The Board Chronicles: KHTS Home & Garden Show 2018   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.

KHTS, my Hometown Radio Station (I do listen!), sponsors the city’s largest trade show every spring. In Santa Clarita, it’s a don’t miss event for any business that wants to appeal to homeowners.

The radio station partners with the city to highlight their Arbor Day celebration, and free trees are handed out to those attending the event. I’ve done this event for 4 years now; Mrs M has joined me for 3 of those years.

So – stay with me now – I get to do an event in my hometown, sleep in my own bed, and meet people that want to improve their home and, uh, garden.

You bet we wanted to be a part of this year’s event, the 9th Annual. Can we continue our hot streak and have another good event?

New Ideas

  • For only the 3rd time ever, we have a triple booth. It’s a funky L shape, with me getting a double end aisle (3 open sides), and Mrs M getting her typical 10×10. I get space to show everything I’ve got.
  • First event we’ve done in Santa Clarita in 4 months, and the first significant event we’ve done in 5. When we started, it seemed like every event was here, but not today!

Observations

  • This is event # 4 of 10 for our 4th Annual Spring Fling.
  • I love local.
  • Set up seemed to take forever Friday afternoon, but maybe that’s just because I was setting up a triple booth. I used the Trimline 10×20 along with an Undercover pop-up canopy, so there was plenty of work to do to get everything up.
  • Velda started Saturday with mismatched shoes … discovered before we left the house, thankfully. Still, she almost got the day off on the wrong foot.
  • I started Saturday by putting the awnings & banners up on the Trimline, which is absolutely my favorite setup for a large outdoor event. As people lined up to get their free trees and enjoy the opening ceremony with the local politicals representing, we were in the middle of it.
  • And then the wind came.
  • Across the aisle, in a protected location with neighbors on all sides and while facing away from the wind, a young lady setting up her canopy left it alone without securing it to terra firma. She went to get the weights, she said. In any event, moments later, her canopy was upside down and on top of a neighbor’s canopy. Fortunately, the only damage was to the flying canopy. It was destroyed. In a minute. It just takes one malicious gust … and that’s why she stood in the sun all day.
  • It sucks to be the windbreak. Or, perhaps I should say it blows. Doesn’t matter. When you are the one breaking the wind (which is very different from breaking wind, for the record), then it can be bad. That was our role at this event: we were in an unprotected, prominent position, with nothing between us and the wind sweeping across the valley. Wind was a steady 14-17 mph for about an hour … with a few gusts that were less pleasant. When the wind came, we got hit.
  • We survived … but there was one large gust (must have been 30-40 mph) that lifted the Trimline off the ground. Only an inch, mind you, but oh my goodness, it makes your heart stop. And yes, our big, heavy Trimline had additional weights attached to every leg. However, with the big canvas dome plus the 135 square feet of awning, that’s a lot of sail to catch the wind. And we did catch it.
  • I took the awnings down. I secured the Trimline to the cart with ratchet straps, adding several hundred pounds of weight to hold down the canopy. Be Prepared. There was no further incident, thank goodness.
  • The event finally got going at 10am, and there was a steady flow of people through the booth. Many commented that “they had some of my pieces,” or that “my work is beautiful.” Very artistic statements. I must be an artist.
  • I’m good with that. Finally.
  • Mrs M sold some soap; she quickly sold about half of one new batch that she had just labeled. New stuff sells … and it gets scary when your inventory is not deep. It’s a good problem to have, though!
  • Busy. We were busy. Love that.
  • I absolutely love to stand in my booth, point to the northwest and tell the shopper in front of me that I make the boards in our home about 3 miles that way. Local sells. There’s really nothing like selling what I love to make in my hometown, and several times during the day, buyers told me they love supporting local artists.
  • Thank goodness.
  • I didn’t have many transactions on Saturday, really, but activity was constant all day. Sales were steady. Fortunately, several sales were over $100. Sold a big cutting board. Sold another. Had a couple of people purchase multiple items. There were buyers in the crowd, and the crowd walking by at least looked at what we had to offer. Saturday was a very good day.
  • It’s important to wave the flag, especially when you’re local. It’s how you build a brand, and we build at this show.
  • But, you can’t choose your neighbors. Mrs M’s neighbor sold bamboo sheets, and spent all weekend telling every customer passing by, “50% off!”
  • Not our vibe.
  • More wind on Sunday, unfortunately. Not much, really – but it was enough. Mrs M is dealing with her PTSD as best she can, but there’s still that Flying Dry Soup Canopy to remember. This show, the booth behind and to the left of her booth (right behind the 50% off guy), launched at about 3pm. The owner had gone to pick up her daughter, leaving her booth unattended. It appeared the canopy was totally unweighted and unsecured. It launched, flipped, came down in our aisle, and rolled towards unsuspecting patrons sitting in the next booth over. Mrs M screamed at them to look out. No one was hurt. I ran to the canopy with many others, helped collapse it, and carried it back to its abandoned home.
  • Amateurs are dangerous.
  • The mistakes of amateurs not understanding that Wind. Blows. did mar an otherwise very pleasant weekend. Thankfully, no one was hurt. I don’t know if anyone gained wisdom from their experience or not.
  • Requests were for Cribbage Boards – 3 different requests! (I hear you, I just need more development time, and then more CNC time….), Coaster sets (I just sold out, and I need more shop time. See a pattern?), different colors of cheese & cracker servers (I NEED MORE TIME), and pizza peels (alright, alright, it’s on the list).
  • It’s not like I have anything else to do.
  • There just were not enough local crafters at this show. I know the show is viewed as being expensive – it’s not cheap! – but this is an essential Santa Clarita show. Highly recommended.
  • Sales analysis is a wonderful thing. It’s my thing. This is our 53rd event in Santa Clarita, which is 41% of our total of 130 events. As amazing as that is to me, here’s what’s more amazing: this was our best one yet.

