30 March 2010

Edible Art :: Our trip to 'Cake Boss Live!" with Buddy Valastro of Carlo's Bakery

My family adores TLC's "Cake Boss"...especially my 5 year old. If you haven't seen the show, it follows the creative process of baker Buddy Valastro and his family at "Carlo's Bakery" in Hoboken, NJ. They create wonderful cupcakes, pastries, and cakes of course! Some are traditional wedding cakes; others are elaborate 'themed' cakes.

Our favorites from last season were the Sesame Street themed cake (Episode 13) and the Aquarium cake (Episode 15) created for our local "Adventure Aquarium" to celebrate their 5th Anniversary (This was my personal favorite.)

I learned that Buddy would be doing his "Cake Boss Live" show at one of our local theaters. So, I thought it would be fun to surprise my 5 year old with tickets to celebrate her first day of Spring Break. My biggest concern was the time of the event. She goes to bed around 7:30 p.m. and the show started at 8:00 p.m. But, surprisingly, she did great! She even wanted to wait in line for over an hour after the show to be one of the last people to meet Buddy in person and get her 'Cake Boss' baker's cap signed. Can't believe she stayed awake until just before midnight!

She enjoyed the entire show. She was lucky enough to receive one of Buddy's 'practice' cupcakes which he decorated during various audience participation segments of his show. (Special thanks to the folks in the neighboring seats who came to my rescue with tissues and napkins when she promptly began devouring the treat!)

She even got to handle a microphone and ask Buddy if he ever made an "Alice in Wonderland" cake. To which he answered that "Maybe I can make one for your next birthday!" Her birthday is June 3rd....just in case Buddy reads this! :) She even got to do a little 'shout out' to Buddy on the TLC cameras....wearing her baker's cap, she shouted "Buddy Rules!". She really had a fun time. Thanks to Buddy, his family and his staff for putting together a delightful show.

It really was a great night and fun for the entire family....just like his show. If you haven't seen the show on TLC, I encourage you to watch it. (TLC Mondays @ 9/8c) It's a wonderful show that my husband and I can watch with our daughter and all enjoy the art, baking and the family fun.

As an artist, I paint and create art on canvas. Buddy and his staff truly create works of art with modeling chocolate and icing. The main difference....their works of art are edible. So much dedication and creativity in a project that gets consumed relatively quickly. I wonder if it is difficult sometimes to watch folks cut into and eat the cake...especially when so much time and creativity is put into making it. For now, I'll keep my creative works on canvas and enjoy the hard work and dedication of these pastry artists from the comfort of my home.

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29 March 2010

Fun new custom painting. Great way to welcome Spring.

I received a wonderful request from a new client to create 2 custom enchanted garden paintings. The request was to make them 'similar, but different'. So, I drew 2 separate sketches and painted them independent of one another, but used the same color palette. The result is 2 paintings which could be placed in close proximity to one another....like a diptych....or be displayed independent of one another as two separate paintings. I love how they turned out and I'm thrilled that the clients are also pleased with the result.

Enchanted Garden: Welcome Spring 2pc

Alternative Presentation:

I'm looking forward to seeing the paintings on display in the client's home. They were wonderfully fun to create and make me so excited for the colors and flowers of Spring.

Please visit my website at StudioArtworks.com and view my recent works. Use the contact form on my website if you'd like to request your own custom painting.

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26 March 2010

Custom Bird Nest Pendant : Bird, Blue Eggs and a Branch.

A customer requested one of my bird nest pendants with blue pearl eggs to represent her two boys. I love how the piece turned out. The little silver bird and the copper-coated pewter branch adds additional elements of whimsy to the little wire nest.

Please contact me through my website at StudioArtworks.com to request your own custom piece. Choose your wire color, egg color and additional elements. Click here to see some of my other bird nest pendants and rings.

A few new 'wearable art' pieces for Spring 2010.

As I was working on new jewelry items for the recent Sugarloaf Craft Festival as well as some local boutiques, I made a few extra pieces for my online shop. I wanted to make some fun jewelry pieces that mimic the look of some of my paintings. A sort of 'wearable' version of my art. I just love how they turned out.

The piece above is called "Goodbye Fall, Hello Spring". I love that the floral glass beads are soft and muted in earthy hues that allow this piece to be truly a year-round necklace. Warm colors of fall, but in leaves and flowers that welcome the warmer spring days.

