Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wholesale Show Experiences

Whew! What an exciting, exhilarating and exhausting few months! I finally find myself on the far side of my first two wholesale show, so I'm taking a few moments to sit back and analyze where I've been and where I want to go next.

Vickie Hallmark booth
ACC Baltimore 2014 wholesale only
In January, I attended the Buyers Market of American Craft (BMAC) in Philadelphia (now renamed American Made Show). Last week, I participated in the expanded wholesale section at the American Craft Council (ACC) show in Baltimore. I was so much more relaxed with the first show under my belt!

I shipped most of my booth directly from one show to the next, so I was able to complete my set up with the addition of two checked pieces of luggage (one of which weighed 90 pounds!). Although there was some overlap in the attendees at the two shows, overall I felt I reached a different audience with the second show. The show layout was confusing and obviously a last minute addition which didn't work as well as being down on the regular show floor would have, but even so I wrote a few orders and made some good contacts.

One of the best parts of doing such shows is meeting other artists. I am truly grateful for the camaraderie shared amongst vendors at these shows. Over the course of a few days, we become good friends and share tons of helpful information. I feel blessed to have such fun neighbors, who watched my booth for restroom runs, brought me drinks, offered chocolate, and kept me amused during slow spells.

wren earrings
from the flock collection
©2014 Vickie Hallmark
sterling silver & pearl
Now that I'm home, I'm compiling data on what sold and what didn't to use in refining my collections going forward. The bestsellers were from my flock collection, including the wren earrings shown above and a coordinating necklace. This collection is based on a series of my original drawings, converted into raised textures on sterling silver.

I have quite a collection of sketches, and the spring bird migrations are coming to inspire more, so I'm busily thinking of new designs to expand this collection.