Today I’m sharing in complete detail my case study! All the numbers, the timeline, everything exposed. To get you up to date, I’ve include a brief timeline to kick off…
In 2013 I was plodding along in life, lost – workwise because I didn’t know what I would do if I wasn’t an accountant. Until I unexpectedly received an email from the Sydney RAW Artists showcase director inviting me to take part in their premiere showcase coming up in July. At first I was a bit sceptical – but I did some googling and found out that RAW artists was an organisation based in the USA with the aim of helping emerging artists gain exposure through showcases. It looked pretty established in the US and in the email it had explained that it was expanding into Australia so the story looked like it checked out and was legit. So a couple of emails back and forth, a phone call and 2 days later, I was in!
I had about 3 months to prepare and I had never done a showcase, craft fair, craft show, market, design market (whatever you want to call it). All I had was a few years experience in retail sales and a vision of what I hoped my stall would look like. I had a very particular look in mind and I knew I wanted something custom built. I didn’t want to spend tonnes of money, because this was the first time I was stepping into deeper waters with my jewellery hobby and as I was still working full time (read: slaving away) at my accounting job, I realistically only had weekends to build everything.
As an accountant I had next to no experience using power tools or any tools of any sort, so I sought the help of an architecture friend to help me bring the stall to life. I needed tables and jewellery displays built. I envisioned my brand to have an edgy and industrial aesthetic – so there came the idea to build shipping pallet tables.
To potentially save some time we had to idea to repurpose an existing shipping pallet, sand it down, stain in but I discovered that shopping pallets often have absorbed harmful chemicals especially if they used in transporting industrial products, not to mention rat pee and other bug poop.
So having to cross out that path, it was back to square one. So onto the hardware shop we went (4+ times!) We measured existing shipping pallets at the hardware store for a size reference and bought all the wooden planks, nails, sand paper, screws, drill bits, wood stain, paintbrushes, 4x table legs and got to work.
My dad had a circular saw, hand drill and basic hand tools, I borrowed my uncle’s sander and my friend had wooden saw horses. We (read: my friend) cut everything to size and it was a matter of sanding it, trying to stain the wood evenly, before we hammered it together and screwed the legs in.
Then came the necklace stands. There was A LOT of design and research involved – going back and forth between many many choices, but in the end simple is always best. I also decided it would be a nice contrast to leave them in the natural wooden tone rather than stain it the same colour so it stands out. We made a series of tall ones (for longer necklaces) and shorter stands too for a total of 12. Not to mention a lightbox (that my friend convinced me to make at the last minute – and we bought a router especially that we’ve never used since haha) that is essentially a box with some LEDs that lights up my logo for my business, pretty swanky huh? And ALL this over the course of about 5 weekends.
Lightbox LEDS, 49.99
Bunnings trip 1, 182.67
Bunnings trip 2, 30.34
Bunnings trip 3, 136.19
Bunnings trip 4, 39
Extra wood (jewelry stands), 27.05
Extra wood (light box), 25
Here’s a breakdown of the costs of building my entire display. $641 might sound like a lot – but I made the costs of this back AND some more on the 1 night of my showcase. I’ve continued to use pretty much this exact set up since (but for some minor improvements – but the main fixtures are still the same) for many more fairs and markets since and have made this investment back, many many times over. If you have a strong vision and you know exactly the look you want that best represents your brand, don’t be afraid of spending a bit more on your display! But even if you’re not sure in the beginning, just stick to some basics and JUST GET STARTED! You can always change your mind, your brand will constantly be evolving – it’s natural to!
On weeknights, I made extra stock. I wasn’t sure exactly how much, but I decided on an arbitrary number of 5 for most designs (I had some one of a kind pieces), bought extra packaging, printed business cards, organised and packed all of these into plastic tubs and when the night came (27.6.13) packed it all into the car and off we went!
I enlisted the help of 2 friends and my sister on the night to act as assistants. I gave them some training about the materials and styles of my jewellery and requested they wear a black dress and model a body chain for the night – a daring statement piece designed to attract attention and curiosity (which was what it did exactly!)
With the stall finally all set up, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Some friends who were coming had texted me to say that there was a “huge line” outside. I didn’t know exactly how ‘huge’, huge meant so I attempted to quickly shovel down some food just before the doors opened and the flood of people who entered was C-R-A-Z-Y! (It must’ve been well and truly a hugeeeee line.)
It was non-stop talking to people and a constant stream of sales the entire time! It was so busy, I needed to enlist the help of my parents to start a little packaging production line set up, because my helpers and I were constantly talking to people!
I sold 23 items for a total of $1495.
For a total profit of $854. That’s not bad for about 3-4 hours that the showcase was officially on for eh? I had never sold my own jewellery face to face at a live event before. The only online sales I had made at that point were only to friends and family. But just from drawing on some help from my existing network and using the existing skills I had, and putting myself in front of opportunity – I achieved something pretty amazing which was pivotal to changing the course of my life.
Since then I’ve exhibited with Etsy as part of the L’Oreal Fashion Festival in Melbourne, been a finalist for the Etsy Design Awards, received numerous national press mentions and I’ve gone on to consistently make multiple 4-figure incomes for craft shows and design markets I’ve done.
All this is not a fluke or chance or luck.
It was through years of trial and error, experimentation – and now I’ve packaged it all up into a specific system – a powerful system you can get the keys to – so you can turbo charge your business and start designing and living the creative life you desire!
What would it mean to you to have:
- A more flexible schedule to spend more time with friends and family?
- More disposable income to do the things you enjoy and live the life you desire?
- Spending time feeling creatively fulfilled and satisfied knowing you are carrying out what you’re supposed to be doing?
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