by Leslie Anger, Marketing Content Development Group, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®
Some jewelry makers talk about going to the Bead and Button Show like tourists talk about seeing the Taj Mahal or the Pyramids. It really is that spectacular!
The Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee is a ten-day event with hundreds of bead vendors and over 800 jewelry-making class sessions and beading workshops. Grab this opportunity to network with other jewelry artists, shop amazing beads and learn the newest techniques.
This year we're bringing sparkly fun for all of you. Not only are we hosting Meet the Teachers 2017 with gifts sponsored by Swarovski® crystals, we're also leading make-and-take projects at the Swarovski crystals booth itself on the show floor. Stop by and follow along to create a pair of earrings and or a bracelet.
Are you ready? If not, here are some tips and hints from our own experiences to help you prepare for the amazing Bead and Button Show:
Getting there - The early bird gets the worm with this one. Booking your plane or train tickets well in advance will save you money. Don't forget to pad your schedule a bit, as the show occurs just after Memorial Day and there could be delays. If you don't want to fly, remember that Amtrak's Hiawatha train will take you from Chicago to Milwaukee's General Mitchell Airport and shuttles can take you to your hotel and convention center--or you can rent a car of your own!
Somewhere to sleep - Another early bird issue: big events like the Bead and Button Show can fill up nearby hotels early and quickly. Some people make their reservations a year in advance! If you don't plan ahead, you may end up traveling a great distance from your hotel to the show. And, even in the summer, camping on the "beach" alongside Lake Michigan is not comfortable.
Class sign-ups - The final issue for early birds: class registration is open! Classes fill up lickety-split, so pick your favorites and sign up right away. Otherwise, you'll have to wait until 2017 to see if they're even available again.
Getting around Milwaukee - The locals sometimes still call their shiny international airport by the old regional label of "Mitchell Field," so don't be surprised if someone uses the name. Mitchell has a great shuttle service available for a reasonable fee. If you get a room close to the convention center, most of downtown Milwaukee's amenities--restaurants, shopping mall, etc.--are all within walking distance. Need to go further? Car rentals from most major rental agencies are available at Mitchell. Be sure to network with your beading buddies for lodging and transportation to save some cash. You'll need it for shopping!
Packing your bags - First, leave room in your bags for everything you're going to buy because there will be those beads you just can't pass up ... Next, dress so you're taken seriously as a beader and jewelry maker. We call it "jewelry-maker's casual," but it just means wearing clothes that make you look like you know what you're doing. You'll notice the difference in how you're treated by vendors at the show--as well as businesses around the downtown Milwaukee area--when you use tips from the ''Dressing for Success'' article. Our biggest tip? Comfortable shoes! You're going to spend a lot of time standing and walking. Stay hydrated by bringing your own water bottle, as well as a few snack bars so you keep your energy up. Still have questions? Informative articles such as ''Trade-Show Attendee Survival Guide'' and ''Surviving Your First Bead Show'' offer great suggestions for surviving a show happy and healthy.
Take notes at the show - Smart phones and tablets are ideal ways to collect contact information for your new beading friends, take notes about new products or design inspirations, follow Fire Mountain's daily social media posts, track show activities and keep up with announcements of the daily raffle prize drawings. Don't do that wireless stuff? Bring a pen and notebook so you don't have to try to remember everything until you get home.
Get with the program - You'll get a "show program" with your registration packet when you check in at the convention center. It will include a map of the show's floor layout and a schedule of events. Look it over. It will help you plan your path through the show and make the most efficient use of your time--and your feet!
Schedule for maximum fun - Put together a list of events at the show, such as classes you're taking and events you're going to attend (like Meet the Teachers). Leave plenty of time for shopping!
In addition to all that will be going on during the show, Fire Mountain Gems is also sponsoring key events and classes you don't want to miss!
Classes and Workshops
June 4 - 11:
Bead and Button Show
June 5 - 8:
June 6 - 11:
Preview Shopping for Registered Attendees
June 9 - 11:
Bead and Jewelry Marketplace
Meet the Teachers Reception
Silent Auction Big Bead and Jewelry Bash
Come see the Fire Mountain Team and get the 411--Fire Mountain Gems and Beads will once again be at Booth #411 with fabulous free gifts, free prize drawings and more. Be sure to stop by and pick up our Information Cards and Jewelry-Making Contests Schedule.