Wednesday, 9 November 2011

False advertising & craft shows that aren't

Something that I've noticed in the past couple of years that I've been making jewellery is that craft shows, even supposedly juried shows... just aren't. They are increasingly venues for pyramid sales companies of all stripes and resellers of junk jewellery and other so-called "hand-made crafts" made in Far East sweatshops.

My friend who is a baker and I did a small local Christmas "craft" show last year where her competition was store-bought cupcakes someone was reselling!

I thought I was covering myself by asking the organiser how many other jewellery sellers there would be. Only one other jewellery crafter? You're not going to let in 10 or 20, you're sure? Okay... I'll do it. And I lost my shirt. Again.

I ended up beside Avon, behind me were Epicure and Tupperware, and my jewellery competition, who sold over $600 (I made $15, not even enough to cover the table, let alone gas or my time), was a pyramid sales jewellery party company that sells overpriced stuff made in third-world sweatshops. This vendor actually came over to me and asked if I was interested in becoming a sales rep! 
The people who bought her cheap glass and dyed beads put together with base metals of unknown provenance (who then had to wait several weeks for their stuff to be delivered to them, so that they weren't even getting what they'd "bought") were coming over to see me and telling me proudly all about what they'd ordered from the other vendor! I pointed out that my jewellery wasn't any more expensive, mine is one of a kind made by me, here, locally, my jump rings are all closed, not to mention sterling silver and, gee whiz golly, I use genuine stones, not dyed D-grade crap, and if something needs adjusting, breaks or gets damaged I can fix it. They have to throw the other vendor's stuff in the garbage. Oh.

Time to develop a backbone, all of us, and tell these organisers to stop lying to us about whether it's a craft show they want us to participate in, or a flea market. Don't get me wrong. There's absolutely nothing wrong with flea markets. My issue is with FALSE ADVERTISING.

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