Monday, December 03, 2007

And now it is time for Christmas

Last weekend was the Mary Queen Bazaar, and we had fun as usual. We saw many old customers, and met new ones, which is always nice on both counts! There were positives and negatives about the show, so I will discuss both of those, but first is a picture of Lisa at our booth, which was new and improved this year:

You can't see the entire booth because I cropped the image, but we added more festive decorations this year. One thing we plan to do for future featuring of our wares is streamline the display stands. We scatter jewelry on all sorts of platters, bowls, tiles, boxes, etc., and while it looks cute overall, we wondered this time if some of our pieces got lost in the mosaic of colors and shapes. We have a tendency to rearrange constantly; Lisa would probably disavow that for herself because I seem to recall her constant admonitions to me concerning that activity...("Did you change it again?!? Now I have to take more pictures!!")

Positives: We love going to any show and having the exposure. We heard "James Avery" again. We didn't hear "Sundance", which popped up at Artoberfest, but it wasn't that kind of crowd. I am not crazy for the James Avery lines, personally, and I don't know why people make that relationship to us. In fact, I just looked at that website and I still don't know why, but we do take it as a compliment. We also heard again "the best jewelry at the show"--that, of course, is a completely subjective statement, but we certainly agree and understand! It's natural that some people will connect with our jewelry while others will not. That's the way it goes! It makes us feel like we have a style that means something to others as well as us.

Other positives: as mentioned above, we hit upon new ideas for display. Thanks to Mike, Lisa's husband, for making us a new table this year. It's completely dismantle-able and has an undershelf that I love. Our other table? Still an old door sitting on small sawhorses, oh-well. Good snacks, wine, Lisa stayed at my house (always fun), and I just enjoy the whole show atmosphere. We got a lead on a couple of new shows to attend, one being the Houston Livestock Show, and some tips about approaching some big department stores like Neiman's. A-cha-cha-cha....

Negatives: Okay, here goes. We didn't sell as much at this show as we did last year. Our first year wasn't great, but at least we didn't have the overhead Artoberfest sucked out of us. Last year's Bazaar was over twice as big in sales as the first. Good, but for us to come in below that in our third year is not good. So, although this is my own church, and we have been given a premier spot for 2 years, we are calling it quits. The Bazaar is primarily a crafts fair, and our jewelry doesn't exactly fit into that category, especially when there are other jewelry booths selling a pair of earrings for $5.00! Of course, customers know the difference and will buy accordingly, but that leads to another discussion: what are people buying, and more to the point, who are they buying FOR, at Christmas craft fairs? Many women who looked at our wares were not buying for themselves, and they just didn't want to spend that much on others, when they had a long list of giftees. Those who bought big-ticket items were, for the larger part, buying for themselves, but they had the bucks to plunk down for themselves in addition to buying for others. Those sales we love, but they are not to be counted on at a craft fair like the Bazaar. Those kinds of sales will only come consistently at jewelry shows, so we are going to shift our direction to those if we can find one that is affordable. I will miss the Christmas Bazaar! We are counting on residual sales will make up for the loss, plus looking for regular Christmas sales, one of which came in yesterday, a day after the show. Keep 'em coming!

Bottom line is we need to expand our marketing beyond 1-2 shows a year. Artoberfest is a juried fine arts show, so that is a good one to continue attending unless we find some juried jewelry shows to enter. Love you guys, rock on, and personal adornment RULES!