I spent eight years on the arts and craft show circuit selling my hand-crafted jewelry, and it always used to amaze me at all the talented artists that surrounded me. However, as the years went on, I saw fewer jewelry artists and more and more imported goods. Today, it seems like this trend has continued, but believe it or not, if you keep your eyes opened, you'd be amazed at some of the great jewelry bargains you can find at local outdoor showsows. Plus, it feels good to support local artists.
I wasthrough a small farmers' market this past weekend, which is often another place to find some jewelry bargains believe it or not, and it occurred to me that shoppers can really find some fabulous deals and beautiful miniature pieces of " art to wear," if you just keep your eyes open. Here are a few tips for you:
- Look in your local paper for art show announcements. Usually, this will be in the local section of your paper, but it might also appear in the entertainment sections as well.
- Most jewelry vendors will have a signature look, so if you don't have much time, quickly scan tables for a few large items, like necklaces, to get an idea of their style appeals to you before moving on to the next both.
- Don't be afraid to bargain, nicely of course, especially if you are purchasing more than one item. It doesn't hurt to ask nicely, but if the artist says, " no," then accept that. Many artists will have their jewelry already priced as low as possible.
- Try to avoid booths that don't specialize in jewelry. Many vendors these days toss a few pieces of jewelry on their tables even though they may primarily sell everything else but jewelry. This is a signal that their quality may be in question.
- Bring a small mirror if you plan to try on a necklace. A compact can come in very hand if a vendor doesn't have a mirror available. But, remember, you should not try on earrings. If you see a vendor allowing this, don't buy from them because this is not sanitary.
- Before attending a show, think of a list of people you may be shopping for and a price range. Inexpensive earrings and bracelets are perfect gifts for teachers, day care workers, and baby sitters.
- Remember that you get what you pay for. If you see some earrings at one table that are imported and sell for $2 and see hand-crafted earrings at another table that are made by the artists sitting next to them and sell for $10, then think about what is important to you – quality or quantity. Often, $2 earrings will be made with plastic or base metal while those $10 earrings might be made of gemstones and sterling.
- Ask questions. If you aren't sure what an item is made of or how much it costs or how to care for it, ask the person selling it. If it's made by the person selling it, then he or she is usually more than happy to answer your questions.
- Dress for shopping: comfortable shoes and a fanny-pack or backpack purse are great for comfortable hands-free shopping.