Monday, November 29, 2010

I made 12 in 26 minutes, how about you?

What one item do you need to have in your Craft Show booth as you are finishing out the year? I think you need a whole lot of Simple Earrings.

Yeah, that's right, Simple Earrings.

Are you gearing up for the last few shows of the season? If you are wondering how you'll get enough inventory made for this weekend, and maybe next, may I suggest the humble Simple Earring. Put a bead or two, or maybe a bead and a bead cap, onto a head pin and attach that to an ear wire. Voila! You can make many,  many pairs using the materials you have in your studio RIGHT NOW. You can use up a lot of those beads you have had for years. All those quick little earrings will sell for a nice price and you'll be happy to have them at your show. Yes, I know most of your work is much more complicated. Yes, I know you generally sell items for $92, not $9-12. That is why you need these earrings.

1. They are easy, one-size-fits-all gifts.
2. They use supplies you probably already have in your studio.
3. They are low stress. Put on your favorite music and lay out your beads and see how many you can make in half an hour. Now do that every day this week.

Really, what more could you want? One of my all-time best sellers has always been a simple earring made of one vintage bead (per ear) on a head pin attached to a lever back ear wire. That's it. Nothing fancy, but oh-so-wearable and seriously, they sell all day long. Yes, I know this doesn't challenge you as a designer and artist. That's not why you'll make these earrings. You'll make them to sell. I always called this type of item my Lunch Money (or Drink Money!) at shows. In reality, it often should have been called Booth Fees. Folks would stop at the booth, begin looking at the pretty and inexpensive earrings and then end up with three pairs of earrings, a fancier bracelet or two and one show-stopper necklace. Or they'd just crowd around the earrings, creating activity and interest in the booth and other folks would stop and buy something.

I was inspired to write this after reading this post by Shannon LeVart at Art Bead Scene. While I don't agree with her calling these items 'Loss Leaders' I do agree with her characterization about how you should design and sell them. Sorry, Shannon, I've been in retail too long to call anything that makes a profit a 'Loss Leader'! For everyone out there who's not a retail-geek, usually the term Loss Leader refers to an item a retailer sells at wholesale or less than wholesale cost to drive store traffic. If you are old enough to remember the concept of $0.99 listings on ebay you will know what I am talking about.

Okay, are you inspired? Here is a page with several of my simple earring kits, if you need to see more. Or just look at that photo above (it's bad, I know, I was too busy making earrings!)