Iíve had a few folks ask me why I donít attend stamp shows as a dealer. There are several reasons.
I have nothing against stamp shows. I think they are great. But they are just not for me, not at this time anyway.
The main reason is lack of time. With a full time job, a part-time stamp business, and 3 young children at home, there just arenít enough hours in the day to do it all. Itís not possible for me to take off work on a Friday to prepare for the show, attend the show all weekend, and back to work on Monday.
My stock is organized for mail order retail sales. It would take a lot of time for me to prepare my stock for direct sales to customers at a show. Again, that is time I donít have on my hands. And it is a large expense to arrange my stock for direct sales.
I donít have help at a show. Iím a sole proprietor. I could probably find someone with philatelic knowledge to help me operate a table at a show. My nature is to be very detail oriented and Iím not sure I would find someone who does things my way or represents the ďcompanyĒ the way I would.
Iíll be honest. There is some theft at shows. Itís not a major problem, but it does happen. I see reports about significant items that are lost at shows. I wonder how much unreported theft occurs. For example, I have thousands of plate blocks. If someone goes through and removes 50 blocks and doesnít pay for them, am I going to notice? No. This situation isnít unique to stamp shows. It can happen to coin shows, antique shows, and so forth. I know itís a part of doing business when you are a dealer at a show. Iím just not ready to accept that as a part of my business.
On the flip side, there are other things that I do to support the hobby. I write for several philatelic publications. I make donations to different clubs. I sometimes donate material I get in to people who work with youth stamp clubs. So I counter by saying things like, ďThose dealers who are attending the show, do they write articles in the philatelic press to educate collectors? Why not?Ē
I applaud those who have time to do stamp shows. I wish them much success. Iím constantly evaluating my business model and maybe someday Iíll decide to set up at shows. But for now, itís just not for me. I have too many other things going on and I just donít have the capacity to take on something as time consuming as setting up at stamp shows.