How to Make Lemonade from Jewelry

by Zoraida.
(Patchogue, NY)

My table with just a little light

I just participated in a 2 day show at a Gem & Mineral fair. It was held in a new location this year and space was minimal. There was no AC, it was very hot (indoors) and I only had one, 6ft table. I forgot to bring a fan and a lamp. But what seemed even worse, I was all the way in the back, in a far corner against the wall.

A little dismayed, I thought “nobody is going to find me here, in the back, in the dark”. It could have been worse, at least I wasn’t near the restrooms! There was a fire door next to me that I was afraid to open for a breeze. It might set off an alarm!

I decided to make the best of it, put out my jewelry and put on my best attitude. I called my husband to bring me a lamp, any lamp, and a fan. A standing floor lamp is all I had and a tiny, useless fan.

At least I had a beautiful view

But it was all good in the end, customers found me. A few even joked about my spot sayings things like “Are you being punished for being a bad girl”, “Did you get a better price for this spot?”
One man said “I like this lady, she knows how to make lemonade.”

On the second day, I opened the fire door and had the best breeze and coolest table in the show. I did very well at that show. My favorite return customers all found me and had special orders to fill as well.

Beads and cabs I bought at the show

So despite my humble display, not great lighting, less than wonderful location and ventilation, it was the jewelry and attitude that made the sales.

Zoraida Jewelry
Zoraida Jewelry at Artfire

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  • Dita says:

    Zoraida, Your work is so beautiful people will find you. Sure you made lemonade out of …. Dita.

  • Elena says:

    Hi Zoraida,
    I LOVE your wirework, your pieces are so beautiful and elegant that you would sell even from inside the brooms cupboard!!! As for being located near the restrooms, it’s not that bad (exception made for the smell maybe) after all is the most visited spot of every fair… 😉

  • Deborah Leon says:

    Boy a great attitude will certainly take you a long way particularly on a bloody hot day. If you’re hot your potential clients are hot. Good job persevering!!

    A little trick that’s always helped me draw people in is I have a plastic water dispenser at the end of my table with mini throw away cups for a bit of refreshment…I’m sure you’ve seen them, about 2 gallons and they set in pretty stands. No matter where you are situated this will always set you apart. Good luck.

    Fair Winds and Calm Seas,
    Deborah Leon

  • Pam says:

    This is so true! Our town has a bi-annual yard sale at the small carnival grounds, and this year had a lot of stuff to sell, so we actually rented two 12×20 spaces with two canopies, and at the last minute, since I was going to be there all day anyway, I decided to set up my jewelry display in part of one, amidst household castoffs, since the family would be there and it would be a way to spend time together, whether I had sales or not. I must admit I was nervous about mixing my jewelry in with the brik-a-brac and didn’t expect much when most shoppers were looking for $2 bargains.

    As it turned out, being the ONLY vendor with handmade jewelry turned out to be a boon! My first customer was a gentleman who bought THREE of my wire crochet necklace/earring sets! This was a $157 sale. Our location was right on the entrance road, and I had my “old” banner with me, having replaced the main one. Though it didn’t match my new branding, I hung that haphazardly on the outside of the canopy wall, on the road side (swiped from our household table) which let people know that among the old glassware and used clothing/toys, there was this ONE vendor selling handmade jewelry. Way to avoid competition! It was a fun day with my family, and I will never again discount the possibilities of taking a last minute impromptu chance on an unlikely venue! (Also, the fee was only $35)

  • Dennise says:

    Attitude sells, that is a good attitude. That space could have made you grumpy but you chose to be happy. It’s a great mantra when heading to shows…

  • Zoraida, I have admired your work for a while and have several of your tutorials. You could be in a dark dingy dungeon and people would seek you out just to see and purchase your amazing work. You, my dear, are a headliner.

  • Diane says:

    Ditto Cyreathia! A headliner is what you are, Zoraida! Your work stands out in a crowd!

  • carole says:

    Zoraida, I love your attitude! What a difference it can make our customers..I like that you took charge, made the best of it and had a great show!!

  • Nancy says:

    What a great attitude! No wonder people bought from you! You sold more than jewelry, which is what we should all aim for. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pamela says:

    Your table looks wonderful! I like how you have jewelry already boxed and ready to go. It’s a nice touch.

  • I am so glad this worked out for you! I have done several inexpensive shows and have been out in corners or the back or right next to another jewelry artist!! I made do with the situation, loved seeing my regulars, people in my town and new customers.

  • Nancy Bailey says:

    Hi Zoraida,
    Your work is beautiful, and you turned a not-so-good spot into a great spot…good for you! We do a lot of gem and mineral shows with our work and know how important it is to try and get a good spot. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way and you have to compensate and turn it into a positive experience which you did beautifully! Great story! :))

  • Nancy Keane says:

    Way to go!

    I was in a show where the ONLY thing that sold in the entire show were bake sales items. Seriously! I considered entering that show the next year and advertising $50 brownies with a free pair of earrings included in each sale!

  • LOL Nancy! 🙂

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