Monday, February 24, 2014

It's Showtime!

I'm wrapping things up today at the Denver Gift and Apparel Show. It's been a really great event. I've made some wonderful contacts and added several new stores that will be carrying my jewelry! This particular show is a "wholesale only" event. Several people have asked me to explain what a wholesale show is and how it's different from a retail show?

A wholesale show is typically only open to approved buyers from stores and businesses. These buyers purchase merchandise in quantity to resell to their customers. Most of the time they place orders which are fulfilled by the vendor later. There are very few "cash and carry" transactions - except at the very end of a show when some merchants sell their samples at a discounted price. This system can work very well for someone like me, who produces products by hand. I don't have to produce a lot of inventory for the show - only a sample of the products in my line. When I head home to start creating, the pieces that I make have already been purchased.
View down the aisle
Wholesale shows are often quite large. I believe there are over 500 booths at this event. This event is a general gift show. The merchandise sold here covers a huge range of products; pretty much anything you could imagine selling at a store or boutique, you can find here. There are food products, clothing, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, artwork and the list goes on. Other wholesale shows focus on very specific segments of a particular market.

The booth space is defined by what's called a "pipe and drape" system. Literally, they are connected pipes with drapes hanging from them! This is what mine looked like when I arrived last Thursday.
Empty Booth
The show promoter typically provides only basic set-up; in this case, a chair and a trash can. The vendor can rent tables, lights, and displays if needed. Since this show is close to home, I brought everything but overhead halogen lights. After a couple of hours of unpacking and assembly, my booth starts to take shape.
Booth In Progress

Every show is a little different and the display is never exactly the same. Putting it all together is like a big jigsaw puzzle. It's all about height, levels and balance. My booth set-up has changed a lot of the years. I'm currently using natural slate pieces with white risers and gray tables. The colors work well with the jewelry and coordinate with my new logo.
Close-up of my current display.

By sundown Thursday, I have everything in place and ready for customers to arrive in the morning!
Finished!

My booth did it's job Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Now it's Monday afternoon, the last day, and the event is winding down. In a few hours everyone will pack up and go home. Back to the studio tomorrow to start creating jewelry and shipping out orders! See you next time Denver Gift Show!

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