I didn't realize that I haven't written a blog post since Feb, 2021! Oops! Well, I know what one of my New Year Resolutions is going to be!
The 2021 show season is over for me now and I won't have any more shows until about April so it's now the time thinking about my 2022 sales strategy. My show schedule for 2021 was very successful but a bit too much. I drive a pickup truck so I have to pack all of my inventory and show supplies in my truck. Many weeks in 2021 I didn't even unload the truck, I'd just drive it full of inventory for weeks at a time - not the best thing to do! I also neglected my Etsy store a bit, though my sales were up overall due to the amount of shows that I did, my online sales were off 50% because I failed to keep my inventory up online. I finally developed a workable solution for separating my online inventory from my show inventory, now I have to better balance my online sales vs my show sales.
I will still be selling at the Shelby Farmers Market this coming summer, but probably not as often. Maybe only every other week or so. That will give me more time to enjoy my "retirement"! LOL! I'll also do some other shows now and then so keep an eye on my Calendar page where I will list where I'm going to be.
I'm heading down to Tucson at the end of January for a couple of weeks - or am I? The COVID Omicron variant has me concerned that cases are going to spiking here soon. Maybe that spike will come and begin to fade by the time I leave? I don't know. I have a coupe of weeks to decide so I'll wait a bit and let you know. I've considered leaving a couple days early to Arizona and make a side trip to Quartzite since I've never been there, but I'm not sure about that either! One of the things that is affecting my decision is that I've already paid for my Tucson VRBO so if I cancel I'll have a few extra bucks to buy some of the toys (I mean tools) that I've been dreaming about (3D printer, metal detector, etc.). But if I don't go I'll miss out on all the great deals and see all the new cools things that you always see in Tucson!
Oh well, I'll let know what's happening in a few weeks.
Back From Tucson!
We're back from our buying trip in Tucson, AZ. Every time I go there I am sad when I come back home. I think of the things that I should have bought, the things that I wanted to buy, and maybe even some things that I shouldn't have bought! But invariably, as soon as I get home I'm already planning my trip for next year!
I'll be adding new inventory up on the website over the next few weeks, there's a lot of stuff and it takes me a while to get all the pictures taken and the copy written up but bear with me, it WILL get there! Here's a list of some of the new inventory, if there's anything on the list that you may be interested in let me know and I'll make that a priority to get listed, or I'll contact you directly:
Bahia Amethyst Elestial Cluster
Bahia Amethyst Points
Blue Barite specimens
Yellow Fluorite specimens
Madagascar Fluorite specimens (they fluoresce in the daylight!)
Labradorite Free Forms (large and small)
Chevron Amethyst Spheres
Chevron Amethyst pendants
Spirit Quartz Clusters (small and medium)
Amethyst Geodes on Stands
Amethyst slabs on stands (small and really nice!)
Chrome Chalcedony specimens
Blue Kyanite Clusters
Blue Kyanite Blades
Red Fox Agate (ooohhh, you WANT to see this one!)
Ammonite pairs (small)
Tabasco Geode Pairs
Bumblebee Jasper Towers
Basalt / Pyrite Tower (another stunner!)
Adamite (UV Reactive)
Tourmaline in Quartz Specimens
Vanadinite on Geothite Specimens
Amazonite on Stand
Oh, so much work to do! I better get back to it - Todd @ Motown Rocks
Hi all, just a couple updates while I'm here on the computer...
I hope you've seen the special we are running for the next couple of weeks, a 25% discount on your entire order! We're looking to build up our funds as we're preparing to make another trip to Tucson this year - Woo Hoo! We LOVE going to Tucson, it's the MECCA for rockhounds. I'll probably do some facebook live shows from Tucson so if you're looking for anything special, let me know.
I'm also in negotiations with a local marketplace here in the SE Michigan area to do a pop-up shop for a coupe of weekends, probably in March. I hope to finalize this later this week. Once I do I'll post it here on the web site.
I have also requested a booth at a new rock show coming up in April for the Bay City Rock Club. If accepted, the show will be in the Bay City Center Mall on April 25-26. I'll let you know more when I get confirmation.
I'm also looking for additional rock shows, or festivals, or whatever else you may people would be interested in rocks at. If you have any ideas drop me a note at MotownRocks@wethy.com or comment to this post.
