The Board Chronicles: Champagne On Main 2017   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.

Mrs M has this theory that events featuring alcohol should be good for me. Alcohol. Magic Bottle Openers. Cheese Boards. What’s not to like?

This event happens on Main Street in Ventura – a beach town an hour to the west. It’s the same location as the July 4th event we’ve enjoyed the past 2 years, so this seems like it could be a good choice for us.

Except it’s a one day event. We don’t like those.

Except it’s a day when Mrs M has to work at her “job.” So I’m solo .. and my solo events tend to be under-achievers.

Time to see what I can do solo on Main Street. No lotions today; it’ll just be my stuff & me.

New Ideas

  • This will be my first solo event using just my Jeep to carry product since last November’s Affair of the Arts in Culver City. After that event, I vowed to go big or stay home. That vow lasted 5 months, apparently.
  • No trailer = limited cargo space. I have to leave a lot of product at home.
  • Rain was forecast for Friday about midnight, so I didn’t load my trailer hitch Friday evening. That way, the canopy would not get soaked. Hopefully.

Observations

  • The rain was gone by 6am, so my delayed packing strategy worked. I was still on the road before 7.
  • When I arrived at the event at 8am, the queue of vendor cars was 10+ long waiting to get onto Main Street.
  • As I got to my booth space a few minutes later, it started to mist. Not a lot of moisture, but it was wet.
  • Great.
  • Luckily, the rain subsided within a few minutes. My boards didn’t get wet at all. I took a risk & didn’t even put up my side walls. The forecast for the day actually came true, and we had blue skies by 10am. Thank goodness!
  • Limited cargo space meant I left stuff at home. Unfortunately, I left the surfboards at home. My mistake.
  • Oh, and I left the Wine Bottle Holders at home, too. Same container. My goodness, what was I thinking???
  • Knowing how the 4th of July event works, I came to this event early to be ready for walkers on Main Street before this event officially began. I was set up by 9:30 … and had people in the booth almost immediately. The event officially started at 11am, but that time was meaningless.
  • At 10am, I had a person engaged with the largest cutting board on the table. She lifted it (no small feat), talked about it … and put it back. That’s an auspicious beginning, however.
  • No serious conversations about big cutting boards happened for the rest of the day. (sigh)
  • This is another event that gave vendors no information about the event layout, times, etc. When did the sampling of alcohol begin? No clue. Where were the restrooms? No clue. What vendors were there? When did the event end? How would I know? They didn’t even give me my booth number until after I arrived, which I always think is bad form.
  • Come to find out, the alcohol sampling happened in the store fronts on Main Street. Those shop owners made space for a sampling station and put signage on their door … and drunk people came into their shops throughout the event. If there was sampling in the, uh, temporary vendor area, I didn’t see it.
  • We had blue skies, but we had a breezy spring day. Gusts to 20 mph, I was told. Lots of wind. I didn’t see a canopy take flight, but it definitely could have happened. Most vendors aren’t that serious about using weights, and that’s a dangerous problem, IMHO.
  • Vendors started exiting in the 3 o’clock hour. One veteran vendor told me she’d done this event for years, but this year’s sales were about 1/3 of her normal. Every vendor I talked to was unhappy.
  • My best hour, with 45% of total sales, was the 5 o’clock hour.
  • Happy Hour.
  • When my MBO demo is met with cheers as the magic is revealed, you know it’s Happy Hour. # 1 seller on this day: Magic Bottle Openers.
  • One request was from a Lady asking if I had a bigger heart. There’s just no way to respond to that question seriously. Other requests were for a cribbage board … and that other game board that people ask about. Yes, it was my # 1 request. Again. As always.
  • I need more shop time.
  • A side note: an interesting article that ran this week describes how the city of Ventura is significantly increasing the cost of events held on city property due to liability concerns. Unprecedented cost increases are resulting in producers moving events (and not just vendor events!) out of Ventura, it seems. The producer of this event (who also does the more popular Winter Wine Walk) indicated that alternatives are being researched, so this event may not be here next year. If you ever do events in Ventura, you should read the article, here.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Hello, old friend.

Saturday Lunch: A ham sandwich from home – the same lunch I have at home 19 days out of 20.

Saturday Snack: A $3 chocolate cookie, and that was well worth it.

Saturday Dinner: Leftovers at home. Easy, quick.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 100
  • Booth cost: $275
  • Food cost: $11
  • Travel cost: $0
  • Total sales: $670
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $384
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 2
  • Saturday alarm: 6a
  • # transactions: 10, over 9 hours. Luckily, there was enough activity (just not sales activity!) so I wasn’t bored after about noon.
  • # soap & lotion vendors: I saw a bath bomb vendor & a buy & sell lotion vendor on my walkabout 90 minutes before the opening. There may have been others.
  • # woodworking vendors: There was a turner and 3 people doing wine barrel constructions of various sorts. The lady making American Flags was doing interesting work, in my opinion.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 10:1
  • Returning next year? Maybe. Probably not.

Boards sold: 11

MBOs: 6x

Cutting Boards: 2x

Small Boards: 1x

Cheese Boards: 1x

Hearts: 1x

 

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