Emily Wickersham modeling our turquoise leather necklace- we can make it for you in almost any color.
My website just got a new look! Take a peek at www.pamolderdesigns.com.We have more featured items on our home page for an improved shopping experience and a carousel sporting more pictures AND our model, star of NCIS, Emily Wickersham!
We have also added a new secure check-out.
All just in time for the holidays- handcrafted jewelry with a contemporary twist and quality guaranteed. And if you order now take 15% off your entire order! Use Promo THANKS and thank you!
Getting ready for a trade show can be daunting, especially for the first time jewelry designer exhibitor. My company, Pam Older Designs was at the August 2011 New York International Gift Show at the Javits Center so I have some recent experiences and advice on how to do a major trade show. I started out doing a few smaller regional shows before hitting NY. It gave me an invaluable introduction to the process. My booth design has evolved and improved over time and yours will too.
I hope this makes it easier for you to set up your handmade jewelry booth.
It’s all about your product. If you have a good product priced competitively you will sell! Sometimes it takes a few shows for people to start to really recognize what you have. Other times you could be a hit right away, don’t get discourged, it’s a marathon not a sprint. Develop a color story for your products a couple of months prior to your show and make your samples. I find that seasonal collections are essential for jewelry and apparel, but sometimes you have customers from different climates, so don’t omit your prettiest styles just because they are not in season. A month ahead of the show, get all your samples labeled with wholesale prices and style numbers. Put them all in plastic bags to bring to the show and resist the urge to start taking them out! For me this is the most time consuming part- once I get it the jewelry packed I feel I am ready to deal with the rest of the many details, but at least the design and manufacturing is complete.
Start sending promotional emails to your customers telling them your show and booth location many months prior to the show! Closer to show time you should offer an incentive for them to come see you. Perhaps a few show specials or a discount for an order over a set amount. Of course you should be using Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic all through the year. This year I id a video for FB showing us setting up the booth- from unpacking and setting up to the final booth ready and open for business.
Arrange for extra help to help you set up the day before the show and someone to help man the booth during the show. It’s hard work, don’t think you are lazy! Two people for a small booth is not overkill. Just don’t crowd your customers. Pre-register online and eliminate the time spent on getting badges the day of the show. Usually you will also need to get a badge for your set up crew if you have movers.
Design your booth and lay it out to scale in your garage or living room so you can see if it is going to work in your booth space. Stick to a style and color scheme , consider light weight and folding shelving, pedestals and tables. You will regret heavy items or things that are not compact, especially if you are planning to pack and move it along with your merchandise and displays. Walk the show before your actually exhibit there to get ideas of how you would like your space to look. Pay attention to the various sections – for instance the NY Gift Show has Personal Accessories, Handmade, NY’s Newest and other sections where you might be placed- or that you can choose from.
Lighting jewelry is vastly important – so figure that aspect out ahead of time. I always have a track light for my booth plus additional lighting to shine on all the surfaces. Pay for additional lighting or wattage if you think you will exceed the minimum feed. This time I signed up for electricity and brought my designer lamps. I found I did not need to buy any additional track lighting due to the convention center’s placement of overhead lighting. I was lucky, it doesn’t usually work out so well, but from now on I will wait until I see the actual booth space and the light. You may be able to save 100.00-200.00 if you do not need to order additional lighting. Most shows do not provide light- so make sure you check out the details. Lighting is paramount.
I display my earrings on upright racks to save space, and highlight my best pieces on necklace busts, T stands, and bracelet stands. Risers can double your space! Mirrors or natural stones look great as a backdrop for tabletop displays as well. I pin some of my pieces on padded canvases that I put in pretty silver frames and hang them for hooks secured on the booth frames for interest. They work especially well for long necklaces. Look for unusual display ideas – a good place to find the is at discount stores or online. Get your signage ready- you are going to need a vibrant banner or poster with your company name and logo and images- that will pull people into your booth. I pack all my displays, table coverings, frames, scissors, tarp, clamps and other assorted items in large rolling suitcases. If you have room in your car a folding dolly is indispensable.