Lastly, if you haven't already seen the new amethyst from Zambia you HAVE to check them out - STUNNING! I know, pricey, but rare specimens from a rare location!
That's it for now!
Happy New Year!
Happy 2020! As we start the new year we're planning our New Year Resolutions for Motown Rocks. Included in these resolutions are things that we hope will have a positive impact on our customers. We're looking to continue to grow our business, which means more products at great prices to you! We are also planning on attending more shows, festivals and events here in the SE Michigan area which will also be a benefit to those customers that live in this area. We are also looking looking into alternatives for a real brick and mortar presence, maybe not a stand alone store but at least some place where our local customers can actually see and touch the minerals they've been looking for (or maybe they didn't even know they were looking for!) If you have any suggestions for us to make our business more helpful to you, please drop us a comment and let us know!
We hope that you also have New Year Resolutions that will help guide you in your plans to make 2020 the best year that you have ever had!
I haven't been very diligent in doing my Facebook Live Feeds. I did a couple of them, had a little participation (thank you to those that attended!) and did a little bit of business - more work than payoff. But...the only way to develop a following is to be persistent so I'll be doing some more in the future. One of the problems that I have is that I don't have a good space to set up and do the Live Feeds. I have some space in my basement but a basement in a 80 year-old house is not that pleasant to be working from! I've got quite an inventory now so I really need to move some product. I've got some good suppliers and I have some more that I'd like to do new business with but I need to move some stuff first.
If anyone is out there reading these things, drop me a quick response here and let me know what your thoughts are. On my website, on my inventory, on my prices - whatever's on your mind. I'd like to hear from you, drop me a comment below.
I did pick up a used Star Diamond 10 inch trim saw. The nice things about it is that I can cut some slabs on it as well as do some trim work. I can't cut very big slabs, but that's okay, it gets me started. It has a nice vice but no auto feed so I have to feed it by hand but since all of the slabs are on the smaller side they don't take too long anyway. I'll take some pictures of some of the slabs and post them here in a future blog.
I think I'll be added a new tab to my page for a show calendar. Hopefully, once I get a following going I'll be able to get local followers out to some of my shows.
Until my next post - happy rock hounding!
Facebook Live Feeds
In order to build the business a bit more I've decided to start, or at least experiment, with Facebook Live Feeds. If you're not familiar with Live Feeds, it's basically an opportunity for someone to sell online in real time. The way I'm going to manage my feeds is that I'll initially plan on doing 2 feeds a week (maybe Fridays and Tuesdays?), create a predefined inventory of things that I'm going to offer, start the feed and let anyone on the feed purchase those items as I present them. Payment will be through PayPal, at the end of the feed I will invoice, via PayPal, those that claimed items during the show, and those folks who claimed an item will then pay me through PayPal. I will combine all items that were purchased by an individual into a single shipment in order to reduce shipping costs as much as possible. I will also be showing more items in the live feed than I have posted i the shop and sometimes the prices will be discounted on the live feed so come on out and check them out! I will also throw in something interesting in every show, like a freebie drawing!
My first show is scheduled for Friday, May 31 at 9:00 pm EST. To access the show, go to my Facebook business page: https://www.facebook.com/motownrock and join the live feed. If you can't make it on Friday look for me on Tuesday. I hope to see you there!
If you are looking for me to add something specific to the live feed, just let me know in the comments below.
Tucson, how I miss you!
Well, I was not disappointed! This was first trip to the big Gem and Mineral show in Tucson, I had heard a lot about it but until you experience it yourself you just can't grasp the size! So many shows (something like 47), so many vendors (some shows have hundreds of vendors) and so many rocks, minerals, gems, fossils and all sorts of related things. Vendors form all over the world bring in their inventory to either show off, or try to sell. I think at some times there are more vendors than there were customers!
I can't imagine that all those vendors actually make money, at some shows you would see tent after tent of material from the same country - basically the same material! Other time the high-end vendors would bring in pieces that were so expensive I can't imagine that they sell very much, if anything at all!
I think the trick for this kind of show is to be patient, do your homework, don't impulse buy, and negotiate. With those thoughts in mind you should be able to find some great deals. I know I was able to blow through my budget without a problem!
