Archive for the ‘Arts & Crafts’ Tag

The Board Chronicles: Montrose Arts & Crafts 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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This event is one of those that every serious Southern California makers should do. That’s what we were told, anyway.

The event is held on the main street of nearby Montrose (near Pasadena, about 27 miles away from home). We’ve done it the 3 previous years; read about it here: 2016, 2017 and 2018. The event is always the first weekend in June; so this year it was June 1 & 2, 2019.

You’ll see that I have a love/hate relationship with the event. It’s an easy, sleep-in-my-own-bed kind of event. We’re in a good spot, we have great neighbors, and sales have been dependable in spite of the sometimes oppressive heat in June. We have lot of legacy customers that come to see us at this event. That’s a very good thing. On the other hand, results have not been stellar, though they have grown in each of the last 2 years.

What’s not to like?

New Ideas

  • No new ideas; we’ve been there & done, uh, this. Predictability can be a good thing, yes? Much nicer than driving into a strange town not knowing how to get to your booth. I share a 10×20 with Mrs M, so I only have a limited display.
  • There’s a new event organizer this year that promises stricter control of the offerings from the supposedly handmade vendors. We’ll see.

Observations

  • I had one of “those” people in the booth, who asked, “Can I get a custom sign in 2 days?”
  • Uh, no. Sorry.
  • Some people just don’t get me. That should be no surprise, I would guess.
  • This should be a good weekend: moderate temperatures. Legacy customers.
  • Except it wasn’t. Mrs M did fine, but my sales were the worst in 4 years. On Sunday, I (incredibly) only sold one board. Predicting the marketplace is always a dicey proposition. For some reason, the customers just didn’t find me this year.
  • It’s true that there are several competitors at this event, but that’s not new. There were no changes from last year, in fact. I think this was just not my year.
  • To make matters worse, we had our bag of mesh walls (that I hang my signs on) walk away from the event … and not in our trailer. The bag must have been stolen during our takedown; both Mrs M and I inspected our area after our booth was struck to ensure nothing was left behind … such as a 5′ long, bright white vinyl duffle.
  • Requests were for a backgammon board (still no) and a pizza server … which I’ve made before, but haven’t had for years. Hmmmm.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 112
  • Booth cost: $650
  • Food cost: $54
  • Total sales: $1,540
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 0
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 0
  • # soap & lotion vendors: there’s a bunch
  • # woodworking vendors: Several, including at least 4 other makers of cutting boards & such
  • Returning next year? Yes

Boards sold: 5

  • Cutting Boards: 2
  • Signs: 2
  • Heart: 1

The Board Chronicles: Carpinteria Holiday Faire 2016   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.

carpinteriaThe Carpinteria Valley Museum of History hosts a monthly swap meet-style event on their grounds in their city. In November, the event transforms into a handmade-only holiday boutique. We’ve done the event for a couple of years, and have thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere of this community event.

Here’s the Board Chronicles from last year: Carpinteria Holiday Faire 2015.

OK, so doing an event on a holiday weekend is a bit crazy.

OK, so doing an event on a holiday weekend when we could be making product for next week’s biggest event of the year might be a bit crazy.

But we like the feel of this event! It’s community. It’s handmade. It’s what we do.

We’re in.

New Ideas

  • We asked for a booth on the front side of the museum (the city street) instead of our traditional booth on the other side (the parking lot, which is cramped quarters). No double space was available on the street, but the museum director assured us he would help us get the trailer through the unloading/loading process. We’re in.

Observations

  • We checked the forecast Friday … and it was bad. Rain was forecast throughout the event. In fact, the forecast said it would rain 10a – 3p … the entire span of the event! Rain would continue through 6pm, so we would not have any respite for the load out.
  • I just did a wet event last weekend.
  • Velda’s recovering from a bad cold.
  • We became 2 of “those people.”
  • I learned the phrase when I was running marathons: DNS DNF. Did Not Start, Did Not Finish. We stayed home.
  • We made product.
  • And the weather was awful; raining as predicted. We made the right call, IMHO.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 0
  • Booth cost: $150
  • Total sales: 0
  • Returning next year? If we continue down the path of not doing one day events….

Boards sold: 0

The Board Chronicles: Affair Of The Arts   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.

affair-of-the-artsWe decided to take this weekend off.

And then I changed my mind.

