Am I Paranoid or Blacklisted from Shows?

by Andrea.

Am I Paranoid or Blacklisted from Shows? - Question on Jewelry Making Journal I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts about something that makes me feel a bit heartsick.

First, some background so you can see why I am concerned I may be misperceiving things:

I have chronic medical conditions (physical and depression / anxiety) that have kept me from my career as a social worker, and have also largely deterred my jewelry making. I also have a hormonal issue, adding to my emotional overload. I also have some memory issues, so I keep detailed records of my emails.

Last holiday season my sisters and I signed up for a show the night before, but I got ill and was unable to participate. The woman running the show agreed to give us a credit for the next show since our slot would not have been filled by anyone else.

Locally there are a couple of smaller shows at an expo center. (Where I had bailed on the previous show.) Most of the shows at the expo center are run by the same woman. All of the holiday shows are hers.

In October I emailed her about our credit, but said if it couldn’t be applied towards this important a show I understood. She wrote back saying she would look into it. That show passed.

I wrote her again to see if she had room at the next show and to inquire about the credit but also said that I would be happy to pay. She wrote back asking for more information about “the credit.” I sent that, and the November show passed.

I wrote again, apologizing profusely each time about the inconvenience and thanking her for her dedication to the crafting community. No response.

I emailed again with the same questions, and mentioned that if she was too full of “jewelry” that we also do a lot of upcycle things, not just jewelry, and letting her know that I could go more in another direction if needed.

Really, I just want to be in a show soon so that I can have my first one and prove to myself that everything is not a waste and I’m not a failure.

Again, no response from her.

I checked the facebook page and she has just opened another room – and I was the first to post, saying I would like a slot. I emailed her today and she replied that she had no record of us having ever applied to be in her shows.

At this point I feel like this woman does not like me. My emotions are a little erratic so I decided it was a misperception and again asked if I had a place, and that I appreciated and was sorry for troubling her. I figured I should have a place since I asked even before her 2nd call for makers when she opened another room.

A couple of hours ago she emailed me back again saying that there was no record of me (I had agreed previously that I could have been wrong), and that btw she was full for jewelry.

I honestly feel like she simply does not like me. I know it seems paranoid but given the timeline it seems I should have a place.

She runs all the shows so if she doesn’t put me in, I’m out.

Are my emotions clouding reality?

Maybe it’s a sign to quit? Help!


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  • Connie says:

    It’s hard to tell without actually seeing the woman what she has in mind. However, it doesn’t sound as though she is interested in including you in her shows. Since, as you say, she’s the only show in town, maybe it’s time to consider something different in the way you sell your jewelry. I have Rena’s book – Easy Ways to Sell Your Jewelry Every Day – and it has some fantastic and very easy ways to sell jewelry. Using her ideas you could sell your jewelry when you’re feeling good, and not have to when you don’t feel well. Rena has clever ideas I would never have thought of.

  • Thank you, Connie! 🙂

    Andrea, I don’t think it’s a sign for you to quit. But whatever the reason for her lack of communication, I wouldn’t spend any more of your time and energy trying for a spot in one of her shows. Instead, I agree with Connie (above) about making your own opportunities for selling your jewelry.

    Here are some examples of jewelry artists making their own opportunities:

    Elizabeth, the Realtor, and the Cable Guy (also be sure to also read Elizabeth’s comment below that post, detailing how she also sold jewelry to a repairman who came to her house).

    Joint Ventures (how Carolina set up an opportunity to sell her jewelry at a local tea shop).

    Trunk Shows (see the comments below that post for lots of helpful tips).

    And as Connie mentioned, my Easy Ways to Sell Your Jewelry Every Day ebook is loaded with easy, step-by-step strategies for selling your jewelry in all kinds of ways – without shows, shops, or selling online.

    I hope this helps, Andrea, and I wish you all the best! Please let us know how you go on.

  • Rebecca says:

    I’m not trying to hurt your feelings but a no show is a bad thing. It looks bad for the promoter to have an empty space. Also, that space could have gone to someone else who might have been on a waiting list and it’s hard to get someone for the extreme last minute fill-ins. Just know she probably will not allow you in any more of her shows. Like Rena said, just move on to other avenues and don’t give up!

  • Catherine says:

    Yes, I’m sure you have been labelled negatively. As a previous show host. Late cancellations cause a lot of work. It also down plays the success of the show when there’s a vacant spot. As a business, and with your challenges, you need to have Plan B for any of these issues. This way you don’t let the show down and your reputation. Your reputation as a business is negative now in her eyes. Can’t blame her. Create a Plan B if these things happen; for example, have another crafter available at the last minute to fill in for you.

    What other ideas can you give for Plan Bs?

    I have a plan B, and C. My reputation is extremely important with show hosts. That is, if you ever want to be allowed back.

    Have to be blunt here. Remember, selling is a business. In business there has to be contingencies for emergencies.

