My Take on Tucson – Part III – Presentation

Twisted Foiled FocalWhile I have some work to do on my display and lighting (I’m getting there) I noticed something that should have been obvious.  Display matters.  I have seen everything from beads set out on just a black table cloth to elaborate stands and bins.  I’ve found that it’s very important for people to be able to pick up and touch the beads and for them to not be displayed in a way that prohibits that.  I’ve displayed in awesome wooden cases that have the beads either on horizontal mandrels or upright pegs and I could see people wanting to touch them but also not wanting to disturb the display.  Sales were not good with that set up.

This year, as at the Fall Tucson show I had black jewelers trays with the velvet-like padded inserts and they worked great.  The only drawback at this show was that for one, it was rainy for a little bit and the moisture in the air caused the inserts that were backed with cardboard to warp…and that didn’t look too good. Second, my beads had some raised designs and by the end of the five days they were leaving an impression on the velvet-like material.  That didn’t look good either.  Also, I like to have the trays propped up a little bit for easier viewing and I didn’t allow for the fact that my beads were bigger this year so they wanted to continually slide down the slope.

BUT.  People could pick them up.  And they did.  And they sold.  A lot.  So, part of my goal was accomplished…make the beads easy to access and fondle.

Second, even though my display trays were neat, the groupings of the beads made a difference.  I had one tray of my Monet beads, two of my Stitched beads, one of Brights and a couple others with misc. beads.  The beads that sold the best were the Stitched and the Monets (and the brights on the first day).  While you might think that it was because those were my best designs, I would have to agree.  BUT.  I noticed that the nice, organized displays of a body of work (i.e., beads that are in groupings) caught people’s eyes more than a tray of miscellaneous beads that had no relation to each other.  Also, my best brights that were grouped like that sold out in the first day.  I had other brights that were left and I put them out and they were so busy looking that people looked right over them.  So, simple, neat and crisp was best for me.

I had a lot more inventory than could fit on my table so I also made sure there was a little room on the edge of my table so that I could pull out organized trays of additional beads if I saw someone was really interested in a style.  People seemed to really like that.

Another thing that I think helped (since my lighting wasn’t as bright as I would have liked it) was to polish my beads every day.  You’d be surprised how many fingerprints they get and how that can really distract from the beauty of a piece.  Also, while I was at it, I lint brushed the trays and table.  It just made things look more crisp and hey, what else do we have to do when we’re slow in the morning?

One last thing…many people like rice and beans for displaying beads.  It’s easy and disposable and it keeps the beads from rolling around.  I tried that at a couple of my shows and have decided against it. Why?  I feel that the grain and scale of the rice and beans competes with my designs.  It’s like taking a photograph on a busy background.  But that’s just my opinion.  Sand looks nice but I would vote against it at an outdoor show where things might be dewey in the morning and have condensation.

We’ll see what I come up with for the next show…I have some ideas.