Today I popped in to the Bead & Gem show at the showgrounds.
My intention was to find some suppliers that were local, so I could reduce the amount of finding and beading supplies that I buy on Etsy from America.
I decided to fork out triple the normal visitors fee, so I could enter with a privileged wholesaler badge thinking maybe it would clarify to sellers that Yes I'm serious about craft, and would be a repeat customer who buys lots.
Although I was proud as punch to wear my little badge it was a waste of money.
Nearly every shop was offering wholesale prices to everyone, along the lines of spend $5o and get it at wholesale, which oddly were the prices already marked!
So i may as well have just paid my $11 and got exactly the same bargains. Even when I ventured to ask about wholesalers discount if I shopped with them online, they looked me up and down and said "Yes you can......first you must submit forms, a.b.n's, references and your first born to get approval, then spend hundreds in each order"
So submitting forms, a.b.n.s and references just to get my special little badge today, meant nothing to them. Lesson learnt there!
At one stall I actually picked up three cinnabar feature beads that had $4 stickers on them and when I went to pay she said Oh you can't get wholesale for a total under $50.
I figured she looked at my badge and assumed I wanted it for less. I said" no, that's fine I realise I'm only getting a few, I'll just pay the price on them, I don't expect them for less. She went off and whispered to the other lady, came back and said o.k that'll be $26.00...... Now I know I'm not to good at math, but 3 x 4 doesn't equal $26. Hmmm, I say. Is that right? the sticker says $4. Ohh no that is the wholesale price.!!!! So today, when they are open to the general public they have wholesale prices on their beads and expect you all to spend over $50 to be eligible for the sticker price!!!!!!!
Suffice to say, that experience left a bad taste in my mouth. I did not buy them, and I did not take a card.
On a brighter note, the display of gems was glorious and some of the stallholders were really lovely. Alas gemstones are something I would only buy as a little treat for myself, not something I'd buy to sell.
So really it was just a day of collecting business cards, for some of the sellers that have online shops with findings I might use. I have to check them out and compare prices to Over the rainbow which is where I tend to get everything at present. I'll let you know if any look any good.
The one highlight for me was a stall called bbbeads. They sell funky little resin shapes with kimono fabric embedded in them. I've seen an add of thiers in a beading mag, so it was nice to see it up close. I could have bought 1 of everything, but as it was my little stash added up to $60. Unfortunately there wholesale prices didn't start until you either spent $500 or bought 500 things I cant remember which, I sorta tuned out because it was way out of my budget either way.
Oh I did find a guy that did watch faces too, I have a few I got from U.S waiting for me to make funky bands, so It's good I can go local for them. They are double in price, but once you do the dollar conversion then add shipping, it sort of evens out.
So yeah, if your after delicious gems, and some really unique beads do drop in, but set yourself a budget, cause if you try to qualify for discount (which is tempting) you're pockets will be empty in no time.