Saturday, January 16, 2016

Tips for the 2016 Tucson Gem Show

Tips for the Tucson Gem Show

        I’m counting down the days to the Tucson Gem Show.   The  Show, which is really a mix of many, many shows spread throughout Tucson, runs from mid January through February, 2016.   I’ve had my hotel reservation for months, and I’m starting to think about what clothes I want to pack.    Comfy shoes are a necessity here.

             This will be my fourth trip there.  Each time I learn a little more so I thought I’d share some of that fun-earned knowledge. 

           If this is your first trip, be prepared to be amazed.    As you drive into Tucson on I-10 you’ll start to see tents and signs.   The shows are set up in parking lots, hotels, convention and expo centers.   On my first trip there, it seemed like every flat, open space contained a bead show.   It can be overwhelming unless you make a plan and realize you can’t see (or buy) it all.    

  Here’s my advice:

                         Pick Your Shows in Advance.    

                         Different shows emphasize different things.   One show, for example, specializes in Native American jewelry.    Some shows have diamonds and precious jewels, which I don’t use at Desert Dabbler.
                         This chart is a great listing of the shows, with links to many of them.   It will give you a good idea of what shows would be better suited to your needs.     Also, different shows start and end at different times.   Check the dates for the shows you are interested in attending.

                  My personal favs are To Bead True Blue, The Best Bead Show, Kino Gem and Mineral Show, and the JOGS Gem Show.  On the last day, as we’re leaving town, we love to walk around the Miner’s Co-op Rock Show.  You never know what rocks and goodies might show up here.   These are the shows I plan to see during the 3 days I’ll be there.  If you only have one day, pick two shows to avoid being rushed and overwhelmed. 

One of the vendors with his prize winning beads.

                         Pre-Register to Save Time

                         A lot of the shows allow you to pre-register.  There’s no cost although you do have to give them your e-mail address.    As long as you don’t mind doing this, pre-registering can save you some standing in line time.

                  Plan Your Show Route.

                         It pays to look at a map (or your app) of Tucson before you start driving to a show.   Traffic is congested around the sites, especially in the afternoon.   You’ll have more time for shopping if you know in advance the order and location of the shows.   Many of the shows are very close to one another; others not so much.  
                         There’s a shuttle bus system, but I haven’t used it.   I rode a small shuttle one time that traveled between two hotels with related shows.   I found the waiting time to be really long, and there wasn’t any place to sit while I waited.   
                         Bring Plenty of Copies of Your TPT or other re-sale license.    
                         Some shows are only for wholesale dealers.   A few vendors have minimum sale requirements that exceed what I can spend for my little Etsy shop.   But most of the places I visit will sell wholesale if you have a copy of your re-sale tax license.   I found that making multiple copies saves time for everybody. 

                         Bring a Secure Bag for your Goodies.

                         Carrying items in your purse or, worse, multiple bags in your hands, is very uncomfortable.   Some people bring small suitcases on rollers.  I personally dislike walking around them, but I understand their usefulness.   I suggest a bag that you can carry in front of you for security.    You don’t want someone “shopping” in your prior purchases while you’re concentrating on the beads at hand.

                         It’s a good idea to bring a blanket or other type of covering to leave in your car.   I’ve never had any problem, but it might be too tempting to a thief to see lots of nice packages inside a car.  I always cover up my things and double check the car locks.

                         Set a Realistic Budget

                       It’s very easy to quickly overspend.   The quality and quantity of beads, charms and other delights are amazing.    Don’t put yourself on too restrictive of a diet if you don’t have to, but don’t cause yourself pain later on either.  
                         Cash or credit:  I haven’t had any problem with using a credit card at the shows.  I like the security and the paper trail that it gives me for my business.   If you’re not in business, however, cash might be the best option for you.   When it’s gone, you go home.            

                         Have FUN!

                         Don’t wear yourself out.   You’ll never see it all so don’t try.   I suggest you go to at least one of the hotel shows where you can have a nice lunch.   Go early or late to avoid the most crowded time.   Relax and rest us for the rest of your shopping.    If you’re like me, you’ll spend less on lunch than on the beads you would have bought during that hour.   

                    Both your pocketbook and your feet will thank you.