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.
And then I changed my mind.
We had an opportunity to do a big, highly recommended craft fair in Orange County, but we declined that opportunity. The Lady had to work this weekend at her “job,” and it seemed like a stretch to do another event in November. However, this event popped up and seemed tailor made for my solo act. It’s set in Culver City which is an up-and-coming kind of neighborhood – Sony Pictures is just around the corner. The promoter has done a few of these art shows in this location for a couple of years, it seems.
I decided to take a flyer into the unknown.
- Just me doing a one booth presentation from the woodshop at an art show.
- Event # 7 of the 11 events we’re doing in the 4th quarter. Countdown mode engaged.
- There were 40 booths (some shared between 2 artists) at this event. Live music. The plaza area we were in was alongside the ArcLight Cinema, Chipotle, a Mediterranean restaurant, an iconic hotel and Cold Stone. Trader Joe’s was across the street, and the event signage & canopies were visible from a very busy street. Traffic seemed to be built in – which is good. Booth traffic seemed to be more happenstance than generated by the event.
- Without Mrs M’s offering there, the number of transactions plummeted. Only 8 transactions on Saturday, spread over 7 hours. (yawn)
- Sooo slow on Saturday. Too slow. Not good.
- And then it rained on Sunday.
- Nothing to be done, of course, so I just sat there, moved the tables closer to the center and the boards away from the front of the booth … and tried to stay warm & dry. Traffic to the movie theater continued, and there continued to be traffic through the booths. Sort of.
- Sunday was busier. And wetter.
- A young boy in rain gear came into the booth and shook his umbrella, getting water everywhere. I immediately went to drying. The father said nothing at all. Thanks, Dad.
- A woman in rain gear kept her umbrella up while accompanying her charge, a senior citizen with mobility issues. Her umbrella dripped all over everything, and she was oblivious. What is it with people? But then, when they left the booth, I noted that the umbrella covered her more than it did the senior citizen. (sigh)
- When it rains, it drains … downhill. I only lost one cardboard box and a lot of packing paper, in the end. No damage to any boards that I was aware of, luckily. I’ll un-pack and re-pack everything – everything – to make sure.
- So, I sat in the rain. It was consistent, but light, through the afternoon. I had a couple with credibility say they were going to a movie and would come back after to buy a Christmas present (never heard that one before) … so I waited, and resolved to pack up in an effort to be gone by 5pm when the rain was supposed to get heavier.
- I waited.
- The couple came back a little before 4pm, on schedule. Booth was closed by 4:05pm.
- 25% of my total sales happened after 3:30pm on Sunday. In the rain.
- Breakdown started at 4:05pm. It’s no fun packing when everything is wet. The only way to pack the side walls and table cloths was to wring them out, put them in plastic bags, and shove them into the car so they could be dried out tomorrow when it stops raining.
- Ever been working, or perhaps camping out in the weather, and just gotten to the point where you gloried in the beauty of the rain and the feeling of doing work and being out in it?
- Not me, not today. I think it was the third time I got water down my front while working on the walls overhead…. Or, maybe it was when the pool of water dumped on me from atop the canopy. All I know is when I finally got in the Jeep to drive home, I was soaked to the skin.
- This is the 5th event I’ve done this year as a solo event with no Mrs M products. Four were one day events, and all 5 were in the bottom 8 for sales net of booth cost this year. I’m pretty sure there’s a lesson there.
- Go big, or go home. Or, more accurately, go big or stay home. That’s my mantra for 2017.
Saturday Breakfast: Hello, old friend.
Saturday Lunch: A burrito bowl from Chipotle
Saturday Snack: Yes, I know guac is extra
Saturday Dinner: Chicken surprise not cooked in the crock pot, because there was no time.
Sunday Breakfast: I went to Carl’s & learned 2 things: 1) the canopy over the drive thru window is just big enough that the drips from rain run into your open car window, and 2) their breakfast is messier to eat while driving than that from my old friend.
Sunday Lunch: See Saturday
Sunday Snack: See Saturday
Sunday Dinner: Leftovers. And a baked potato. And bourbon.
- Total miles driven: 162
- Booth cost: $335
- # of people we met during the event from the producer: 2
- Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: a few
- Total sales: $1,230
- # boards available: a Jeep load
- Saturday alarm: 6a
- Sunday alarm: nope
- # transactions: 17
- # soap & lotion vendors: none
- # woodworking vendors: me & a toymaker
- Edge grain vs. end grain: 19:2
- Returning next year? Doubt it.
Boards sold: 21
Magic Bottle Openers: 9
Cheese Boards: 4
Small Boards: 2
Medium Surfboard: 1
Small Surfboard: 1
Large Cutting Board: 1
Cutting Board: 1
Lazy Susan: 1
Cheese & Cracker Server: 1