Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bizarre Bazaar 2011

This was my second year selling at the Bizarre Bazaar in Lawrence, KS. I was told about this event from a fellow artist a couple of years ago. It is not advertised as far as the application goes, yet over 400 people apply for the show every year. It is a first-come, first-serve show. Once you get the application mailing, you have to pop it right back in the mail with your entry fee the same day, as they fill up usually within a couple of days. I am amazed at the quality of artists in this show, especially as it is non-juried, but all items are expected to be hand made by the artist. It is truly a pleasure being surrounded by so many great artists.

Unlike last year, the event was held Friday evening in addition to all day Saturday. Last year I had my two tables set up side by side and only had room for a small stool to sit on - that made for a long day! This year I set them up one in front of the other and added a backdrop. Not only did I have room for two chairs, the backdrop really helped bring attention to my booth.

I also took advantage of the electrical outlets available. The extra lighting makes a world of difference when it comes to jewelry.

Sales were good. Not amazing, "oh-my-gosh I can't believe how much money I made" good, but they were up slightly over last year. I even had a repeat customer from last year search me out to purchase more of my designs. That was the best! I also sold to one of the founding members of the Kansas City Artists Coalition. She purchased almost all of the cuffs I had for sale.

I feel like I am gaining a following. I also feel exhausted. It takes every bit of energy I have to get through these shows because I hate the actual "selling". I don't like standing there talking to people all day. It is simply exhausting. That said, I do love that most people had really good reactions to my collections. That makes the physical and mental exhaustion worth it.

Before doing this show, I had been suffering a severe lack of motivation. A period of "why am I even doing this?"..."do I really like doing this?"..."why isn't it fun any more?"...this show bounced me out of that, somewhat. I am more inspired to create than I was before. It's hard at times to just focus on the creating and not think about the bottom line. However, at the end of the day, if this is going to be a business, it has to make money. I can't survive on simply looking at my pretty creations. I have to SELL them. That can be a tough task in this economy and especially in this field, which is SATURATED with designers, as well as cheap imports.

SO...I am going to spend some time pondering this task...brainstorming...and hopefully coming up with new collections that will blow people's minds.

I don't have any more shows scheduled the remainder of this year, but I do have items listed on etsy, and I will be listing some new creations. I am really looking forward to spending a lot of quality time with family and friends. That is always a great way to re-energize. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Anatomy of an Arts and Crafts Fair Booth

Since I began seriously designing and selling jewelry, I have struggled with the idea of doing outdoor shows. I have heard all of the horror stories of booths getting flooded or blowing away, along with half of the merchandise. However, I have also come to realize these fairs can be an excellent way to get your product in front of the public, and great practice in selling yourself and representing your product.

A few months ago, I decided to take the plunge and began planning my booth design. Of course, being the perfectionist that I am, I looked for hours and hours online, searching for good booth designs that not only looked professional, but caught my eye in particular. If I am going to spend hours upon hours in a 10 x 10 space, it has to be warm and inviting, and it has to all fit in my '98 Nissan Pathfinder.

During my search, I found a really helpful site that covers many aspects of jewelry display, and, lo and behold, I found a compact booth design that blew me away.

This booth is from Patty Lakinsmith, a lampworker who creates amazing glass beads. I absolutely love her use of space in this booth, so I chose to use some of the same elements in my own.

This is my booth design, following some of the lines and features of Lakinsmith's booth. I picked up the same reed fencing at Home Depot and framed the outer edges with some simple black fabric from Hobby Lobby. I splurged on some enlargements of some of my model shots (I used and highly recommend them). The model photos (by Vicki Smith) really capture the feeling of my designs and I think they add an indispensable element of elegance to the booth. The tables I used are 4-foot folding tables from Target. I raised them by sliding longer sections of pvc pipe over the legs.

The corner "table" covered with black fabric is created using two moving boxes from Home Depot, one of them cut down and stacked onto the other to create the height I wanted. The top box has a five pound weight inside to keep it steady.

Of course, the most important items (and perhaps the most boring), are the weights for the four corners of the tent to keep it steady in the wind. The EZ Up tent I purchased on Ebay came with a weight plate for each leg to set weights on, which is very convenient. I researched all sorts of weight options and what worked best for me was 8x8x8 cement cinder blocks, which I filled with cement, anchoring in an upside down u-bolt, which functions as a handle. The finished weights are roughly 35 pounds each. The size is perfect for setting on the weight plates and is not so bulky that it gets in the way.

Thankfully, my husband was sweet enough to help me set up. I admire all of the artists out there that set up their tents without assistance - I don't know how you do it!

Overall, my first official experience at an outdoor fair was a good one. The weather was beautiful with no storms that day or wind. Although sales were slow, I had an almost constant flow of people through my booth that day, received mostly positive feedback, and gave out almost all of my business cards.

Although this event, the Lawrence (KS) Fall Arts and Crafts Festival, was not juried, I think now I am ready to dive in further and apply for the juried shows!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Inspiration from Rodarte

Now that the flurry of activity from the West 18th Street Fashion Show has ended, and I have gotten a small, but necessary hernia surgery out of the way, I have had some time to brainstorm ideas for upcoming collections, and research current trends in the jewelry market. I absolutely love perusing my fashion magazines and surfing the internet, reading about jewelry designers, their perspectives on design, and their paths to success.

Recently, while browsing past issues of fashion magazines, I came upon some jewelry pieces that to me were simply amazing. After further research, I found the designers responsible for these incredible creations: Mark Walsh and Leslie Chin. The pieces I discovered were created for Rodarte. Some of my favorites are pictured here.

Oh, how I wish I could see the pieces in person and hold them, as the workmanship and materials look exquisite! And HOW, I wonder, did they get a screw to appear to go through a crystal when it doesn't? It definitely inspires me to push the envelope in my own work.

I love the pieces shown here because they mirror my own obsession with combining raw and industrial with clean and chic. In my own designs I am constantly experimenting with the clean look of clear resin paired with various metals. I think the combination is breathtaking.

I couldn't find a lot of information about Mark Walsh and Leslie Chin, except that they have been in the fashion field for a long while and have designed with Rodarte for at least four seasons. There is an interesting interview with the design duo here.

I will definitely keep my eyes open for upcoming pieces by this amazing team!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

West Eighteenth Street Fashion Show

Deanna Burasco Designs is honored to be a part of this year's West 18th Street Fashion Show in Kansas City! I will be collaborating with designers Steven Chau and Dominique Karwoski.

Steven and Dominique have some amazing ideas that will take this year's "Summer in Spain" theme to a new level not seen before at this annual event! I cannot wait to incorporate my jewelry designs into their vision!

See more about this event and its history here!