(Scottsdale, Arizona, USA)
Hi Rena, Your site is wonderful and very helpful. I have also ordered your books and they are great too! Since you are so experienced at the arts and crafts show circuit, I thought you might be the best person to help me.
I make jewelry, but I also have found a number of really wonderful jewelry vendors that I would like to supplement my own designs with the jewelry I buy.
I am very picky about quality and only buy the best and most unique items. Now I’m finding that a lot of the shows won’t allow commercial items at all.
Could you let me know what your experience is with this? I buy sterling silver pendants, bracelets and earrings with all natural gemstones.
They are wonderful but I’m afraid to apply to some of the shows as I have not “handcrafted” them myself.
Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you! Lisa
Selling Commercial Jewelry
at Art and Craft Shows
by Rena Klingenberg
Hi Lisa, thank you for your lovely feedback on my website and books! :o)
Here’s my opinion on reselling manufactured jewelry at shows:
I agree that stocking a bit of high-quality manufactured jewelry that complements your own creations can be a nice and profitable way to fill out your inventory.
But personally, I wouldn’t sell it at a venue that’s intended as an “art” or “craft” show, regardless of whether the show organizer permits it. To me, an art or craft event is strictly for handmade items.
(However, I do make an exception for pendant chains, since I don’t make those but customers do want to buy them – and they understand that I didn’t make the chains.)
Vendors reselling imported goods instead of handcrafted items is also a hot-button issue among artists and crafters. That’s because at many shows, booths filled with manufactured (“buy-sell”) items take business away from neighboring artists and crafters.
So I would keep commercial pieces out of your inventory for “art” or “craft” events, and also whenever other vendors of handmade items are going to be present.
However, you could definitely include the commercial jewelry in your inventory whenever you do home parties, private showings, trunk shows, etc.
I would just be sure to tag or label the items you didn’t make yourself in such a way that customers understand they were made by someone else.
While many people love to buy handmade items directly from the artist, there are also lots of folks who will be perfectly happy to purchase your outsourced pieces simply because they like them.
So I would say go for it – but in the right venues. :o)
See more Jewelry Show Success Tips.
About sharing a booth with other jewelry artist with commercial items
This past weekend I participated in a well attended show that is not designated as “craft” or “art” just a shopping show. It is very large, with over 250 vendors, I accepted the invitation of a jewelry artist friend to split the booth fee with her and another jewelry artist. To my surprise, a big percentage of their items were commercial items, with items priced so low it was hard for my handmade items to compete against them.
I have decided that I will not participate in it next year. However, I was pondering on what bothered me most, after all, my sales were good, albeit more slow than theirs. My conclusion so far is that there are jewelry artist and resellers, some people may be both, and that will be dictated by the reason of why they sell.
Is it merely to make a profit? Or is it to create art with their hands and make a profit as a result of it? Either way, I agree it is best not to sell commercial jewelry at craft shows. At the beginning I did sell bracelets that I had not made (because I do not like making beaded bracelets) but I decided to clearance them out after a while, as I could not guarantee the quality of the work, and if I had returns, it was on those items! and I did not know how to fix them, since they were not handmade for the most part.