We had an opportunity to do a big, highly recommended craft fair in Orange County, but we declined that opportunity. The Lady had to work this weekend at her “job,” and it seemed like a stretch to do another event in November. However, this event popped up and seemed tailor made for my solo act. It’s set in Culver City which is an up-and-coming kind of neighborhood – Sony Pictures is just around the corner. The promoter has done a few of these art shows in this location for a couple of years, it seems.

I decided to take a flyer into the unknown.

New Ideas

  • Just me doing a one booth presentation from the woodshop at an art show.

Observations

  • Event # 7 of the 11 events we’re doing in the 4th quarter. Countdown mode engaged.
  • There were 40 booths (some shared between 2 artists) at this event. Live music. The plaza area we were in was alongside the ArcLight Cinema, Chipotle, a Mediterranean restaurant, an iconic hotel and Cold Stone. Trader Joe’s was across the street, and the event signage & canopies were visible from a very busy street. Traffic seemed to be built in – which is good. Booth traffic seemed to be more happenstance than generated by the event.
  • Without Mrs M’s offering there, the number of transactions plummeted. Only 8 transactions on Saturday, spread over 7 hours. (yawn)
  • Sooo slow on Saturday. Too slow. Not good.
  • And then it rained on Sunday.
  • Nothing to be done, of course, so I just sat there, moved the tables closer to the center and the boards away from the front of the booth … and tried to stay warm & dry. Traffic to the movie theater continued, and there continued to be traffic through the booths. Sort of.
  • Sunday was busier. And wetter.
  • A young boy in rain gear came into the booth and shook his umbrella, getting water everywhere. I immediately went to drying. The father said nothing at all. Thanks, Dad.
  • A woman in rain gear kept her umbrella up while accompanying her charge, a senior citizen with mobility issues. Her umbrella dripped all over everything, and she was oblivious. What is it with people? But then, when they left the booth, I noted that the umbrella covered her more than it did the senior citizen. (sigh)
  • When it rains, it drains … downhill. I only lost one cardboard box and a lot of packing paper, in the end. No damage to any boards that I was aware of, luckily. I’ll un-pack and re-pack everything – everything – to make sure.
  • So, I sat in the rain. It was consistent, but light, through the afternoon. I had a couple with credibility say they were going to a movie and would come back after to buy a Christmas present (never heard that one before) … so I waited, and resolved to pack up in an effort to be gone by 5pm when the rain was supposed to get heavier.
  • I waited.
  • The couple came back a little before 4pm, on schedule. Booth was closed by 4:05pm.
  • 25% of my total sales happened after 3:30pm on Sunday. In the rain.
  • Breakdown started at 4:05pm. It’s no fun packing when everything is wet. The only way to pack the side walls and table cloths was to wring them out, put them in plastic bags, and shove them into the car so they could be dried out tomorrow when it stops raining.
  • Ever been working, or perhaps camping out in the weather, and just gotten to the point where you gloried in the beauty of the rain and the feeling of doing work and being out in it?
  • Not me, not today. I think it was the third time I got water down my front while working on the walls overhead…. Or, maybe it was when the pool of water dumped on me from atop the canopy. All I know is when I finally got in the Jeep to drive home, I was soaked to the skin.
  • This is the 5th event I’ve done this year as a solo event with no Mrs M products. Four were one day events, and all 5 were in the bottom 8 for sales net of booth cost this year. I’m pretty sure there’s a lesson there.
  • Go big, or go home. Or, more accurately, go big or stay home. That’s my mantra for 2017.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Hello, old friend.

Saturday Lunch: A burrito bowl from Chipotle

Saturday Snack: Yes, I know guac is extra

Saturday Dinner: Chicken surprise not cooked in the crock pot, because there was no time.

Sunday Breakfast: I went to Carl’s & learned 2 things: 1) the canopy over the drive thru window is just big enough that the drips from rain run into your open car window, and 2) their breakfast is messier to eat while driving than that from my old friend.

Sunday Lunch: See Saturday

Sunday Snack: See Saturday

Sunday Dinner: Leftovers. And a baked potato. And bourbon.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 162
  • Booth cost: $335
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 2
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: a few
  • Total sales: $1,230
  • # boards available: a Jeep load
  • Saturday alarm: 6a
  • Sunday alarm: nope
  • # transactions: 17
  • # soap & lotion vendors: none
  • # woodworking vendors: me & a toymaker
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 19:2
  • Returning next year? Doubt it.

