The Board Chronicles: California Strawberry Festival 2019   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.

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A note about my absence. After a few months of getting more and more behind … I still haven’t caught up.

I will, just not today. In the interim, here’s the latest installment of The Board Chronicles for all of you that have been missing my missives.

Enjoy, and thank you for your patience!

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Have I mentioned I love strawberries?

This event has been one of my favorites for several years. It’s local-ish. It’s a handmade event. It’s well run. And, it’s big. Very big. Attendance is in the 60,000+ range.

You can read about our history here: 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. The event is always the 3rd weekend in May.

Yes, this is our 5th year in a row at the California Strawberry Festival, Very, very few events are that popular with Mrs M’s Handmade!

New Ideas

  • We’re upping our game and doing a triple booth here for the first time. Their current booth configuration is 4 booth pods (every booth is a corner!) so we have an L-shaped booth that’s a bit awkward … but, still, familiar territory. I’m under the Trimline, and Mrs M will be under the adjacent pop-up.
  • Mrs M opted out again to work at her “job”, so I enlisted Miss M to join me in Oxnard. She likes hanging with Dad once in a while … until someone asks her if she’s Mrs M.


  • I arrived on time for a 1pm set-up … and there were probably 20 vendor canopies already up. I guess early can be on time, too.
  • The majority of vendors for this event set up on the Oxnard College soccer field. This year, the college is coordinating with the promoter, providing college students on sports teams for hire to set up and take down. I’m happy to help the baseball team buy uniforms, as they do the heavy lifting for me.
  • The load in for this event is not easy: I’ve got about a 100 yard haul from the trailer to the booth, and most of the haul is on turf. I typically need about a dozen trips to deliver everything to the booth. With the triple booth set-up for this event, it doesn’t get any easier.
  • Worst non-customer ever: “Excuse me, sir, can you move so I can read the sign behind you?”
  • I like the set up for this event, really, but it is also true that there’s absolutely no way to tell someone where you are. There are no markers that distinguish aisles at all. There’s nothing good about customers not being able to find you easily.
  • I lost a sale today because the piece was on display, and the buyer didn’t want to buy the one that everyone had touched. The piece was unique, of course, and pristine … but it had been touched by the great unwashed masses. Not what the customer wanted.
  • Best T-shirt pair of the weekend – it was a his & hers.
    • His: She’s My Sweet Potato
    • Hers: I Yam
  • OK, I like cute. Sometimes.
  • This event changed in 2018, when the vendor area moved from a street (with very easy trailer access) to the soccer field. Sales peaked in 2016, and declined in 2017, and then again in 2018. This year … down again. This is still a solid event, but it is an expensive one that is a fundraiser for the Oxnard community. Luckily, my only expenses are for the booth, gas and temporary help; I stay at home for this event that’s about an hour away.
  • Note that sales declined in spite of the triple booth. Hmmmm.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 216
  • Booth cost: $1,050
  • Food cost: $82
  • Total sales: $3,213
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 2
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several
  • # transactions: Not as many as needed
  • # soap & lotion vendors: there are a few
  • # woodworking vendors: none that do what I do, but there’s a maker of shaped plastic boards as well as other woodworkers
  • Returning next year? Yes

Boards sold: 26

  • Signs: 4
  • Large Serving Piece: 1
  • Small Boards: 4
  • Card Boxes: 2
  • Cribbage Board: 1
  • Cutting Boards: 5
  • Chess Board: 1
  • Clipboard: 1
  • Cheese Boards: 2
  • Pig: 1
  • Cheese Slicer: 1
  • Heart: 1
  • Trivets: 2

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