Friday 4 March 2016

Your First Summer Shows & THE GEM EXPO!!!

A couple of comments especially for newbies making stuff for their first summer craft shows:

1. The simple wire and bead rings I've been making are turning out to be great sellers. They're easy and fairly quick to make, too, once you get going. But... because they're so freakin' CUTE, not only do the kids love them (and can afford to buy them with their own allowance), the mothers and grandmothers love them too -- as pinkie rings.

Definitely make a few in slightly larger sizes. Mine are running 2.0 to 3.0 in quarter sizes for the kids, 3.0 to 5.0, again in quarter sizes for teens, and 5.0 to 8.0 in half sizes for adults. I've started dividing them out in little bowls right up front, otherwise nobody will ever find their size.

Mother's Day is coming up soon (as well as Father's Day, Grad, etc.). At Christmas I was surprised by the number of really young kids I was getting at my table wanting to buy something -- anything -- they could afford for their moms and dads. Along with your higher end jewellery, it's worth it to have a selection of small, inexpensive but well-made items available for kids to buy as gifts for their friends or for themselves. They're a very under-served consumer segment in terms of quality, if nothing else, and they deserve to be acknowledged and treated with respect. And listened to: I don't have kids, but I'm learning a ton about kid culture and what's important to them. I also get fashion tips (and of course this is very regional, what's fashionable here, ain't even on the radar elsewhere). There's nothing more humbling than to have a 7-year-old girl very gently tell you that "nobody wears feathers anymore". Oh. Anybody want to buy two bins of feathers?

2. First bead show of the season up here in Ontario: The Gem Expo is opening in two hours and two weeks (as of this writing) and all of the vendors will have heaps and heaps of new beads and findings.

March 18-20
Hyatt Regency Hotel
370 King Street West, Toronto

3. ....aaaaand I'm teaching a class this time:

Totally Addicting Stretch Stacker Bracelets
Saturday morning, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

All the detes are here -- don't forget you get a 3-day pass to the show included in your course fee. These are great bracelets for absolutely everyone to make -- if you can tie your shoes, you can make these bracelets, so this is a perfect class for beginners. There's no limit to the style, size, colour or blinginess of what you make, and anyone can wear them, guys, girls, kids, adults. Plus they're so easy on/off they're great if you have arthritis or are tired of fiddling with itsy-bitsy clasps. These are great sellers for me at the weekly farmers market I do.

The cord we'll be using is called Stretch Magic, and it's wonderful stuff -- lasts a long, long time and doesn't bag out the way all those cheaper bracelets do. When I say they're Totally Addicting, I mean it. I made about 50 in two days over Christmas and only stopped because I ran out of the particular beads I was using.

I'll have a small selection of glass beads to get you started (with fancier beads available to buy), but feel free to bring your own beads. Plus -- there's a whole ballroom full of more beads. Sounds like a perfect reason to get up and out early on a Saturday morning to me. Bring your go-cup full of coffee and let's play.

These bracelets were all made with beads that I sell at the Gem Expo:

4. Another hint: some beads are really expensive, so if you see something you like at the show, ask one of your bead pals to go halfsies on a string. The way my friend and I used to do it was we'd find a string of over-the-top beads that both of us liked, we'd each pay half, then divvy up the string over coffee. The winner of the coin toss would choose the first bead and then we'd alternate choosing the rest of the beads.

Or... you can come to me at the show and buy single beads or partial strings.


See you at the Gem Expo and don't forget to check out all the great classes!

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