The Board Chronicles: Village Venture Arts & Crafts Faire 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.

Last year, I had a respectable solo outing at this community event. Plus, a marching band went by my booth. What’s not to like?

It’s rare for me to repeat solo events, actually. This is the only solo event I’m repeating from 2016 (read about that event here), which is a pretty strong endorsement.

On the other hand, I have to do this event solo, as they require a unique California sales permit for each booth: no double booths for any vendor. Since Mr M’s Woodshop is officially a subsidiary of Mrs M’s Handmade, only one of us could do this event.

And you didn’t think I’d solo selling soap only, did you?

In any event, I’m off to the poorly named 36th annual Village Venture Arts & Crafts Faire. Can’t wait to see that marching band!

New Ideas

  • We have a new pop-up! The Caravan pop ups we’ve used from the beginning were done: holes in the roof, holes in the walls. Velcro was worn out. So, we bought an Undercover canopy with a vented top and heat reflective roof. Upgrade!
  • We have new weights! The DIY weights made of concrete in 4″ PVC are retired after keeping us firmly on Terra Firma for 3 years … uglying up the place in the process. The new weights are much easier to handle. They velcro to the legs. With 30 pounds/leg, we are not launching in the wind.

Observations

  • I only got a little lost on my way to the Faire. I arrived at about 6:40am. With only me to set up, I had time to burn.
  • I was annoyed, though, when I showed up and both of my neighbors had their cars in place, blocking my booth, while they were mostly set up. Canopies were already up. Shelving was up. But … cars were still in place. Rules are clear: 1. Unload. 2. Go park. 3. THEN, set up.
  • I love rules. Mrs M observes that I’m the only one.
  • There was a helpful volunteer right there to help. She told the neighbors to move their cars. One did almost immediately … the other still had not moved when I was unloaded and going to park. Unbelievable.
  • “How do you get empty beer bottles?” she asked. First time I’ve heard that one. Most people know how bottles get emptied … often from personal experience. Of course, putting caps on those empties is outside of many’s experience, and that definitely confused that young lady until she saw the magic demonstrated. Everyone loves the MBO demo.
  • One guy came into the booth to tell me my work was as good as that of Sam Maloof. Uh, no. That man was an artist; I would love to be able to make a rocking chair like his!
  • “Do you deliver?” Uh, no. But I do ship….
  • I miss my cash drawer. Doing change out of cargo pockets is not for the faint of heart … especially with customers stacked up wanting to give me money.
  • Love that.
  • This is a massive event. Hundreds of vendors, and everything looks handcrafted to me. Outstanding job of curation!
  • Requests were for Keepsake Boxes, a board shaped like Texas (“you’ll make millions!”), a knife holder, a ladle, a board shaped like California (patience! I have a plan), a wired cheese slicer (patience! I have a plan) and a game board for something called Pegs & Jokers. And, the # 1 request was for … chess boards.
  • Maybe I should make some. Got a month of shop time to give me?
  • Another volunteer came to introduce himself to me; he was in charge of my area during load out.
    • I said: “Great. I love the way you guys do this. So well done.”
    • He said: “What do you mean?”
    • I said: “The way you did it last year.”
    • He said: “We don’t do it that way anymore.”
  • “Sigh.”
  • I was ‘whelmed about noon.
  • I stayed ‘whelmed until about 2.
  • So many customers telling me they bought last year, and are back for more.
  • So many customers & prospects shaking my hand and thanking me for being there. People were so friendly. Nice. Happy. I’m just not used to this!
  • The business kept coming until about 3pm, when it fell off. These people came to shop, however: everyone had bags. Backpacks. Pull carts. The holidays approach, and people were buying gifts.
  • My People. And they showed up in Claremont, I’m happy to report.

Best. Solo. Event. Ever.

  • Who needs a double booth? Today, I was an overachiever. Who needs help?

Best. One. Day. Event. Ever.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Bagels & cream cheese, at home

Saturday Lunch: Sesame bagel ham sandwich, from the 42nd Street Deli … 15′ from my booth. Knowing where the booth is located is a wonderful thing.

Saturday Snack: Nope

Saturday Dinner: Tri tip with the family. I got to sit by Camdyn.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 126
  • Booth cost: $195
  • Food cost: $19
  • Travel cost: $66
  • Total sales: $1,940
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $1,660
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 2
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 1
  • Saturday alarm: 4:30a
  • # transactions: 24
  • # soap & lotion vendors: No clue. At least one.
  • # woodworking vendors: No clue. At least one other.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 28:4
  • Returning next year? Yup

Boards sold: 32

Magic Bottle Openers: 9

Small Boards: 5

Lazy Susans: 4

Cutting Boards: 4

Cheese Boards: 3

Trivets: 2

Wine Bottle Holders: 2 (I’m now out)

Large Cutting Board: 1

Letter-size Clipboard: 1

Large Sous Chef Board: 1

 

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