Best. Santa. Clarita. Event. Ever.

  • Nothing like having a good weekend to improve your outlook on Monday.
  • Great being out in our hometown. I saw young & old friends that were soccer referees. Scouters. Vendors. School teachers. And, of course, customers. Great weekend!

The Food

  • Best Meal: Saturday dinner at Pho Shure. S5, hold the squid, please. Delightful. Parting shot: the host told me to have a wonder-pho day. Good meal, served with humor.
  • Worst Meal: We ate from the food trucks for lunches this weekend, and Saturday was a teriyaki bowl that was both overpriced and unsatisfying. Sunday’s Polish sausage was very good, thankfully.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 18
  • Booth cost: $525
  • Food cost: $105
  • Travel cost: $9
  • Total sales: $2,686
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $2,047
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 3
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several
  • Saturday alarm: 5:30a
  • Sunday alarm: Nope. Went to bed early (and tired), so I woke up early (but refreshed).
  • # transactions: 69
  • # soap & lotion vendors: There was one other soaper, and am essential oil person, I think. A few “soap and body products” people, but no one does soap like Mrs M does soap. IMHO.
  • # woodworking vendors: Only three that I found this year, and all do very different things. 2 are SCV artists that are well known to me. Good guys; one’s a scroll saw artist and the other does a lot of turning and makes home decor. The 3rd woodworker makes adjustable patio furniture out of redwood that’s really fantastic. All of them were in my booth chatting, and vice versa. Comradery is a good thing.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 23:1
  • Returning next year? Yup.

Boards sold: 24

4x Cutting Boards

4x Cheese Boards

4x Hearts

2x Lazy Susans

2x Coasters

1x Wine Bottle Coaster

1x Large Cutting Board

1x Clipboard

1x Chess Board

1x Magic Bottle Opener

1x Small Sous Chef Board

1x Large Sous Chef Board

1x Custom Order

More

KHTS Home & Garden Show, 2017

KHTS Home & Garden Show, 2016

KHTS Home & Garden Show, 2015 (for a good dose of humility!)

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