on a mesh screen. Only problem is you don't get to put them on cards, and therefore lose a little advertising. But, I guess you have to decide if it's worth it or not.

I'm actually not going to use that display at the show. I pulled all my stuff out and mocked up a display, and found that right now I have enough to fill maybe 1 table... So I got this display from Nile corp. It's the same as the one linked to from Rio Grande, but I have found that for displays and packaging, Nile Corp has better prices. It will collapse into a small box, but I don't think I'll be un-doing it. It's not that it's difficult, but when I get ready for a show, I want to be able to just throw everything up and not have to fiddle with assembling part of my display. I figure that if I already have to get table cloths, displays, and demonstrations set up I don't need to be putting my earring display together.

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Your stand is lovely, and is probably the first sort of thing I'd think to use. I was just thinking of how I've seen people just hang the pairs on a mesh screen. Only problem is you don't get to put them on cards, and therefore lose a little advertising. But, I guess you have to decide if it's worth it or not.

Alternately you could have some cards with holes in them pre-made and then when people purchase things off of the mesh screen you could attach them to the card. Kind of like the jewelry stores do with the boxes.

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Earring cards are a must. As a full time chain jeweler who hangs with a lot of full time jewelers let me tell you. earring cards are not optional. They make your product look like a product and not just a craft.

I find revolving earring racks nearly useless. I used them for 18 months when I got started....maybe 1 in 5 people acutally turned them around. And they were heavy and bulky. I built my current racks so they fold up small and drop into a steamer trunk I use for my displays. Racks are easy to build. mine are basicly 1x2s with 1/8 metal rods. Very simple. I've always felt that the best displays say next to nothing and let the product do the talking.

I group my items on the rack by Collection. I produce peices in 4 collections each one with a slightly diffrent materials and price ranges. As I use a large varity of materials it makes it easier to explain. Makes for easier signage as well.

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Collection is kind of what I was envisioning, with copper, AA and Stainless each in their own styles and colors. My layout keeps the EC and AA next to each other on the table for easier color comparisson, with Stainless on the facing table. I'll be trying it out at my second show coming up a week from Saturday.

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Alternately you could have some cards with holes in them pre-made and then when people purchase things off of the mesh screen you could attach them to the card. Kind of like the jewelry stores do with the boxes.

That's true, you could always put the earrings on cards later.

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