Boards sold: 21

Magic Bottle Openers: 9

Cheese Boards: 4

Small Boards: 2

Medium Surfboard: 1

Small Surfboard: 1

Large Cutting Board: 1

Cutting Board: 1

Lazy Susan: 1

Cheese & Cracker Server: 1

The Board Chronicles: Fine Craft Show 2016   1 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.

Fine Craft ShowCity-sponsored events can be quirky. Few cities are genuinely staffed to run craft fairs or art boutiques, and this event has suffered from some of that lack of institutional knowledge.

This is Santa Clarita’s 24th iteration of the Fine Craft Show. The event started before the city incorporated, though, and used to be a much bigger deal. The event was founded by a member of the community (by the effervescent Linda Hollingsworth, in fact!), and then ownership eventually passed to the city … who offers the event as a revenue generator for itself. The event’s not intended to provide entertainment, and it really doesn’t. It’s got 40 vendors with their handmade goods in a nice park … and that’s it.

Still, it’s the oldest & largest boutique for handmade goods in Santa Clarita. It was our best Santa Clarita event by far in 2015 (read about the 2015 event here). In 2016, though, we’ve upped our game by a significant margin. Will this show keep up with us?

New Ideas

  • Who needs me? After selling nearly all of my remaining Magic Bottle Openers, I’ve been given this weekend off from vendoring to stay home to get to making. Mrs M & Little Girl are running the booth this weekend at one of my favorite hometown events (sigh).
  • Who needs her? Mrs M decided she would prefer getting sick to giving me 2 days off, so she stayed home on Sunday to try and deal with a cold. Local events make life so much more flexible! My 2nd day off? Dead by virus.
  • It’s hard to get good, reliable help these days.

Observations

  • Event # 6 of the eleven events we’re doing in the 4th quarter. Finally. Over the hump.
  • I love local.
  • Load in was a bear. I ended up having to park about 70 yards away from the booth, and then pull 9 rolling cart loads of stuff up the hill to get it to our space. I did this in 90* heat, just after getting my flu shot. At the end of it all, I was whooped. Capital W Whooped, in fact.
  • Yes, it was 90* in November. Deal with it.
  • Perfect weather for this weekend event!
  • Mrs M & Little Girl knew I was not at the event on Saturday, so they were tasked with keeping track of sales and giving me information so I could write this blog. Here’s a message I received from Mrs M: “parrot handlebar of bike.”
  • Make of that what you will.
  • A toddler on a leash graced the booth with her presence. She was cuteness personified. Dad lifted her, and she grabbed a sous chef board on her way up. Dad tried to take it, and she said, “Mine.”
  • Love her.
  • Dad didn’t buy it for her, however.
  • Several people in the booth talked about how they just drove by the park, saw the canopies, and thought they would drop in. Traffic was not that great … and if a significant percentage were walk-ins that didn’t know of the event in advance, what does that say about the effectiveness of the marketing?
  • It was great to see some old friends – and Santa Clarita residents – come by. I worked with Jill for many years, but we haven’t seen each other for, uh, quite some time. A Cub Scout family came by (well, most of them) … 20 years after I hung up my Cubmaster patch. Great memories.
  • Vendors can provide effective marketing when they invite friends, families & customers to events, as we do. Social media works, and that helps everyone … but promoters who rely on vendor marketing as a replacement for traditional event marketing are not really promoters. This event was promoted (banners were up & ads ran in local magazines, I know), but ultimately, we needed more traffic.
  • Another couple came by that actually gave me my first custom order at Mrs M’s 2nd event in April of 2014. They told me their in-counter board still looks great, and promised pictures!
  • I love local.
  • 9 loads in = 9 loads out. Load out was no more fun, though it was down hill. Sort of.
  • Some other vendors reported down sales, and some said they had a great weekend. And so it always is. Several jewelry vendors said this was a very good event for them.
  • I wish this event had more community in it. I mean, you don’t have an event at a high school without high school students helping. A community event should have family fun. Or a parade. Live music. A beer garden. A Christmas theme. Support of local charities. Something to inject some personality, IMHO. This event feels as generic as it can be. There’s just not much “there” there.
  • The event disappointed this year. It went from being 2015’s best event in Santa Clarita for us … to being no better than 3rd best this year! In fact, sales dipped below our average event this year. Do we need to go farther afield in 2017 to keep upping our game, or will we find happiness by staying local?
  • Note I said the event disappointed, not that it was bad. We still made almost 5x booth fees, which is good. Good, not great. And who doesn’t want great?