The trip wasn't without any hiccups though, on our first day at the show we were at the 22nd St. show, we had just had lunch and I reached into my pocket to grab my wallet to pay for some blue Kyanite blades that I had bought and realized that I did not have my wallet! My drivers license, credit cards (both personal and business) and part of my cash were all gone! You know that sinking feeling! Everything goes through your mind at once - did I just put in another pocket, or in my backpack? Did I get pick-pocketed or did I leave it when I bought lunch? Who do I contact to start looking for it? I even thought, how do I get back on a plane to go home without any ID (you can, just google it)?
We went back to the food truck where we bought lunch - no luck. I remembered that there was a booth at this show that seemed to be the show management booth, I went back there and asked if they had a lost-and-found. Low and behold! They had my wallet! Not only was it there, nothing was missing! I wish whoever had returned it would have left their name, I certainly would have treated them to the specimen of their dreams! Sometimes people are just good! You know if I ever find someone's wallet like that I'll do the same for them.
Okay so we put that experience behind us, I split up my credit cards between Lyn and myself and we continued on with the show. I think we ended up hitting about 8 shows or so, when we got to Tucson many of the shows had already closed so we focused on a couple, like the 22nd St, show and the Kino show, both humongous! The Kino show is a sensory overload. If you've never done that one before, you need to do it at least 2 times. once, just to get a feel of what there is, the second time to focus your attention and what you're looking for.
My purchases this year were small enough to box up into a bunch of USPS large flat rate boxes and ship home. I know other dealers like myself bough more than I did and created pallets of material and shipped it home that way. Which ever way we get it home our purpose is to get it back out to you (except maybe a few select specimens we just let go)!
Here is the material that I picked up at the show, I'm in the process of getting everything inventoried, pictures taken, pricing set, and loaded into my online shop here. This process will take a while, if you see anything in these pictures that interest you, drop me a message at MotownRock@wethy.com and I'll get you some more information.
I actually have 11 pieces all together. This material is more on the purple side that pink side but some of these pieces have really nice crystal and they are all good sized. The biggest one is a gem, I'm not sure if that one will make it out of my personal collection!
I came across this guy from North Carolina in the Miners Co-Op show. The material is interesting but his story was even more entertaining! He claims that this combination of minerals has never been found together before, I'm not sure what specific minerals he is referring to but he was very excited about it. It contains Epidote, Thulite, Mica, Quartz, Orthoclase, Albite, Calcopyrite and some other things (including, as he has listed "...misalanious (sic) others...". He was a hoot and the material is actually kind of neat. He had cabbed some of the material so it held together well while manipulated. I'll be selling this for about $20 a piece.
I know, not the best picture to show off this material... I bought a flat (6 pieces) of this silver from a Moroccan dealer. I had seen some of this material at other dealers in the shows and I fell in love with it. I didn't realize that when I bought it this particular material matrix includes UV reactive Calcite - so cool! I always run my UV light over everything I buy just in case I find some surprise, this is a perfect example of why I do that. These pieces will run from about $50 to $150.
Red Quartz is quartz that has Hematite inclusions, pretty cool stuff. I purchased a flat of it in a somewhat smaller size so I could sell it to my customers that don't want to spend an arm and a leg but would like to have a piece. Very affordable, these will be listed from just a couple of dollars up to about $25 or so.
I obtained this material from a Moroccan dealer. Not juicy red, more a brown color but the glitter from all of the nice crystals sold this one to me. I have more Vanadinite in my shop that is on the red side so I thought this material would compliment those pieces. This stuff will run from about $10 to about $20 per piece.
I bought this flat of mixed minerals from the Moroccan dealer as well. Though each piece is small, I bought these for my customers who don;t want to spend a lot of money but would like a few different specimens. There's all sorts of things in this flat, Barite, Vanadinite, Hematite, Fluorite, Aragonite, etc. Some of the minerals are fluorescent as well. I'mm still checking them out to identify some of the samples. Nice and affordable, these will run $4 to $10 each.
Azurite / Malachite Flats
I bought this material with my lapidary friends in mind. Each piece is relatively thin and flat, perfect to grind and polish to make jewelry out of. I try some of it myself to see how it works. I'll be sellign these pieces for about $3 to $10 each
More Azurite / Malachite
I bought even more Azurite / Malachite because the deal was just too good and I'm just a sucker for Azurite! A lot of pieces here, these are more true display specimens. Some bigger, some smaller. Some more Malachite, some more Azurite. Something for everyone. These pieces will run from just a coupe of dollars to maybe $50 dollars, or so.
