Archive for October 2016
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.
Talking to vendors, we were told me had to do this event. Had to. Great for handmade goods. It’s a big, one-day event … we had to be there. We missed the first 34 of these, so let’s see what # 35 has in store.
Claremont is a city of 36,000, located in the eastern part of the LA sprawl. According to Wikipedia:
Due to its large number of trees and residents with doctoral degrees, it is sometimes referred to as “The City of Trees and PhDs”.
I like trees. I like smart people. Here’s hoping I like this awkwardly named event.
- This event allows one booth per California Seller’s Permit, so we could not do a double booth here (We have a permit for Mrs M’s Handmade, which is officially the company. Mr M’s Woodshop does not have legal standing nor a permit.).
- That means Mr M’s Woodshop is just a figment of my imagination.
- After careful consideration (we learned we were having family in town this weekend after we applied), we decided that I would solo at Claremont & Mrs M would stay home to make product with her visiting assistant.
This eventThe LA County Fire Department requires every booth to hang a fire extinguisher from their canopy. Not a bad idea, but really? I bought a fire extinguisher; I’ll mount it in the trailer after the event. That’s a good idea in any event.
- Since I’m a solo act, I’m going to do this event driving the Jeep with the old cargo basket mounted on the hitch. No trailer for me … which is now a new idea? I’ve done the last 8 events with the trailer, so I need to re-learn how to pack for a solo event. This year, we’ve done 20 events. 16 have been done with a trailer, 1 with 2 cars, and 3 with only the Jeep. It’s an increasingly rare thing in this modern era!
- I have a little cold and a cough. Wonderful.
- This is event # 3 in our commitment to eleven 4th quarter events … which means we’re doing 11 events in 11 weeks (sigh). Miles to go before we sleep.
- Since we have 2 weeks with double events, we get 2 weeks off, and one of them was last week … and the other is next week. That means I have very few days left to make more product. I no longer promise delivery of custom orders by Thanksgiving. To anyone.
- I filled the car with containers of boards & such … and left the rest at home. So, for this event there were no Small Boards, no Engraved Boards, and no Domed Cheese & Cracker Boards on display. This is what it means to not pull the trailer. Can you believe I used to do events like this with product for both Mrs M and myself in one vehicle? Things change.
- One handout vendors received was a memo from the Chief of Police recommending we have 2 people in the booth to help watch valuables and guard against theft. Failing that, he recommended that if we were in a booth solo (like me) that we introduce ourselves to our neighbors so they could help keep on eye on my personal items.
- So, as directed by the Chief of Police, I introduced myself to both neighbors. I always do what the police tell me to do.
- Didn’t expect a marching band, but one of them came by. I don’t know which one, as they didn’t have any identifying uniform. They had somewhat matching t-shirts, and I assume that this was Claremont High. But, in the end, I had no clue.
- I suffered in wool band uniforms when the temperature was 90+. What gives with bands being oh so casual these days?
- Following the band was every little person in costume, plus many moms & dogs in costumes as well. They were hot on the heels of the band for some reason. I did like the inflatable T-Rex costume.
- We have an e-chip transaction problem. Every event now, our e-chip reader has a transaction that it just doesn’t work for … this time, I got a “transaction canceled” and then a “declined” message. I had the buyer call his credit card issuer, and, sure enough, the bank had credited our account, but Paypal never told me that. This has got to stop.
- My booth was on the main street, which was a good thing. We had very good traffic, and I heard that wasn’t always the case on the side streets that were much narrower.
- Requests were for a guitar cutting board, a chicken, a hippo, and a turtle-shaped board. An earring holder and a cup tree were also requested.
- Load-out was organized very well by the Chamber: you had to get an entry slip from a volunteer after your gear was packed in order to drive your car in to load. Until then, you couldn’t bring your vehicle in. Since this is how we roll, I thought the system was great.
- When I got to the gate to drive in, I saw that the Claremont Police Department was manning the barricade and communicating to motorists after they verified you had the right pass (!). The cop came to my window, verified that I knew where I was going, and then told me to be careful: people were driving crazy, he said. Wow!
- When I got to my space to load out, I couldn’t park near my gear. My neighbor on one side was a senior citizen couple that wasn’t loading quickly. On the other side were a couple of young girls (one in high school, one perhaps in college or a bit older) trying to load the pickup “just like Mom does.” So, on one side I was slowed by age and on the other side, by the lack of it. As Rosanne Rosannadanna said, “It’s always something.”
- In the end, this was a good event. The organization was very smooth … but I wish there had been more buyers.
Saturday Breakfast: Carl’s Jr Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit Combo. Hello, 24 hour service at 5am.
Saturday Lunch: Velda’s ham sandwich
Saturday Snack: Trail mix
Saturday Dinner: Bourbon. Roast beef. Carrots. Mashed Potatoes & Gravy. Green Beans. Chocolate Chip Cookies.
- Total miles driven: 141
- Booth cost: $210
- # of people we met during the event from the producer: 4
- Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 3
- Total sales: $1,185
- # containers of product taken: 12
- # boards available: 92
- Saturday alarm: 4:30a
- # transactions: 20
- # soap & lotion vendors: No clue. I don’t get out much when I solo. And there are so many vendors at this event, but I did see the booths of 2 soapers, and one of them was a liar, assuming they don’t have FDA approval to say their product treats psoriasis. Good thing they didn’t get to meet FrenziedVelda while making a claim like that.
- # woodworking vendors: No clue. I did see another maker of cutting boards, though he was mainly a turner (with a display of 12x different pizza cutters! Seemed like overkill to me.). There was also another turner that I saw, but I only saw about 15% of the total booths at the event.
- Edge grain vs. end grain: 23:1
- Returning next year? Maybe
Boards sold: 24
14x Magic Bottle Openers
3x Cheese Boards
3x Small Surfboards
1x Cutting Board
1x Bread Board
1x Lazy Susan
1x Notepad Clipboard