  • Judith Durling says:

    I agree with Catherine. There has to be a plan B if you are unable to make the show. A relative or person you could trust to put out your display, spend their time showing and selling for you. If you can’t come up with that resource you are on your own to discover a way to get your stuff out there, no matter your physical health. Take pictures, use a catalog, put them in Etsy; whatever. Your imagination must come into play on this.

  • Valerie says:

    If you signed up for the show the night before and then had to cancel, that suggests to me that there was no wait list and that the spot would most likely have been empty had you not signed up, plus she agreed to give you credit towards another show, yet is now acting like she never said that, and, despite your repeated efforts at communication and profuse apologies, she is claiming there is “no record”. My take is that she is not a very nice person, and you should not waste any more time on her. Doing so is like letting your energy be sucked into a black hole, and none of us can really afford to do that. Get so busy using other strategies that this episode fades into a tiny speck in your rearview mirror.

  • Debra says:

    Wow, how unkind of her to not honor her word that she would give you credit. I do tend to agree with the others, however, you didn’t show after she let you in last-minute, and also said you bailed on another show. Perhaps in her eyes that’s 2 strikes against you. I know that sometimes health issues keep us from participating in events, and some people (who don’t have health issues) just don’t understand! Perhaps the solution is for you to make the items, and have a trusted friend or relative work the show. Not like a ‘plan B’ – this person would be your sales rep, so to speak. This could be your ‘plan A’. You could have this person do trunk shows, in-home shows, etc. for a predetermined percentage of the total sales, and if you were feeling well enough on that particular day, you could also attend. If you have someone dedicated to selling your items, you can rest easier knowing that you’re not missing out on a selling opportunity.

  • Sarah Duncan says:

    Just to say, it’s not personal! She’s never met you, so she neither likes nor dislikes you as a person. She might not want to give you credit for the show you missed, and maybe now she feels it’s easier to say there are no spaces than give you what she sees as a ‘free’ stall or enter into a dispute about what she might owe you. It’s about business and money – you think she owes you credit, she thinks she doesn’t (or doesn’t want to agree that she does). Either way, it’s not personal.
    You could always try booking a stall under a different name (one of your sisters’ maybe?) and see what happens. I suspect if you think it’s important to your business to have a stall at that show, you’re just going to have to pay for it and write off the money you paid for the no-show.

  • It sounds like this organizer doesn’t handle conflict well. If she had an issue with you not showing up, she should have said so. That having been said, I would be leery of a show that has jewelry spots open up until the last minute. I run a medium-sized art/craft show in the summer and cap jewelry at 20%, with no exceptions and the category fills up really fast. Unless she had had a previous cancellation in the category, I would wonder whether her shows let in anybody with a check. Sorry that that’s a digression from your original question, but as you do more shows (and you WILL do more shows) it’s something to consider.

  • Susan D says:

    First, this woman sounds very disorganized if she keeps losing a record of you. You have contacted her enough so that she should at least remember you. Second, she is either telling the truth that she has no record or she is lying to you in hopes you will go away. If she is telling the truth, then my first point applies. As was said above, it’s a business. For her to not keep records, especially after so many contacts, it makes me wonder about how she can even run a business. I say definitely move on. Keep your eyes open for other opportunities, such as contacting the public library if you could put up a display for them, many times they need help to fill their displays monthly. If you do that, just make sure to have business cards and that you have a clear display with your name and contact. For shows like that I would not put prices. Also, check out other event organizers, holiday events, social events, even other business that would display your work in exchange for filling their walls or display cases. See if you can join an art guild, even those many might be paint artist, you could stand out as their only jewelry designer. I also ran into an unpleasant woman in the process of going to a show, telling me that all I did was crafts, then later begging me to display at her show as she didn’t have enough people. Rather than looking at it as a punishment or taking it personally, look at it that you have learned not to have dealings with her. We have to believe in ourselves before others can believe in us. Head in a different direction for your designs, just not with that rude woman.

  • Nancy says:

    I was banned from a show because I had to bail. Also promised to include us next time (they have two shows a year), two years in a row but nothing more than empty promises.

    I understand from the their point that a late time drop out is bad, but in some cases it can’t be helped. Sometimes things just happen, and there is nothing you can do about it. Just move on.

    There are some great ideas here — hope they help! And who knows, perhaps she really IS just disorganized! Wishing you the best …

  • Janet says:

    This happened to me, too. I had to cancel the day before d/t an emergency. The promoter now does not answer my inquiries into future events. It kind of hurt my feelings, but I just chalked it up to her unprofessional business ethics. Stuff happens, people get sick, cars break down, all kinds of complications can occur. Maybe that professional relationship just wasn’t meant to be.

