The Board Chronicles: Fine Craft Show   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.

Fine-Crafts-ShowThe city of Santa Clarita hosts one show each year dedicated to handmade goods. The Fine Craft Show is in Old Orchard Park; the vendors’ shade structures are set up under the trees in a grassy area. Very nice location.

I love local, as you may know. This was our third best event last year, with sales of $1,137.

We were so young then. In the last 12 months, we’ve had 14 events with better sales than this event last year.

This was also the site of the iconic moment of me being overwhelmed at an event. Last year, I was working the event solo (mistake # 1), and had the walls down to help shield the booth from a windy day (mistake # 2, it seems). Add to that the fact that I was doing Christmas gift bags for lotion purchases in quantity with a booth full of folks … and all at once, I had the wall of my shade structure start to flap and blow away while people were 3 deep waiting on me to take their money.

That had to wait a minute while other customers joined me as Windblown Wall Wranglers. We saved the wall, and customers were (fortunately) very understanding of my gift wrapping speed, or, rather, the lack of it.

On to a (hopefully) much better 2015!

The logistics of this weekend were daunting, with the elder Mrs M covering two smaller events, while Little Girl & I covered the Fine Craft Show. Happily, it all worked out … with emphasis on the “worked” part.

New Ideas

  • With great pleasure, we welcomed the Intern, AKA Claire Bear, to the Mrs M’s family. I don’t know how she got whitewashed into helping us this weekend … I would have thought a UCLA scholar would have been familiar with the plot of Tom Sawyer.
  • Last year, we had a single 10×10 booth, and this year we moved up to a 10×20, of course. There was only one other 10×20 here … also for a woodworker. Who knew?


The Intern enjoying our Bear. Of course! Go Bruins!

The Intern enjoying our Bear. Of course! Go Bruins!

  • I left home on Saturday without my cellphone (which I did retrieve), without my key to the cash drawer (oops), and without my stylus for people to sign for transactions on my smartphone (double oops). An inauspicious beginning for this important event, to be sure.
  • Whenever a show promotes itself as “handmade goods only,” then I get perturbed when the promoters don’t enforce that simple rule. Most of the vendors were fine, but a couple were clearly just reselling imported merchandise, and they were not asked to leave. I very much regret they were allowed to stay.
  • The Intern needs a name tag. But should it say “The Intern” or “Claire Bear?” Claire Bear is the preference of Granddaughter # 1, so I have to give that all due consideration. Decisions, decisions.
  • The Intern is a Freshman at UCLA, and her first blog post was just published by The Daily Bruin. I highly recommend you check out her article, here.
  • Love having customers pulling last year’s product out of their purse to show us as they replenish with more from Mrs M.
  • I have fans! Two guys sought me out in the booth to tell me that they loved reading The Board Chronicles. Who knew? It came to light that they were both woodturners, and since it’s known that all turners are crazy, I began to understand.
  • Why are they crazy? Turners take a perfectly good piece of wood, put it on a machine to rotate at a very high rate of speed, and then they stick sharp tools into it to see what flies off. Crazy, every one, and the good Dr H is at the top of the list.
  • We were busy all day on Saturday. Steadily. Busy. It was a lovely day, and people came out to buy both lotions and boards. The result: sales of $1,587. Better than last year’s entire event, and

Best. Day. Ever.

  • We almost ran out of $1 bills on Saturday – the only time that has EVER happened. We only had 5 singles left at the end of the day. At dinner that night, I asked our waiter for help, explaining that we were vending at a nearby event and needed singles. I bought all of the singles the wait staff would sell me, and ended up with $40 in ones to replenish the till.
  • We rely on the kindness of strangers.
  • Don’t mistake the reference as support for Tennessee Williams, as we continue today’s literary theme. I don’t care for his work, even if he was a Missouri Tiger in the ’30s.
  • Tom Sawyer was from Missouri. Tennesse Williams was from Missouri. The Intern is from Missouri. I’m from Missouri. M I Z
  • Sunday had poor weather forecast, and we did have sprinkles for about an hour in the early afternoon. A freak wind gust blew through and knocked over the display in the booth of a wonderful ceramicist. I understand all of her product on the display was lost, unfortunately. That was a significant weather impact.
  • The rain was not that big of a deal, however. Customers continued to wander through … but vendors, fearing they would melt, scurried away. At least 50% of the vendors were gone before 1pm.
  • Our best hour was after 2pm.
  • Good thing we stayed open. One of our final customers drove out to see us from West LA, after first meeting me at the Simi Valley Street Fair in May. She needed more product from Mrs M. And a cutting board. So she drove out just to visit our booth, and was most appreciative that we were still there.
  • In the end, this event had great sales for us. When you combine it with the 2 smaller events hosted by the elder Mrs M this weekend, the total sales resulted in the …

Best. Weekend. Ever.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Bagels & cream cheese

Saturday Lunch: Jersey Mike’s Italian sub, Mike’s way.

Saturday Snack: I saved the chips from lunch … and had no time.

Saturday Dinner: Linguini with chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms at Marston’s. And it was as good as it sounds.

Sunday Breakfast: Bagels & cream cheese

Sunday Lunch: Chili cheese dog from the food truck. After a long, long absence, this is my second chili cheese dog in a week. Welcome back, old friend.

Sunday Snack: Chips & Dip (courtesy of Souper Dip!) when we got home

Sunday Dinner: Leftover chicken pot pie soup (courtesy of Souper Dip!). And bourbon. Don’t judge me.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 90 (There was set-up with the forgotten toolbag. Then there was Saturday morning, with the forgotten cellphone. With the intern, 3 people worked the event, and the miles add up … even when the event is in our hometown. Local, indeed.)
  • Booth cost: $300
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Total sales: $2,353 (more than double 2014!)
  • # containers of product taken: 19
  • # boards available: 86
  • Saturday alarm: 6:30a
  • Sunday alarm: none
  • # transactions: 62
  • # soap & lotion vendors: 3 others, though one didn’t return on Sunday. All left early, except us
  • # woodworking vendors: 3 others (!), including an intarsia artist, a scroll saw expert and a company that does giant-sized Lincoln Log-styled building pieces made with a CNC router out of Baltic birch.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 20:4

Boards sold: 24

Cheese Boards: 10

Lazy Susans: 4

Cutting Boards: 2

Large Cutting Boards: 2

Small Boards: 2

Bottle Openers: 2

Sous Chef Board: 2

4 responses to “The Board Chronicles: Fine Craft Show

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  1. Crazy?! Who are you callin’ crazy?
    It was great to meet you and I’m glad the day ended better than it began. I’ll have to find you at another local event so i can give you a turned stylus.
    -Kevin (crazy wood turner)

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