I dislike trade shows.
I wrote hate at first but it sounds so mean.
I like the people I meet in general, but the transitory nature of it is unsatisfying. Trade shows are the real reason I opened my store.
I want to connect with people, let them take their time to experience my products that I create as well as just get a sense of the products I carry. Let them go away and come back when they're ready.
Day long, or hours long events create such pressure. If you don't buy it now, there will not be another chance for who knows how long.
One of the things I was told again and again about doing shows was that people may not buy from you until they see you at 2-3 shows.
Are you kidding? Unbelievable. The time, effort and piles of money it takes to go to these shows is phenomenal. How can you continue to go if you're not making a bunch of sales?
After one particularly grueling 3 day, all day, show where on one side of me were light up what-nots and across from me someone was selling inspirational books and cards and they were both doing more sales than I was, I decided that it would be better to plunk my money down on rent.
I am so happy that I did.
I am creating relationships. I love my customers, I love the neighbors, I love the wanderers that walk by each day. I feel as though I know them even if they never come into the store. I am part of a community. I am in service to those in need of change for the meters, those needing directions or a restaurant recommendation and of course, to help folks choose just the right ring or potion for themselves or find the perfect gift for a loved one.
I still go to trade shows. Sometimes as a vendor and sometimes as a shopper.
Now when I go as a vendor, it's about making connections not sales. And I also am beginning to understand the nature of relationships being built between vendors and retailers. This last summer I went to a multi-day show in LA and met an amazing woman with whom I am growing a relationship. I bought several pieces of butterfly wing jewelry from her and when I sold out she sent me a big box to choose from letting me pay for what I chose and sending the rest back to her.
This week she was in Portland and I took the time to go to a show I would not normally go to just to see her (and her butterflies).
The butterflies have a protected life in a wildlife preserve and once their blissed out butterfly life is over they are collected like leaves and set into sterling silver.
They all come with 16 or 18 inch sterling (92.5) or Italian silver (98.5) chains.
After I obsess over which pendant gets which chain and which one I get to keep, I'll have a bunch of new ones in the store.
Stop by and see them for yourself, they look a lot more amazing in person and on your skin.
A wise woman suggested to me that whether or not you know where you're going with a story that if you just let it lead you that your subconcious will bring it to make sense and as I get to the end of a rant that was meant to show you the pictures of my new butterfly wing jewelry, I see the connection of transformation, the obvious connection to the symbolism of the butterfly.
To change so that you no longer recognize yourself.
And in this moment I am grateful for the connections that have been created at the very heart of my dissatisfaction. Where is the gift? I often ask this when I am in the depths of whatever discomfort (or more often frustration)I may be experiencing.
And I ask you to look at the thing in your life that makes you uncomfortable/frustrated/annoyed, that first thing that pops into your mind, the thing that you quickly discard as not the thing but is the real thing.
What is the discomfort and then:
What is the gift?
Let it change you.