Thursday, April 19, 2007

On Track

Don't you love tracking? There is something infinitely comforting about being able to go on-line and enter a number into a box, push a button, and presto! You find out where your package is along it's journey. Right now my cases are in Salt Lake City, UT. Hurrah! They should arrive in plenty of time before the advance warehouse deadline of April 24th.

For those of you who have not traveled this path of shipping your work to a show before, there is usually an advance warehouse that you ship your work to by a specific date. This becomes a staging area for the show. The day or two prior to the show, when the electrical wiring is being done, or the pipe and drape installed....the materials from the warehouse would be delivered to the booth space of the artist. In theory, when I arrive at the convention center, all the materials I have shipped will be sitting there in my booth, ready for me to unpack and set-up.

Today I have been working on making a list of my samples. I will then begin to make up my labels with pricing for display. At a retail show, artists may prefer to have their prices tucked away. At a wholesale show, artists need to have prices clearly visible. Buyers are there to work. They do not want to casually browse. They have a set amount of time and money. It is all about making it easier for them to do their work.

I am lucky to have a sister-in-law, Linda Ruel Flynn, who runs a beautiful gallery in central Massachusetts. It is the retail shop of the Fiber Art Center, in Amherst, MA. She began working there around the same time as my obsession with polymer clay began. It has been fun traveling a parallel path with her. She has been able to offer me some good advice and insight. And she has a good eye. I know she will be honest with me, and we all need that honest, but knowledgeable voice. Under her direction, the gallery is thriving, and she seems to love what she is doing as well.

I will share some advice she gave me yesterday in an email:
"My two cents as a buyer...Have everything clearly marked with signs...your
minimum order, turnaround time, prices. Don't make me ask for anything,
wanna see it at a glance. If you don't buy an ad in the show's book, have a
piece of paper with contact info and a small pic of your work
to hand out.
I go through a show, peruse, pick up info, mark my book, chat, go over
everything that night and the next day I pick and commit."

Wholesale is different. I know all of this in theory right now. I about two weeks I will be in my booth, living it. We'll see how things match up. I'll be sure to let you know.


Michelle Davis Petelinz said...

Hey Judy,
Do you know about Luann Udell's blog? In today's entry, she talks about the ACRE show, and its buyers. 'Thought it might have some info. you'd like to see.

Anonymous said...

aw shucks...the luck runs both ways. wishing you all the best.

xo linda