As most would imagine, one of the most engaging, creative and delightful aspects of owning a boutique is buying for the store. I can still remember the excitement of going to my first show. The show was in Las Vegas and divided into handmade (ready to buy items for the store handmade by US artists) and jewelry (an immense gemstone show featuring loose stones and finished fine jewelry). I was so excited to be traveling across the country to shop for my store! However, I did not expect how overwhelmed and intimidated I would find myself feeling…This is where some of the largest and most name recognized jewelers in the industry got their gems, what was I doing here again?!
But my anxiety seemed to fade neatly into the background once I was on the floor and back in my element: looking for interesting and one of a kind gemstones to bring back home to my own designs. The show is so immense! Bodyguards and “big boss” looking men in suits and ties. But I soon found myself so immersed in the seeming never-ending beauty of natural stones that my very “un-boss” wedges and wide-legs were forgotten in the gleam of glimmering labradorite and quite godly garnet, to name a tiny few!
Moving on to the handmade show was a different experience. Not as large a show by any means, but still a first for me. My mom and I walked around together, soaking in the beautiful, hand-crafted items from hundreds of talented vendors. (We would in later years learn that dividing and conquering is a better tactic!). I quickly learned that shopping for items online versus purchasing them in person at the show was a vastly different experience. For one, of course, we got to see the quality and beauty (or not so beautiful!) aspect of the artist’s work up close, to actually feel and touch the pieces that may later lay on our shelves.
But one huge bonus, which I had not anticipated, is the experience of meeting the artists and vendors in person. (One of our most popular vendors we would have easily passed up were it not for the roars of laughter booming from her booth). Meeting the artists brings value and purpose to the items at SoMe. We love when a customer picks up an item and we are able to say, “Oh, those were made by a two man team in California who quit their coding jobs two years ago to move to Big Sur and make candles. We just call them “mom jeans” because that’s what they were wearing when we met them at the show.”
It’s also awesome to just call our vendors up when we need to reorder: “James, we need 10 more espresso and lemongrass candles, stat!” The relationships and trust you build at the shows is invaluable at times.
There is another show coming up in August that I still haven’t made my plans for, though I know that August will be here in a seeming two weeks….Time IS speeding up, right? (Here is the team in February @ NY NOW. We had so much fun trying to keep up with my mom!)
My “plan” for buying trips has usually been this: Buy what I love.
A lot of times this works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Life is a lot of trial and error, after all.
Before this next trip, I would absolutely adore hearing from YOU. What do you love? What would you like to see more of at SoMe? And what brings you in the shop when you stop by? Let us know!
Thanks, by the way, for stopping.