You will need a minimum of two people to transport all of your things to the show AND into your booth. Arrange for that person to come at the show’s end to help move back as well. SOmeone usually has to stay with the vehicle while you are unloading and then you will be required to move the vehicle. Usually you can avoid expensive freight charges if you have a large vehicle, a dolly and a strong mover – all of which will make the process go faster! Some shows include drayage and packing in fact it is often part of your booth fee. This means you can unload your vehicle at a loading dock and get it brought to your booth on a skid. A large show may take a bit longer using this method, but it works for a small show. Sometimes it may take a little longer (you have to wait for them to bring out your containers) but you can do it without as much heavy lifting and carrying items to and from your vehicle.
The week before the show assemble everything in one place. Pack all your jewelry displays, branches, vases, magazine clips, signage, table coverings, sheets for covering the tables at night and a big tarp to close off the front of your booth- using clamps to close it up. Also bring fishing line to hang things, extra price tags and business cards, fine point sharpies, calculators, order sheets, and chargers for your phone and computer. I have a check list that I refer to for each show:
comfortable shoes to change into after the show
water bottles and candy (for you and your customers!)
extra chair (the show usually provides one but you may need an extra)
Computer and phone
Chargers for your electronics
email sign-in book
Brochures or promo materials
Business Cards/resale tax number
folding tables or pedestals
Checks for things you might buy at the show!!
hooks and hangers, double faced tape
plastic bags for jewelry or your jewelry cases when you are ready to pack it all up
Candy for customers
organizing boxes to store things under your tables.
Plastic bags for packing up orders prior to packing up.
Your Jewelry (if you can believe it, I forgot mine once and had to have someone take the train 3hrs to bring it me!)
Ok- your’re finished. Allow a 4-6 hours minimum to set it up so that it all works! Cover everything up, seal your booth with your tarp and go get a good night’s sleep!
The next day get up much earlier than you would like, get a cup of coffee, open your booth, take a deep breath, smile and start selling! Good luck!
Here’s the recipe for a great weekend in New York City! Choose a gorgeous day to take a very early walk on the High Line, have brunch at Good Enough to eat on the Upper Westside and then go to see the Cindy Sherman show at MOMO. Dinner at the adorable West Village restaurant the Owl. At some point- off hours, or you won’t get in, sneak in to the best ramen joint in NYC- Totto in Hell’s Kitchen. Before you head home finish it up with a walk up to Zabars, stopping at a cafe to watch humanity stroll by! More time? get a ticket to a matinee and leave feeling like you got a real taste of the city- till next time! What to wear- I wore this pretty Pam Older Designs one of a kind necklace made from tanzanite, mandarin garnets and rutilated quartz .
Last February, I went to Northern India and Nepal and stopped in Jaipur to visit my friends Nidhi and Ranjan at their home and stone cutting factory. Nidhi and I connected right away in person as we had gotten to know each other through our extensive email correspondence over the years. We had gone through a divorce (mine) and a death of a loved one (hers) and she was my Indian Sister as soon as we hugged each other at the airport. They met me with roses and gifts and I was overjoyed to finally be meeting her and Ranjan. Later I met their two children and his parents and was shown how their 8 year old son could preform complex mathematics using an abacus. Two feasts were prepared in my honor. The second could not be served because I was still so full from the first one and from the mid morning samosas & chai, one of the culinary highlights of my life. I was so sorry, they had gone to such extreme measures to prepare, but I could not possibly eat another bite! After our meal, more gifts were bestowed- a lovely book on India and a traditional painting adorned with stones.
After our meal Ranjan and his number two man brought in satchel upon satchel of beads for me to look at and buy for my handmade jewelry business. They had called in their local bead contacts who sent in valise after valise of bead strands for me to inspect and buy. I bought rubies, chalcedony, apatite, citrine, and my favorite- tanzanite. One of my new handcrafted hoop earring designs for the Sundance Catalog features these stones- take a look http://www.sundancecatalog.com/product/code/56585.do!
After the buying was done, I met the men that cut the premium calipered semiprecious stones that I order for my creations! The crew was so kind – they came in on a holiday to meet me and to show me the sorting, cutting and polishing process that goes into their work. Here is a picture of the small room where they work the top floor of a residential building (Ranjan and Nidhi live below on two floors and renters below that). The center core of the building is open to the sky and on that day we got a wet. Outside were cows and camels and a man taking a bath in a bucket. This is still Jaipur in 2012. Go to http://www.pamolderdesigns.com/lemon-filagree-drops/ for an example of the beautiful lemon quartz briolettes they made for us.
