Archive for the ‘end grain’ Tag

The Board Chronicles: Santa’s Art Shop 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.

** ** **

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!

** ** **

OK, OK. I know. I’m behind … but this is ridiculous. The good news is that I’m almost caught up – really! I believe I have 3 more reviews after this one. And this one, well, keep reading.

This is our 5th year at Santa’s Art Shop. For each of the previous 4 years, this was our biggest event of the year. For each of the previous 4 years, this was our biggest event ever.

We like Santa’s Art Shop, in not so far away Ridgecrest, CA. It’s a good 2 hour drive, and Ridgecrest is on the edge of the Mojave. It’s just down the road from Inyokern, that proudly announces on a sign next to the highway, “100 miles from anywhere”.

So, Ridgecrest is not a garden spot. It’s not close to the bright city lights.

It’s my kind of town.

New Ideas

  • Not so much. We are again doing a triple booth, but this time it’s just Mrs M & I to get it up and running. The trailer was filled to capacity. And, probably, beyond.

Observations

  • Friday set-up begins at 1p, and we were there with bells on. We. Were. Excited.
  • Shoppers come to this event. They usually inspect everything in both buildings (lots to see!), and then come back and buy what they want. It’s unusual to get many special orders: they know what they want, plus, there’s not much time before the holidays.
  • Oh. And I’m tired.
  • Suggested sign: “I Love You More Than Bacon.”
  • This event is a bit tricky to know when people are coming. Sundays can be bigger than Saturdays. Afternoons can be bigger than mornings. Some Saturdays, in the first couple of hours, sales actually fall because there are too many people and the aisles are just jammed.
  • Good problem, yes?
  • We had a good Saturday, but lower than last year.
  • I walked by the entrance just in time to hear a very excited little girl walk in and say, “It’s BEE YOU TI FUL.”
  • I love Ridgecrest.
  • Each year, we set a new record for sales at this event. And, each year, we agree we can’t do it again. We can’t keep going up, right?
  • Competition is steep at this event. I have 2 direct competitors, and both have a complete product line (though one has a lot of turned items, and the other has many crafty-style items … they both have many similar items to what I have, too. I need proprietary designs and unique pieces to compete, I believe.
  • In addition to those 2 woodworkers, there are 3 others that have a few items that are competitive, along with other items I don’t make that they focus on (jewelry boxes, furniture, etc).
  • So, a very robust environment for woodworkers. Can I stay strong?
  • Last year, the event organizer asked if she could buy a large group of items for a charity auction benefiting a local community autism organization. It was my pleasure to match her purchase, dollar for dollar. This year … she wants to do it again.
  • It’s my pleasure to match her, dollar for dollar.
  • Sunday afternoon started to heat up … and then it got hotter. I actually did 20% of our total sales in the last hour. That’s a big number … and we just made it.
  • We just made it. Fifth year in a row.

Best. Event. Ever.

  • Requests included items with a California Quail engraved, a moose and a dresser organizer.

The Food

  • Best Meal: We couldn’t get into our favorite French restaurant, Mon Reve. We settled for our favorite Mexican restaurant, Olvera’s.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 268
  • Booth cost: $758
  • Food cost: $247
  • Travel cost: $224
  • Total sales: $6,211
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 3
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several
  • # transactions: busy, busy
  • # soap & lotion vendors: 4 others
  • # woodworking vendors: 5 others
  • Returning next year? Definitely

Boards sold: 59

  • Coaster Sets: 2
  • Hearts: 2
  • Custom Order: 3
  • Cutting Boards: 13
  • Cheese Boards: 7
  • Trivets: 8
  • Cribbage Boards: 2
  • Serving Pieces: 7
  • CNC Signs: 5
  • Chess Board: 2
  • Small Boards: 2
  • Clipboard: 1
  • MBOs: 3
  • Lazy Susans: 2

The Board Chronicles: Bishop Mule Days 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.

** ** **

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!

** ** **

I like this event.

Bishop Mule Days is the world’s largest gathering of all things mule. I would think Missouri might host such an event, but that honor has come her. Bishop is a lovely mountain community, near Mt Whitney (on every serious hiker’s bucket list, as the tallest mountain in the lower 48 at 14,505′).