"Elemental" inspired by the elements : Earth, Wind and Water. This crocheted wire necklace choker is contemporary, colorful and definitely noticeable.

"Candied Garden" : A bright, fun whimsical piece inspired by my series of "enchanted garden" paintings.

15 March 2010

New Crochet Wire Knit Glass Bead Necklace in Sterling

Added one more sterling silver crochet wire necklace to my Spring 2010 Collection.

"Pastel Ice" is a soft, romantic choker-style necklace that is hand-crocheted and wire knit with mixed glass beads. Wonderful soft hues to welcome Spring.

Additional pieces currently available:

And, this second one which is a tad longer:

Welcome Spring 2010. New Variations on the Wire Bird Nest Pendant and Rings.

Wahoo! Spring is on its way! These nest with eggs make wonderful gifts for Easter. Tuck one inside an Easter egg to make that egg hunt even more special.

I'm so excited to hear the birds singing outside and the shoots of several Spring flowers waving their first seasonal 'hello'. In anticipation of Spring, I've introduced a few new variations to my bird nest pendants and rings.

The traditional wire nest (shown above) is still available and can be customized with the color or number of eggs to represent your children or family size. Shown here are the silver cable wire with pearl eggs, but other wire colors and glass beads can be used as well. Just email me through my website at StudioArtworks.com if you'd like to request a custom bird nest pendant or ring.

New Variations for Spring 2010:
As a fun and whimsical variation on the traditional wire nest, I included a silver-coated, or copper-coated pewter branch, and Thai Silver Bird. This will make a wonderful gift to a new mom, an Audubon member, or other bird/nature enthusiast.

Alternatively, we can create the nest as a pendant with the bird only:

Rings Also Available:
I've also included the bird on the wire bird nest rings. These can be custom-made in your size and you can choose between the traditional bird nest with 'eggs', or add the bird as well.

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10 March 2010

A few special "thank you" notes! Montgomery Media and DecoratingDiva

I'm a little behind in paying special thanks to a few folks who have been very kind and generous to me lately with regard to my art and/or art 'happenings'. I definitely want to publicly thank Kaitlyn Foti from Montgomery Media for the artist feature in the Times Chronicle. When Kaitlyn called me at home, I answered some of her questions so quickly, I don't know how she was able to keep up. But, she pulled together a wonderful article about how some of my pieces were selected to appear on television (FOX's "Past Life" and SYFY's "Warehouse 13") and in an upcoming movie. I appreciate her phone call and the article that she wrote. Thanks so much Kaitlyn!

I also want to say a special "thank you" to Carmen of DecoratingDiva.com. Carmen has a wonderful site dedicated to design, style and interior decorating. Wonderful tips and articles. I was so honored to receive a request for an interview....but, I was also terribly intimidated given some of her recent 'spotlights'. Nonetheless, I answered her questions and am thrilled to be her March featured artist. Thank you so much Carmen. Hope everyone checks out your great site for design tips, trends, and more!

03 March 2010

Surviving my first Wholesale show: Part 5: New pictures and Information from "The Buyer's Market"

Photos by Jim Burger/Courtesy of The Rosen Group

Read Part 1: Deciding to do the BMAC Show

Read Part 2 : My initial Questions.

Read Part 3: Defining terms, writing orders, and other things I needed to know.

Read Part 4: Other 'notables' and observations

Part 5: Addendum. More pictures from the show and additional observations.

I'm excited to let folks know that we had a great response to yesterday's 4-part post about "Surviving my First Wholesale Show". I received emails from several people asking if the posts could be cross-referenced on their blogs. Information from the posts will be included on Sandy Dell's site Selling to Gift Shops, Bill Weaver's The Artist's Center, and the Rosen Group's Wholesale Matters Blog on the AmericanCraft.com site.

Many thanks to Laura Bamburak and Jean Thompson (Public Relations and Marketing Director for "The Buyer's Market" and the Rosen Group) for getting pictures of the February 2010 "Buyer's Market" to me. Jean also provided a lot of great information that I will incorporate into this new Part 5 post. Hope you all find it useful.

Remember...if you still have specific questions about the event, please let me know by leaving a comment below, or emailing me directly through my site. You can also visit the BMAC's Wholesale Matters Blog, or Facebook Page.

