I am currently doing the Woodworking Shows until the end of March, but I wanted to post some final thoughts about the NYC Grand Central Holiday Show. I’ll be posting them in small chunks on the blog over the next few weeks. I’m hoping you can learn a little from my adventure to help you do better at your own craft shows!
This was truly a mega craft show. It lasted for about 5 weeks, 12 hours per day, 7 days a week, including set-up and takedown. A shopping center of tiny stores was built in one of the largest train stations in the world! In promoting the show, it was told to the prospective vendors that the attendance passing through Grand Central terminal was a million people a day. Obviously a million people did not pass the booth on a daily basis. However, the crowds coming through on a daily basis were intense! Some days it was so crowded that people could not stop and look because they came through like they were in a cattle chute. In spite of that, we did very well selling a total of over 765 pens! I started making the pens as soon as I got accepted into the show, so I had about 4-5 months to prepare. Based on our final results, I could’ve used more pens! You can never really tell what will sell, and if I did the same identical show again, I would probably not see the same results as far as what sold, and if customer’s style and taste has changed. It’s really hard to guess what will be popular.
The demographics of each show may be entirely different based on location and venue type. A buyer at Grand Central Station in NYC will be entirely different than a local craft show in a small town. The organizers of any show should be able to provide you with some statistics about their demographics, especially if it is not their first show. Also your sales techniques may vary based on the customers that you encounter, but that may be a whole post by itself!
Cigar Pen display with 1 cigar pen left!
There’s only three days to go, and I am running on empty!
Just this week so far, including Thursday (yesterday), we sold over 130 pens, and I am starting to run out of them! Since we are literally IN Grand Central Station, which is known to be one of the busiest places on Earth, the customers come in waves while they try and catch their trains. At one point Thursday afternoon, in the 5:00 hour, 20 pens were sold. That works out to someone buying a pen every 3 minutes! I still have a few high end watch pieces left, but they will not last until Sunday. All my Cigar pens are gone. I started with 85 of them. Look at the photo to the left, there is only 1 cigar pen in there, before that got sold later in the day. Only a few of my Abalone and Pheasant Feather pens are left, and I know they will not last till Sunday! Looks like I will be bringing home empty pen cases, which is never a bad thing.
After packing everything up, and driving home, I plan on getting some sleep – maybe a lot of sleep. After I get a chance to slow down and look at the whole experience, I’ll post some final thoughts about this marathon craft show.
PS – Since this post has been sitting here for a couple of hours, someone just bought 2 of my high-end coin pens.
Barry is in the homestretch of his last week at the Grand Central Holiday Crafts Show in NYC. He’s doing 10 hour days by himself in his little store in Vanderbilt Hall. Everyone else is back in the office fulfilling orders.
Since Barry has been so busy this holiday season selling his finished pens, we haven’t been able to have any really good sales on pen making kits & supplies. Soooooo… we thought that now would be a good time to put the gift cards on sale at 10% off. This is great for last minute gift giving to your favorite penturner, even if that favorite penturner is YOU! It’s also a good game plan for 2018. Using the gift card allows you to get a 10% discount on anything you need, whenever you want it, during the year. Use it to pay for something that is already on sale, and the savings get even better! More money back in YOUR pocket.
The gift cards are available in several denominations. Mix & match several cards to get the amount you need. They don’t expire. If you are giving the gift card as a gift, we have a printable certificate that you can give. Full explanation of the card is on the website. Click the link below to read all the info about ordering a gift card.
Click here to buy an Online Gift Card
Anyway, we’re looking forward to 2018, when everything is back to normal here at Arizona Silhouette!
I was interviewed for an article that appears in the current issue of Pen World Magazine, under the “News” section. They were very interested in hearing about my participation in the Grand Central Holiday Craft Show.
Click the link below, or the picture on the left, to read the complete magazine article in PDF form:
I’ve been here in NYC for almost a month, and still have about 10 days to go. Customers from Arizona Silhouette have stopped by to say “Hello”, and it’s always nice to meet our customers in person. Lots of pen collectors, from the various pen shows that I attend, have also come by my booth. I have even signed a few of the Pen World magazines that people brought over to me!
I’m happy to report that sales have increased this past week as we get closer to Christmas.
Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish friends and customers!
And Happy Turning to us all!
It is day 17, we are still going strong, and building momentum! The crowds are getting bigger, and more people are stopping at the booth. At other shows people say they will be back to buy, and in my experience they do not come back, but here they actually do come back! Another observation that I did not expect was all the interest in Fountain Pens! I made a ton of rollerball pens in the Venetian & Arcadia styles and I am glad I did. These can easily be changed into fountain pens and I am worried I will run out of nibs – (nice thing to worry about).
Some of you asked what some of the shelves looked like close up so here is a picture of the “Cigar Section.” Time to get some sleep – these 11 hour days are tough on an ole man! Happy Turning – Barry
Wreaths at Grand Central
It is after Thanksgiving, and the Holiday decorations are up at Grand Central. The building looks even more festive. The traffic started picking up yesterday, and so did the sales. Pens from $45 to $900 were sold, in a really wide variety of pen styles and materials.
Only 26 more days until the end of the show. The hours are long, but the people are great! The police now know who the thief was who stole a $200 pen the first week. (I picked him out of a line up) Good luck, and many thanks, to the detectives who arrest this creep!
Well, I have to leave to get back to the booth. If you are near Grand Central Terminal please come to my little “pop-up” store! I have already enjoyed seeing many friends, students and customers stop by. It’s always a pleasure to see old friends and make new ones.
Also, best of luck to all of you who are doing their own holiday craft shows!
I have not seen this many people in my life!
It is a constant, steady stream of people from 10 AM till 8 PM each day. I have over 1,000 pens for this show, and I started making them in June to prepare for this show.
Sales so far are steady and strong. There are over 30 different pen styles in both acrylic and wood, and so far the best selling pens are the watch parts, cigar wrapper with their boxes, and shark vertebrae. Other hot pens are made with theme related inlay kits from Kallenshaan Woods. Below are some photos of my mini store when it is NOT busy. It’s the only time I can get out of my booth!
The customers are enjoying seeing all the diversity of pen kits and styles. I’m looking forward to being here another 30+ days.
On a bad note, there are always people out to steal from you. I lost a $200 pen right off the counter when a person took it right out of the bag and ran as I went to get a total for the sale.
That is all for now – I will keep you posted on the progress of the marathon Holiday Fair Show!
Sorry for not keeping up with the blog like I should, but we have been very busy lately!
We got accepted into the Grand Central Holiday Fair in NYC. Only 40 artisans were accepted from the hundreds of applicants! The Holiday Fair opens November 13th and runs thru December 24th. That’s right 42 straight days from 10 AM till 8 PM every day! Needless to say, I have been a very busy boy making LOTS and LOTS of pens for this show. In between making all these pens, I’ve been attending other shows, and will be a presenter at two upcoming woodturning symposiums.
So, in my *spare* time, I just want to share some of the more popular pens that have been selling very well for me at these craft shows.
||Sierra Grip/Gatsby type of pens always perform well made with either acrylic or stabilized wood.
||Steam Punk pen. Always a popular seller with it’s mix of metals and intricate design.
||Because of the popularity of “Game of Thrones”, the Dragon pen has been selling very well.
||The Venetian pen has been very popular for the people who wanted a rollerball / fountain style pen.
I promise I won’t take this long to keep you updated!
– Happy Turning