The Board Chronicles: 4th Of July Ventura Street Fair   4 comments

The Board Chronicles is an ongoing series of articles about the adventures of Mrs M’s Handmade as a vendor at community festivals & craft fairs. Mrs M’s subsidiary, Mr M’s Woodshop, has been approved to create this chronicle for the good of vendorkind.

4th of July Ventura Street FairRunning marathons is a mental game, I’ve found. There’s a BIG physical element, of course, but you only succeed if your head’s screwed on right during the race.

This event was also a marathon. We loaded the truck after dinner Friday evening (too hot to load earlier). Thank goodness we had the help of Christopher and the younger Mrs M. They had to help: it’s their truck.

Set-up officially began at 4am on Ventura’s Main Street, though we elected to arrive just a bit later. We left home at 5:15am.

We drove right to the booth, luckily, though the street was already clogged with vendors setting up (and not moving their empty cars out of the way so others could find their way). We were able to put everything into our space and then park the truck in a city lot about a block away. Very convenient and easy … because we arrived at 6:30am.

The official beginning was 10am, but we had walkers by the booth at 8:30am.

Then the marathon part really began in earnest. The set up was fine, but we didn’t have much down time. LOTS of people. Lots of decorated strollers with red, white & blue sparkly things. Patriotism, on parade, all day long. All good, but with the volume of people, we were busy. Along the way, we lost our way a bit.

I made an addition error in our sales record. We missed recording some sales. We ended the day disappointed in our total, but really too tired to count the money. It’s frustrating when you work very hard, but don’t feel rewarded, and that’s how we ended the day.

At 5pm, we had to close the booth (according to the rules), and be gone by 6:30pm. This event allowed any vendor to set up for 6 hours, but only allowed you 90 minutes to get out. We did that basically … but we also had 5 transactions, comprising over 10% of our day’s sales, happen after 5pm. The event closed too early.

We didn’t quite make it off the street by 6:30pm – we were gone by 6:45pm and home by 8pm to unload (solo). I had everything back into the house by 8:30pm.

I was able to recover enough the next day to count the money, and that’s when I found the errors in my sales records (and I NEVER make errors).

(Well, normally.)

(According to me.)

When I examined the records, found the missing transactions and counted the money, that’s when I found out how we really did.

Best. Day. Ever.

Too bad it didn’t feel like it when we lost track of things!

New Ideas

  • Double booth, one for Mrs M and one for Mr M … and only two of us were there to handle the thronging masses. Two people, double booth. What could go wrong?
  • We traveled very heavy to this event (and remember who is writing this. Traveling heavy is normal for us. When I say very heavy, be afraid. Be very afraid.) We loaded the truck with more product and more display pieces than we have ever taken to an event.

Observations

  • “Clipboards,” they asked. “Any clipboards?” I’ve never made clipboards … but I had 2 people asking for them within 30 minutes of each other. That was weird. And then it got weirder. A few minutes later, I had a woodworker wander into the booth to check out my work. I asked him what he did. His reply: “I make clipboards.” Timing is everything, and his was just a bit off.
  • You can’t choose your neighbors, as I’ve complained before. Our neighbors to the left and back were great, actually. It was the neighbor across the aisle to my right that was a problem. They were a doggie daycare business, and they had employees with their dogs out in the midway, stopping every dog walker (and there were many) to chat about their pet and their business. They did block passage, and did end up having dog owner gatherings in front of our booth on a couple of occasions. That’s annoying. The fake fire hydrant they put on the other side of their booth … that was plain bad. When you invite public urination, it just can’t end well.
  • I only sold one cutting board on this day, which is very odd. That I still sold over $1,000 in boards in 11 different styles, though, is a testament to the broad range of boards that I brought to this show. Traveling very heavy has its rewards: lifting & sweating being two that I don’t particularly favor.
  • 15 of the 22 boards sold were completed in the last week. I’ve been working on broadening my inventory, and it worked. Thank goodness.
  • This is a regional event, but there were a lot of people embracing the beach lifestyle here. Ventura is different from Santa Clarita, even though it’s only an hour away.
  • The holiday resulted in a party atmosphere most of the day. We made some happy people very happy when they discovered our lotion products and cutting boards. Givers of joy, that’s us.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Jack in the Box # 24. Velda had the same.

Saturday Lunch: Velda did a good thing. She packed cheese & crackers along with her favorite cheese board. That was laid out on top of the wrapping station for our lunch … just as a rush hit. No customers ate our lunch, but several commented on it. This was a good idea – and a better idea because we never saw real food booths at the event. But then, we didn’t get out much, either.

Saturday Snack: Roasted nuts. We seem to buy them at most events.

Saturday Dinner: Leftovers. Oh, and bourbon.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 99
  • Booth cost: $375 … and $10 for the application. That’s so much better than $385 for the booth.
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Total sales: $1,526
  • # containers of product taken: 20
  • # boards available: 126
  • Saturday alarm: 4:00am
  • # transactions: 48 – 31 for lotion, 17 for boards
  • # soap & lotion vendors: at least one other within 200′ of us, but really, no clue
  • # woodworking vendors: at least one other that close, but again, no clue
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 22:0 (Can you believe it?)

Boards sold: 22

  • Small Surf Boards (all new!): 5
  • Cheese Boards: 4
  • Sous Chef – Small: 4
  • Large Cheese Servers (previously known as surf boards): 2
  • Sous Chef – Large: 1
  • Custom Order: 1
  • Engraved Board: 1
  • Bread Board: 1
  • Lazy Susan: 1
  • Chess Board: 1
  • Cutting Board: 1

4 responses to “The Board Chronicles: 4th Of July Ventura Street Fair

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  1. I’m glad your day went well! You are gaining a lot of valued information for upcoming events.

  2. Pingback: The Board Chronicles: 4th of July Street Fair 2016 | MowryJournal.com

  3. Pingback: The Board Chronicles: 4th of July Street Fair 2017 | MowryJournal.com

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