These event is on Memorial Day weekend, and takes place in a bucolic park. It’s got a stream running through it. It’s got a duck pond. The park’s in the middle of the downtown area, and that means the parade with all of those mule teams go right by on Saturday. Tourists drive by all weekend, so the crowd is a mix of tourists, hikers, locals, and the mule people. It’s a great, diverse mix, and I’m happy to return for my 2nd year.

It’s a rare 4 day event: set up on Thursday, and then you’re open for business Friday – Monday. It’s the mountains, so there’s often a passing shower or two, but since this is a community that has a significant commitment to outdoor recreation, the weather isn’t that big of a factor. Thank goodness.

New Ideas

  • I convinced Mrs M to come with me this year, and we upgraded the booth to a triple. Just like last week at the California Strawberry Festival, I got the Trimline and she got one of the pop-ups.

Observations

  • We I found a great AirBnB last year. A young couple converted their oversized garage into a “Granny Suite,” with all of the amenities, including a washer & dryer. The couple created the Suite to raise money for their daughter to go to college; it’s my pleasure to contribute to Chelsea’s fund each year … she is just out of preschool now!
  • The advantage of the AirBnB – beyond to Chelsea – is that it allows us to bring food from home. Rather than going out to eat, we go back to our rental, heat left overs or whatever, and relax. It really does save a lot of money and is easier, to boot. AirBnB’s don’t work in every community that we go to, but when it works it can be very, very good.
  • This event is hosted by the Inyo Council for the Arts; they promote all arts and art education in Inyo County. That’s a wonderful thing, and I’m happy to support their efforts as well.
  • Even though I convinced Mrs M to join me this year, she wasn’t able to get Thursday off from work, so she had to drive separately, arriving late Thursday evening. Did she do that just so she didn’t have to help me put up the booths? That’s not the way she tells the story.
  • This is a long 4 day event, but there’s enough traffic from each of the different audiences to justify the time. Friday is a bit slow, but there is still substantial traffic on this holiday Friday. Saturday is when the parade goes by the park, so traffic is very high. Sunday is the biggest day of most 3-day holiday weekends, and you really don’t feel the slow traffic until the few hours that the booths are open on Monday.
  • The load in and out are a bit challenging, as everything has to be carted from the trailer, through the parking lot onto the sidewalk, across the creek and wooden bridge, and then across the grass to the booth. It’s all very doable, but it is a 60 yard haul.
  • I was happy to hire a couple of local guys to help me do the load out on Monday. They helped me get home about 2 hours quicker after the long holiday drive.
  • I left my deposit for 2020 with the promoter on the last day of the event. This event was good – in fact, it ended up being our #2 event of the year.
  • I like mules.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 846
  • Booth cost: $870
  • Food cost: $127
  • Travel cost: $500
  • Total sales: $4,899
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 1
  • # transactions: We were consistently busy every day at one time or another!
  • # soap & lotion vendors: there were a couple
  • # woodworking vendors: several, but only one did similar work to me
  • Returning next year? Definitely

Boards sold: 47

The Board Chronicles: California Avocado 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.

** ** **

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!

** ** **

Avocados everywhere. Sounds like a good idea, yes?

We’ve done the California Avocado Festival 3 times previously. You can read about 2016, 2017 and 2018.

This event has had some landmark results for us. In 2016, it was at the time our most expensive event ever, and resulted in our most transactions ever.

Unfortunately, sales were down in 2017 … and then down again in 2018. It’s hard to feel good about that.

Time to see what’s what with the 33rd Annual California Avocado Festival.

New Ideas

  • We’re doing just what we did each of the last 3 years: a 10×20 booth, shared. Mrs M always does avocado soap, and I do a (somewhat) limited display in my 10×10 space. So, nothing new here. Just get it done.