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: no information available

Saturday Lunch: no information available. But, there was a food truck.

Saturday Snack: no information available

Saturday Dinner: Velda’s legendary Beef Barley Soup. Be afraid of the legend. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

Sunday Breakfast: Hello, old friend.

Sunday Lunch: Del Taco. It’s Little Girl’s fave, and the closest food source to the event on Sunday. No food trucks.

Sunday Snack: nope.

Sunday Dinner: Grand Panda takeout. Yum.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 72
  • Booth cost: $350
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 2
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several
  • Total sales: $1,720
  • # boards available: all of them
  • Saturday alarm: nope
  • Sunday alarm: 6:30a
  • # transactions: 68
  • # soap & lotion vendors: there were a couple of others, but they didn’t have Mrs M’s complete product line
  • # woodworking vendors: 5 others. The Santa Clarita-based scroll saw guy was here, as always. There were 2 others making decorative pieces from wine barrel staves, and one newbie that is a very direct competitor to me. He was at his 5th event; had a nice, clean display shared with the sewing offered by his wife. Exactly the way we started!
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 13:0
  • Returning next year? Maybe

Boards sold: 13

4x Magic Bottler Openers

3x Custom Orders

2x IDKWIWSS (I Don’t Know What It Was, She Said)

1x Cutting Boards

1x Cheese & Cracker Server

1x Notepad Clipboard

1x Pizza Server

The Board Chronicles: Boutique Fantastique 2016   1 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.

boutique-fantastiqueI want to love the Boutique Fantastique, put on by the Saugus High PTSO. It’s the high school my kids graduated from, and this event raises about $10,000 each year to help fund scholarships for students from my neighborhood. This is an event I want to support.

However, last year, the results were down from our first year, and our first event with a double booth. 2014 sales were just over $1,400, and 2015 sales were only $1,311. This event has the reputation of being the best holiday boutique in the valley … but is this the best we can do on this prime time first weekend in November?

New Ideas

  • ZooSoapia premieres for Mrs M: soap for kids. The soaps are in molded animal shapes and are really quite spectacular. When we first posted a picture of the hedgehog on Facebook, we got immediate, positive feedback. We got orders for a product Mrs M had barely begun to make.
  • Also new at this event are Mrs M’s Bags of Coal Soap. If someone you know has been naughty….

Observations

  • Event # 5 of the 11 events we’re doing in the 4th quarter. Still not half way. Still not close to done.
  • I love local.
  • Event load-in was scheduled to begin at 6:30am, and some vendors began showing up in the parking lot at 5:30am. I got there at 6:03am … and they started letting people in a few minutes later, well ahead of schedule. When I got to the gate with my Jeep + trailer, the only comment from the guard was “You’re large.” Thank you very much. I was directed to the far side of the loading zone, where there was room for me. I was unloaded and students were carrying our stuff in by 6:30am. Amazing help from student volunteers.
  • I had gotten away from saying that we were from THIS TOWN … because we haven’t been for several events. However, at this event, I made a point of saying that the boards on display were made in my garage workshop … 2 miles that way. Local, local local.
  • After a run of events that were not in Santa Clarita, this event felt like we were enjoying the fruits of building a brand. People talked about seeing us at this event for 3 years. People talked about buying local. People talked about seeing us at another event 2 years ago, and buying from us several times.
  • I love local.
  • I got a large custom order on Saturday from a guy that stalked me … right to this event. After emailing me on Thursday (which I returned at midnight that day, explaining I was in the middle of 4 event days, and couldn’t talk to him until next week), he followed my advice and found me at this local event on Saturday. And ordered 8 boards for corporate Christmas presents. He first saw my work a couple of years ago at a local event at the Elks Lodge … and now, he’s talking about what we could do next Christmas. Sometimes, you just have to be available. Oh, and be willing to do the work.
  • Which I am. And I do.
  • Dinner proved to be an adventure Saturday evening. After we completed our salads, the manager approached the table and apologized. And apologized. Our waitress, we were told, had lost our order and could not find it. The manager apologized, and assured us that she would buy us dinner, dessert, and whatever we wanted. We placed our order (and Velda didn’t get her chicken pot pie, as they were now out), and the waitress apologized when she came to refill our drinks. The guy delivering our dinners – eventually – apologized. The manager apologized again. We got it: everyone was sorry, and a mistake happened. We got a free dinner, and free muffins to go. Why get angry? No big thing.
  • Mrs M had her single biggest event sale ever on Sunday. The lady decided Mrs M products would make great Christmas presents for a lot of people, and she bought a large shopping bag full of soaps, lotions, scrubs, lotion bars, lip scrubs, lip balms….
  • I love Christmas.
  • Several people talked to me about special orders … and I honestly believe they will come through. This event had value beyond the sales we gained Saturday & Sunday. I hope.
  • (Note to self: expectations can kill you.)
  • Load-out had rules that you must follow: take down your booth, carry it all to the loading area curb, and THEN ask for a pass to bring in your car to load. I went to the lady in charge when we were packed up, and asked where I should carry our stuff to, since I was driving a Jeep + trailer. She told me to get help, organize my student volunteers, and drive my trailer in immediately. Suddenly, we had a bevy of volunteers, and we were home 2 hours after tear down started.
  • Did we tip the volunteers? You bet.
  • I love local.
  • Requests were for a Mickey Mouse cutting board (I don’t emulate licensed products without a license) and a coffee table.
  • I think we’re in a lousy location at this event, which fills the Saugus High gymnasium with vendor spaces. We’re in the back of the gym on the right side … and it sure seems like most vendors in the front of the gym have better sales than we do. After trending down in year 2, we were way up in year 3, thanks to the big custom order that I got. The custom order wasn’t really driven by the event, but it did happen at the event, and that’s how we look at the business. We had a great event in year 3.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Velda made egg sandwiches & brought them to the high school; we ate before completing set up

