Up and Down She Wandered...

Posted by Rebecca Stone on June 5, 2010
Jun 052010

My recent activities remind me of the lyrics in a song I used to sing back in the day, when I could hit the high notes as a soprano in a madrigal group. I have been preparing for my first art fair, where actual people will see my pieces. We live at the top of a HUGE set of stairs (it’s called a stair street in the Hollywood Hills). In order to practice my set up and plan my booth design, I’ve had to bring all my newly purchased props, tables and tents included, up the stairs from the car and down the steps into the front yard, only to have to cart it back up and down again to transport to the show. Oh well, it’s good for the old waistline.

I think I’m ready, well almost. I think my booth looks good, but still plenty to do today, loose ends and all. The fair is right up the street — the Hollywoodland Flea Market/Bake Sale/Art Fair. No idea what to expect, but it seems like a good way to get my feet wet.

Hoping to catch up with my much-neglected Etsy store (still need to work on driving traffic to it) and to blog next week about my show experiences and a couple of other things I’ve had simmering. Please stay tuned to find out what happened in Becky’s Big Adventure.

Thanks for reading.

Mar 222010

Spring: The time for flowers (among my favorite subjects for handpainted earthenware jewelry) and fairs. It seems arts and crafts selling venues proliferate in the spring like wildflowers in a burn area after a rain.

Bush Mallow is an early harbinger of Spring. It's a source of inspiration for some of my handpainted pendants (pictures coming soon!).

Bush Mallow is an early harbinger of Spring. It's a source of inspiration for some of my handpainted pendants (pictures coming soon!).

While wildflowers are abundant this year, I’ve heard that there may be fewer shows than usual, due to the poor economy. Nonetheless, in my quest to learn more about the marketing end of the jewelry-making biz, I scanned festival listings for nearby events featuring jewelry designers. I’m curious to see, of course, their creations, but also how they go about displaying them. It’s also a great way of meeting and networking with other artists. Recently, I drove out to Arcadia, CA to attend the Pink Parlour Festival. The annual event, which “completely caters to women of all ages,” offered handcrafted wares of all kinds. Of course, I was there for the jewelry, but that didn’t stop me from a few diversions here and there.

The festival was held  at the Santa Anita Race Track, at one end of the massive pavilion where bets are placed and drinks are served. When I arrived, a race was about to begin, so, as a former horse trainer, I naturally had to stop by the paddock to check out the thoroughbred lineup. I then followed them to the track to watch the race. I’m pleased to say that I still have an eye, and I picked the winner at first glance. It was exhilarating, but I was really there for jewelry, so off I went to the festival.

Another sign of Spring is the appearance of Nightshade.

Another sign of Spring is the appearance of Nightshade.

Have to say, it was a bit of a bummer to get hit with a $12 entry fee after paying $4 for parking and $5 to get through the track gates, but, hey, it was all in the name of research, so I coughed it up. Had to wonder if it might have been a deterrent for some potential customers, though. Cheaper just to grab a beer and watch the races. Also, the show seemed sort of geared toward a younger clientele, especially those with goth tastes. Nothing wrong with that, but  I wondered how that affected sales for the designers who didn’t feature spiders and skulls in their pieces.

I made the rounds and saw some wonderful designs and presentations from designers such as Regina Kalas (RKDesigns.com), whose deliciously delicate pieces were the first thing visitors saw on admittance. Kalas has been designing jewelry since, like, age 7, so the high level of quality seen in her pieces is no surprise. Other wonderful participants at the festival included Megan Goldkamp, Romi B Designs, Miss Ivy, Love Jane Jewelry, Jewels by JaNiNe, Ileana’s Designs, Made by Malcakes, Ilaments Jewelry and Opal Moon Designs. Designer Shannon McMullen, who was minding another artist’s booth, wasn’t actually showing any of her things, but we got to talking about networking and her efforts at organizing bead swaps. I checked out her Etsy site (creatrix.etsy.com) and found that she has some really lovely pieces. Go there.

This type of Phacelia, commonly known as Wild Canterbury Bells, is a favorite among wildflower hunters.

This type of Phacelia, commonly known as Wild Canterbury Bells, is a favorite among wildflower hunters.

As I wandered the show from necklace to bracelet I couldn’t help but notice the fragrance of orange and lavender wafting from the booth of Marin Natural Beauty (http://www.MarinNaturalBeauty.Etsy.com). Kimi Marin’s natural, vegan creams and bath bombs were enticing. But, alas, I had shot my wad of available cash gaining admittance, so I had to wait and place my order for one of her creams from home.

Aside from burning up the miles traveling to events, I struck gold with another tactic for improving my marketing knowhow: I just downloaded Rena Klingenberg’s  Ultimate Guide to Your Profitable Jewelry Booth onto my laptop. Klingenberg (http://www.home-jewelry-business-success-tips.com) always seems ready and willing to help other designers with truckloads of advice and tips, and this publication is no exception. I’m only a quarter of the way through it and already feel that I’ve learned much. If you’re trying to get started like I am, I highly recommend this book, her newsletter and frequent visits to her site. Oh, and don’t forget to stop beading for a moment now and then to step outside and smell the wildflowers.

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