Introducing to Brazilians - and sharing with the world... - miniaturist and show organizer, Linda Frye. Owner of the trademark "The Three Blind Mice", she takes her show to several cities all over the US. Her main concern is to keep costs low and affordable to both dealers and customers. And make sure everyone has fun and finds what they want! Read and learn why she is so successful at making it happen!
Pictures in the end.
My husband Mike and I have been married for 40 years. We got married in 1970 in Cincinnati, Ohio. We have 2 boys. In 1984 the company moved us to Orlando, Florida and we stayed there until 2006, when my health got worse. The doctor said that I would not live 6 more years if I stayed in Florida. So I made my husband take an early retirement and we moved back to our house in Cincinnati. My husband and I do everything for the shows from home, except the signs and programs. Those go to commercial printers and my oldest son does the web site for us from Florida.
DHB: Tell us a little about yourself?
In 2006 I bought the name of The Three Blind Mice Miniatures Show and Sale. So now I own the trade mark. Which is why all my shows are called Three Blind Mice, followed by the city they are located. Check out our web site for locations, dates and times of each of our shows throughout the year.
But 2007 was my first year to be a promoter.
DHB: How long have you been promoting miniature shows?
first published on 07/18/2010
Some of the older dealers are still around but, so far, every show has had a new dealer.
DHB: Have dealers changed since you started the shows? Is there 'new blood' or most dealers are still the same since the beginning?
To some of my vendors, this is their only income. So, they do a lot of my shows. But every show has someone new and I am proud of that. I love when we can give a new person a chance to make money and sell their items. No two shows ever have had the same list of vendors, just some favorites at a lot of them.
DHB: Are the dealers the same in all shows or do they usually choose a specific show to be at?
I got my first doll house for $8.88 in 1982. I decided that I loved doll houses and even gave some away as presents. I started buying doll house kits and learning how to make the things I wanted in the houses. By the year 2000 we quit counting when we had 200 doll houses and room boxes.
There was a new store opening a few miles from our home so we would decorate her picture windows for her each month with some of our doll houses and roomboxes. Before we knew it people would ask me to make items for them that were in our houses. Then we started teaching a class one Sunday a month and the store would sell some of the items we were making. Then the store owner asked us to work the table at a miniature show. I thought I had died and gone to heaven to be at the show and talk to people and could not believe that customers wanted and liked what we made. 1/2 the table was store items and 1/2 was our items. And I sold as much of my items as she did from the store because I had items no one else had. So we got our dealer license and started doing miniature shows on my husband's days off. Could only do a few a year but we loved it. Thought I would be a dealer when we retired, for extra money.
DHB: How and when did you get involved with miniatures?
DHB: What cities does your show go to?
In 2007 we did Dayton, Ohio in August; and Louisville, Kentucky in December. Since then we have added cities almost every year. We now do 9 shows in the following cities:
Next year we are planning on going to North Carolina for a show.
Deciding when and where to do the shows. Finding a location that is affordable and still keep the costs down for the dealers and customers. Most big hotels do not want to give you a Saturday night because they might get a wedding that would pay more for the ballroom. Then, getting the ballroom filled with good dealers, a variety of items, and price range for the customers.
DHB: What are your biggest challenges in organizing the shows?
I did not know about shows when I started and did not know that people would share their knowledge. I bought miniatures from everywhere: Disney, drugstores (Christmas ornaments) after the holidays and craft stores. I made a lot of the items at first but did not know there was a scale to try and follow. There were more stores but I did not know where to look for them. Now I know about the magazines that tell you when a show is coming within a driving distance from your home, ads in newspapers, TV or radio ads, etc. I think everyone should support their 'brick and mortar' store, which means the store in your home town if you have one. But also support the shows coming to your area. When this hobby can no longer support the vendors, we will lose a lot of really great items.
DHB: What changes have you noticed in the miniature market in general since you started the shows?
I love it when 3 generations of the same family come together (grandma, mom and daughter). I love it when whole families come. In my January show in Chicago, we had a blizzard and a grandpa drove them all and stayed with them. He had fun and they had a nice memory to share. My favorite one is the lady from Canada who came to my April show in Chicago. She had been shopping since the show opened and going back to her room with bags and coming back to shop some more. At 8:15 pm she said "okay that is it, I am going to bed see you tomorrow morning". We closed at 9 pm that night and at 8:45 she came down to the show in her pajamas and robe to buy more. I know I am hooked on this hobby but I never shopped in my pajamas...
DHB: What moments were most remarkable in the shows history for you?
Look at the pictures online, come to a show and see the exhibits. Start with a smaller house and do not put electricity in the first one. Make it easy and fun. So you can change the scenes as your knowledge grows. And enjoy it!...
DHB: What advice would you give to miniaturists who are just getting started? Is there a "best" place to start?
There are a lot of really good artisans in this field. But my favorites are the ones willing to share their knowledge and teach others how to make their items come to life in the scenes.
DHB: Who are the miniaturists that you most admire?
Most pictures are courtesy of Linda Frye
You are getting into the hobby at such a great time. Lots of magazines teach you things, stores all around the world, ebay and items for sale on the internet, and miniature shows all around the world. Anything you see in real life can be made in miniature. Many of the people who look at my doll houses say "Can you just blow it up and let me move in there?" You can create your dream house, office, store, whatever you want! And there are so many people willing to share their knowledge and teach you how to make the items you want to make yourself. Come to a show and let your imagination go wild!
DHB: Is there anything you'd like to say to Brazilians who are just now discovering miniatures?
SPECIAL: Read Linda's tips on how to optimize your sales at shows.