Q: I’m frustrated by local show promoters who lure me in with promises that the show is a jewelry show, but when I get to the show itself to set up my jewelry booth, there are people selling everything from homemade soaps to bird feeders. Some even have a flea-market atmosphere. Definitely NOT the right place for my jewelry. What can I do to avoid getting involved in a show that’s promoted as a jewelry show, but really isn’t?

A: I know how frustrating this can be.

You are not alone in coping with this problem. Here are some things you can do to ensure a good fit between you and the show:

  • Check the promoter out with the local Better Business Bureau. They don’t have to be a member to have a history with the BBB. See if there have been recent complaints for deceptive business practices.
  • Ask for ads and other promotional materials that they used the last time they promoted that show. If they won’t supply them, don’t do business with them.
  • Avoid first-time shows. The first run of a show is often when the promoter is trying to get the “kinks” out of their processes. Also, they may be more likely to take last-minute booth reservations from sellers who are only tangentially (or completely unrelated) to the theme of the show.
  • Ask for the prior year’s show directory. That will tell you immediately what kind of show it was. If it actually is a jewelry only show (or jewelry and related accessories) call vendors from the prior year to see what they thought of the show.
  • Know your own price points, and verify that those price points are a good fit for the show. You don’t want to be the most expensive seller, or the least expensive. You want to be right there in the middle.
  • Make sure handcrafted jewelry is the main attraction. The economics of manufactured jewelry are quite different than artisan jewelry. The show should consist mainly of one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry.