Home Show Review & Information

Hello and welcome!


In one of my previous posts, I mentioned an upcoming home show. That show has come and gone, but I’d like to tell you about it and about how you can host your own home show.


This home show was hosted by my mom. She provided me with a list of names and addresses of her friends, neighbors, and other ladies she knew and I created postcard invitations for her to give to them. Because her house is fairly small and limited on parking, we ran the show as an open house so the guests could stop by any time during the show hours.


For the home shows, I bring my entire setup including jewelry, displays, and tables. If it’s an outdoor show, I can bring a canopy if the area is large enough for it.


They are a great opportunity to have some “girl time” and connect with friends for a bit. Needless to say, you also get to try on jewelry, which can be a lot of fun as well! There is a perk to hosting too!


As I mentioned, I ran this show as an open house so the guests could stop by during a certain time period; however, the shows can also be run like a party where all of the guests are at the show at one time.


To get the ball rolling, I will ask that you provide me with a list of your guests and their addresses. I will then create postcard invitations for you to send or give to your guests. If you are creative, you are welcome to create your own invitations as well.


For open houses, I have found that 3-5 hours seems to be long enough. Most people stop in during the first hour or two, so I try not to make it too long in order for the hostess to have time to do other things after the show. Parties are usually good at around 2-3 hours.


I usually ask that the hostess provide light refreshments, but nothing sticky or too messy. Advertising that the party has light refreshments seems to help gain interest.


Don’t worry, the hostess isn’t doing this all for nothing. She will receive a piece of jewelry I custom design for her as a thank you gift. She will also receive a 10% discount on her purchases at the show.


I have frequently been asked which company my jewelry parties are associated with. The parties are not associated with any of the big home party jewelry companies. All of the jewelry pieces are my creations and most of them are one-of-a-kind so every party could have a different variety of items.


One note, due to time and fuel costs, I prefer to keep the parties with in the Lancaster, Lebanon, Dauphin County area of Pennsylvania. However, if you live outside of that area, we can discuss the possibilities.


If this is something that might interest you, e-mail me and let’s talk. If not, I still thank you for stopping by and reading!




Manheim’s Artist’s Alley

Artists Alley

I had an interesting experience yesterday. I did a Google search for “’Artist’s Alley’ Manheim” and 6 out of the 10 results were links to pages I wrote. That did not help my situation.


If you have been following along here for the past year, you might recall my writings about Artist’s Alley last year. It’s a small craft show featuring artists from within the zip code where I live. Last year was the first year for the show and given it was the first year and it was small, it was a nice show. So nice, they have decided to do it again this year.


The reason I found myself searching for this show was because I was being interviewed via e-mail by a local newspaper and I wanted to give the reporter some information based on last year’s shows. I forget whether I changed the apostrophe location or what I changed, but I did end up finding the information I needed and was able to help the reporter.


As a side note, I have reduced the number of shows I am doing this year so I can work on a bigger project. However, one of the shows I am doing is Artist’s Alley in Manheim, PA. It might not have been my most successful set of shows, but it was fun. I enjoyed the smaller size because it gave me a chance to get to know the other artisans and the customers better. I didn’t feel lost in a sea of people.


I’m not sure who will be there for sure this year, but last year, we had my jewelry, a potter, stained glass, pen-and-ink, a photographer, and a few others. The idea was to have one artist per style of artwork so there wasn’t as much competition. As a jewelry designer, I really appreciated this because some shows have had so much jewelry I have overheard customers say “Oh, it’s just another jewerly stand.” (I’m not kidding.)


Another feature of this show is Stiegel Glassworks 1976. This is a working glass blowing studio and they do demonstrations throughout the show. I think you can even work with them to make your own piece. Check them out here: Stiegel Glassworks 1976


One of the things I like about this show verses the huge craft shows is it doesn’t feel corporate. Even though the large shows are full of small businesses just like me, there is something about them that makes it overwhelming and it feels corporate for lack of a better way to put it. The smaller shows really drive home the feeling of small locally owned businesses.


