Why We Buy

Spent a fascinating couple of hours at the Peachtree City Buy Design Jewelry Show on Saturday. I am now the owner of this very cool enamel and silver watch. Katie came away with the most beautiful pair of turquoise and silver earrings that match her favorite necklace, a real find! Dani tried on every ring at the venue, looking to replace a silver band she picked up in Williamsburg years ago and has since lost, but ended up choosing a ring made from a vintage button. My favorite vendor, by far, was Beth Blanc Designs. I could have spent the entire 2 hours feasting on the wonderful designs in her booth. I absolutely fell in love with this bracelet made with trade beads from the 1700’s. It's going to the top of my wish list. Check out Beth’s website here.

But I didn’t go to the show to make any of these purchases. With my upcoming show in mind, and never having exhibited my own creations before, my goal was to look at the way each artist displayed their jewelry. I also decided to do a little informal market research to find out what people were interested in. What was selling? What kinds of questions were customers asking?

There were 62 booths and almost as many ways of displaying product. Louvered shutters, fireplace screens, wrought iron gates, full-sized mannequins. Lots of picture frames displayed on easels and covered in a variety of ways ranging from elegant to organic. Designers displayed their work on everything from industrial pegboards to timeworn driftwood. On the question of how important display is, here’s what I observed. Customers rarely picked up pieces that were displayed flat on the table. They readily picked up and studied bracelets and earrings from elevated displays. I saw necklaces that were tried on, but then potential customers had to wander over to other vendor’s tables in search of a mirror to observe the look.

Shoppers had lots of questions about color…ranging from do you have this in, say, a specific shade of blue, or I like this but do you have one with more red? So color seemed to be the most important purchasing criteria. Also, lots of comments on comfort, which were totally unexpected. One thought a necklace was too heavy, another thought a lariat didn’t feel consequential enough. I actually heard a woman say that! Some didn’t like the way a bracelet laid against the wrist, others questioned the bend of an earwire. (Note to self: develop thick skin before my first show!)

So, why did I buy this watch? I need a new watch; the face on my current watch is cracked. So there’s that. But I didn’t go to the show with the intention to look for a watch. I was drawn to the color, absolutely. And, of course, the distinctive design. Why did Katie choose her specific earrings? The shade of the turquoise. Why did Dani finally decide on the vintage button ring? It was the only one that met her design requirements and felt comfortable.

I went to the show to get some tips on how to display my jewelry. After observing the purchasing decisions of my own little group and my shameless eavesdropping, I left feeling that while display is important, unique design, color, and comfort were the deal makers or breakers of the day.

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