Monday, September 10, 2012

Back from Beadfest 2012

I'm back from Pennsylvania! Actually I've been back for a few weeks now, but I've been busy getting ready for my next show in less than two weeks. I think I might have overbooked myself a little bit.

So how did it go? It went very smoothly. The show was very well organized and that helped relieve a lot of stress. I purchased an artisan table which worked out perfectly for me. I really liked how they had all the artisans together, but I do wish they had labeled "Artisan alley" better. I had quite a few people who were surprised when I told them that everyone nearby was a self representing artist.

I got to meet lots of cool people. I was sitting next to someone selling kits for needle felting. I had never seen it before and while I'm not a huge fan of felt beads, I loved her little animal sculptures. They were just way too cute. On my other side, I was sitting next to Diane Dennis who creates amazing intricate beadwork.

I also got to Bobbi Helms of FatDogBeads. She has been a customer of mine on Etsy and it was really nice to meet her in person. Along with her, I was able to meet several lampworkers whos work I had admired online. They're work is just beautiful in person.

So how did I do financially? I made quite a few sales on Friday and was feeling pretty good about it, but Saturday and Sunday felt very slow. I made enough to come back again next year, but I have to keep my expenses down. As someone who is still very new to shows, I do have a lot to learn, but I am learning and getting better each time.

What will I do differently next year? Bring a cooler full of food! I was planning to do that this year, but about a week before the show I received an email with some last minute rules. One of which was "no outside food." This was my first year and I didn't want to get in any trouble, so I played it safe and only brought a protein bar and a small box of teddy grahams. That snack helped, but by the end of the day I wanted to eat everything in sight! Even if there is no outside food allowed, I might keep an ice chest in the car or hotel to help with food costs. Eating out and eating semi-healthy is expensive.

Another cost that I was surprised about was the tolls in Pennsylvania. Driving across New York cost me  $2.40 in tolls. Driving across Pennsylvania cost me at least $30. I was expecting toll roads, but I was thinking they would be a similar price to the NY thruway. I suppose it's a small cost on the grand scheme of things, but these things add up quickly!

I do plan to be back next year. I'm hoping these small changes on my part, will make it a more profitable show for me to attend in the future.