Wednesday, January 05, 2011

American Craft Retailers Expo ACRE - Orlando, Florida

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I'm only a little over two weeks away from attending the wholesale ACRE show in Orlando, Florida.  While I'm still getting some new resin jewelry inventory ready, I started getting my booth planned and mapped out.

Since this is my first time doing the show, I qualified for an "emerging artist" booth.  Even though I have been creating and selling art jewelry since 2001, I only jumped into wholesale a little more than a year ago.  The show is indoors at the Orange County Convention center.  I only have a 10' by 5' booth space (when I do outdoor festivals I have a 10' x 10' space), but the booth comes with almost everything I need.  It will have a counter height table with skirt, chair, cross bar high in the front of the booth (I'll get why that's important) and a trashcan.  Only the first timers get these amenities.  The repeat vendor artists get a larger space, but have to rent these items or bring their own.  (Note to self:  pay attention to what the seasoned attendees do)  I'm grateful the show management took it upon themselves to go ahead and outfit the newbies with these items.  It's a lot less that I have to worry about, and it lets me concentrate on getting the jewelry and supporting materials together.

So as for the booth itself, I will be taking jewelry display materials and signage.  It will look very similar to my art show booth, except I won't need the glass cases.  There aren't near as many people that attend these events, so watching people is usually a lot easier (at least that's what I've been told).  I have also attended wholesale shows as a buyer, not a seller, and I must admit that there is a large mutual trust to leave valuable merchandise within easy viewing and reach.  I have been told by several people that theft is unusual as there is a mutual respect amongst business owners.  Too bad I can't say the same about the art festivals.  (That's another blog post....but let's just say that unfortunately, too much jewelry "sprouts legs" when it's not under glass)

Since it's an indoor show, I need extra lighting.  A few years ago, I bought the art equipment of a jewelry artist I knew who was getting out of the business.  As luck would have it, she sold me her track lighting setup just for cases like this.  It's a long piece with three lights.  I will be attaching this to the extra cross bar across the front of my booth.  I held by breath as I plugged it in, but found out that two of the three lights work.  I'll be getting a replacement for the third one this week (hoping of course that it is only a burned out light bulb).

Friday's project is to get my office supplies and signage ready for potential buyers.

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