Artist’s Alley will be held on two days this year and they will run from 12:00 PM until 5:00 PM both days. The days are Sunday, May 5, and Sunday, September 29. The May 5 show was scheduled to coincide with Mothers’ Day the following weekend. This is a great opportunity to find a one-of-a-kind item for the person you never know what to get. As an added bonus, it’s locally made!


The show is located at the Manheim Railroad Station, 210 South Charlotte Street, Manheim, PA 17545. This is just up the road from Lancaster, the next town over from Lititz, and across the street from a great restaurant called The Cats Meow.


If you are in the area, mark your calendar and make a day of it!


Porchwalk Recap

This past weekend was the Lititz Artisans’ Porchwalk in Lititz, PA. This is generally regarded as a pretty good show and has great attendance. This year was full of high quality artisans but the attendance wasn’t quite what we expected; however, it was still a great show overall.

Here is a photo of my set up:


As a returning vendor, I was given the choice between a space inside in the garage and a space outside. I chose the space inside with the thought that I wouldn’t have to worry about setting up my canopy, and I wouldn’t have to worry about wind. These definitely were positive points for the weekend; however, I learned that all positives have a negative or two as well. On Friday it was very breezy and one of the vendors outside had a lot of difficulty keeping her canopy from blowing away. For this reason, I was grateful I was inside. If I had been outside I would have had to lay all of my jewelry down or else it would have blown over in the wind.

On the flip side of the coin, the vendors who were outside were able to experience sunshine for most of the weekend. The garage was quite chilly and damp. On Friday it was chilly in the garage and outside too in spite of the sunshine.

Something else I learned is that even though I didn’t have to contend with the wind, the garage was a little darker than what I would have liked it to be. If I’m in there next year, I will try to hook up some small spotlights to help customers see the jewelry better. I had several customers who had to take pieces out into the sunlight in order to see the colors of the stones more clearly.

It certainly wasn’t a bad weekend. Even at slower shows, I’m able to make connections and talk to people. I love to learn about what people like and don’t like in their jewelry even if they don’t buy anything. It’s fun to know whether I’m on target with other folks interests or if I’m out on my own in my designs.

So I lived a little, learned a little, laughed a little, and loved a little this weekend. For those who came out, I thank you so very much for your support even though it was cold. For others, I hope to see you very soon. If you are in the Lancaster County area, I will be at the Manheim Classic Car Cruise-In this Saturday, October 20, on Market Square in Manheim from 10AM until 2PM. The men can check out the cars and we can have our own ladies corner.

For now, thanks for stopping by!

Lititz Artisans’ Porchwalk Show

If you are in the South Central Pennsylvania area, this post is for you!


In a little over a month, I will be participating in the craft show I look forward to all year. This show includes some of the best artisans in the Lititz area and is a lot of fun, too.


The name of the show is the Lititz Artisans’ Porchwalk. It features juried artisans and craftsmen on display at homes throughout the town of Lititz, PA. This show is not your average craft show because the artisans are spread out all over town. There are about six or seven artisans per location and there are six locations total. I suppose you could walk from one location to the next if you felt up to it, but I would suggest driving to a few of them so you don’t wear yourself out.


I wish I could walk around and explore the other properties because it’s fun to see the mix of styles and creativity. There is folk art, pottery, paintings, wood carvings, textiles, hand-blown glass, jewelry and much more. Many of them are not what you typically see at the regular craft shows.


Bonus: It’s free! No tickets are required for this craft show.


If you have never been to Lititz, I recommend taking a trip the weekend of October 12 and 13. It’s a beautiful town with locally owned shops lining the streets. If you come during this weekend, the weather is usually perfect, not too hot and hot too cold. Just right for exploring town by foot.


Here are the details:
What: Lititz Artisans’ Porchwalk

When: Friday and Saturday, October 12 & 13, 2012

Time: 10 AM – 5 PM both days

Where: Throughout the town of Lititz, PA

Website: http://www.moravianmanor.org/artisan.htm


Please check the website for exact location addresses.


