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Message: 'Can event organisers live with...' with Replies

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  • Can event organisers live without us? I have been designing and making jewellery for a while but mostly through commissions and private sales, so I am relatively new to this world. And I am astounded by the mixed responses I got from various organisers, who haven't even seen my work. Admittedly (and reassuringly) some are both friendly and professional, like ETES and Oakleighs, others are arrogant and dismissive. They seem to be blissfully unaware of the fact that they would not exist without small crafts people, since the established ones had to start somewhere and the famous ones no longer need them. I have a business background and at one of my first ever job interviews at the grand old age of 22, I was met by an infinitely superior cigar-smoking character, who practically reduced me to tears and clearly enjoyed it. Eight years and a few mergers/acquisitions later, I happened to be on the committee that decided to get rid of him. Those people clearly need to be reminded that they are not doing themselves any favours in the long run, and that there is, after all, such a thing as common politeness and respect of others. The point of this, apart from allowing me to vent my frustration, is to reiterate what has been said in this forum last year, that it would be fantastic to have a guide to organisers from an exhibitor's point of view. I would be delighted to contribute!
    26 Jan '07 - 11.34am
  • Can event organisers live without us, you asked? Answer is NO? But to be blunt, without being personal, they can live without you!
    Why? Because you are one of many thousands of jewellery makers! Unfortunately event organisers can afford to be off-hand or even rude because they get many jewellery applicants for spaces. Why not try telling them your craft is something else? I bet you would notice a difference in their attitude. This is no excuse for rudeness, though. Hopefully, this might help to give you an honest appraisal of the situation.
    Last year BCTF was absolutely full of jeweller designer/makers. However, about a couple of years ago, glass seemed to be the 'in' thing. Ceramics have had their 'time' too. There is no doubt that jewellery is 'the thing' at the moment. Jewellery is really easy to show at a craft event. Not only does it take up little space compared to say ......metal garden ornaments, the seller gets more money per square foot if they sold out. I've experienced both sides of the coin. Trying to sell large metal pieces not only cost me a fortune for extra space at events, I had to transport it, which meant extra insurance cover for trannie. If this wasn't enough I had to unload and reload the heavy items at the event too. Like other exhibitors there was no guarantee that I was going to sell any more than the person who had a bag of jewellery and a six foot space! So, no wonder there are so many people making jewellery and 'bigger' sized crafts are becoming a rare sight at craft events.
    3 Feb '07 - 4.51pm
  • Do event organisers need jewellery makers. Yes, of course we do and we love your work. There is however a plethora of makers (we have 934) at present which does present us with a series of decisions to make: How many stalls will we have and what percentage can be jewellery? Given that jewellery makers are the first to book we have to hope our estimates are correct and that the balance is right for the event - we have not got it wrong yet, but I am sure it will happen one day! Secondly, what mix of jewellery e.g. bead, silver, gemstone, crystal, costume, gold, magnetic, wrapped, wooden, dichroic, recycled, fabric, fun, children, ceramic, glass, metalwork, tiara etc can we have at an event - obviously we can't have one of each as the number of jewellery stalls would be too large. Thirdly, do we take bookings in the order in which they come or do we say no to some and hope to get a different style later? So jewellery makers please do understand that some of us are working with you to maximize your opportunities, and when we say we are full for jewellery we mean it, and yes I know that your jewellery is different, but we are still full. Please do note how difficult it can be for organisers to turn down good money for one more jewellery stall now against the hope of a different craft booking in three months!
    As for the rudeness that some exhibitors have experienced, I find that very sad for two reasons: there IS such a thing as common politeness and respect and there is no excuse for not affording this to everyone. On a more financial level, we have many exhibitors who have moved between crafts - if an organiser annoys them as a jeweller they won't go back as a soap maker/embroiderer/card maker or whatever and they won't recommend the organiser to their colleagues.
    "A guide to organisers from an exhibitor's point" has many good points but a couple of drawbacks as well. An exhibitor's experience of an organiser can be over coloured by poor weather, and by not researching the event prior to booking thus arriving with false expectations (including the wrong town or wrong county, or a jeweller complaining they were next to another jeweller at a jewellery fair). If these can be removed from the mix then let's go ahead. One question, after ceramics, glass and now jewellery does anyone know what the next "in" thing will be?
    All the best
    Oakleigh Fairs
    24 Feb '07 - 12.45pm
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