I love Pink Halite! I don;t know if it is the color, the crystals, or thought of a salty lake leaving this gorgeous mineral behind. Whatever it is this was on my list to pick up in Tucson. So here it is a flat of 12 pieces of Pink Halite. Nice crystals, good sized pieces. These pieces will cost about $15 - $20 each. They are more pink in person, the flash washed it out a bit.
Septarian Nodule Halves
Another material I like, these Septarian Nodules have been cut in half and polished showing off their distinctive patterns. I got a good deal on these guys so I'll pass this on to you, these will be priced in $20 range.
Chalcedony Geode Halves
Another deal that I couldn't pass up. A lot of these guys were in one flat but I like them because of their fluorescent properties. If you shine a UV light on them, they will glow a lime green color - very cool! Since I got such a good deal on them I'l be listing them for about $10 each. I know that I have bought some of these before for about $15 each so this will be a good retail deal!
Blue Kyanite Blades
I love everything blue! Blue Kyanite is no exception. I have some Blue Kyanite cluster for sale nut when I saw these blades for sale I had to buy them. They're good for retail since I can sell them for about a nickel a piece, or I can bundle up a 1/2 pound or so of them and sell multiple at once. Hold these up to a light, the edges are translucent so you'll see a nice blue glow through them.
Amethyst Stalactite Slices
Okay, here is the final purchase that I made in Tucson - Amethyst Stalactite Slices. I love these guys. You can find them small, like these or the size of your hand. I had purchased a number of the new membrane displays from a vendor during the show without anything specific in mind but when I saw these slices marked 50% off I immediately thought of the membrane displays! These little guys work perfectly in the displays. I hope I get as much interest in them as I like them! These will be priced at $20 each (or maybe a couple of dollars cheaper if you buy them here on MotownRocks,com).
Well, that's it form our trip this year. Lyn and I had a great time. In addition to the rock stuff I indulged Lyn in her love of checking out knitting stores in each new town we go to, we checked off another National Park off our list, Saguaro National Park, we're up to 25 parks or so now. We went to Tombstone, AZ and took a tour of the Kartchner Caverns State Park. We stayed at the McCoy Hotel, a newly refurbished funky motel decked out with art all over the place, beer, wine in the lobby and food trucks on Friday and Saturday. A place we would definitely stay at again.
I'll get this new inventory up in y online shop as soon as I can! Thanks everybody!
VANADINITE IS IN!!
I just received a shipment of Vanadinite, mostly on Barite, some on Manganese - all very cool! Take a trip to the shop and check them out!
Mid-Michigan Rock Show
Another show has come and gone. We saw a lot of kids at the Midland show, which is great, we need to get more younger kids into the earth sciences. We sold all of the soapstone carved animals that we brought which is fun to see the kids get to take something home. We sold a couple big salt lamps, which is great because that means that I didn't have to pack them up and take them home! If you're interested in one of these lamps, let me know. I don't ship them but I can arrange a local pick-up at my house in Bloomfield Hills.
I don't have any more shows scheduled so I'll be focusing my time on loading my inventory up on the site here over the next few weeks. If you're looking for something in particular, let me know and I'll try my best to find it for you.
Clio Rock and Mineral Show
. My first rock show was a huge success! I wasn't sure what to expect so I set my goals very low and ended up being very pleased with the results. My wonderful wife, Lyn, helped me on Saturday and I'm sure glad she was there! I made the mistake of telling her that I didn't think that I'd need her for Sunday as I expected the day to be slower, but that turned out to be a mistake. I ran from the beginning to the end trying to keep up! I hope I didn't keep too many customers waiting.
The large salt lamps ended up being a big seller, we had sold out of our stock on Saturday! The mineral specimens were good sellers as well, lots of folks picking up lots of varied specimens. I got a lot of comments that my booth was the best one there.
My next show is scheduled for Nov 3, 4 at the Chippewa Nature Center in Midland, MI. Here is a link to the show: Mid-Michigan Rock Club Annual Show. I hope to see your there! Leave me a comment if you'd like to have me bring anything specific, there's not much time to order new material that I don't already have but I am going to make a trip to a couple of my wholesalers next week so I can pick up some things.
Todd Wethy - Chief Rock Geek, Motown Rocks