I sold my first piece shortly after I started making jewelry. It was such a rush, such a high I couldn't contain myself. I actually called my husband in the Middle East and told him immediately. Then I started getting orders.
The trouble when you first start is understanding how to get findings and parts before you lose all your profits in supply cost. I had to learn this the hard way, i.e., do not buy one single finding for one single piece, unless you absolutely have to. But try not to.
There are great retail stores out there though, that will help new designers in any way they can. Because to them, a designer means business in more ways than one.
You are not going to get much of that one on one at the shows, but you are not going there for training per se. Which you could do however, as many shows have seminars or classes also available. But, we go to shows for current beads, findings, supplies, connections and of course shiny stuff.
Shiny stuff is super important no matter how you look at it.
However when at the show, its so important to do this. Do not only look at pieces YOU like. That's great and all and we all have our creativity to go to, but look at trends you see at shops, to see what will sell. I can not tell you how many pieces I have bought to make, just knowing they would sell even though personally, I hated it.
You have to determine a few cash-cows to cover the artistry of the rest of your pieces. Art pieces are going to make your name, but selling pieces keeps you in that business.
Personally I know right now that Shell Pearls sell big time, big time. Especially multi-colored ones. You can get good shell pearls at a retail store for about 30-40 bucks a strand or 10 bucks at a show. But why make them? They are big, simple and sometimes gaudy? shell pearl pricing: retail
Because of the price you can get for a well made shell pearl necklace. And the fact that most major celebrities have worm them in photogenic places.
I make them all the time, but personally would never wear them, or even make a set for me. However, I have been commissioned at jewelry shows to make them for friends and family I have brought along. In cases like that its important to know a good commission price. I always do the same price when stringing or knotting beads. Mine is pretty cheap, but you can go with what you are comfortable with.
Going to shows and bringing those who like your jewelry already is a great way to keep sales up. Plus, its girls time. Who wouldn't want more of that?