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Gathering of the Guilds

Every year the Gathering of the Guilds is such a fantastic show to be a part of. Every year I do so much work to get ready, creating inventory, making sure I have enough business cards, jewelry displays, enough silver for last minute pendants, getting all the pricing figured out and on stickers. Having cash on hand and finding the paypal reader each year. Trucking all the stuff down to the Convention Center, setting up, adjusting everything just so. Figuring out what to wear to look like a welcoming, interesting artist and human.

Every year I walk in thinking “Well, if I make what I made last year, I will be happy. Even if it drops by a little bit, with the economy and everything, it’s all good.” And every year I show up and it works out just fine, with a little bump. This year, I was concerned about sales because for the first time in the seven years I have done the show, the guild was not allowed to do open torch demos at the show. Without playing with fire in front of an audience, I felt less customers would wander over to my booth. And demonstrating how I make beads is SO much fun for me at shows, talking to people and letting them experience how it’s done.

The fire marshal said no this year, so….

But it didn’t make a difference to my bottom line that I could see, in the end. Sales were still up over last year, even with no torching available for eager learners and curiosity seekers. I had some new designs with me that were well-received, with lots of comments, which I appreciate. I really like knowing customer preferences and what they think looks best with a particular style of bead or work.

It is a three-day show, and very busy, with Friday being an 11 hour day of the show being open, plus 2 hours or so getting final setup ready in the morning. Exhausting. But a great feeling, coming home totally wiped out, sitting down with a book and a drink. A foot massage would have made it perfect. But a purring kitty on my lap was a very close second.