New information about the 'Visiting Artist's Program".
Jean let me know that the next 'Visiting Artist's Program" will be this summer at the BMAC show in Baltimore. The seminar will last only one day as the Summer Show is shorter than the February show. The tentative date is Monday, August 23, 2010. More news will be available next month.

Booth Pictures and Advice from 'those in the know':

Thrilled to be able to share with you pictures from the February 2010 "Buyer's Market of American Craft" Show at the Philadelphia Convention Center. These were just emailed to me from Jean with her helpful comments.

Booth: Mar of Santa Barbara
Photos by Jim Burger/Courtesy of The Rosen Group

Great picture showing items at eye-level and with spotlighting. Jean suggests the goose-neck lights that are easily adjustable.

Booth: Cicada Glassworks
Photos by Jim Burger/Courtesy of The Rosen Group

Jean: Here’s another booth that is simple, but again, displays the work up high at eye level (and above). In this case, products that should hang are hanging. It gives the buyer a sense of what the product will look like to the customer. Notice the buyer also is holding the catalog to help with selection.

Booth: Romeo Glass
Photos by Jim Burger/Courtesy of The Rosen Group

Jean: Note that the shelving is simple and unfussy, propping the artwork at different levels and allowing compatible groupings of the product lines.
Kristen: I think he's writing his order on the same Purchase Order Book that I described in Part 3. Got mine at Staples.

Booth: Nicholson Art Glass
Photos by Jim Burger/Courtesy of The Rosen Group

Jean: The electronic age has arrived in a few trade show booths: I’ve only seen this in one or two booths, but it can be used effectively if you need to show works that you cannot bring to the show – such as installations you’ve done in public places. It can also be a great way to show off pieces as displayed in the homes of customers. Retailers are always trying to help the consumer envision your artwork in their homes…and you can provide ideas. If your “maker” techniques are unusual, you can also put in a couple of images of “the artist at work.”

Additional comments:

Jean: It’s very interesting to see that so many artists let the “art” be the “art” of the display. The simple pedestals and tables do not distract from the beautiful art. Ample lighting, as you’ve noted, really helps. Some simple and large signage works. And note how people take advantage of the height of the booths – so buyers can see the work from across the aisles and above the busy, busy distractions. Most also, as you note, arrange their products for walk-up viewing.

If you have specific questions not addressed in Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 of “Surviving My First Wholesale Show”, write to me and let me know. I’m happy to answer a question if I can. Also, remember to visit BMAC's Wholesale Matters Blog, or Facebook Page.

02 March 2010

Surviving my first wholesale show. Part 4: Other 'notables' and observations

Read Part 1: Deciding to do the BMAC Show

Read Part 2 : My initial Questions.

Read Part 3: Defining terms, writing orders, and other things I needed to know.

Part 4 : Other 'notables' and observations

Promoting the show.

I didn’t apply early enough to get a lot of advance mailers and/or advertising spots purchased to let the buyers know I was coming. But, as soon as I was aware of my booth number, I did let folks know via email, twitter, and my blog that I would be attending the event. Brochures and stickers were provided by BMAC. I put my booth number on the stickers and applied these to my postcards. That way, buyers were sure to know at what booth they saw me. (It can get confusing in such a large place!)

I also created a profile on the NICHE Marketplace to let the buyers of American Craft know that I was coming and at what booth they could find me. This service was provided with my booth fee shortly before the event. Again…if I had applied earlier, I would have had more time to create the profile. So….word of advice. Apply early!!! This will ensure that you get the advanced mailers, your name printed in the catalog and adequate time to promote your wares via NICHE Magazine, etc.

Some buyers stopped by my booth and told me that they had seen my artwork in advance of the show. One of the nice features about the NICHE Marketplace is that it tracks the visitors to your site and tells you if they are buyers or vendors. And, it’s incredibly useful to vendors in the event that a buyer doesn’t make it to the show. (You might recall that Philadelphia got hit with a blizzard just days before the 2010 BMAC show started. Several vendors and buyers were unable to attend due to canceled flights or weather-related delays.) I’ve had inquiries from galleries who were unable to attend the event, but who have accessed my information from the NICHE Marketplace.

