Eeek! Talk about nervous energy!
In less than 2 weeks (exactly 11 days if we're being specific), I'm attending my first gift show with Mermaids + Madeleines.
These kinds of shows are a marketplace for boutique owners and buyers to come in and hand select items to curate and sell within their shops! I literally took the smallest booth available to test this kind of environment out for the first time. It's not lost on me at all, that the reason I'm even able to consider doing anything like this, and take another little step outside the comfort zone is because of you.
Thank you for being on this rollercoaster ride of entrepreneurship with me and for being an integral part of this brand!
If you have a favorite boutique you'd like to see Mermaids + Madeleines in this spring/summer encourage them to reach out, or visit me at the Cape Cod Gift Show, March 5-6th, booth 818 (find me upstairs in the back corner-haha)!
Want to follow along with more behind the scenes show prep?
Here's some things I've been working on below:
This has been tricky! I want to offer all the things, but much like a restaurant with too many items on the menu, I'm thinking going with a more pared down selection that I'm confident is repeatable, not only will ensure I'm able to fulfill orders quickly, but will provide a stronger point of view and create less buyer confusion on whether this brand is a fit for their customer or not. While I hope to have Mermaids + Madeleines in more places, it doesn't serve anyone if its not a good fit for a location.
-The List of ALL The Things!
Turns out, there's quite few things needed for gift shows that I don't normally bring to regular direct to consumer markets...Including but not limited to: Lighting! Gosh that stuff is expensive! If I hadn't put myself in a corner booth I might have just taken the risk and hoped for the best that I'd be under one of those ballroom lights. I did some research, reached out to the show about requirements and suggestions, now I just need to place the order. Ahh..
Speaking of ordering... Order forms were another thing that I needed. I'm so beyond grateful for the shops I've been able to work with that have reached out mostly through Instagram! Their patience with my little word document forms and attempts at excel. You guys... are amazing! I'm all fancy with my in-person carbon copy versions now.. I'm sure there's an app or digital something... but baby steps here.
-So Many Samples-
Instead of bringing one of each item, I'm thinking having a few of each might be better, so buyers can play around with mixing and matching collections and creating their own assortments. Plus, jewelry is just so much fun to play with! Having pieces that are already off the displays seems way easier and more interactive!
If you follow along with me on instagram, you know I'm always complaining about my inventory manager (moi)! It's a combination of thinking "oh yeah, I need to remember to order that..." and "eek... don't buy to much, stay lean on inventory..." This often has had me placing more orders than necessary and incurring extra shipping costs out of a fear of "what if it doesn't sell?" A product business is tough -and it's really challenging with precious metals that have ever-changing prices almost daily. But it isn't just the components needed to make the jewelry. It's the risk of ordering boxes, tags, stickers, bags, packing supplies, and so many other little things that add up quickly. This year, instead of having a fear mindset of "what if I get stuck with it?" I'm choosing a more positive framework of; "it will be there when I need it." No panic buys, no expedited shipping expense, and overall less stress. Wish me luck! :)
I'm so excited for this Cape Cod Gift Show, and the team that puts this awesome market together seems so nice! I'm excited to meet everyone! I know they're doing a great job reaching out to their lists and marketing to shops in the area... but I still wanted to go a little rogue and send a few cards out to some South Shore businesses that have been supportive of Mermaids + Madeleines. Their encouragement and yours helps this quiet introvert to keep taking the little steps daily to grow this tiny coastal brand together.
Thank you with all of my heart,