The Board Chronicles: Vintage Days 2018   2 comments

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.

I don’t know what I was thinking.

When I put together the calendar for this year – consulting with Mrs M, of course – I scheduled 3 events in Fresno in 8 weeks.

That’s a lot of Fresno.

However, the first event proved to be my best solo event ever, and the 2nd event proved to be … wet. Can’t win them all.

We’ve been told by people for years that we should do Vintage Days: “It’s perfect for you!” Finally, the stars aligned and it’s time to see what all the buzz is about.

This event is the largest special event put on each year by Fresno State University: it’s a community outreach event for them, done right. Free music. Beer garden. Fun for the kids. Vendors with – only – handmade goods. They invite thousands to come onto the campus and see what they’re about.

They even invited us.

New Ideas

  • I drove up on Thursday to set up Thursday afternoon. Mrs M followed after work: she didn’t want to drive up with me. Or her “job” was important. Or something. In any event, I drove up and set up the basic booth on Thursday, and then we went to the event early Friday to set up the product displays.
  • The event is on grass! I set up the booth on luxurious green grass.
  • We again stayed at an AirBNB for this event. This time, we were in a townhome. The cost is not less than a motel, really, but it is private and you have access to a full kitchen, so we did not eat out. That’s where the saving were: eating leftovers & frozen stuff from home.

Observations

  • Load in was about as easy as it could be. I drove to my booth on wide sidewalks, and unloaded. I only had to carry the stuff about 30′. Lovely.
  • You don’t choose your neighbors at events, and I wasn’t happy with mine.
  • No, I’m not talking about Mrs M. I did choose her, a long time ago (though not as a neighbor, come to think of it).
  • This event is exclusively for handmade goods, and the artist is to be in residence. My back door neighbor, though, was a reseller of very artfully made intarsia wall art & veneer-top tables. They are really very pretty … but he is not the artist, and the company that makes them (or, perhaps, imports them?) is famous in the art show business for reselling their work. I’m offended by lying liars getting into shows they don’t belong in.
  • Thankfully, my neighbor seemed to be the exception. I saw one other booth that had too much buy & sell merchandise for my taste (including a big display of sports team key fobs), but all of the other vendors at this show I looked at seemed genuine. Love that.
  • Love the vibe of this show. Love being in a handmade show.
  • The Lady said she came to Vintage Days to buy 2 things: a large cutting board, and a toe ring. I could help her with one of them.
  • Best t-shirt of the weekend:
    • Haikus are easy
    • Sometimes they do not make sense
    • Refrigerator
  • What is it with Fresno? When I came to the Home & Garden Show in March, I sold 6 chess boards. Way, way beyond expectations! This time, I sold zero chess boards … and sold out of coaster sets. Go figure.
  • Requests were for Magic Knife Holders (hmmmm), an expandable board for over a sink (nope), a “breakfast in bed tray” (nope), a magnifying glass (sorry, not a turner!), a mah jong board (nope), and many requests for a backgammon board (nope).
  • We had big hopes for this show … and we didn’t quite get there. I did some checking though, and this show is actually the best show we’ve ever had in April! Funny how everything else in April has been an underachiever. This show is definitely on the calendar for 2019.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Mrs M cooked breakfast on Sunday. Always a treat.
  • Worst Meal: We ordered pizza from a Fresno pizza chain called Me & Eds, and that was a mistake. Not my style.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 937
  • Booth cost: $565 (which includes $50 discount for a first-time vendor, as well as a $30 overnight parking fee for the trailer)
  • Food cost: $21
  • Travel cost: $815
  • Total sales: $2,020
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $619
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several
  • Saturday alarm: Nope
  • Sunday alarm: Nope
  • # transactions: 103
  • # soap & lotion vendors: There were several. No one does soap like Mrs M, IMHO, but there were many alternatives.
  • # woodworking vendors: Again, several. Noteworthy was a box maker that did very nice work.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 31:1
  • Returning next year? Absolutely

Boards sold: 32

23x Coasters

1x Magic Bottle Opener

1x Large Cutting Board

1x Cutting Board

1x Cheese & Cracker Server

1x Bread Board

1x Serving Tray

1x Trivet

1x Cheese Board

1x Cribbage Board

2 responses to “The Board Chronicles: Vintage Days 2018

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  1. The display looks great as usual! I love that they put up signs saying which vendors were in each row! I’m so glad the event was a successful one. You did not miss much, or anything, being away from the Poppy Festival.

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