Booth Etiquette

Sounds funny, but I think this is important. You want to be professional and polite at all times. You are making a first impression and it’s important that your behavior reflect the quality items that you are selling. I was extra careful to not be seen eating or drinking while buyers were in my booth. (These trade show events are exhausting…but I tried to nibble on food or take a drink only after buyers left my booth.) I greeted everyone who entered my booth…..buyers, guests, visitors, other vendors. I figure that even if the person isn’t a buyer, they are still someone who is showing an interest in my artwork and deserves to be treated as a potential customer. I noticed that a couple of vendors used empty vendor space to make a little lunch area behind a curtain. This was a good way to take the ‘lunch’ off the selling floor. I was the only person in my booth for the 4 day event, so I had to be there the majority of the time. But, I was fortunate to have awesome neighbors who could keep an eye on my booth in the event that I had to take a quick break.

It certainly is more help to have an extra person with you, but this isn’t always feasible. (And makes quite a long day for your helper.) I did notice that BMAC allows vendors to hire help. You could purchase an extra helper for ½ hr. increments throughout the day….just in case you wanted to take a lunch break, etc.

Try not to be sitting down when buyers enter your booth. Stand up, be enthusiastic and don’t cross your arms. Be ready to welcome them and answer any questions they might have. It’s also a good idea to be holding onto your purchase order book (on a clipboard). Many were ready to write an order right away….and they work quickly!

Layout of your booth:

Again...I have a lot to learn about booth displays and what will work best for my artwork. But, when designing your layout, make sure customers can comfortably walk-around within your booth and see your items clearly. Have prices easy to read without having to move things, turn things over, etc. If you have a wide-range of prices, you might want to put some of the more affordable items up front to draw the buyer into your booth. There were all sorts of displays at this event. Some had very elaborate, professional booths…others had simple tables showing their wares. Many vendors also had banners and photographs showing what they offer. They displayed the banners or photographs on the wall behind them, and then had the products on display on the tables or podiums.

Did the show live up to my expectations? Yes. Overall I’m thrilled with my first BMAC show. I made it through the 4 days and wrote several orders with new galleries and boutiques. I also exchanged cards with several other potential buyers. I didn’t notice many buyers from museum shops and catalogs, although other vendors confirmed that they were there. They just didn’t visit my booth. But, that gives me incentive to try harder next time! The show lived up to my expectations, but I was hoping for it to be really busy with barely any time to think! Several vendors commented that attendance was down from years past. I suspect that the attendance might have been affected by the massive snowfall just days before the event and the tough economy. But, overall….I’m happy with the results given my first show. I met some incredible artists and wonderful new buyers and am hoping to keep in touch with them throughout the year.

Next up: Part 5: Pictures from February 2010 BMAC and additional advice from 'those in the know'

Surviving my first wholesale show. Part 3: Terms, Orders, Promotional Materials and more.

Read Part 1: Deciding to do the BMAC Show
Read Part 2 : My initial Questions.

Part 3: Defining terms, order forms, and other things I needed to think about prior to the show:

Order forms/ contracts (in duplicate):

Although several vendors had their own custom-made purchase orders with the information they needed, I did not have time to pre-print my order forms. So, I decided instead to invest in Purchase Order Books from Staples. These books had 50 order forms as 2pt carbonless forms. I printed my terms on small labels and attached these to the yellow copy of the form. (This form was given to the buyer.) I kept all my information on the top white form. The information I needed included: phone number, ship to address, contact name, date ordered, date requested, payment type, shipping preference, items purchased and amount. You will also want to determine shipping costs. (Either include it in the wholesale price, ask the buyer to pay shipping, or offer some sort of shipping discount for the size of their order.) Something else to consider: Get reseller numbers for purchases within your home state. (This is because there will be no tax charged to the buyers within your home state as long as they have a valid reseller license.) In the future, I'll also get the buyers to sign the purchase order. This would have been useful when one of my orders exceeded my credit card limit. (I had to request an increased limit to authorize the customer's credit card and they requested the customer's signature which had to be faxed. A signed purchase order would have been sufficient.)

Define your terms:

Minimum Order: Determine if you will have a minimum order. I requested minimum order of $200.00.

Payment terms: For wholesale orders, Net 30 appears to be the industry standard. Although I talked to several vendors that charge to credit cards upon shipping the order. I decided to request credit card information for the initial order and offer Net 30 on repeat purchases. In most cases, the buyers gave me the credit card information at the time of writing their order, or asked me to call for credit card information prior to shipping. A few galleries requested Net 30 and provided credit references or names of other vendors in my aisle with whom they have worked in the past. This was a quick way to achieve references for galleries/shops that wanted to place their order with Net 30 payment option.

