Yes, I know this sounds like crazy advise, but even if the art you create has nothing to do with beads, gemstones or precious metal, you are shortchanging yourself and your business if you don’t attend a bead show this season. Ideally, you should visit a major show like the Tucson Gem Shows, but if you can’t travel to Arizona, there are likely smaller bead shows within a few hours of your home.
Here’s why you must attend a bead show.
Even though I no longer make jewelry, I get inspired to do other creative projects every time I walk a bead show. You can’t see all those colors, textures and shapes without a burst of new ideas.
Whether you create sculpture, wearable fiber art or wall art, you need to be current on trends and any trade show will give you an overview of what’s happening in fashion, home and lifestyle. Even if you make vintage crafts, you MUST be up on popular colors and trends.
Original VS Knockoff:
For years I sold venetian art glass and beads handmade on the island of Murano in Italy. If I didn’t attend mainstream tradeshows, I’d have no idea that thousands of vendors now sell “Murano glass” which is factory made in China and looks to the untrained eye like the real thing. I wouldn’t have known why sales slowed down and people thought the prices of the handmade pieces were outrageous. Learning that what you sell is now knocked off for a much lower price doesn’t mean you should stop making that item, only that you must be sure your pieces are different enough from the import to warrant the much higher price. And, you should make sure that you or anyone wearing or selling your work knows your personal story and why your work is special and commands a higher price.
Bead shows are also a source of connection with other artists in different media. I’ve never attended a bead show that didn’t include vendors other than gems and jewelry. As is the case anywhere you assemble artists, you’ll find a high level of creative energy and opportunity to learn and network with like-minded people. And if those aren’t reasons enough, you’ll have good, clean FUN. Go play.