Setting up a handmade jewelry business involves some things you might not even consider, in fact you may be surprised to find yourself spending most of your time in activities somewhat unrelated to making handmade earrings and necklaces! I think this post may be one of many delving into this topic.
Without question you will be spending time selling your wares. If you are going to be successful, it means selling a lot and keeping your costs under control. Resisting all those gorgeous stones and materials is difficult for us at Pam Older Designs, and it will be for you too, but of course an artists needs materials to create. However, selling is key and you must be creative about how and where you sell to maximize your efforts and diligent about selling all the time. If you are just starting out you will probably start selling to your friends, local shops and exhibiting at local crafts shows. Try to find venues where you do not have to pay too much to make those sales. As your business grows, pay attention to trade shows that cater to galleries, museum gift stores and boutiques. In the New York area, January means shows where buyers are already buying for Spring. Christmas jewelry buyers start in August! Preparation for these shows like the Buyers Market of American Craft or the New York Gift Show start just as your Christmas and Spring peak selling times end.
The single most important thing you need is a camera, proficiency in taking good clear pictures and the ability to retouch images. These are advantages you cannot underestimate. You will need to save images for print, email, your website and promotional opportunities. Eventually you may have a catalog or line sheets. Start photographing- or have someone do it for you to save time. You will need a library of shots saved at hi resolution for print and low resolution for the web. Marketing never stops? I have spent more time taking pictures and photo re-touching than I would ever have imagined. Good photography is an absolute necessity and the sooner you have it the easier it will be for you to get the word out about your business!
What to buy on my website? Try this gorgeous necklace that will add bling to anything you wear!
Your dream wedding- an exquisite bridal gown, a gracious venue and your gorgeous bridal party dressed in their dresses and smiles! Where do you go for the perfect bridal jewelry? As a jewelry designer I have access to stones in every color of the rainbow, gold or silver and the creativity to make your jewelry dreams come true. If it’s diamonds in platinum or a simple silver necklace, Pam Older Designs can make handcrafted bridal jewelry the way you envision it- customized to the women you are giving it to.
Pam Older Designs offers customized jewelry for brides, bridesmaids and flower girls. Select from existing styles or collaborate with us on designs for handmade earrings and necklaces that will enhance your wedding. Send us pictures of your dresses, swatches of fabric and other materials that you would like to us to use as inspiration. Our semiprecious stones will flatter your wedding party and make unique gifts.
Like most brides these days, you are most likely looking for jewelry that accents the colors of the dresses you have chosen for your bridal party. The semiprecious stone earrings and necklaces we make for them will become a cherished gift – a personal thank you for being part of your wedding day. Pam Older Designs has worked with many brides to design their perfect bridal jewelry. Westchester Weddings and Bridal Guide Magazine both featured my handmade jewelry! One of my favorite pictures in The Bridal Guide is a long coral necklace they used in a destination wedding article.
Color is big right now and many of my designs on http://www.pamolderdesigns.com work for wedding jewelry. I adore working with brides to custom make artisan wedding jewelry. Just give us some notice so we can work with you to find the most gorgeous materials available. I truly lovve making beautiful bridal jewelry – its my way of making a meaningful contribution to all the beautiful brides on their wedding day!
I just met with a writer named Mary Shustack. I had met Mary 7 years ago when she interviewed me for an article about Westchester jewelry designers exhibiting at The New York Gift Show. Mary called me for a new article that just came out in the December 2011 WAG. The new piece is about Westchester and Southern Connecticut residents who are passionate about what they do. I am honored that she included me in the mix!
The WAG is under new ownership whose goal is to increase readership by expanding coverage of local news and personalities, making it more of a consumer magazine. The magazine is available at retail locations in Westchester and Southern Connecticut. Click here to read the article and thanks Mary! A small handmade jewelry business is grateful for publicity!
We are going to be at St Johns Holiday Bazaar this Sat. Nov. 19th from 10-3pm. This has become a wonderful tradition for me, seeing all my friends and neighbors and helping them choose gifts! Please come out and come early and get the best of the used books, toys, sports equipment and the best white elephant items offered in Larchmont! Come and bring the family for a great time and– let’s not forget the delicious home cooked chili and scrumptious Pam Older handmade earrings and necklaces!