Specify your shipping dates. Allow 15-30, or 30-60 days depending on the size of the order and how much has to be created for the buyer. You definitely want to ship quality items by the dates they request. But don’t overbook yourself. Having a production calendar handy at the show is a great idea. Be realistic and plan out how much you can do over a given period of time. A production calendar keeps you organized and lets you plan out your days after the event ends. I noticed that many buyers had calendars with them too. Some had specific dates during which they wanted to receive shipments, others simply requested ‘asap’.

Damages/Returns: In your terms, mention how returns or damages will be handled. My terms requested that damages or returns be requested within 7 days of receiving shipment.

Shipping: Mention how shipping will be paid. (include in prices, buyer pays, split between you and buyer, etc.)

I ended up specifying the following terms:

Min order of $200.00. Qualified resellers only. Credit Card, COD or pre-payment for initial purchase. Buyer pays shipping costs. Most orders ship within 15-30 days of order date. Returns or damaged items must be reported within 7 days of receipt of package. Claims after 7 days will not be honored.

I printed these on labels and stuck them to the buyer’s order receipt.

Show only wholesale prices. Don’t confuse the buyer by having retail prices listed. Show only wholesale prices, but be prepared to let them know at what prices your galleries or shops are selling the items. Also suggest bundled prices if some of your items sell well ‘bundled’.

Know your best-sellers. You know your items better than the buyer who might be seeing them for the first time, so highlight your best-sellers. Either put stickers on them letting the buyer know about your best-sellers, or show items that are exclusive to the show you are doing. The BMAC had small table cards that drew attention to “Buyer’s Market Exclusives”. This let the buyers know that they were purchasing something not available at other wholesale shows. I had a few buyers who simply ordered ‘assorted best sellers’. They let me decide which items to mail to them….but they specified a quantity. Many buyers were in a hurry to move to other booths….lots to see in the 4 days and time was of the essence. So, be ready to help and quick in writing your orders.

Bring lots of promotional materials. I had canvas bags printed with my business name. Postcards and business cards printed by Vistaprint.com and small brochures printed by the UPS Store. I kept a few postcards on the table and some information about the artist. I left these with other promotional materials on the press table. (There weren’t any left at the end of the show, so hopefully all the members of the press got one!)

It was recommended that I not leave promotional materials out for people to just grab as they were passing by the booth, but to instead share them with potential buyers with whom you also exchange information. Some vendors ran contests in exchange for getting business cards.

Other things to have in your booth:

Have a place for the buyer to sit down. They get tired too and having an extra seat is a nice gesture and makes them feel comfortable when writing the order.

Have candy, water, snacks, etc. available to the buyer. Understand that if you are tired from standing all-day on the trade show floor, imagine how exhausting it is to a buyer who is zooming through 800+ vendors. A bit of chocolate (thanks Lauren), or a bowl of candy from which they can grab a tweet, or a bottle of water gives them a pick-me-up. One of my booth neighbors even had wine, music and martinis! How cool is that!!??

Next up: Part 4: Other 'notables' and observations

Read Part 5: Pictures from February 2010 BMAC and additional advice from 'those in the know'

Surviving my first wholesale show. Part 2: My initial questions

Read Part 1: Deciding to do the show.

Part 2: Preparing to do wholesale. My initial questions.

As soon as I knew I was attending the Buyer's Market of American Craft (BMAC), I wrote a couple of notes to Wendy Rosen. She’s an amazing woman and a terrific advocate for the artist. She is the founder of the Rosen Group and the Buyer’s Market of American Craft. She immediately suggested requesting a mentor for the show and with Laura Bamburak’s help I was assigned two veteran BMAC sellers who were available to answer any additional questions that I might have. (I really didn’t use the mentors before the show, but I was thrilled to have one of the mentors visit my booth regularly during the show to check in and answer any questions I might have.)

Here were my initial questions about the show (and my answers after the fact):

Will there be artists offering original paintings on canvas, or do most artists just offer prints of their work? I wondered if my work would be hidden among the vast sea of ceramics, glass and jewelry as these seemed like the largest categories of work at the show.

