Trade Show Series (cont.) Guest - The Fabulous Wendy Baker

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our next featured Guest - Wendy Baker of Sleeping Dog Studio and Wendy Baker Designs has got to be on my TOP 10 list of favorite designers. From the very first moment I saw her creations - I was hooked. She's been a fabulous friend to me over the years - something I don't forget or take lightly. She's driven, amazingly creative in all areas of her life, not just wearable art and is family oriented.
Her work has been featured in local papers, national magazines and more! You've got to visit her Etsy shop - but be prepared to drool onto your keyboard - so grab some napkins or a bib and let's dive into The Fabulous Wendy Baker.

All questions were furnished by Tamara Allison of  The Vanishing Pearl. Thank you Tamara!

1. What brand do you fall under (if any): Independent Jewelry Artist, Business Owner; Artisan and/or other:
I like to think of myself as a jewelry artist first and foremost. The sleepingdogstudio store puts food on my family's table. It too is a creative endeavor, but my jewelry makes my heart and head sing.

2. What type of Trade Shows do you attend as a vendor (not buyer) and how many shows do you attend:
Only recently have I tried to do more shows. I suppose that I haven't done many because I lacked confidence. Not so much in the products themselves, but more in being able to create a cohesive booth that represented my style nicely. Having tables and tablecloths, a tent, tent weights, inventory, ways to display it all and an ability to take charge cards, well that has been a steep learning curve. I am getting a lot more comfortable and a little faster with set up and break down as I go which is really helpful. I tweak it every time so it is more automatic and results in a lot less stress. The artistic part is something I feel pretty comfortable with. The creative part of show preparation also needs some adjusting. I need to find a balance between making tried and true inventory and trying out new ideas.

Most of the shows that I do are well within driving distance. I have only needed to stay overnight one time. I guess earlier preparation for these longer shows should be planned at least a month in advance for the hotel and transportation issues. As for the shows themselves, planning as much as 6 months to a year ahead of time seems essential. As my product is jewelry, I have lost out on some great shows. Some shows have limited numbers of jewelry vendors and the spots for these fill up fastest. I think planning the structure of a show season ahead of time is really important. My earlier commitment to this has been flawed and now I see how much earlier I need to get ready.

As for the type of shows, local ones are most suitable since I have a local following. Larger ones in Boston and other cities are nice to try to spread my wings in. I am planning on a few larger shows in the next couple of years. It is still a steep but exciting learning curve for me.

3. How far in advance do you plan for each show (i.e. inventory, advertising, hotels)?
As I have said, I am not traveling far for many shows, so I need to work on this set of skills. Planning out my table or booth in advance alleviates a lot of my stress and allows me to focus on making fresh inventory leading up to a show. Once things are set up, I really enjoy the selling and interactive parts of the shows themselves.

4. What type of advertising do you use, if any?
I have enjoyed some magazines featuring my work, so they have been a HUGE help advertising things for me.
Facebook and Twitter are also very good. I watch a lot of my jewelry friends and ask how they do their advertising. Just paying attention allows me to make connections about who is doing what and how successful is their medium.
I started a blog too. This way, I can perhaps reach out to more creative people. When in a down time, resting from plier usage... I enjoy reading other folks' blogs. I feel rejuvenated and inspired. I make it a challenge to leave a comment on a new blog every day or two. Just to try to reach out to another like minded artist.
5. Do you have any tips to prevent loss/theft at shows:
I have lost a couple of pieces over time. It is really bothersome, but I keep my eyes on things as much as possible. If I can, I ask one of my kids to help me at shows. This doubles the "security" of eyes on things. Also, I know my higher end of inventory. If something goes missing, I am aware pretty quickly. If someone wants one of my things so very badly, there is nothing I can do about it. They will have a way to get it. I don't mean to be flippant, but it is only stuff. It is not life threatening to lose things. Keeping my health and well being of my family and friends rates a lot higher on my priority list. 

Reach Wendy using these links:
Follow Wendy's Blog : Wendy's Blog

Like Wendy's responses - tune in to our next series on Trade Shows and the rest of Wendy's answers - on Friday - we'll have another Guest - Yvonne Irvin of My Elements - Tuesday! 

Check a box, leave a comment - Thanks for reading.


Pat Riesenburger said...

Thank you for introducing me to Wendy...her jewelry is AMAZING!!!! I want it! I want it! I want it!

Carol said...

Good Morning Kelli and Wendy::

You're so right Kelli, Wendy is Fabulous! Thank you for sharing her interview. I enjoyed reading it very much.

After wiping off my keyboard, I found I was in total agreement with Wendy's philosophy regarding loss, and loss prevention. I would add that the thief is the one accumulating the bad karma, not me, and let it go for the Universe to handle.

Off to visit Wendy's Etsy shop, I still have some drool left!


vikram said...

Excellent overview, it pointed me out something I didn’t realize before. I should encourage for your wonderful work. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. Thank you for sharing this information with us.*****

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