It might seem early, but this show is a great opportunity to find one-of-a-kind holiday gifts and avoid the shopping crowds later.


Mark your calendar now! I’m looking forward to seeing you!


Better Late Than Never – An Introduction

Better Late Than Never!

Hello! First, I want to say thank you to all of you who regularly read my posts. It means more than I can express. Second, I recently realized I have written all of these posts and never introduced myself. How rude of me!

My name is Gretchen Smith and I am a construction designer by day and a jewelry designer by night. Construction designer meaning I draw the plans for a residential remodeling company. I suppose the jewelry designer part is self-explanatory. I have been interested in designing and creating jewelry since I was young and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to move forward with my passion.

In 2008, I decided to move my jewelry designing from a hobby to a business. I enjoyed creating beautiful pieces for friends and family so much that I wanted to share it with others around me, too. I really thought I would always keep Gretchen Smith Jewelry as a small side-line business, but as time goes on and the business grows, I am feeling my calling to do more with jewelry. I am currently working on a certification through the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) which will help me dive further into the world of jewelry and gemstones.

At this time, my jewelry primarily revolves around sterling silver and gemstone beads. My goal for 2012 is to begin creating more wire and metal pieces. This will give me the opportunity to create true one-of-a-kind pieces and develop my own style. My hope is to continue creating jewelry that is affordable for every woman because I believe all women should have at least one piece of stand-out jewelry.

If you have not checked out my other sites, please feel free to do so

Gretchen Smith Jewelry

Gretchen Smith Etsy Site

If you have any questions about any pieces, please ask me. I love working with clients on the creation of one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces and also jewelry sets for bridal parties.

Okay, now I feel better. I really did feel guilty when I realized I never introduced myself.  Thank you for reading!

Photo courtesy of Len Bodnar

P.S. If you are in the Lancaster area this Saturday, June 9th, I will be participating in the Lititz AMBUCS Art and Craft Show in Lititz Springs Park. The show runs from 9:00AM until 4:00PM. Come on out and visit me!

1st Show Recap

I am a big fan of finding learning experiences in everyday events. Sometimes this is the best way of finding something good on an otherwise bad day.

I attended my first craft show of the year last Saturday. It proved to be an interesting day. The night before the show, I told my husband I always get nervous the night before my first show each year. I have to get back into the swing of things. I was especially nervous this time. My mom and sister were away and my husband had to work, so I flew solo. It taught me to keep my chin up in the face of frustration and it taught me how bad my memory is.

The show was a local community day. It had a combination of food, children’s activities, and artisans and was scheduled to start at 9:00 a.m. Vendors were to report at 7:00. My truck was packed and ready to go at 6:50 (the show was almost literally right down the road from my house). Upon arrival, I noticed no one around me had canopies set up, so I decided to keep mine down. This was good because I can’t set it up alone very well. As I started to get everything out, I couldn’t help but feel something was missing. Then it hit me – my earrings were all at home. Thank goodness home was 5 minutes away! After a quick trip home, I was ready to roll. Lesson- create a checklist to make sure you have everything before leaving home.

Then came lunch…when I realized I ate my sandwich as a mid-morning snack and didn’t have a lunch. Lesson – bring a few snacks in addition to lunch.

I found it interesting how many ladies asked about metal allergies throughout this show. I am wondering if people are starting to have more metal reactions because they are buying cheaper jewelry with the economy being what it is. Note, nickel and copper, which are often added to precious metals to make them more durable, are generally the metals people are allergic to more so than the silver or gold. Lesson – do more research on metal alloys and metal allergies.

As the end of the day approached, I began to realize my arms were a bit pink. I was intending on being under the canopy, so I didn’t think about applying sunscreen before leaving the house. After I got home, I realized I was a little more than pink on the back of my neck. Ouch! Lesson – if the show is outside, put on sunscreen just in case.

The show wasn’t super busy, but I was happy with the results and I learned a few things. Now, if only I could keep these things in mind for the future.

Here are a few photos I took at the show.


Thanks for reading!