Observations

  • This is a Saturday morning setup, unfortunately, so we arrived at about 6am to get going. We drove the trailer into the booth area … and couldn’t find our booth. After 3 years in one location, we had been moved. But, I thought we had the same booth number … ?
  • We were on the opposite side of the street, nearer to the end of the event. Nothing to do but to get to it, since we have less than 3 hours to get the booth up before we have walkers in the area. We started setting up our 2 pop-up canopies, and we began hearing neighboring vendor complaints almost immediately. No one was happy. Everyone was moved.
  • The organizer? We didn’t see her – in her first year in charge of this area – until perhaps 6:45am. This is well after the official beginning of set-up. We were way into our hard goods by that point; nothing was going to move easily.
  • Come to find out, the entire booth area had been chalked on the asphalt … backwards. Upside down. We should have been in the same location, but the guy with the chalk did everything wrong. Everything.
  • So, that began a period of chaos where some vendors went to their original spot, some (like us) stayed where their canopies were, and the organizer was there to smooth the ruffled feathers of those that were angry about losing their space, being moved, upset that they couldn’t have the space that was now marked out for them … you name it, people complained about it. I just tried to keep my head down. It was a total, total mess.
  • Finally, the crowd arrived and things got better. At least I didn’t hear any more moaning and complaining.
  • The great part of this event is that we have many fans that find us. A lot of people drive to this event from all over Southern California (attendance for the 3 day event is estimated at 100,000) … so we see a lot of familiar faces. We also meet a lot of Santa Claritans that come to these event that we’ve never met before. It’s all good. Legacy is a wonderful thing. A hometown crowd is a wonderful thing, even if you’re 90 minutes from home.
  • Long, amusing conversation between 2 customers. One of them made a comment about the 6 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon, and the other said they actually were related to Kevin Bacon. That created an uproar – what are the odds? – until the 2nd customer admitted that their cousin was Kevin Bacon, just not THE Kevin Bacon. A good time was had by all.
  • I had a critical eye on the results of this event. It’s not a cheap one, and our sales had been down in 2017 … and then again in 2018. In total we were down over 20%, and I wasn’t happy.
  • Last year, we arrived for our early set up, but the street access was blocked by cement barricades that had to be moved by a fork lift. Come to find out, the city worker that was responsible for that job had overslept. So, this year … different problem, but another problem. It seems this event has trouble getting the details handled.
  • Happily, our sales were up almost 10%, but we’re still substantially down from our first year. Add that sales decline to the 2 years in a row with major infrastructure mistakes that affected me directly, and I’m out. I have another event in mind for next year.

The Food

  • Best Meal: We love a traditional steakhouse in Carpinteria, so we went to Clementine’s Friday evening. They include dessert with every meal, so I got Blackberry Pie with homemade whipped cream. Yum.
  • Honorable Mention: Saturday evening, we were tired. We weren’t creative. So, we went back to Clementine’s.
  • 2nd Honorable Mention: Sunday breakfast, by tradition, is at Esau’s. It’s on the same block as our booth (either location!), and they have a great breakfast. I’ll miss both of these restaurants next year.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 138
  • Booth cost: $1,046
  • Food cost: $331
  • Travel cost: $282
  • Total sales: $3,334
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 2
  • # transactions: 102
  • # soap & lotion vendors: Several
  • # woodworking vendors: Several
  • Returning next year? Nope

Boards sold: 26

  • Signs: 2
  • Garlic Dipping Boards: 4
  • Bread Saw: 1
  • Trivets: 2
  • Cheese Boards: 5
  • Serving Piece: 1
  • Lazy Susans: 2
  • Cribbage Board: 1
  • Cutting Boards: 3
  • Cheese Slicers: 4
  • Small Board: 1

The Board Chronicles: Simi Valley Street Fair 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.

** ** **

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!

** ** **

We’ve done this event every which way, and it’s always run hot … or cold.

In 2015, I did it solo in a 10×10 showing both Mrs M’s and my stuff. This was when we were just over a year old and didn’t know what we were doing, but I rocked this event. It was chaos. It was wildly successful. At the time, it was our Best. Day. Ever.

In 2016, we shared a double booth … and it was awful. Mrs M vowed she would not return.

We took 2017 off, but I was up for another run in 2018. I did it solo, and committed even though the event moved locations. I did a double booth, and, again, it was a big success. Sales were $1,735, which is really very good for a one day event.

I had similar expectations for this year … and as you know, expectations will kill you.

New Ideas

  • Nothing new here! I was committed to having a good day. I arrived early, got set up … and made sure my gear was not getting hit by the sprinklers that were on in the planter that was right behind my booth. Seems like the Chamber of Commerce missed that one.

