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Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

As many of you know, I'm producing my first bear show in August, here in New England, Maine to be exact. I've got TONS of idea.. some of my own, some from all of you. Some from past experience.

What I'd like to know is how to encourage attendees to BUY! I've got a million ideas in place for getting folks in the door but many are apt NOT to be current collectors (I'm hoping to make a lot of new one!) and yet many will indeed be collectors. Some will have money, many will be watching their pennies despite how much they may love the bears.

What can I do as a promoter and/or the artists do to encourage these folks to BUY???

My one thought is to give away $25 gift certificates every half hour as door prizes... good the day of the show toward the purchase of a bear over say $75. The artist can then turn in the gift certificate to be reimbursed the $25. I'd collect $10 from each participating artist for the door prizes rather than having them donate an item. (They all seem to want to give $$ anyway!) This way the cash is there for reimbursement. No artist will suffer for not selling to the customer at full price. Is this making sense? It does in my head but today I'm having a hard time making any sense in words!

Anyway, what do you think of my idea and what ideas can you come up with??? I know I'm not the only show promoter here who would benefit from your suggestions.

And did you guys know I'm dedicating this show to all the generous and kind-hearted members of Teddy Talk? Yup, with TT's permission, that will be printed on the show program. You have inspired me with all of your great ideas and are helping to make this show all it can be! Your support is appreciated more than you know. :hug:

So... share some ideas with me.... please???

thumperantiques Newcastle, Ontario
Posts: 5,644

Daphne, I really like your $25.00 door prize idea - that's a good one.  It might just make the difference in a customer buying a bear.  We all know when we have "free money" it's hard not to spend it, even if we have to throw in some of our own.  I think it really could make a difference.  I'm on my way down town, so have to run.  Let me think a bit and see if I can come up with any ideas.



bearsbybeesley bears by beesley TM
Tofield Alberta Canada
Posts: 6,818

Bears Bears Bears!!!!!! This is why I have never attended a bear show! I would have to buy everyone!!! Garnet would have to kill me to stop me. Good luck Daph! Your bears are gorgeous Hon and you will sell out!!

many Hugs Louise

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

Brenda and Melanie, thanks for the thumbs up!  bear_thumb

Lisa, great idea about the pricing discount. Will run that by a few of my vendors. And something to entertain thekids is a great idea too. Not sure I'll hve the man power or money to afford that this time around but a great idea to consider for next year!

Louise, Thanks for the compliments on my bears, you are so sweet!  bear_flower But they aren't the ones I'm worried about selling as I won't even be in my own booth much! I just want the rest of the vendors to have a successful show!

Keep those ideas coming folks!!!

Cleathero Creations Cleathero Creations
Ripley, Queensland
Posts: 1,925

Actually the idea Lisa had is an excellent one.
At a bear show they had on the coast in QLD they had a table that had colouring pencils and a colouring competition on it.  The table was full all day and there were seats around it for mainly fathers I noticed  bear_grin
Now the prizes were just beanie bears but it gave people a chance to look without being harrassed by kids as much (well it did with me), the other parent stayted withthe kids to allow the bear crazy one have a look.
I notice a lot of bear sellers had there own 'thing' as well where they offered a discount on the NEXT purchase.
With the raffle you are talking about make sure you get the name and address.  So later on you can send them out a certifiacte that says someting like pay for one person an bring a friend along for free.  It will increase your numbers for the next year.

Judi Luxembears
Luxemburg, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,379

Great ideas here.  Daphne, is the show juried?  Ultimately what would make me buy a bear at a the bear itself.  A great looking, well made bear that jumps off table into my heart is one that will come home with me.  Money would fly out of my wallet for such a treasure.

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

Judi... YES!!!!!!... This is a juried show!

Delartful Bears Delartful Bears
Posts: 3,518

Daphne, you are having great ideas here.  Your idea of lucky door prizes of gift certificates is a good one.  I think this would make people buy for sure. I know it would me LOL

Try and have it good atmosphere, which will uplift people and make them spend.

I thought having an opening special, like the first hour or two, offer people 10% off bears, or even a closing special??  That might work too!

Goodluck!  I know how much work it must be for you!

Donna Donna's Duin Bruins
Burbank, CA
Posts: 900

One of the shows out here has Dolly Dollars and Bear Bucks.  Same thing as your gift certificates.  They are in smaller denominations than the $25 gift certificate.   They use them at the different exhibitors throughout the day and at the end of the day the exhibior trades them in for real money.  It really seems to encourage spending.  This same promoter has tables that get special attention because they have won the best display for the show.  They get helium balloons at their table so the customers know to look for them.

