Mar 242009

I squeaked through the R&T trunk show today in record time…despite getting there a little late, I was able to force myself to look at each table (only once ;-), I decided there were no “backsies” this year!) and pick up a nice bag of goodies.

While I had a little different methodology this year, I do have some tips for shopping at a big bead show like this for you.

1. Pick up your jaw from the floor. Breathe. Don’t get panicky or overwhelmed. (Seriously, I’ve seen it happen!)
2. Grab a tray or whatever is provided for you to place strands in.
3. Pay close attention to pricing strategies…many times, the price on a strand is NOT the price you’ll pay. For example, for most items, R&T charges 50% + 15% of the strand price. A $10 strand of beads is actually going to only run you $4.40 (if I did the math right ;-)).
4. Touch, feel, experience what the beads will be like on the skin.
5. Sometimes you are going to want to pick up things that go together, sometimes you’ll just see something that catches your eye and you’ll have to have it. Don’t be encumbered by feeling like you need an immediate purpose or plan for everything.
6. Pick up what you like, really like…you can cull out what you “need” later.
7. Work the entire room, and then sit down and look through what you have. If you set yourself a budget, figure out what fits in the budget and what’s optional. Sometimes those optional things can be allowed to go over budget, but really think through those purchases. I have strands that I’ve picked up and never used…thinking through it, I probably should have just let them stay where they were.

8. If you’re not taking some of your strands, find out what the folks who are running the show would like you to do. Sometimes they’d prefer to put away extras themselves, but if not, help out by returning the items to the right bins.

I do usually have “bread and milk” for a bead show, this year it was round sterling silver beads and some assortments of Swarovski crystals. I picked up both, in addition to all the goodies you see here.

A couple of disappointments…I usually grab a good assortment of Bali silver, but the selection was really limited this year. Only picked up a couple of small strands of regular daisy spacers, none of the specialty beads really caught my eye.

And less on the “Drool Table” than I remember from previous years. I treated myself to a gorgeous strand of sapphires…was tempted by some emeralds, but decided I’d probably already spent enough money and would wait for next year.

Icky find: snakeskin beads. Ugh. I can’t believe I actually picked one up and touched it. I hate snakes. Even dead ones that have been made into beads.

I absolutely love everything I got…my fingers are itching to get at some of it…overall, it was wonderful! Thanks Russ, Kim, Dave and all the rest of R&T for throwing a great bead show!!!