Thursday, August 7, 2008

It's Time To Start Thinking About Tucson!

The questions are starting to pop up on the forums...
Any clues about what to see at the Tucson Gem Show?
How do I find a good place to stay?

So, with permission I am printing Deborah Benson's response from Sharilyn Miller's Yahoo Group "Bead On A Wire"!

Tucson 2009 Bead Gem Show
If you like crystals, do sign up for a class with Swarovski. The value for the class fee is amazing. You pay about 1/2 what you normally would for the instructor/class kit combination. And the display they have from their annual contest is so inspiring. Don't miss Rio Grande's show. They always have new tools to demonstrate. Their classes, like Swarovski, deliver more than you would normally get. Both Swarovski and Rio are off the beaten track (Swarovski is at the far northwest of Tucson and Rio is at the far east end) but worth the effort to get there. Sign up in December to be sure you get a spot in the class.

To Bead True Blue has a fabulous assortment of vendors, some strictly retail, but others both wholesale and retail. It's a great place to see trends and meet people whose products you're probably using or emulating or you want to take a class from. I always ask my store owner to go to To Bead True Blue just to see what we should be teaching in the store if not to buy. It used to be in the Manning House but has moved for 2009.

Unless you have unlimited funds, make a plan for what you absolutely have to buy while you're there. That way you can assess whether or not you should buy that wonderful lampwork bead that's calling your name but you have no plan for.

Don't buy Bali silver at the first booth you go to. Find out what the average cost per gram is at a variety of vendors before you buy. Same with Swarovski crystals -- you'll find some vendors selling to everyone at just above wholesale and others selling very much at retail prices.

Do take a copy of your resale license if you have one. It helps if you have a copy to give to each vendor with a copy of your business card stapled to it.

If you're going to have a car there, before you go, go to Google maps or Mapquest and print out maps to the various shows you plan to attend or take/rent a GPS unit. Though there are maps in the show guide, I found them confusing.

To get organized, I put together a binder with tabs for each day. Each day had a list of what I was looking for, what classes I was attending, who I wanted to see, etc. plus the maps for that day. I included some blank paper to make notes on and quick sketches of things I didn’t want to forget.

The show is overwhelming and you'll forget where you got things or what they cost unless you make notes every single night. Take time to update your plan for the next day as a result of what you saw/learned/spent that day.
If you plan to buy a lot, consider buying flat rate boxes from the US Postal Service and shipping things home over the course of the week.
If you like a glass of wine, have one before you go to bed. Your head will be whirling with so many ideas you'll have a hard time getting to sleep without some help, even if you're exhausted.

It's probably going to be 2010 before I go again; so I envy your going in 2009. You'll love it!

Deborah Benson

If beads aren't your thing you can check the previous posts on this blog:

One very helpful one would be... 2007 Tucson Gem Show - Again!
Check out the Jewelry Artist Magazine Feature - 5 REASONS TO GO TO TUCSON - By Derek Levin:

Also - check the links in the sidebar for housing and showguides!
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