I spent the entire 4th of July weekend at my computer; 15 hours on Saturday, 9 hours on Sunday and 8 hours on the 4th...Where am I going with this?
|Kelli and Michael Burns|
|Laura, Kelli & Sabine B&B 2011|
Continuing along the same path as our last post - the last of Stephanie Haussler's - Stephanie's Blog personal questions, posed to yours truly!
How many years have you been doing "BIG" shows and what made you take the leap to doing them?
We’ve been doing bead shows since we opened in 2005. We started attending them as buyers in 2003 and moved into being a vendor in 2005. We were the first “bead shop” to attend shows as a vendor in Oklahoma. We did it solely for the advertisement. We used our entire advertising budget to attend shows. Now, we only attend shows that are “invite” or “juried”. Even though, we’ve discovered that the invite/juried shows are pretty much the same as others.
What amount of cash do you start with in your cash box?
We used to bring copious amounts of cash to shows. Now we just bring a few hundred or so and we can either get more cash from local banks or even other vendors. We feel carrying less cash is better when traveling.
Where do you put your inventory once you get home with the left overs?
We have a storage room at our store. We decided last year that we’re not going to try to put show inventory back into store or web inventory any longer. The only time we do so is if we’re no longer bringing that style to shows.
We are also thinking about using our show inventory to begin offering TRUNK shows to bead shops. That way, the show inventory does not sit stagnant and works for us, even when we’re not attending shows. At night do you take down inventory or just cover it and is there a guard?
Every show we attend has a night guard. And we cover our inventory with “sheets” once we leave for the evening.
A tip: buy a few KING size sheets from a local discount retailer OR discontinued or reduced materials at local cloth shops (We bought ours at Hobby Lobby and Walmart) If your booth has a theme, it’s easy to buy matching materials from local cloth shops and most offer reduced/sale pricing.
Which Big shows do you do and how did you decide which ones to do?
Right now we attend 5 shows in a year – for some that is a small amount but since we own a retail shop, have a website and own pets – it’s a heavy load. Our annual investment in bead shows is as follows (rounded numbers) for 2010:
Show fees (electric, booth fees, tax permits, etc): $7000
Inventory/Incidentals (business cards, equipment upkeep, packaging, etc): $10,000
I feel it’s a small amount in comparison to other vendors, but may show the amount of investment needed – for only 5 shows.
Our decision to attend shows as a vendor is based upon many variables.
4. Competing vendors (i.e. if you’re a lampworker, how many lampworkers are already attending)
5. What is your customer base in that area – prior to attending the show.
For example, we’ve considered attending Seattle/California shows because of our client base in the region.
Next blog post - Guest Michael Burns, Owner of The Hole Bead Shoppe answers more questions about trade shows.
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