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Reactions to: "Editorial: Are They Cannibalizing Bead Shows?"

The "Cannibalizing Bead Shows" editorialcontinues to generate reactions. Also, some people have allowed me to append their names to their comments.

FROM BEAD EXPO
We need to move forward with the assumption that all of the show organizers are operating to serve the best interests of the bead community and that we can cooperate in a reasonable manner. Name-calling and inflammatory rhetoric will only exacerbate the problem. Let's work together to strengthen bead research and education, expand the bead movement, and introduce the public to the wonderful world of art and creativity through beads.


Bead Expo is not in danger of being "ruined." We have a strong foundation and a clear mission, so I believe that Bead Expo will continue and will do fine. While Bead Expo is glad that there will be a major bead show in the mid-West, the conflict of dates in 2001 was certainly unnecessary. Bead and Button knew of the Expo Miami dates before they were publicly announced because we placed an ad with them far in advance. The bead community needs to let its interests and concerns be known to all of us who are producing these major bead events. Thanks to the Bead Site for providing a forum where these issues can be discussed.
~ Suzanne Jamison, Recursos de Santa Fe, a nonprofit organization (presenters of the International Bead Expo in conjunction with the Center for Bead Research)

WANTS TO GO ON THE SHOW CIRCUIT
I completely agree with you about bead show scheduling snafus. I am wanting very much to hit the show circuit in a big way, but am only able to do a show close to home once a year. at present. My experience with Bead Renaissance was excellent, as far as management and vendor accommodations.. Joan & Glen Johnson are wonderful. However, even at this show it was more of a self-financing vacation for us and we didn't really break even on expenses.


I don't have to do shows in order to support myself, but lots of vendors certainly do. If we are going to spread the word and get more civilians interested in beads, the bead community is certainly going to have to make a UNITED effort to schedule, publicize, promote, and endorse each other's every effort. We are many but we are scattered around all over the place and without major endorsements and skillful promotion, our individual efforts are made all the more difficult.


I would be on the road selling my beads 366 days a year, and I know many others love this life as much as I do, but expenses are high when you are away from home and almost impossible to offset in sales. Even brown-bagging it isn't practical if you fly somewhere and stay in hotels and have to rent cars to get around. Gas, as we all know is also a tremendous expense, especially if you are driving around in a vehicle like a suburban or SUV which are big enough to haul all your merchandise and displays properly.


So we certainly do need to keep promoters advised of our views, because we vendors are their customer base, and without us they can't have their shows. They have their headaches with all the arrangements they have to make with convention centers, publicity and all the rest, but as a group they should unite as well as possible to make the show circuit positive for the entire bead community...themselves, vendors and customers. ~ Emily Davlin aka Jetstar

SPEAK YOUR MIND
It's good to see someone who is willing to stand up and say what's on their minds about this. I think so many people would rather grumble and complain in general and relative silence (or behind the curtains of their computers), than stand up and actually call a spade a spade. What I have to say to you is Bravo!


We are considering Miami for next year as we can visit my Dad at the same time. It's not often that we come East, and it would be beneficial to us to "kill two birds with one stone". Oh, and as an aside, we were at the B&B show...it was the "chilliest" bead show I have ever attended, and we didn't even make our expenses...there was a lot of politics involved with this show, and I certainly never thought there'd be so much cut-thoated-ness (is that a word???) associated with beads and bead selling. Strange show.

LAMENTS THE WINE COUNTRY SHOW
Re: Cannibalization of bead shows, I quite agree with you. I was eagerly awaiting the Wine Country Show, and have enjoyed Crystal Myth Shows previously. They should not have had to cancel for yet another bead show in Portland, but they did the right thing. What a disappointment for Northern California!

REACTIONS FROM A TEACHER
I taughed at Bead Expo, The Bead & Button Show and will teach at Embellishment. Here is what I think... Bead Expo is an academically stimulating and very professional show. I hope to teach there again for many years to come, no matter WHERE or WHEN it takes place! The new Bead & Button Show was the DULLEST conference I have ever attended.


My class was full and I feel that I hurt myself as a teacher because my enrollment at Embellishment is way off! If I did not have a free flight from the East Coast, I would have had to cancel my classes at Embellishment. It is deplorable how these two shows have diluted the bead show market and have become foes rather than allies in the Bead show Biz. Today, as I was packing my class supplies to ship to Oregon, I was thinking that this may be the last time I will support these two competitors.

As far as Bead Expo in Miami in May...I love it! Miami is way more exciting than Portland or Milwaukee and I just can't wait. It is funny how politics, greed and ego can infiltrate the arts, even the bead world! Shame on all who are working against unity and the promotion of bead artists, teachers and vendors.

REACTION FROM A BEADWORKER
Thank you for your open letter re: "Cannibalization of Bead Shows"! I have been very disheartened to see the cutthroat competition that has been going on between the organizers of these shows. I know many other beadworkers who feel the same. It is bad for the vendors & customers, and only serves to fracture the sense of community that has been developing in the bead world. I have a deep respect for Crystal Myths for their choice NOT to participate in this behavior. I also appreciate your decision to speak out on the issue.

REACTIONS FROM ANOTHER TEACHER
Peter, thanks for bringing this topic out in the open. As a teacher, I depend on these shows and staying friendly with everyone involved so that I can continue to share my bead knowledge with everyone. Therefore, I'd appreciate it if you would withhold my name until my commitments to these bead shows are fulfilled. I hope I get to teach and see you in Miami. My loyalty remains with Bead Expo as you have stepped up to a higher plane.

