Here is list of a few suggestions that I follow for ever bead show I attend....ok, so not everyone is as detailed as me!
1) So when will bead shows be in your area? Check the sites of your favorite venders, they will often list what shows they will be attending through-out the year. Also, you might check with your local bead and lapidary shops for additional shows in your area.
2) Set a budget as to what you will spend; this may be determined by stock you are out of and some left over for purchases of specialty items. This is where “impulse buying comes into play”.
3) Bring a couple of checks, plenty of cash and your credit cards just in case you run into someone who doesn’t take one or the other.
4) Be sure to bring a copy of your Tax ID certificate and plenty of business cards. Some shows are known as wholesale only and will require these items for entrance. If it is a public show, don’t be afraid to ask the vendors for a wholesale discount and provide both these items to them to get a discount. Note: When asking for discounts be prepared to purchase in large volumes in order to get a better deal. Many vendors are looknig for volume sales verses smaller purchase to give a buyer any type of discount.
5) Make a list of items you are out of; these will be the first things to look for at the show. If I know that I’ll be buying from previous vendors, I’ll group those items together on the list for ease.
6) I also make a list of items I am looking for and want; it could be stones or pendants I’ve seen online or a combination of colors in another design. This helps to keep the ‘impulse’ buying down by knowing what you are looking for and can afford.
7) Wear comfortable shoes and bring a bag or small rolling suitcase to load all your goodies into.
8) Include in your shopping bag several sizes of zip lock bags; as you find things that go together, put them in the little baggies, this makes it easy to determine why you purchased these little gems when you get home.
9) Paper and pen; I bring paper and pen to mark bead names if they are not already marked. This makes identifying much easier than guessing or having to go through the process to identify each unknown stone or pendant.
10) If you are looking to match a pendant, beads or color combination you already have; bring a few of these on a string or in a baggie to match-up at the bead show. This takes the guess work out of ‘thinking’ something matched and finding out later it wasn’t even close.
11) Bring baby wipes for easy cleanup; looking through tons of strands of beads and boxes of findings can get a little messy and dusty.
12) Look for suppliers whose ads you’ve seen for products you’re interested in. Bring the ad if possible and look for those products; this is the perfect place to handle these items before purchasing to determine if this is what you really wanted.
13) Take breaks and rest, get something to eat, drink plenty of fluids and take time to review your shopping list and bag; typically it takes an entire day to attend a bead show.
14) Last but not least; this takes willpower but walk the entire show first to see what is available, check out pricing and watch what others are buying. Many vendors have the same products and offer different discounts; look for the best quality and prices available. Make note as to vendors you want to return to for purchases of those goodies after you have finished walking the whole show.
15) Above all --- be a smart shopper and have fun!
Now start your shopping list, get going and Good Luck!