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Old 01-12-2018, 02:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default First show inventory

I was wondering if anyone could guide me as to how many pens and at what price area I should concentrate on for my first show???

Iím guessing about 100 pens with the majority being under the 25 to 30 dollar range.

Youíre guidance would be much appreciated!

Tom
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Old 01-12-2018, 02:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Tom,

I did my first craft shows this past year after several years of not turning. My thoughts were right along with yours and I think it worked out fairly well. My plan was to turn about 100 pens but I think I ended up with about 120ish total. The one difference is I consider the average selling price to be more like $35-40. I'd set out a number of slim lines at about $20 and only sold maybe a couple across three shows. Every market is different though. Bolt actions got the most attention, and sold well. Sierra sized pens typically did well for me. I came close to selling a $120 fountain pen but ultimately I struck out locally with the higher end stuff.

Big thing is working on your display which takes some time.
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Old 01-12-2018, 05:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Thanks so much Mck


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Old 01-12-2018, 08:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Tom - don't know your location, but Tim's comments pretty much parallel my thoughts. I don't do a lot of shows - less than 6 per year. I like 1 day events. Usually juried "art" shows. Some indoors, some outside. I offer more than pens (grinders, ice cream scoops, pizza cutters, keychains, and, more recently, bowls & other turning stuff). But pens are my biggest offering. I bring anywhere from 120 to 180 pens. I display them in 10 pen racks trying to keep 1 style in each rack. Each rack holds 10 pens. I'm in central Michigan. That, and the local economy, dictates prices. The big majority of my pen sales are in the $35-$40 range. But I have less expensive and more expensive pens. Just don't sell as many of them.
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Old 01-12-2018, 08:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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The REAL question is how do you get away with "Go Buckeyes" and live in Michigan... (I'm from Ohio and my wife graduated from App State here in NC, ya know... that school that beat Michigan!)

I found the real stress for the show was making sure I put on a good appearance. That meant contacting a buddy that does marketing materials and having cards made, banner, etc. Then how do you transport stuff to the show? How are you going to display it? Gotta figure out what card reader to use, etc... Turning pens was the easy part. There are a couple threads on here but jewelry supply places sell inexpensive cases/inserts along with rolling bags to help carry stuff. 120 pens are surprisingly heavy when you've got a long walk to your car.

Oh, I also took a few examples of blanks I either had on hand or made from resin and put them next to a sign about taking custom orders. It helps folks to be able to see the material. In fact, in my case I ended up taking 2 orders for "Ohio State" colored resin blanks thanks to that display.
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Old 01-12-2018, 10:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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The type of shows you do will dictate your price point. Craft shows won't command as high a price as juried art shows. The last two responders have given good information about what to make and your displays. Check out UTUBE videos on craft show videos for additional hints you might try to use. Best of luck

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Old 01-12-2018, 10:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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I found that the shows that charged admission fees to buyers were a lot more productive than the free admission shows. I would never sign up for a show if I had not done a good walk through. Watching the people is an education about the show's quality, you can tell if the show has buyers are lookers just by watching the people. Sometimes you can tell just by sitting out in the parking lot, and watching the people as they return to their vehicles. Are they carrying packages? Or is it a case of empty hands? If they do not have packages, sometimes I don't even waste my time going inside and walking through the show.

Another thing I check, is how much local advertising does the promoter do??? A long time operator of a show doesn't have to advertise like the new operators, some of their schedules have been the same for decades. But the new ones, if I don't see advertising, I can almost bet the attendance won't be as good as it should be.
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Old 01-13-2018, 02:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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I moved to Jackson, Michigan from Ohio in ‘77 for a job. I figured maybe 5 years. Well, here it is 40 years later and I’m still here. Truth is, this is a good place to be. If you can take the winters. But the summers are superior. The Ohio State thing can be an annoyance at times but it kind of defines me. Plus 2 of my kids are Michigan Staters - and MSU is very much like Ohio State. Now you know it all (not).
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Old 01-13-2018, 02:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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By the way, most sales are cash. But I have had good results with Square. I include sales tax in my pricing but I add a couple percent if I get a credit card. I used to wrap pens in a towel and put them in a cardboard box for transport. But couple years ago I picked up a Gerstner-style tool box at Harbor Freight. It works very nicely to transport pens. And, yes, it’s a lot of work lugging everything around and setting up and tearing down. You have to want to do it.
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Old 01-22-2018, 01:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Thanks to everyone for your guidance


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