Recently, I’ve been seeing articles, interviews and features on Sara’s work in almost every issue of every bead magazine published. It’d be easy to assume that her secret is out – but as a designer – I’ve loved Sara’s work for ages, I’m sure you have too. If you’ve ever thought you could read a person from what they create – it certainly holds true with Sara.
Her creations are quirky (Sara’s quirky) – colorful (Sara is more so) – ever changing (Sara’s a variable cornucopia of fun, swift wit and drive) – her creations scream “talent” and once you use any of her tiny, enameled treasures – you’re hooked! Just like when you meet Sara – hooked, line and sinker! She’s last in our Trade Show Series but she’s certainly not least! Meet the Indomitable force -Sara Aho Lukkonen . . .
1. What brand do you fall under (if any): Independent Jewelry Artist, Business Owner; Artisan and/or other:
I fall under Artisan, business owner & manufacturer. I don’t think of myself as an artist - I think of my self as a chemist, but that would not be a category for jewelry business.
2. What type of Trade Shows do you attend as a vendor (not buyer) and how many shows do you attend:
I like the bead society shows the best. But I do ~8 national shows a year and a handful of the society shows. I also teach in stores and have trunks shows at the same time and then there are the absentee trunk shows. So, with all of those types of shows probably ~40 shows a year.
3. How far in advance do you plan for each show (i.e. inventory, advertising, hotels):
Inventory is ongoing. It can be quite the challenge having enough inventories for the Absentee trunk shows and enough for the trade show. I don’t advertise for shows I will list them on my website, but I don’t always keep up with that. I pretty much stay in the same hotel chain for shows. I just tell my husband the dates and he makes the reservations. One less thing for me to do!
4. What type of advertising do you use, if any:
In 2010 I decided to blast the magazines with advertising. I advertised in most of the trade magazines out there. I don’t think that it made a huge difference in sales. But I did not track it either. The best advertising for me is to be published by the editors and other designers and get in the product listing. Also being at the shows is probably the best advertising because they can touch & see the product.
5. Do you have any tips to prevent loss/theft at shows:
I know that at every show something will get stolen. I have quite a bit of small components. I am usually the only one at the booth so I do the best I can. If people need to play that game it will catch up to them someday.
6. Do you have a timeline for when and how to apply for tax permits or certifications for other states? And a good way to keep up with multiple permits and tax payment deadlines:
It is part of doing business. I just have to make sure that I file accordingly with each state. I like the states that have the license at the show and you either pay for it there or send it in within 30 days of the show. Most of the taxes are due on the 20th of the month so set the calendar alarm!
7. What suggestions do you have for display ideas that meet both convention center guidelines and fire marshal specifications:
Everyone has a different idea on presentation of products. I found what works best for me and continue to set up pretty much the same way. Paying attention to the fire marshal rules is important because you could have to tear down your whole booth and start over!
Like what you see of Sara's answers to our Trade Show Questions - tune in September 20th for the remainder of her answers and the LAST part of our series on Trade Shows and the artists - vendors who attend them. . .
You can find Sara and her work at C-Koop Beads
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