The Board Chronicles: KHTS Home & Garden Show 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.

This is the 8th annual Home & Garden Show in Santa Clarita, sponsored by KHTS 1220 AM. For the first 6 years, the event was at the Hyatt, but it outgrew that facility. Now, the event has a partnership with the city’s Arbor Day celebration, and takes place in Central Park with big tents for the corporate clients and and a large empty soccer field for the rest of the vendors & attractions to fill.

I did a lot of AYSO soccer games on this field. Ah, memories.

The event has grown into Santa Clarita’s largest vendor-driven event, with attendance of 15,000+. It fills the available parking to overflowing – something Santa Claritans are not that used to. It’s my 3rd time doing this event: I did the last iteration at the Hyatt as a solo act (2015), and then Little Girl & I ran the first Central Park event last year (2016).

I love radio. I love local. How can I not love this event?

New Ideas

  • 2 new rolling carts premiere at this event. One is the large centerpiece of our booth with  4 drawers, 3 doors, and storage for large cutting boards, Lazy Susans & MBOs. This is a big idea.
  • The 2nd cart is an upright cart with 4 shelves that store most of the crates that make up our display, and then holds products in my booth during the event. Now, the crates are not chased all over the trailer; they are all in this one cart. This is a big idea.
  • Velda found a young man to work with me to do booth set up. Now, he does the heavy lifting, so I need a new joke to tell people.
  • Cut a deal with the owner of KHTS, and got a last-minute 3rd booth adjacent to our regular 10×20. We’re in an “L”shape; this is our first ever triple booth.
  • Little Girl is back! Mrs M is taking the weekend off to make product (she says) and go to Vegas for a soaper’s convention. She says.
  • Our booth is an official stop on the KHTS Passport Game, so everyone filling out a game card needs a stamp from our booth … and about 15 others.

Observations

  • This is event # 2 of 7 in our Spring Fling. It’s the only event scheduled in Santa Clarita … until November.
  • Whoa. That’s different.
  • Set up the canopies … and one was broken coming out of the bag. I guess the wind in Lancaster was just too much for it last week. This is our oldest canopy, now 3 years old. And, it’s done.
  • I needed the canopy this weekend, of course. I splinted the broken struts with hardwood from the shop, and duct taped everything in place.
  • Lots of duct tape.
  • Of course.
  • Another windy weekend, with gusts above 25 MPH during set up. I had 150 pounds of concrete on the canopies … and then I drove in stakes & roped the canopies down.
  • Wind. Blows.
  • I love, love, love the wonderful display space when I own a double booth. I had 5x 6′ tables, plus my 2 new cabinets. I did not display 100% of my inventory, but I had great space to display every kind of piece that I have in inventory. I could have used more cutting board holders. Another item on the work list, unfortunately.
  • Wind gusts persisted until about 2:30p on Saturday. We survived another windy one, though I fear one of our portable awnings is also wind damaged. We may need an upgraded solution, but that’s a problem for another day.
  • Loved the Mom who took my business card, and told me she was giving it to her kids with specific instructions for a Mother’s Day present. Always happy to be a part of a family’s celebration!
  • Overheard & busted:
    • She said: “These are nice.”
    • He said: “$125? Not that nice.”
    • She said: “But they’re handmade!” (Turning towards me.) “Do you make them?”
    • I said: “Yes I do.”
    • He said: “Well, your time is worth something, right?”
    • I think: ‘Not according to you!’
  • A lady asked for a quote for an in-counter custom board, and I quoted $125. She walked away, thinking about it. She came back saying a neighboring woodworker would do it for $50, and would I negotiate? I said no, the price was $125. She walked away.
  • Eventually, she came back, and bought the custom board (at $125) as well as a Lazy Susan. Sometimes, it’s just not about price.
  • Oh, and my promised delivery was July 4 at the earliest. Sometimes, it’s about the product, not the wait.
  • I saw 2 shade canopies carried away in pieces at this event, and both were the cheap, aluminum, consumer versions. Those are not meant for constant use in high-wind environments. You know our motto: Go Big or Go Home.
  • Requests were for a table-size Lazy Susan (like they have in India), a cribbage board (2x) and a backgammon board.
  • Chess board sales = $0.
  • My sales were down this year, but Mrs M’s sales were up from prior year. In total, we were down at an event with attendance that was up. (sigh)
  • If just one or two of those promised follow-up sales happen, then this event will have been well worth it. If I don’t have follow-up sales, I’ll definitely be frustrated.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Bagels & cream cheese. At home.

Saturday Lunch: Mrs M made a surprise appearance and went to the food truck to deliver some sort of mac & cheese & shrimp & tri tip concoction. No complaints! The food trucks at this event are very good.

Saturday Snack: Nope.

Saturday Dinner: Papa John’s. Mrs M forgot how to order pizza, though, so our order was a bit, uh, off. I felt like I was at a 6 year old’s birthday party (because isn’t that when you eat plain cheese pizza?).

Sunday Breakfast: See Saturday.

Sunday Lunch: A dry Panini. Not a good thing.

Sunday Snack: Kona Ice. A good thing.

Sunday Dinner: Stonefire. Their carryout is always a good thing.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 16. I love local.
  • Booth cost: $525
  • Food cost: $152
  • Travel cost: $0
  • Total sales: $1,581
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $904
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 2
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several
  • Saturday alarm: 6:15a
  • Sunday alarm: nope
  • # transactions: 48
  • # soap & lotion vendors: at least 3, but none of them were handmade.
  • # woodworking vendors: 4, one of which makes cutting boards, cheese boards, bottle openers & bears (sound familiar?). One is a local scroll saw artist, one is a local turner/woodworker, and the 4th is also local, and works with wine barrels.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 12:2
  • Returning next year? Yes. Gotta wave the flag at this local event – that is the biggest vendor event in Santa Clarita!

Boards sold: 14

Cutting Boards: 4

MBOs: 2

Medium Surfboard: 2

Cheese Boards: 1

Small Boards: 1

Cheese & Cracker Server (AKA Large Surfboard): 1

Bear: 1

Lazy Susan: 1

Custom Order: 1

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