Yesterday, I sold my jewelry at the craft fair held at Temple Beth-El in Patchogue, NY. Well, "sold" is an understatement because I didn't do so well at this venue, which was a bummer.
I participated in this fair last year and did very well. They had a great crowd and I sold many pieces. I also ran into an old college friend. I got to see that friend again, which was nice, but the crowd was unfortunately lacking ... and the sales just didn't happen. I'm not sure why so few people showed up this time because it was held on the same weekend and the weather was beautiful; as always, these things are kind of a crap shoot.
One thing that I did notice is that people seemed to be intimidated by my higher-end pieces. When I did the art fair a few weeks ago, I made sure that my most complex pieces were prominently displayed. The strategy worked because I got a lot of attention and even managed to sell some of my most expensive items.
I did the same thing here, making sure that my stand-out jewelry was right in view of people when they entered the synagogue. I also made sure to include my enamel and wire wrapped hamsa pendant in that group -- after all, it is a Judaic necklace:
People did come by to see those pieces and many did admire the hamsa pendant, but they kind of flinched at my prices -- which honestly, aren't THAT high. I charge $40 for the hamsa, which is almost completely handmade. I explained that I cut out the shape myself from copper sheet metal and covered it with layers of enamel and silver foil... but many people just didn't seem to understand the labor involved. Others did understand and sort of nervously asked me how many hours I spent on a particular necklace. Then they'd be like, "Wow, that's a lot of work!" and not even ask for a price. I guess they figured that with that amount of labor, it would be too high for them? I don't know. If anything, I think I undercharge, but I want my pieces to be affordable. At these fairs, I generally have a range of items priced from $10-$50 or $60 and I give discounts when multiple items are purchased. I don't want to rip off people, but I don't want to rip off myself, either.
Anyway, though my sales didn't go as well as I'd hoped, I did meet a lot of interesting folks. One lady, decked out in orange Halloween gear, came by looking specifically for orange jewelry. I happened to have some orange earrings, but she wanted an orange necklace. Another lady chatted with me for a few minutes and told me about her friend who got ill from working with metal. Okay, then! And one man told me how he once made an enamel pendant during a high school field trip. The kids had a choice of activities in which they could participate and he chose jewelry making because he knew he'd be the only boy. HA! Several of the other jewelry vendors came over to say hello and a couple wanted to try their hands at wire work. One, who makes beautiful glass jewelry, wants me to give her private lessons in making wire pieces. Another asked if I'd sell her my wire earring frames wholesale so that she could attach her own beads to them. It was definitely flattering! I just wish that more people had actually bought stuff.
I'm not sure if I'll do this fair next year. It's a long commute for me and it's not worth it to spend the money on transportation if I don't make it back. I think I need to find more fairs in the city area. Meantime, I'm trying not to be too down. This has been a pretty good year for my jewelry businesses and I really love what I'm doing. Making jewelry makes ME happy and ultimately, that's what matters.