Observations

  • Another suggested sign, another thing I’ll never, ever make:
    • I’m fat, but I identify with skinny. I’m Trans-slender.
  • The day had very nice weather: perhaps too nice. I had shade stealers all day, which I don’t mind too much. Well, I do mind when no one is buying, and on this day, not enough were buying.
  • Given the paucity of sales, I’m not returning to this event. It’s well known that I hate one day events anyway – it’s just too much work for me to set up and tear down – solo – in one day.
  • Sales didn’t hit my magic number of $1,000, either. In this case, at least there were no travel costs other than a tank of gas … but I’m out.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 74
  • Booth cost: $350
  • Food cost: $0
  • Total sales: $929
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 0
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 0
  • # transactions: 13
  • # soap & lotion vendors: no clue
  • # woodworking vendors: no clue
  • Returning next year? No

Boards sold: 13

  • Cheese Slicers: 2
  • Wine Bottle Coaster: 1
  • Small Board: 2
  • Sign: 1
  • Serving Piece: 1
  • Cribbage Board: 3
  • Cheees Board: 1
  • Coaster Set: 1
  • Trivets: 2

The Board Chronicles: Harvest Festival San Mateo 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.

** ** **

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!

** ** **

In California, the “professional” vendors that do handmade goods exhibit at the Harvest Festivals. There are 8 or 9 of them (depending on the year), with one in Las Vegas, and then the remainder split about evenly between northern and southern California.

Everyone says it: the Harvest Festivals are great. But be ready: you sell a lot of stuff. Biggest events of the year. Be ready.

I was ready.

In our 5th year of vending, I committed to 2 of the Harvest Festivals: San Mateo and Sacramento. Neither are close to us, of course, but they fit on the calendar.

I was ready.

Then, we had the Camp Fire: the deadliest, most destructive wild fire in California history.

Paradise got most of the press on how bad things were, and Paradise is 200 miles from San Mateo. I thought we’d be OK … not knowing the wind patterns in the bay area took the smoke right to my destination. While we were having our event, there were warnings to stay indoors.

That’s no way to have a good event that requires patrons to drive at least some distance to come to the event, y’know?

New Ideas

  • Harvest Festivals require Thursday set ups, and the events run Friday – Sunday. I drove up Wednesday for an early Thursday set up. I stayed in the least expensive motel I could find in or near San Mateo … and you can use your imagination. I can assure you while in my room I was doing my best to NOT imagine what was around me.
  • This is the most expensive event I have ever done: $1,490 for my double booth.
  • Bright yellow signs were available to me: NEW VENDOR. I appreciated that.
  • The event has prominent entertainment: there’s a Santa on stilts. There are cowboys riding horses … well, there are guys in cowboy costumes walking around with a horse costume around their waist like they are “riding.” Definitely a lot to see here.

Observations

  • This is a professional operation. 200+ vendors. Some pay for cartage to have their display pieces and inventory delivered to the aisle in front of their booth, event to event. Some are newbies like me … but the bar is very high here.
  • Some of the requirements for these events:
    • no handwritten signs
    • cover all metal poles
    • all handmade
    • focused booth lighting is required: they turn down the general illumination in the hall
  • One of the veterans introduced himself to me … and said, “you know the new guy brings coffee, right?” The promoter provides the coffee, incidentally!
  • A neighbor said she’d been vending her whole life … “my Mom was selling tie dye shirts at Dead shows.” Welcome to San Francisco.
  • Heard from a young Miss walking by: “Who’s Julia Child?” That’s not my audience!
  • I had requests for spatulas, collapsible wooden baskets (I HATE those imports, and they all are!), a checkerboard cutting board (no thanks), more boards with “crumb catchers,” small Lazy Susans, bowl-shaped Lazy Susans, tea towel holders, round cutting boards … lots of requests from a crowd that didn’t buy that much!
  • In the end, this event was destroyed by the fire. Attendance was down, I was told. This was never one of the larger Harvest Festivals, but with the fire, the event was just devastated.
  • Final analysis: with the high booth fee, high hotel and travel costs … I actually lost money doing this event.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Nope. I went out; fast food & burgers.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 727
  • Booth cost: $1,490
  • Food cost: $128
  • Travel cost: $780
  • Total sales:  $2,708
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 2
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several
  • # transactions: not enough, but I did stay busy
  • # soap & lotion vendors: several. Not many have it going on like Mrs M does with her cold process soap, but pricing was *very* competitive
  • # woodworking vendors: Several, doing all manner of work. The craft is well represented.
  • Returning next year? No … regardless of the fire, I lost money. I won’t return quickly.

