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Juli grew up a shy, middle child and is a woman of few words whose jewelry speaks volumes about herself, her feelings and her perspective on the world.  A modern alchemist of design, she melds industrial imagery and organic aesthetics together to create new and unique designs.  Juli's love for asymmetrical design was immediately made apparent in her very first bead craft:  a pair of mismatched earrings created when she was sixteen.  She developed her eclectic style by reading about and experimenting with every style and technique she could get her hands on, from stitched bead jewelry to riveted metals and from wire wrapping to precious metal clays.  No matter what Juli creates, her sense of humor & fun, love of the craft and sense of style come through.  Juli would probably blog more often if her rather large tabby cat, Rocky, didn't insinuate himself between her hands and the keyboard.  However, she does regularly update her facebook fan page for Juli's Jewels.  Juli is always paying-it-forward, not only on a personal level, but through her company with "just because" giveaways.  Juli's Jewels ArtFire artisan shop is jam packed with earrings, pendants, necklaces, anklets and more that are ready to ship and she loves to make custom orders for people too!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Craft Fairs - How to Choose the Right One for Your Crafty Business

I've recently been trying to reboot my business by doing more craft shows. Let's face it, people are more likely to buy a piece of jewelry that they can touch and try on over the one they can only see pictures of online. (That's actually why I bought my super model mannequins, Mathilda and Lucille, so people viewing pieces in my online shop can get a better idea of length, hang, drape, etc., but I digress.) So, I've been tuning up my booth display pieces and have been searching out shows to do. It is starting to be craft show season, so there are quite a few out there, but how do you know if it will be a good show?

There are a lot of "Craft Fair(e)s" out there that have almost no crafters. If the show you are doing includes Cookie Lee (and other catalog/resale jewelry vendors), Tupperware, ShamWow, Avon and/or Mary Kay, etc., it isn't a craft fair, it's a vendor fair and you will have a very hard time making sales, unless you under price your craft, which only hurts you. When searching for your show, search for Handmade Only. Also, see if it's a juried show. A juried show will ask you to, at minimum, submit photos of your work and booth set up. Some will even ask for your artist's statement and process pictures (you assembling your jewelry or knitting your hats, etc.). These are usually more expensive for your booth fee, but the people coming to the show are expecting quality handmade goods so you will actually have better sales. The next part is deciding what craft shows are a good fit for your type (and style of craft). I do better in and indie craft fair environment with my collage pendants and bottle cap rings than I do in a church fund raiser craft fair environment, but that doesn't mean I should consider the church one, it just means that I should check out a sow really well before I commit to one. The church may be in a neighborhood like Sacramento's Midtown, where I would be a very good fit. Your hand knit baby hats and blankets will be a hit in a neighborhood with lots of young families, just do a little research.

How do you know if the show was a success? That is the big question, and frankly, there is no right answer. Some of the articles out there say you didn't have a successful day unless you made 10 times your booth fee for that day ($75 booth fee = $750 in sales), other's say that just being out there and networking and giving out business cards is a success. Frankly, you are the only one who knows if your day was a success. Do you feel like your time was wasted while you sat there, even though you made a few sales? Not a success. Did you sell nothing, but felt like your time was well used and you wish you didn't have to leave because it was all just so much fun? A success!

Anyway, it's food for thought. Go out and find yourself a good fitting craft show and sell your crafty awesomeness!

How my booth used to look. I'm looking forward to posting new booth pics soon.


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