Saturday Lunch: Jersey Mike’s 4″ sub. Mike’s way.

Saturday Snack: the chips from lunch

Saturday Dinner: Mimi’s Cafe … for meatloaf with all of the other old people

Sunday Breakfast: bagels & cream cheese. And a banana.

Sunday Lunch: Jersey Mike’s 4″ sub. Mike’s way.

Sunday Snack: the chips from lunch (see a pattern here?)

Sunday Dinner: Bella Cucina for Chicken Marsala. Best Italian restaurant in Santa Clarita. Fabulous.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 16
  • Booth cost: $265
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: none
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: none
  • Total sales: $2,269
  • # boards available: all of them
  • Saturday alarm: 5am
  • Sunday alarm: none
  • # transactions: 63
  • # soap & lotion vendors: one other
  • # woodworking vendors: two others, both had turned objects. One had a few cutting boards & such.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 22:0 … NO end grain!
  • Returning next year? Definitely

Boards sold: 22

Custom Orders: 8

Magic Bottle Openers: 7

Small Surfboards: 1

Medium Surfboards: 1

Cheese & Cracker Server: 1

Domed Cheese & Cracker Server: 1

Cutting Board: 1

Small Board: 1

Cheese Board: 1

The Board Chronicles: GingerBread Boutique 2016   1 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.

gingerbread-boutiqueI met the vendor coordinator for this event at the Westlake Village Street Fair; Michelle was my neighbor and told me I should be a part of her November event.

I listened, but I was sceptical. After all, the GingerBread Boutique was happening on a Thursday evening and a Friday … successful weekday events aren’t just unusual. They don’t exist.

In my experience.

But, Michelle kept after me, patiently answered my questions, and assured me that Mrs M’s Handmade could be successful at this event.

She wore me down. We’re in for the 35th Annual GingerBread Boutique, which is staged at St Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church in Westlake Village as a fundraiser for the Westlake Village Junior Women’s Club. The event proceeds are 100% donated to local charities.

New Ideas

  • Who needs Mrs M? I solo’d at the event with our double booth. I drove the trailer to the event with all of our product, but only used some of our display pieces due to the limited space.
  • This is an indoor booth, and booth spaces are about 8’x7′, the instructions say. I got there, and my space was by the back door, and wrapped around a stairway to the stage … and my job was to make it work. OK. This was going to be an unusual layout. Can do.

