Monday, October 3, 2016

Lessons Learned at the Georgia Marble Festival...

This past weekend I was a vendor at the Georgia Marble Festival in Jasper, GA.  Jasper is a small town in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain Range.  Most of the early industry revolved around the marble industry.  For decades Georgia Marble has been mined and used to create historic architecture around the world, including the Archives Building in Atlanta, the New York Stock Exchange, the Supreme Court, and the Lincoln Memorial to name a few. The marble is also used for tombstones for the United States Military at Arlington National Cemetery. Most of the marble is white, but there is also very rare pink marble. It is one of the few places in the world where pink marble is found. The town of Jasper celebrates it's marble heritage the first weekend in October each year.

Georgia Marble Festival
With my granddaughters Jade (13) and Aidia (14) at the Georgia Marble Festival
I was selling my handmade jewelry at the festival; the things I learned as a vendor at this festival (my second festival since retiring)....

1. The quality of handmade items at this festival was lower end; my jewelry was expensive in comparison with other artists work.  Having never been to this festival before, I did not know this when I applied to be a vendor.

2.  The festival also allowed "retail" vendors to set-up in amongst the artists. The retail vendors were selling mass produced jewelry at less than half the cost of my handmade items. The jewelry was rubbish, but it was shiny stuff that attracted the low end buyers. Lesson learned... I will never sell at another show that allows retail vendors, only shows that are promoting handmade artists.

3.  Inflatable Bouncy Houses = bad artistic vibe. I learned from other artists that a large children's area is not good for sales.  The majority of families are visiting the festival to amuse the kids, not to purchase handmade items.

4.  I need to work on a better way to pack-up my jewelry, individual ziploc bags was tedious and after a full weekend of working the festival I was tired and not happy with the time and effort it took to tear down my booth.  Any suggestions?

I did get to network with other artists and got some great suggestions for future festivals. Overall the festival was a great learning experience and I did make a larger profit  compared to the last festival. I'm pleased with my results, but I will not be joining this festival again next year. 

Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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