The Board Chronicles: Ojai Lavender Festival 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.

Ojai is a community in the mountains above Ventura. It is a little over an hour west of my home, but I’ve never been there.

Their annual Lavender Festival has been on our radar for a while (this is the 15th edition), but Mrs M has always opted out since her products are temperature sensitive and … well, it’s summer. It’s hot out there. Or, can be. Might be.

No matter.

I have a more robust product, so summer heat doesn’t scare me. Time to leave Mrs M at home and get to it. I wonder what Ojai will have for me?

New Ideas

  • I got a single booth, which is unusual these days. I’m driving in the Jeep with my hitch carrier, so no trailer. No rolling cart. Just me and what I can fit in the Jeep.

Observations

  • This is our 15th event of the year. It’s my 5th solo event and the 3rd one-day event that I’ve done. I’m not sure I can say not doing one day events is a rule if 20% of the events have been one day only. Hmmmm.
  • I so overpacked for this event. I barely fit into the Jeep. I had to leave the 16×20 photographs at home: no room. I thought I brought the smaller photos & signs, but that container got left behind (sigh). Limited signs in the booth, unfortunately.
  • Lavender Lemonade. It’s a thing, apparently, and was all the rave at this event.
  • The setting is really great. It’s a city park, filled with large oak trees. I was in the shade all day. There’s a gazebo; they had live music throughout. I really enjoyed the bluegrass … but then they went to local folk artists and the music went dark. Take the bad with the good, apparently.
  • The day started very well; the first transaction was for a large custom order. It all ended, though, when an immigration protest took over Main Street. I didn’t sell another item after 1pm. Other vendors had sales, but several reported down sales from prior years. The protest took the life out of this event.
  • The reality is I paid money to be a vendor at this event, and the protest interfered with my small commercial opportunity in Ojai. I am dead certain that I paid money to be there, and the protestors did not.
  • Free speech has a cost, and on this day I was made to pay it out of my pocket. It’s hard for me to feel good about that.
  • Good news, though: my Kickstarter campaign had a good day, and is now 41% funded. On my way!
  • Requests were for a cribbage board, boxes, a cook book stand and a board with bread hooks.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Lunch was a ham sandwich from home. High living in Ojai.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 103
  • Booth cost: $185
  • Food cost: $0
  • Travel cost: $54
  • Total sales: $640
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $401
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: none
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: none
  • Saturday alarm: 5a
  • # transactions: 7
  • # soap & lotion vendors: several, but no Mrs M
  • # woodworking vendors: I know there was another cutting board maker as well as a toy maker. I didn’t see the whole event, though; there may have been others.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 9:1
  • Returning next year? Maybe

Boards sold: 10

2x Cheese Boards

2x Trivets

1x Custom Order

1x Medium Surfboard

1x Lazy Susan

1x CNC Plaque

1x Small Board

1x Clipboard

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