With experience doing big shows; Henri Bendel and Bloomingdales and small shows; galleries and boutiques, I compiled a few important things you ‘ll need to know before you set foot in the store on your show date!
1. Confirm with the store who will provide the display items and how the sold items will be reported. You want to have enough risers and forms – try to get an idea of the amount of display space and how it will be set up. I suggest buying a small three-part order pad to write up the order, rather than your wholesale forms. Everyone involved in the transaction can keep a copy with a three-part receipt.
2. Confirm the price structure and how the show orders are going to be processed. You are labeling the retail prices. Make sure that you know their markup so you get your wholesale amount. Typically, the store takes payment from their customer and you will send the store an invoice based on your wholesale earnings. Decide the payment terms for the show – Net 30? Immediate? *Usually it’s the same as your regular store order.
3. Ask if the store has any color or clothing requirements. Bloomingdales asks you to wear black to match their salespeople. Remember, you will be handling your jewelry. Don’t wear full sleeves – you don’t ‘want to knock down your displays. Wear a neckline that will enhance your jewelry as you are the best display!
4. Be Prepared! Make sure your items are tagged and you have ample bags for sales. Pack up your display items and put them in your trunk. Bring tools – you never know when a jump ring will need to be fixed or you’ll have to add a chain extension for a larger customer. Bring extra hand tags a pen and scissors in case you “missed one”. Give yourself enough time to prepare and set up your merchandise and displays, grab a bite and freshen up. You are a professional and don’t want to be setting up and running around away from your station after the event start time.
5. Wear. Comfortable. Shoes. Trust me on this. The worst is standing for 5+ hours on a cold, hard floor, trying to smile while your feet are burning. Buy nice shoes with cushioned soles. No one will be looking at your feet, they will be concentrating on the jewelry you have for sale and you will be engaging them on the selling floor.
*Do you have shows lined up? What do you need to be prepared? Do you have show experiences you’d like to share with the other Open Studio Creatives? Leave comments below!
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