Handmade Artists' Blog

4 Reasons You Should Go to Gem and Bead Shows

Passion Handmade lampworkHere are 4 Reasons You Should Go to Gem and Bead Shows, Even if You Don’t Make Jewelry!

If you don’t attend a bead show this season, you could be shortchanging yourself and your business. Even if your craft has nothing to do with beads or gemstones, ideally, you should visit a major show but if you can’t travel to Arizona, there are smaller bead shows all over the country.

Here’s why I believe you must attend a bead show.

Stay up on Trends: Even if you create wearable fiber art or home decor, you need to be  current on  trends in fashion, home and lifestyle. Even if you make vintage crafts, you MUST be up on popular colors and trends. Walking the aisles of a gem show will give you an overview of trends. Did you know there are actually people who make their living deciding what exact hues will be hot each season? You can find the official hot colors for Spring 2013 HERE

Sapphire Handmade Lampwork

Handmade Lampwork by twoglassyladies!

Find Inspiration: I no longer make jewelry, but I get inspired to do other creative projects whenever I walk a bead show. Sometimes I’ll see how an artist combines textiles with gems in an unusual way, or makes beads out of uncommon materials and it gives me new ideas for other crafts. How can an artist see all those colors, textures and shapes without a burst of inspiration?

Be aware of Knockoffs: I use to work a lot in Murano beads, authentic, handmade on the island in Italy. It was at the Tucson gem show that I first saw thousands of vendors selling fake “Murano glass” made in factories in China. To the untrained eye, it looks like the real thing. If didn’t attend mainstream trade shows, I’d have no idea why sales slowed down and people thought the prices of the handmade pieces were outrageous. Learning that there is manufactured, lower priced work out there that looks like your handmade means you need to educate your buyers and be sure your pieces are different enough from the import to warrant the much higher price.

Networking with Artists and Vendors: Bead shows are a great source of connection with artists in different media. There are always vendors other than gems and jewelry. Anywhere artists gather, there’s a high level of creative energy and opportunity to learn from and network with like-minded people. You’ll find new sources for your supplies and make new artsy friends.Organic Red Lampwork

What more reason do you need? Go. Have fun!

Author Terri Belford writes about the business of craft at Craft Biz Blog.com


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