Marie_ Kiprie Bears
Yokohama, Japan
Posts: 2,735

Hi Daphne,
I really like your $25.00 door prize idea !  :clap:

I wish you a very best for
your bear show to be great-huge
success !!!  :hug:

PS. sorry that I couldn't come up with
any good ideas.....  :redface: 


melissa Honeythorpe Bears
Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 1,789

Hi Daphne

I've been wondering how your plans were coming along.  I think your $25 certificates are great - absolutely brilliant.

The best show I've ever been to (i.e the one where I had the most sales  bear_grin  bear_grin  bear_grin ) had each table set out separately - with a gap between it and the next trader.  This may be standard practice in the US, I don't know, but it's not here.  So often I have seen the situation whern a big name artist, or one with  a flashy display is nnext to someone new or with a less eyecatching table.  Everybody crowds around the big name table to the extent that they block off access to the other table - and consequently other people walk straight past.  It's not the big name person's fault - its just a placement issue.  It can be very intimidating as a newbie to be in this situation.

The other thing at this show was they had some seating down the middle of the venue.  I know that this isn't always possible but I KNOW it increased sales for me.   One couple who had been umming and ahhing for a while over one of my bears continued their way round the show without buying.  They then came back and sat in the middle of the room close to  my table.  They saw 2 or three people pick up my bear and have a conversation with me about it and then about 15 minutes later they came over and took that bear and another one home with them.   

Also older people can't always stay on their feet a long time.  Even if you have a cafe set up somewhere, they may not want to go and sit there two or three times during the show - they may feel obligated to buy food each time, and I've often found, if the cafe is located away from the show hall, they can't be bothered going back in.

The kids thing works - at our last show here they had plaster cast shapes that someone had made out of moulds - and the kids could paint them.  It kept them occupied and they had a "treasure" to take away with them at the end of the show. 

It's all about atmosphere - if your show feels warm and friendly and inviting then people will spend - if it's drab and unsinspiring only the dedicated people will spend.

I wish I could be there to help you out....maybe next year!!

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

FANTASTIC SUGGESTIONS everyone!!!!  bear_thumb

I knew I could count on you all!  bear_flower

The wheels are really turning now!!!!!  bear_wacko

I Love Teddies South Florida
Posts: 1,684


I really like the idea of the $25 gift certificates towards a bear of $75 or more.  My mom and I like to shop, and a lot of times we'll go to stores because we have a coupon so I think it will motivate people to buy.  Also, you don't want to "waste" the coupon - at least that's how we think (or justify it to ourselves  bear_grin ). 

Another thing I think is not to have tables and things so close together.  To me, it makes it hard to look at everything.  When everything is smashed up together, it makes it hard to look at everything - bears aren't that big.  I don't know if this is practical or makes sense - I'm not an artist and I've never produced a bear show so I could be wrong.  I also wouldn't want narrow aisles because it might discourage people from going down them.

Can you have any area that shows how bears are made or something like that?  Maybe have pieces and parts that make up a bear.  A lot of people don't understand what it takes to make a bear and why they cost so much.  The first time I saw how much a mohair bear costs, I thought that was nuts and I loved bears.  But then I learned why they cost that much.

I know you can't tell artists what to do, but artists should greet people and be friendly.  I'm quiet and can be shy when I don't know someone so I understand artists can be that way too.  But I've been to bear shows where artists are just not friendly at all and it's disappointing.  The first artist show I went to was like that for me, and I was turned off to artists for awhile.  A big advantage artists have is being able to directly talk to their customers, and as a customer, I particularly enjoy talking to artists.  It makes me not interested in their work, no matter what it looks like. 

I like what others mentioned about having a kids' area.  But if something happens to a child while in a designated kids' area, would you be liable for that?  I don't know; I just wouldn't want something bad to happen when you're trying to do something good.

I hope all is going well with the show.

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

More great ideas!  :dance:   :dance:   :dance:

To fill you all in a bit on current plans for the show....

The facility where the show is being held is a brand new (isn't even finished yet!) function facility... a classy, one story 'house' with three lovely rooms... a grand ball room and two smaller rooms... all with TONS of windows, space, etc. We'll have the perfect amount of room in the ball room to spread out nicely, have places for folks to sit, etc., all is handicap accessible and easy loading/unloading for aritsts.

There will be various volunteer artists doing bear making demonstrations every hour on the hour at a designated Demo Booth.

There will be an artist teddy bear contest... number of categories yet to be determined... where artists and show attendees can vote on their favorites. Special prizes are in the works... a ribbon is nice but I'd like to award the artists with more than that.

Award for Best Booth Display/Set up

One of the major bear making suppliers will have a booth.

Food will be served by the event facility in one of the smaller function rooms throughout the event. Complimnetary coffee/tea/water and muffins/donuts for the vendors during set up time.

TT's Ellen MacMaster ('pandamac') will be there with her 'Stuff Your Own" handmade critters so the kids will have something especially for them.

