The Board Chronicles: TAS Sisterhood Holiday Boutique   Leave a comment

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.

This event organizer found us at the Taste of Encino, and it fit into our calendar … this annual holiday boutique is staged at the Temple Ahavat Shalom as a fundraiser by the TAS Sisterhood. If fit into the calendar neatly, so I committed … and then I learned what the event cost. Ooops. My fault.

Tables were $50 for the first one, and $45 for the second one. So, $95 for our 2 tables.

And then there was a central cashier: we’re not allowed to accept any payments. They do that for us. And they take 20%.

Oh, and we are to give a $25 raffle prize as well. So the cost of this event is $95 + 20% of sales + a raffle prize.

My fault. I would have never done this event if I had understood that originally.

But it did fit into our calendar.

Would we make our goal of $1,000 in sales this weekend? Given the paucity of success on Saturday, we had a steep hill to climb on Sunday: we need $651 to make our goal of $1,000.

New Ideas

  • Our location was way less than ideal. We got two 6′ tables, and I got a chair on one end in the traffic pattern of the hallway. I was bumping legs with everybody when I was sitting. When I was standing, people were taking my chair. Like the kid with the bloody nose. Like the senior citizen looking for a break. I was the only vendor with a setup like this; it was a bad thing.
  • Used our folding wagon to load into the temple. Worked like a charm. Perhaps I should reconsider my desire for a better rolling cart.
  • Since there was a central cashier, I added tax to most transactions – an effective price increase of 9%. I didn’t do that on my two biggest transactions, though, as I couldn’t do the tax calculation in my head fast enough to satisfy myself.

Observations

  • The organizer told me three times how I had a good location, because my hallway location was on the way to the cashier. “Everyone has to walk by your booth.” That was true. And then they sat in my chair.
  • Overheard: “You’re shvitzing like I am.”
  • Loved the 30 something lady that bought 3x cheese boards for herself and 2 friends. Clearly, I need more boards at $35. That price works.
  • On the other hand, the 50 something lady that bought the BDB as a gift to herself worked even better, with revenue of $225 for that large cutting board.
  • Not one customer objected to being charged sales tax. Hmmmm.
  • Very nice community event. This Temple is 24 miles from our house, and all of the buyers were members of the Temple. I love local events.
  • I hate central cashier events. I’m set up to take cash, so why wouldn’t I? As far as I’m concerned, central cashier events mean that the organizers both a) don’t have the confidence to charge appropriately for their space and b) don’t trust me to pay them the right percentage. Since they don’t trust me, I don’t believe I should trust them either. Therefore, I hate central cashier events. Like this one.
  • We did make our goal for the weekend, by the skin of our teeth. This event was *very* expensive, however, with an actual cost of $262 for 2x 6′ tables. Given total sales (including sales tax), our revenues were just above 3x our booth cost. That’s a minimal standard of success according to some crafters. Minimal. Given that, there’s probably no reason to come back to this event next year. But we did make our goal!
  • Final note: these numbers assume that the central cashier will pay us the same revenues that I’m showing on the collected receipts for the event. The promise from the TAS Sisterhood is that I’ll have a check within 30 days. That’s another reason I don’t like central cashier events: they keep your money, and what they pay you is a mystery until they actually pay you.

The Food

Sunday Breakfast: “Free” bagel & coffee from the TAS men. But I hate coffee. And with the cost of the booth, there was nothing free here, believe me.

Sunday Lunch: Booth service was offered by some teenage girls. I got a 4″ submarine sandwich, turkey with my selected toppings, with a cookie and a soda for $4. Nice price, but not enough food for this vendor.

Sunday Snack: nope

Sunday Dinner: We went out to our new favorite local Mexican restaurant: Weliks. I had a chicken burrito, but it wasn’t as good as the Chicken Mole I had last time. Nice crepes, though.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 48
  • Booth cost: $95 + 20% of $837 = $262
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Total sales: $877.68 (which includes the collected sales tax)
  • # containers of product taken: 16
  • # boards available: 62
  • Sunday alarm: 6a
  • # transactions: 11
  • # soap & lotion vendors: just us
  • # woodworking vendors: one other, a turner
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 6:3

Boards sold: 9

Small boards: 4

Cheese boards: 2

Large cutting board: 1

Large surfboard: 1

Custom order: 1

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