Answer: Honestly, there were all sorts of artists at this show. Jewelry and glass were popular categories and had many vendors, but there were all sorts of artists represented. Some were very large vendors with a great variety of items, others had only a few items to show. One of my artist friends asked “How big to you have to be to do this type of show?” After seeing some of what folks had to offer, I’d say size isn’t the most important thing. Having an item that the buyer wants, at the right price, is more important. I saw some vendors that offered only one item in slight variations, but they made incredibly beautiful pieces that had market value to the buyers.

Is mixed media the best category for me, or should I be in home décor?

Answer: For this show, rugs, furniture, wall hangings, lamps, etc seemed to make up home décor. So, I think Mixed-Media was an excellent choice for what I was selling. I loved the ecclentic blend of vendors that were included in the Mixed-Media group. Can’t imagine being placed elsewhere.

Do I mainly bring samples of my work and allow buyers to place orders? Do the buyers pay for items at the show? Is there cash-and-carry?

Answer: This event was an ‘order-writing’ event. Vendors write orders at the show and the buyers specify a time at which they would like the items shipped. I ended up writing orders from ASAP until September 2010. Some vendors did have a ‘cash and carry” section on their table and others offered to sell their floor samples on the last day of the event.

Realistically, what was this going to cost me? Beside the booth fee, what would I need to purchase to setup my booth?

Answer: I purchased a 10x10 booth for $1875.00. This space came ‘piped and draped’ which essentially means that there were curtains dividing your space from your neighbor’s space. Electrical was purchased separately. And, since the lighting in the convention center was set on 1/3 power, (i.e., Each third light was illuminated) buying lighting was essential.

Hargrove Inc was the Official Service Contractor for the BMAC and provided booth rental options. I didn’t end up using their service. I had tables and displays already available from some of the art/craft shows that I’ve done at outdoor festivals. So, I didn’t purchase their flooring, tables, lights, etc. Although this is likely convenient for vendors traveling from ‘out-of-town’.

I’m far from having the perfect booth and many experienced vendors tell me that their booth changes from year to year. (It’s never finished!) But as a first-time exhibitor, I am pretty pleased with how my booth looked.

Unfortunately, this is my only booth picture. My other pictures were very blurred. It's not a very good angle to see the entire booth. But, it's the best one I have. When viewed from the other angle, I had a small table with two chairs that allowed me and the buyer to sit down when writing their order. Photographing other vendor's booths was not permitted. You had to have a camera pass, or hire a photographer approved by the Rosen Group. See Part 5 of this series for other booth display photographs.

I didn’t want to make a huge financial commitment, as I do not know how often I will attend shows such as this. So, my initial purchases were a few display stands that allowed me to hang my paintings (I hung them with s-shaped shower hooks) Initially, I hung these only on the display stands, but they were only 4ft high in a 10 ft. booth and difficult to see over the tables. So, after a recommendation from my mentor (thanks Stacy Simbrom of Angels with Attitude) and my booth neighbor (the amazingly talented Lauren Henry), we displayed a few paintings hanging from the booth’s top rails. I also had paintings displayed on easels (easels from Michael's at $45 ea). Much like how they would look in my studio.

I purchased track lighting from Lowes. Approx. $150 w/ bulbs. The recommendation was to have 10 lights for a 10x10 space. I ended up buying 9. I only displayed 6 of the lights and now wish I had included a bit more lighting. Buy lots of zip ties from the hardware store. These were so helpful in hanging the lights and securing the extension cords to the cross bars and the side poles of the booth.

I purchased interlocking trade show flooring. (approx $185.00) I purchased these at wesellmats.com. I bought the premium carpet squares. The charcoal shows every bit of lint, dust, etc. So, perhaps a lighter color would have been better. But, if you choose the darker shade…keep a lint brush, tape, or broom handy. You might need it. From SoftTiles.com, I found a great carrying bag (under $30.00) that fits the 2x2 ft square floor mats. (You can also purchase the tiles from SoftTiles, but I wanted to use carpet, rather than foam.)

(My fees came to about $3000.00 for booth fee, flooring, lighting and a few other booth displays.)

Next up: Part 3: Defining terms, writing orders, and other things I needed to know.

Read Part 4: Other 'notables' and observations

Read Part 5: Pictures from February 2010 BMAC and additional advice from 'those in the know'

Surviving my first wholesale show: Part 1: Deciding to do the show

Surviving my first wholesale craft show.
Part 1: Deciding to do the show.