Observations

  • Event # 4 in our parade of 11 events in the 4th quarter. I can only see more from here.
  • Who needs Mrs M?
  • I finally filled out & sent in my application for this event in September … 7 weeks ago. Every time I had a question about how the event worked, I found the answer in the application. With my required initials beside the passage. Excellent application; excellent information in it. My retention of that information: not so good.
  • This is a central cashier event. Good news: I don’t handle any money at the event. Bad news: I have to hand write a receipt in triplicate for every transaction, and then keep the purchased items until a receipt stamped “paid” is returned to me by the customer. Not my favorite way to handle cash at an event, but it did give Mrs M an accurate representation of how many lotion bars I sold. But what scents, she asks?
  • I do have my limits.
  • The Thursday night event was a cocktail party. Wine. Women. Me. What’s not to like?
  • I was a bit under dressed, though, as many of the ladies were at a cocktail party and wore their heels & little black dresses. I was at a vendor event, in shorts. They tolerated my presence, but I should have thought through the whole Wine, Women & Me thing.
  • … when I initialed the passage on the application, no doubt.
  • One of the legendary moments at the Mowry table was when I instructed our growing family to no longer discuss underwear during our family dinners. The boys had brought their girlfriends to our table, and eventually those young ladies were fiancés, and now wives … but somewhere early in the process, I was uncomfortable with the discussion of under garments. I figured boys’ minds were focused enough on such things without added discussion. In my presence.
  • The girls decided that discussing U-wear was perfectly fine, since they couldn’t discuss underwear. I took exception to that opinion, and a family legend was born. Now, many years later, both the boss of me (the younger Mrs M) and MrsMowry were delighted, however, with my story from this event: one of my vendor neighbors sold, uh, ladies underwear. During her sales pitch, she shared her cup size with her customers. And with me, a very few feet away. All of the time.
  • Sometimes I just can’t catch a break.
  • No free lunch, apparently. Vendors were supposed to get a coupon for a free hot dog from the cart, but somehow the person handing out the coupons missed me in my double booth. I should have gotten 2 lunches. Free. And I got nada.
  • Part of the Mrs M tradition is the packaging that every purchase gets, complete with a bow around a pretty cellophane bag. Mrs M gets lots of props for her post-sale presentation, but she wasn’t at this event. My packaging got big props. One lady told me that I have a very feminine side. Well, OK, then.
  • Own the demo. When Mrs M is not available, I excel at demo-ing lotion bars. I explain the advantages of Mrs M’s lotion bars, and the relative disadvantages of regular lotions. I own the demo. I effectively sell lotion bars.
  • Must be my feminine side.
  • Nope. It’s my speech degree from Mizzou. In my humble opinion.
  • I’m a communicator. That’s me.
  • The application told me that I had 90 minutes to strike the booth … and I included on the app my note that 90 minutes would be tough. It was. I was packed in 90 minutes, but it took me another 30 to cart the stuff out to the trailer and begin loading. The organizers were patient with me … and good communication was key. They knew what I was doing, and I asked for their guidance. As you should.
  • This charity event takes 20% of your sales in addition to a $400 booth fee for a 12 hour event. Our sales were really very strong for a Thursday night/Friday event, but with that 20% take by the house, the fee for our strong sales ended up being $895 (according to my calculations. I won’t get the actual check for 3 weeks. Sigh.). That’s a huge fee – our 2nd largest booth fee EVER. However, we did end up doing sales of three times that booth fee … and it was a Thursday/Friday event. I could have been sitting at home, with no revenue. Or, I could have been with the women & wine.
  • You know what I chose.

The Food

Thursday Dinner: Subway

Friday Breakfast: Hello, old friend.

Friday Lunch: A Polish Dog from a cart. And chips.

Friday Snack: Nope

Friday Dinner: With leftovers like Velda’s Chicken Piccata, I am always OK. Oh, and bourbon.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 192
  • Booth cost: $400 booth fee + 20% of sales = $895. Oh, and a $30 raffle prize.
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: several
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several
  • Total sales: $2,661
  • # boards available: almost all of them
  • Thursday alarm: nope
  • Friday alarm: nope
  • # transactions: 56
  • # soap & lotion vendors: just us
  • # woodworking vendors: just us
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 19:2
  • Returning next year? Probably

Boards sold: 21

Magic Bottle Openers: 10

Medium Surfboard: 4

Custom Order: 2

Notepad Clipboard: 1

Bear: 1

Large Cutting Board: 1

Domed Cheese & Cracker Server: 1

Cheese & Cracker Server: 1

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