What to Consider Before Signing Up for an Event with High Booth Fees?

by Margaret Wellman.
(Tucson, Arizona)

What to Consider Before Signing Up for an Event with High Booth Fees?   - Discussion on Jewelry Making Journal

Before considering whether to participate in an event with high booth fees, what should one consider?

I have heard someone mention that you should look to recoup 10 x the booth fee.

What are your thoughts on this?

I would appreciate any insights on signing up for an event with high booth fees.

Thank you.

Margaret Wellman
MKW Jewelry Designs on Facebook

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  1. Hi Margaret! If this is your first show or jewelry event, I wouldn’t recommend doing a show with high booth fees. It would be better to get experience at less expensive events first.

    But if it isn’t your first show, then I would learn everything possible about the pricey show before deciding whether to sign up – the demographic and number of shoppers who tend to visit that show; whether and how the show is promoted; what percentage of the booths are likely to be jewelry sellers; is it an indoor or outdoor show; etc.

    I would also assess whether you’ve had mid- to high-priced pieces that have sold well; whether you have interesting, professional looking displays; whether you are pricing your jewelry profitably; whether you have your own list of customers you can invite to visit your booth at this show; etc.

    And finally, I would assess whether that booth fee would be a financial burden on you if for some reason you didn’t break even at the end of the show.

    I hope this helps, Margaret, and I’ll be interested to hear what you decide. 🙂

  2. ChloeGirl says:

    Is the 10X rule of the booth fee generally held among jewelry designers?

  3. Hello Margaret – I would suggest doing research on the show and possibly the promoter as well. How long has the show been running, how many days is the show. If you haven’t already, walk the show to see if your jewelry would “fit” into the overall theme of the show. If it is not a local show, you would have to consider your travel costs as well. What is the economy like where the show is taking place? The local economy DOES indeed make a difference – you may have a “Wal-Mart” mentality type crowd that won’t even look at your stuff since it isn’t under $5 in price. I know, I’ve done that type of show. You might want to find what others have to say about the show by asking the vendors at the show how long they have been doing this show, is the promoter helpful to the sellers if problems arise, etc. Certain show listing sites have reviews attached to the shows that might help you determine whether the show would be good for you or not. Also, it’s my personal opinion that shows which charge a little entrance fee will attract an audience that is there to actually buy something, not just kill a couple of hours. Street fairs are sometimes high priced booth fee wise but are notorious for many “looky-loos”.

    If it’s an outdoor show, do you have a suitable tent, tables, table covers, displays? If so, how do you transport all your stuff. I have rolling carts with trays holding my jewelry within them for ease of transport and in some cases table displays.

    Personally, to comment on the 10x “rule”, I think you are setting yourself up for disappointment and “failure” if you abide by this so-called rule. I know my financial analyst daughter screams at me about this, but I am personally happy with a show if I make my booth fee and maybe 2-3x more. Maybe I’m setting my goals too low, but it’s what I’m happy with and yes, I know, I’m not being profitable but my prices reflect the cost of my materials, at least 1 hour of my time (labor), state sales taxes and other expense fees (like overhead, profit, listing fees from Etsy) and use fees for having a credit card reader service on my phone (read Square). Regarding payment – determine what type of payment you will accept – cash only, cash & checks (possibly risky) or all 3 (cash, check & credit/debit card). I don’t accept checks as a rule unless it’s someone I know. Also have a wide price point range so that a person on a budget can find something of yours to purchase all the way up to that ideal customer who buys your highest priced item without blinking.

    This certainly a longer comment than I intended to make, but I hope a little will be of help to you. Good luck and much success!

  4. We started with 2 or 3 small shows and every year we usually drop the lowest performer and pick up two new shows. I’ve never followed the 10X rule because every area is different as well as every show.

    Build up to those expensive shows but mainly, build up your clientele.

  5. Something else you might consider is intangibles by which I mean prestige from exhibiting at an event, networking opportunities, chance of building a potential client list, PR/publicity opportunities. I did my first big show last year and only just covered my stand fees, but I met 2 gallerists who have taken my work and having exhibited there has also opened some other doors that were previously closed. It’s not always about the money on the day!

  6. Lore Weil says:

    I have a 10 expectation from a high end show. I do research how many visitors have attended in the past years. I usually make 75 % on Saturday and 25% on Sunday. Good luck.

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