Dancing the Promotional Dance for Mary Ellen Beads

Author and Blog Triage Coach Alyson Stanfield challenged me to translate marketing acumen to my bead business. What a perfect opportunity to look differently at my first juried show!

Three weeks from tomorrow I set up for the 20th Old Church Corrales Artfest. This post details the planning involved in the process.


As a marketer, I know marketing is everything you do.

All items show-connected went into a Corrales Artfest folder after my juried acceptance notice April 3. Now, that folder directs  more specific preparation.

In the studio

My goals include being complete with product one week prior to the show, so during the next two weeks I must finish a few necklaces, add some bracelets and make earrings.

Yes, I do have a target number of total items: 50 bracelets, 50 pair of earrings and 100 necklaces. I’m proud to say I’m close to those numbers. My self-promise: continue to concentrate on quality, one-of-a-kind, stellar pieces.

My booth theme is tribal, due in part ot the introduction of The Abundance Collection. My props are appropriately themed: an African lady, an ancient tribal goddess, antlers, sea shells. Ladders, for example, with boards lashed to them will hold boxes. Shorter ladders will display earrings.

In the booth (practice)

At the suggestion of my mentor, I used painter’s tape to mark the 8’ x 10’ booth and practiced a mock set-up. (See first draft of jewelry cases below.) An entire list emerged as a result:

  • Tribal material for table covering
  • Peg board hooks for my bracelets
  • Explanation cards and ribbon to tag The Abundance Collection
  • Necks for my best necklaces
  • System for displaying earrings on my small ladders
  • Questions for show coordinators

Is there electricity? What kind of lights can I use?
What is the traffic pattern direction?
Can I use floor covering?
Is the both 8’ wide or 8’ deep?


May’s newsletter, Soul Juice, will focus on the show. (If you don’t currently receive Soul Juice, I invite you to subscribe.)

Using professional shots of show highlights, I’ve approved a postcard discussing upcoming events for distribution at the show.

I ordered additional business cards featuring my MaryEllenBeads logo. Once I finalize booth appearances in my practice booth, I’ll order professional signs.

In addition, I’ll mail postcards to previous customers inviting them to see me “in the tent.” Those cards go out Monday so as to land two weeks prior to the event.

My email invitation follows 10 days prior. I plan to forward that to four close friends who will send it to their list.

Posts to Facebook and other social media the week preceding the event will also help to generate interest.

Pre-show checklists

Fortunately, artists like Marjie Bassler of Critter Wit Designs, share their checklists. (Marjie, I’m checking mine twice!)

I’ll translate this to a “load first, unload last” list prior to show-date.

During the last week, I’ll finalize and print the inventory sheets, prepare my repair box and other necessary items.

Thank you in advance to the friends who’ve agreed to help out! I couldn’t do it without you.


Without a marketing mindset, terriblizing would cost me time and sleep. (NOTE: Terriblizing defined: the art of making a mountain out of a molehill.) By thinking of my bead business as one of my marketing clients, I’ve minimized worry.

That said, I’m open to suggestion. What would you add to my list?