REACTIONS FROM A VENDOR
As a vendor who makes a living doing shows, I am outraged by the lack of consideration by show promoters with show dates. I am refusing to participate in shows that jeopardize my livelihood. To participate in a show represents a sizable investment for the vendor, oftentimes in the $1500-$2000 range. For small business people a show that is not well placed can make the difference in your yearly profits. Personally, I'm ready to do something about this and feel that any dialog would help. Thanks.~.Pudgy Beads

ANGRY
I'm angry about the way Bead & Button has been acting. It's very short sighted, and greedy. The shortsighted part is if they are allowed to ruin too many bead shows the vendors will also have to go out of business because of lack of income from too few shows. This will mean no vendors for their show. I also see a childish game of one-up-manship being played by B&B that the vendors have to pay for. I find B&B lack of regard for the vendors upsetting and again short sighted. ~ D.R.

Reactions up to 21 June

Everyone signed their name on the emails, but as I had not indicated that I would be posting the reactions I am leaving these anonymous until hearing from the people themselves. The one exception is the first posting, to which I am appending a short reply.

BEAD EXPO vs. BSGW
Didn't Peter Francis' Bead Expo in Santa Fe this year prevent the Bead Society of Greater Washington from having the bead show they had planned to have?

Pete's reply: No. Bead Expo was held every even year since 1992. The International Bead Conference was held every five years from 1985. In 2000 both were scheduled. Both groups realized it and thought of merging, but that was not possible logistically.
Neither I nor anyone connected with Bead Expo (at least to my knowledge) did anything to prevent the show in Washington. That fell through after their assessment that they did not have the resources to do it.

BRAVO
It's good to see someone who is willing to stand up and say what's on their minds about this. I think so many people would rather grumble and complain in general and relative silence (or behind the curtains of their computers), than stand up and actually call a spade a spade. What I have to say to you is Bravo!
We were at the B&B show...it was the "chilliest" bead show I have ever attended, and we didn't even make our expenses...there was a lot of politics involved with this show, and I certainly never thought there'd be so much cut-thoated-ness (is that a word???) associated with beads and bead selling. Strange show.

RESPECT FOR CRYSTAL MYTH
Thank you for your open letter re: "Cannibalization of Bead Shows"! I have been very disheartened to see the cutthroat competition that has been going on between the organizers of these shows. I know many other beadworkers who feel the same. It is bad for the vendors & customers, and only serves to fracture the sense of community that has been developing in the bead world. I have a deep respect for Crystal Myths for their choice NOT to participate in this behavior. I also appreciate your decision to speak out on the issue.

EVEN MOTORCYCLE CLUBS
"I urge all organizers of bead shows to communicate and to put a stop to this cannibalization. It is not good for the bead world." You've hit the nail on the head! Even the motorcycle clubs in my area have the sense to get together and make sure that there aren't two events scheduled on the same weekend! A little communication goes a long way.

STUPID IDEA
I am so glad to find someone else who is frustrated by what has transpired in the Bead Show world and also worried that this greed will kill the bead shows. I am a vendor and did the Bead and Button Show in Portland a few weeks ago and am sorry to say it is hurting the vendors terribly. There is only so many bead dollars in one area and the deliberately schedule two show within six weeks is just plain stupid.


If the idea was to wipe out the other show it only hurt us the vendors. I was down by half and it will take both shows with double the expense to make what I make at one. I have talked to many of the vendors and this is the case with all of us. I have connections with many of the Bead Societies and they are not happy either and some will not attend either Bead and Button or Embellishment.


I did Bead Expo 2000 and loved it as did many of us and we are outraged by the so called accident in scheduling that has put the two shows so close together. None of us believe this was an accident. Thanks for letting me vent.

 WHO CARES ABOUT VENDORS?
Dear Peter: I wouldn't worry so much about "cannibalization", as you put it. There are lots of all kinds of shows all the time. I would think that you, least of all, would be worrying about vendors. Your events carry some academic aura. That's why I would go. I don't know anything about Embellishments and the other shows. Who cares about vendors?

COMPETITIVE ARTISTS
Dear Pete: Although I haven't been to many bead shows, I would think it unnecessary to use tactics like this. Seems to me the bead world is big enough for everyone! This really reminds me of the old "competitive artist" thing -- don't worry, those people who get territorial and nasty usually end up hurting themselves. Be patient -- they can't keep a good man down! I've never been to an "Embellishments" show, but looking at their ads, I'd say the Bead Expo offerings are way above them!

 B&B SHOW
The B&B show was an awful one for me. I'm hoping that, rather than blaming the quality of my product, the subject you raise is the problem here. It seemed that many of the 3,000 folks who purportedly attended the B&B show were just there checking out the vendors. I did not even make my expenses (from Denver) and am feeling very sad about having chosen the B&B show over Embellishment. Indeed, it was only a scheduling problem for ME, as the Gathering of glass bead artists is in Oakland, CA in August this year.

SHOCKED - MIAMI IN MAY?
You asked for opinions re these bead shows and here is my .02 cents worth. Although I am not thrilled with the timing of the B&B Show for 2001, I was very shocked when Bead Expo made itself an annual show.
The thing that made Bead Expo special and worth going to was the fact that it was: (1) an every two-year event, therefore a rarer event; (2) the focus on not only selling beads, but investigating beads along with good seminars (the classes could be obtained at other bead shows also); and, (3) the location of Santa Fe which has its own mystique and lots of other things for people to do on their trip.


But Miami??? In May??? I don't think so. I'll go to B&B and wait for Expo until it is in Santa Fe again. ~ S.G.

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING
Hey, Pete -- regarding your editorial about the cannibalizing bead shows, I agree w/you completely that too much of a good thing is a bad thing,

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