Chapter 39

Jewels of Ancient Lands Goes to the Fair

Old Gorby showing a customer some wrapped meteorite pendants which had attracted her attention.

We had a slowish day at the fair, but managed to squeak by with a total of $420 in sales, mostly from fellow vendors, with a few wandering shoppers here and there. Cost of the booth was $30. If you bring in ten times the booth fee, you're doing well these days, they tell me. The beautiful display stands were hand-built by Wayne, and they fit four standard jeweler's pads precisely.

Nobody appreciates Czech beads as much as folks from the Republic of Czechoslovakia, which she is.

We met folks from all over the planet at this little 30-booth craft fair held on the parking lot of the Union newspaper, which helped publicize the event as well as hosting it. There were plenty of PSA -- Public Service Announcements -- spots on the local radio stations, and posters were plastered everywhere, especially on and around several campuses -- or is it campusi?

The rings sold really well, considering the small turnout.

We sold two silver rings, both of them Herkimer Diamonds, which I had predicted would move if nothing else did, and they did and other stuff did, too.

When the sun shifted, I set my work table up in the shade in front of the booth, to attract customers.

Nothing works quite as well as someone working. Kids love to see someone vacuuming the carpet, and who can resist the glassblower making that little tiny miniature glass ship? Sword-swallowers, fire-eaters and jugglers can bring in the crowds. One reason for the lack of swarms of public shoppers was the 90 degree heat; another larger craft fair was going on at the fairgrounds, and most of all, NO BREAD & CIRCUSES.

I've blogged on the subject. Food and Entertainment mean crowds. No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service. Translate that into marketing terms and you get "No Food, No Music, No People".

If you work at the booth, even with no customers, you can fulfill orders and catch up on your work load.

I took advantage of the bleak spots when the crowd wasn't pressing around me to get a better look at my ear-wire technique. Seriously, six people asked for, and got, lessons in how to make an ear wire, and didn't leave the booth until they showed me two well-made ear-wires in a row.

I'm making a custom Rainbow Dorje with Tibetan Coral and Turquoise set into Bone. Don't even ask.

Several customers wanted custom Dorjes with strange & unusual stones in them, which I had on display -- people could select the stones and the style of jewelry, and I made the pieces right in front of them! There's no better way to make a good impression for the jewelry than to make it right then and there. It leaves no doubt as to who made it, and that's very different from most vendors at craft fairs these days.

We made lots of contacts and have already heard back from two of them regarding class times and materials needed. None are needed -- the two hour class is only $15 -- that's less than minimum wage, and I provide beads, wire, the whole shmear and I let you borrow my student-grade tools and yes, I know that $15 doesn't even pay my gas to and from class.

As I said many times before, it's not about money.