So, as I was looking through Arts/Craft Show application deadlines online, I found the application for the "Buyer’s Market of American Craft" (BMAC) at the Philadelphia Convention Center. The jury fee was $10.00 and I decided to apply along with several other applications that I was submitting. The show dates were February 12, 2010 thru February 15, 2010. The date of my application: January 13, 2010!!! One month before the show. YIKES!!

So, on January 14, 2010, I received the acceptance letter for the show and my first introduction to the amazing Laura Bamburak: Mixed Media, Wearable Fiber & Accessories Manager for the Rosen Group. She was my ‘handler’ for the Buyer’s Market. My first thought upon reading the acceptance letter, “Oh crap….now what? Am I really ready to try my hand at wholesale?” Kicking myself for not applying a heck of a lot earlier, I now had about 2 days to decide if I’m doing the show, 8 days to commit to lighting, booth accessories/design, and a month to have items ready to wholesale. Knocked the idea around with my husband for about 24 hours. Slept on the idea. Thought about the financial cost (these shows aren’t cheap!) and what other things I really needed to purchase for my business. But, I figured that this was an investment and a chance to meet new buyers and build long-term relationships. So, it sounds crazy, but with a month to go until the show, I was going to do it!

Laura was awesome. She called me at home the following day, probably aware that a first-time exhibitor feels extremely overwhelmed. At the beginning of the conversation, she mentioned that a lot of first-time exhibitors come to the show as a visiting artist and that this option was available to me if I wanted to join the program. In the back of my mind, I’m thinking maybe she’s right, maybe I should wait and try this next year …..but we kept talking. She asked me questions about my business, what I would be wholesaling and what sort of shows I’d done in the past. We talked for nearly a half-hour via phone and she said the words I needed to hear “I’ve worked with a lot of artists over the years, and you really seem to have a good handle on your business. I think you could do the show this year, if you feel ready.” And, I did. I jumped right in. I paid my booth fee. And, once the booth fees were paid, I was committed. I knew I had to work quickly to get things lined up for the show. Now comes the hard part….getting prepared for doing my first wholesale show. That's on it's way in Part 2.

Next Up: Part 2 : My initial Questions.

Read: Part 3: Defining terms, writing orders, and other things I needed to know.

Read: Part 4: Other 'notables' and observations

Read Part 5: Pictures from February 2010 BMAC and additional advice from 'those in the know'

01 March 2010

2 New Crochet Wire Knit Glass Bead Necklaces in Sterling

I had a request to do a few of my glass bead crochet wire knit chokers in sterling silver. I thought I'd add a couple new ones to my etsy shop as well. These are both done with sterling silver wire. One measures 16", the other 18". Both are in a palette of soft pastels which will look great with the upcoming Spring and Summer outfits. Each are crocheted by hand and include handmade clasps on the back.

See more by visiting my website.

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5 New Pendants added to "wearable art" collection.

Dream Analysis according to Freud

Five new pendants have been added to my 'wearable art' glass tile pendant collection. These pendants are fun miniature versions of my paintings and/or illustrations. They look great displayed on a metal cable wire as a slide, or on one of my assorted organza cords.

Alice's Secret Garden

Including in the new additions are "Dream Analysis According to Freud", a fun portrait of Freud's head made out of abstract Freudian Images. "Alice's Secret Garden" is a whimsical nature-inspired painting that I did in honor of our neighbor.

Shakti : Goddess of Energy

"Shakti : Goddess of Energy" is a graphic design/ illustration design inspired by Shakti the Hindu Goddess of Energy. She is shown here with her serpent Kundalini who is said to lie dormant at the base of the spine. Then, through meditation, the serpent uncoils and passes through the chakras (energy centers of the body). When it reaches the 7th chakra, this is where spiritual enlightement is achieved. (Shown by the sunburst pattern.) Great gift for the yoga enthusiast.

Swimming Koi

Two colorful koi print created from one of my mixed media paintings. Colorful and serene and a great addition to the Spring wardrobe.

The Meadow
The last of the new additions is "The Meadow". An image created from my original painting from my Atmospheric Minimalist Landscapes. Love the serenity in this image as well. Beautiful rich shades of dark brown and purple contrast beautifully with the greens and the gentle yellow glow.

Interested in a different image as a pendant? Please visit my website for additional designs, prints and original artwork.

Thank you for viewing my newest additions! -kristen

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