January 27, 2011

Tucson Gem Show Survival Kit. A Top Ten list.

Saline nose spray. That's it.

Well, not really. But years ago, when I first started going to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, I was woefully unprepared.

Since we are leaving tomorrow to exhibit at the To Bead True Blue show, I thought I'd make my packing list and share it with you. Forewarned is forearmed.

1. The aforementioned nose spray. Trust me on this one.

2. A pair of flip flops. All your feet want to do after a day at the gem show is breathe. A plunge in a cool foot bath helps, too.

3. A rolling suitcase or bag. Gemstones are heavy. The walk to the car is long. Pack a snack in there.

4. Your business credentials. Most shows are wholesale only. Buyer registration usually requires a copy of your business license and/or tax-exempt certificate/resale tax identification and business card. It's a good idea to pre-print labels with your address and resale number so that you can just peel and stick when filling out vendor resale cards. Saves a lot of time.

5. A copy of the Tucson Show Guide.  These are all over town. I grab one, first thing at the airport. Bring some post-its and a highlighter. This is your bible for the week.

6. Cash. Many vendors give discounts for cash sales. Secure your cash in a travel neck wallet. Leave all unnecessary credit cards at home. At least purge your wallet of non-essentials if you are toting it around. Better to be safe than calling credit card companies all day.

7. Your social calendar. A few of the gem shows have late night shopping hours that are really fun to attend. It's like "old home week" and the atmosphere is relaxed and you'll get to see vendors from other shows shopping and chatting. Two that I recommend are The Whole Bead Show (Friday late night 'til 9) and The Best Bead Show (Wednesday late night 'til 8).

8. Your bathing suit. Your hotel probably has a hot tub and you'll want to relax in it. (Trust me, it's better than trying to figure out which underwear you brought looks most like a bathing suit.)

9. A budget and a calculator. Go in with a plan. At least you'll have something to throw out the window when you are dazzled by that table of gemstones and freshwater pearls.  Seriously, identify your needs, as there are some great deals to be had at these shows. I like to "do a lap" and see the lay of the land, make notes and then start buying. 

10. Your patience and sense of humor. There are more than 40 shows and thousands of visitors from all over the world... and you.
Beaducation will be at To Bead True Blue with our tools, stamping blanks, letter sets and demos. We are in the main ballroom, booth G174 & 175 starting on Sunday, Jan 30. Stop by and say hello. I'll know it's you by the nose spray.


Jamie B said...

I live in Tucson and it's a rough yet exciting three weeks. Have a safe trip!

Sarah said...

Great Post!
I love the Tucson Gem Show!! But for those of you with boyfriends that aren't into cool stuff, here are some pointers on what to do with them while your there :)


I'll see you all there next time!!