The Daily Muse and Saatchi & Saatchi are sponsoring SheMakes, a holiday pop-up festival in NYC to celebrate women who create. Pam Older Designs will be attending this unique holiday event with a special line of beautiful necklaces created just for holiday giving. Please come support all 30+ female designers and entrepreneurs! From artists to food entrepreneurs, the event is to help holiday shoppers discover emerging talent and find unique gifts from female- lead companies. The pop-up festival will be held on Dec. 3rd, 12-5 pm, at Saatchi & Saatchi, 375 Hudson St., NYC.
These sparkly necklaces are just waiting for a party! The short briolette necklace is tourmaline & pink topaz, a gorgeous mix of stones is $350.00.
The sparkling vermeil (silver with 22k gold microplate) pendant on a long nugget chain can be worn long or doubled, without a pendant, as versatile as it gets at $650.00. The circular pendant is set with white topaz replacing the diamonds I used in a more serious 18k pendant sold through the Sundance Catalog for $6,000.00! My friend tried it on with a beige cashmere sweater and it looks elegant! These are both limited edition items. If you are interested email me at Pamolder@mac.com! http://www.pamolderdesigns.com/lemon-quartz-ruffle/
Remember back when we were in the third grade and had an obsession with EZ 2 Do? We loved designing our own bracelets, necklaces, rings, and earrings. We’d spend endless hours at sleepovers, tediously crafting our very own jewelry collections (usually of the gaudy “gemstone” or beaded variety) — and, of course, embellishing any piece of fabric we owned with our trusty BeDazzler (I think I even tried to BeDazzle a pair of satin leggings … what’s worse, that I did this, or that I owned a pair of satin leggings?). Then there was lanyard (also known as Boondoggle or gimp) — yards and yards of the plastic lace, in a vast rainbow of insanely bright colors, which we used to create bracelets, key chains, and other vibrant accessories. And you can’t forget that huge pink caboodle, filled with thousands of tiny, sparkly beads and elastic thread. I even recall a few of my über-crafty friends using their Easy-Bake Oven to manufacture their own clay beads. Weren’t we always so proud of our jewelry? Our colorful little bracelets were truly an expression of ourselves — a representation, if you will. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t a very talented jeweler — at all, now that I think about it.)
Anyhow, the point is, I was accessories shopping this past Monday and couldn’t help but notice how utterly mainstream everything appeared. It looked as if there was one giant fashion house designing all of our jewelry (and I’m not just talking about Forever 21 look-alikes). From the cheap little bodegas in the malls to the racks at retail chain stores to the counters at Saks, it’s all one big heaping mess of long chain necklaces, chunky bangles, and large Beyoncé-esque earrings these days.
Whatever happened to our girl’s nights of beading and bedazzling? Have they been completely displaced by Mojitos and stiletto-wearing evenings out? I’m not suggesting a need for the revival of slumber parties, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a fabulous necklace that no one else has, everyone loves, and doesn’t bear the label “Made in Korea”?
Well, as I stated before, I’m no craft queen. But these days, I do have a penchant for unique bling — as well as an aversion to the commonplace, blah status of mass produced-jewelry. To satisfy my craving, I tracked down a handful of local jewelry designers (yes, they do exist north of Soho), and to my delight, I found oodles of fantastically fun — and classy — pieces for every style preference and occasion. Ranging from welded cuffs to beaded earrings and gold necklaces, these artists have given me a breath of fresh air — and an outlet for my latest fashion fetish.
Larchmont’s Pam Older, who previously had a career in magazine publishing, launched her jewelry company in 2003. She was profiled in the January 2006 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, and last year her jewelry was shown on Desperate Housewives. You can purchase her colorful, elegant designs on her Web site or at boutiques and galleries all over the country.
Vermeil Nugget Hoop Earrings, $125
Teardrop hoops in 22k vermeil with a thin layer of 22k gold over a sterling silver bead
Four Strand Vermeil Bracelet, $165
Four strands of vermeil beads joined with a bold toggle clasp; also available in silver