  • Kenna says:

    Anyone who has been doing shows for awhile will have to cancel and organizers know this. However, I have learned that if you have to cancel, do not expect any credit or money back. I have had similar experiences with organizers because inevitably they will have their favourites and you may not be one of them. In these cases I just keep applying for shows and document my applications. If I were you I would forget the credit and just keep applying for shows as if it is your first time. Send in a totally new application with new pictures etc. and do not refer to your previous applications. If you are accepted, behave as if nothing ever happened. Reputations are important and given your personal circumstances, you do not want to be thought of as “difficult” no matter how unwarranted it is.

  • Lydia says:

    Andrea, I know how frustrating it is to deal with people like this woman who runs these shows. It’s her, Andrea, she has issues, not you. Feelings about success and failure are subjective and based on expectations. What are your expectations, Andrea. Do you compare yourself with others? That will depress anyone! If you make a goal to sell 10 bracelets at a show, but only sell 9, does that mean you failed? Of course not. And it is certainly no reflection on your worth as a person or how talented you are(and we all have many talents)…don’t fall into the trap of seeing the world in only black and white, good or bad, success or failure which only sets yourself up for disappointment. We are selling art. People buy because they like it, period. I love the tons of inspirational stories that get circulated on Facebook about famous people and how many times their service or product got rejected or it failed before they succeeded. On ebay, there are loads of great success stories about sometimes the oddest things that sell BIG. They inspire me! When you go into “business”, large or small, there are lots of ups and downs and it is very competitive. That is just the way it is for everyone in business, EVERYONE. Don’t quit, no reason to even think that…keep your eyes open for unique opportunities to sell, be flexible with marketing and if you love what you do, it will show and attract people.

  • Lyone says:

    I like Kenna’s advice.
    Also, I am wondering if maybe you need to look into other “show” venues. This woman does not run all the shows everywhere. Just try one town over, build a reputation in a nearby city that you don’t live in. And don’t let one professional mistake become a dead end.

  • Lara says:

    As a person with health issues that can make it difficult to be dependable because i do not know in advance how well i am going to be, i recomend you give up on the whole show idea..not only do you have to register long befor you know what your health will be like but they are also exhausting..the planning,carting all your stuff in and setting up is tiring all by itself..but then you have to spend eight hours a day on your feet talking to customers and selling your stuff..then you have to tear down and haul it back home and eventually put it all away….i prefer to find a coffee shop ,gift shop,or specialty shop and sell through is alot less stress and hassle..and wont put you back in bed for a week..if you have any friends that really like your jewelry you might suggest they have a home party featuring your silpada does..and in return she will receive a custom made piece..the important thing is to not ask it as a favor to you but suggest it as a great opportunity to let her other friends have a chance to see your jewelry and a fun get together..near christmas you can mention that it would be a great way for them to get some xmas shopping out of the way but instead of having to tromp through the malls they get to sit around,socialise ,eat goodies and have a glass of wine.

  • Catherine says:

    Different Catherine here . Whatever you do, do not give up !!!

  • Catherine says:

    Catherine again. Just want to say that I can understand what you’re going through. I have social anxiety. This spring will be the first time I do a show. I just know that I can’t back out or I will have wasted my time making everything I’ve made. I’m determined to do what I have to do even if it means being in a large crowd of people and being uncomfortable. I live in a small town and I only have a few opportunities to do shows here and I definitely don’t want to mess it up. Just hang in there, keep trying, and show up! If I can do it , you can too! Good luck!

  • Hello Andrea,
    Tons of terrific advice! I read somewhere that ‘If you get NO as an answer, remember N.O. means, “Next Opportunity”. Her venues are not the only ones available Andrea, step out on faith, shrug it off and move on to the next possible event even if you have to travel a bit. If you cannot travel, then create another sellable venue. One last thing (I may have missed it…), did the woman make the promise in writing? If not, then unfortunately, and legally you probably don’t have a leg to stand on. I agree that morally she is being unfair but morality and business usually cannot co-habitat.
    I support you in your endeavors and please don’t let anyone stop you. Just keep putting on foot in front of the other and you will always see the new lights in life. Believe in yourself!

  • Helen Coe says:

    I know that I will probably take heat for this but so be it. I have been in retail, marketing, manufacturing, and wholesaling my entire working career. If you apologize do it once. To apologize profusely over and over makes you sound needy and insecure. This is a huge turnoff for a lot of people and it becomes very tiring. I really do understand how you may feel because I also have physical and emotional abuse issues. I’m in physical therapy and my P T said get over it, it’s done, you can’t change it, move on. Don’t let this become your personality. Spend a few moments when you first awake, think of the positive changes you can make not the negative. It takes a lot of work but it does work. I met a woman online who lives in Australia. Her son was born with a deformed spine. She said that I will not let him feel sorry for himself, I just kick butt. He supports himself and works with a youth group. Whenever I start to feel sorry for myself I just imagine her kicking my butt. There are many resources for your jewelry if you look. Our local library has a case where artists can display and sell their work. Offer up an item for a charity auction to get your name out there. Don’t give up.

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