I'm probably forgetting things but it's the wee hours of the morning here, I got home very late from being at my folks and I'm exhausted and need to go to bed.

The event is juried and we'll have many award winning artists there which I'm very excited about! In fact, I believe all participating artists are seasoned artists, having done many shows. It just worked out that way... no apps from newbies. That is something I plan to change for next year as I want to encourage new artists to participate to keep the show fresh from year to year.

OK, I'm going to bed.... I'll share more if I've forgotten things tomorrow!

Aleta - The Silly Bear The Silly Bear
Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,119

Hi Daphne,  bear_flower
It sounds like you've really got a handle on things!!  Good for you!!  If I were to do a show on the East coast I'd definitely give your show extra consideration.  Why?  Because you're asking the right questions and coming up with inventive ideas.  New and fresh!!  You go girl!!

Warmest bear hugs,  :hug:

Megelles Megelles
Posts: 273

Hi Daphne
Organising a sucessful Bears show is very hard indeed.  Your ideas are great and yes having $$$$$ giveaways throughout the day is great!  I have organised one of Australia's best Bear only fairs since 2000.  You need to look at the event from all angles (and sorry if I am preaching to the converted as they say) .  In your first show you cannot cover everything so have a note book at hand all day and expect the unexpected.

Are you raising money for a charity?? 

If you have any questions please PM me.  I am more than happy to help.  I love organising Bears in Brisbane.

Megelles Megelles
Posts: 273

Sorry another thought - after reading Bronwen's message-  we have a major bear retailer that contacted TY beanie's toys and they organised a colouring competition at Bears in Brisbane. ( this idea was then used at the show Bronwen mentioned)  They (TY) gave away expired editions  when children entered the colouring competition and the winner received a prize.  Their thinking was that if they were given one the parents would then have to buy them more to start a collection.  This idea does work well - just look at McD's and the toy they "giveaway" with their children's meals.

Number 3 thought is an ATM - for more money - find out the location of the closest one to the venue.

Sue@Peggotty Peggotty
Posts: 56

Hi Daphne,
I was going to log off about an hour ago but keep seeing new and interesting thins to read.  Your question being one of them.  Two or three ideas really jump off the page to me (having been on the show circuit for about 5 years in the UK).  In no particular order they are:

Cash machine .... how many times have people walked away because they've 'left their cheque book at home' or 'don't carry credit cards'

Love the ideas of seating near to the tables for people to rest awhile and just view 'their' bear.  Also take the point about positioning of tables although it's hard for an organizer to know exactly how an artist will arrange their display.  How about a 'newby/first time exhibitor' corner.  People will always support newcomers - even if it's with words of encouragement.

A kid's corner is a brilliant idea.  No single thing in the world is more distracting for a collector than when their children don't want to traipse around.  So a colouring/moulding corner would be attractive but why why not expand it by getting a good story-teller (grandparent?) to come and read <bear> stories to the kids.  Even better in this day & age, how about showing bear videos (Pooh and that sort of thing), or would this fall foul of copyright?  Design a bear (again, drawing and colouring), How tall an I compared to ........ (Could anyone loan you one of those bears that stand outside of shops?) - draw a picture, mark it  in 1/2 metre  and let the kids be measured against it.  Great fun, I promise,  I've done it myself and most importantly it's inexpensive.  You'll need a few dedicated people to look after your area but that's all.

Good luck.  Well run shows are a pleasure for exhibitors. :clap:

Laniebears Arctophilia
Shropshire UK
Posts: 1,429

Daphe, all sounds very exciting...


Only for  those who buy a bear an entry form given to them by the artist they buy from. Buy two bears get two forms.Maybe number code or sign the forms yourself so knowone can cheat or photocopy them.



Lanie x

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

Now you glas have my head spinning!   bear_wacko  bear_wacko  bear_wacko  LOL!

All fantastic ideas. I'll be sure to have info on the nearest cash machine printed in the program. This show is being held during the height of tourist season in an oceanside community. Most folks SHOULD indeed have credit cards, check book and cash at the ready but you never know!

I REALLY didn't want to approach the child care subject this year but it seems that's a big thing for everyone so I'm giving thought to what I can easily work into the plans. Eileen will do her "stuff your own" critters but I don't want for an artist to have to babysit and take away from her customers, even with hubby there to help. A coloring corner might be good, easy, etc. I don't see kids sitting still in this environment to listen to a story though I have to be honest, I love that idea!!!

My intent with this show is to create an upscale atmosphere... so I don't want to encourage a romper room feel!!! I'll figure something out with all of your suggestions though, I'm sure!!!

Lots of great ideas to encourage sales too!!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!

bear_flower  bear_flower  bear_flower  bear_flower  bear_flower  bear_flower

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