The Board Chronicles: Saugus High Boutique Fantastique   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.

Boutique FantastiqueThe Saugus High School Boutique Fantastique is the oldest holiday boutique in Santa Clarita. Now in its 26th year, the Boutique is produced by the PTSO to raise scholarship funds for students. In 2014, over $10,000 was raised.

All 3 of our kids graduated from Saugus, so OF COURSE we want to do this event. Further, this was our most profitable event in 2014. OF COURSE we want to do this event.

I love local. We’re in.

Last year, this was the first ever event that we did 2 booths at instead of just a single. We were so jazzed in 2014 that we were hitting the big time. Sales were $1,439, but we felt we had upsides in 2015, as we had a more complete line of products that were more pleasingly displayed. We thought.

New Ideas

  • Four new products from me:
    • 37 Building Blocks premiered this weekend (at all 3 events!)
    • A clipboard was on display here; my first one
    • A magic bottle opener was on display
    • The first California Bear cheese board was on sale here, too.
  • The 2 Mrs M’s were otherwise engaged on Saturday, so Miss M, AKA Little Girl, took their place. It’s her alma mater, after all, so she agreed to help us out this weekend.
  • On Sunday, I went to another event at Canyon High, so the elder Mrs M joined Miss M to cover the 2nd day at Boutique Fantastique.
  • Mrs M took her 2-year-old, well-used edge grain cutting board on Sunday to show how well it is holding up. She wanted to combat the idea that these cutting boards are too pretty to use; she demo’d how to put on mineral oil and showed the result of how it revitalized the look of the board.
  • Good news: Mrs M actually oiled her cutting board. Win, win.

Observations

  • This event is a machine. Follow the rules. Get in line. Lots of students to help you load in and load out. Happy to support the event, but you must follow the rules. Just be patient!
  • # 1 request, again: a backgammon board. Sorry, not gonna do it.
  • Saugus High has a woodshop program. Part of that program has the kids making “cutting boards and chopping blocks” to sell as a fundraiser at this event. Those funds go back into the program, helping kids buy lumber so they can learn to work with wood. I am 100% in support of this as a local resident, and as a vendor at this event. I mean, if I can’t compete with the boards built by a teenager, then what am I doing?
  • This year, they had more “chopping blocks” (end grain cutting boards, approximately 12″ x 15″ x 2″) for sale than last year, and they sold out of all boards on Saturday. They had better products available than last year … but they still are using soft woods, poor cutting board hardwoods that are cheap, and the boards themselves are unfinished. They’re selling wooden platforms for cutting without the finishing touches needed to make them better boards. In my opinion. However, every relative & friend made sure to buy their student’s work, as they should. I directed several people to the booth of the woodshop to do exactly that. I also bought a wooden mallet made by one of the students that I brought into my shop one afternoon to teach him a trick or two.
  • He stole my packaging ideas, per his instructor. That’ll teach me.
  • Kidding! No worries at all. I am happy that the local school has an all-too-rare woodshop program. Mrs M told me that one of the students spent a long time in the booth on Sunday looking at my work and oohing and ahing over the boards. Perhaps I’ve helped add a little bit of love for the craft.
  • One Mom had her 4 year old in a stroller. He was watching his smartphone video screen, plugged into an earphone while Mom went shopping. He was 100% oblivious to his surroundings, and Mom was pushing him around. I am not a fan of plugged in kids.
  • Mrs M talked about taking knives and vegetables to demo on her cutting board; I observed that taking sharp knives to an event, much less an event at a high school, was probably a bad idea.
  • Load out was as easy as load in, though one vendor was sitting on the curb trying to reserve a loading space for his wife that wasn’t through the line yet. Mrs M was directed to park there, which the man took exception to. Mrs M and Miss M actually took 2 spots, and were gone before the man’s wife was through the line. He was impatient. However, follow the rules and all will be well.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Bagel & cream cheese.

Saturday Lunch: Jersey Mike’s 4″ mini sub

Saturday Snack: none. It was a late lunch.

Saturday Dinner: Bella Cucina, because the younger Mrs M is the boss of me and she wanted Bella.

Sunday Breakfast: Pumpkin Latte pumpkin shake (can you tell that this was Mrs M, not Mr M?)

Sunday Lunch: Jersey Mike’s 4″ mini sub

Sunday Snack: none

Sunday Dinner: Welik’s, our new favorite family-owned Mexican restaurant in the neighborhood.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 24
  • Booth cost: $265
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Total sales: $1,311
  • # containers of product taken: 19
  • # boards available: 94
  • Saturday alarm: 5a
  • Sunday alarm: 7:30a
  • # transactions: 43
  • # soap & lotion vendors: two others that we saw
  • # woodworking vendors: there were a couple of others, plus the high school woodworking class that sold out of their “cutting boards and chopping blocks.”
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 9:1

Boards sold: 10

  • 4 Small Sous Chef Boards
  • 3 Lazy Susans
  • 1 Bread Board
  • 1 Cheese Board
  • 1 Cutting Board

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