Boards sold: 41

  • Cutting Boards: 3
  • Cheese Boards: 7
  • Small Boards: 2
  • Large Serving Piece: 5
  • Trivet: 1
  • Serving Tray: 1
  • Signs: 12
  • Custom Orders: 2
  • Clipboards: 2
  • Coasters: 2
  • Bread Saw: 1
  • Cribbage Board: 1
  • Lazy Susans: 2

The Board Chronicles: Big Spring Home & Garden Show 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.

** ** **

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!

** ** **

This Home & Garden Show is held at the LA County Fairground in Pomona. I thought it was worth a chance. It’s not the largest Home & Garden Show – but it is in LA. Since it’s just over an hour from home, I’ll be sleeping in my own bed each night. I just have over 2 hours of freeway driving each day. What could go wrong?

The event was held March 8 – 10, 2019.

New Ideas

  • This is the same set up that I did last week in Fresno at that Home & Garden show. This one is in one single hall … but the hall is big enough that the designated parking area for my trailer is inside of the hall, down by the stage. Its. A. Big. Building.

Observations

  • Oh. So. Boring.
  • On Friday, I had one sale, for $45. I’ve got a bad attitude, and I’m just getting started here. The traffic … no. Not at all.
  • Nice enough event, really, but there was not enough there there to keep me interested. Home & Garden Shows are a numbers game, I believe, and this one isn’t big enough to support me.Lesson learned!

The Food

  • Best Meal: Still saving money. Have you seen how low the sales are in the first quarter?

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 368
  • Booth cost: $800
  • Food cost: $65
  • Travel cost: $0
  • Total sales: $1,650
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 1
  • # transactions: 14x in 3 days. Horrible. Did I mention the event is 23 hours long?
  • # soap & lotion vendors: Yes, there were a couple.
  • # woodworking vendors: My neighbor installed wooden doors. Does that count?
  • Returning next year? Nope

Boards sold: 17

Signs: 5

Cutting Boards: 4

Cheese Slicers: 4

Large Serving Piece: 1

Cheese Board: 1

Coaster Set: 1

Special Order: 1

The Board Chronicles: Fresno Home & Garden Show 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.

** ** **

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!

** ** **

This was my 3rd appearance at the Fresno Home & Garden Show: you can read about my previous successes in 2017 and 2018.

This event isn’t great, and the 3 day event does require some patience to get through. However, the crowd is significant, they aren’t stopped by a bit of rain, and the event always delivers a good result. So far.

You bet I’m going back to Fresno! The event was March 1 – 3, 2019.

New Ideas

  • This is my first year at this event with signs. I took the Trimline frame, put up the mesh walls, and did what I do these days.

Observations

  • This event is worth my time, but it just has no sex appeal for me. I’m in building # 6 (not that you can find that designation anywhere but on the vendor map). The building does have some handmade vendors, but it’s mainly buy & sell. Want stretchy plastic bowl covers made in China? Got ’em. Want a set of pots & pans? Got ’em. Want a vacation to Lake Tahoe to see time shares? No problem. There’s also a big vendor selling patio furniture, another that’ll do your roof. It’s a pretty crazy environment.
  • Vendor parking is in a remote lot, but they provide a shuttle service in tricked out farm wagons. That’s appropriate for a county fairground, right?
  • A vendor in my building, “Would you like a hand spa? 30 seconds to wash away your dry skin?” He said this over and over and over and over. That’s not my idea of a good time. I’m sure he sold something, but yuck.
  • I didn’t spend much time doing walkabout at this event: I can only do this before the gates open at 10a, since I’m solo for the weekend in Fresno. There were a couple of other woodworkers that do similar work; one has a CNC and does cribbage boards. No one has the wood variety that I do ….
  • Another vendor in my building was selling bottle openers with an under-powered magnet hidden under a decorative tin that was glued to the cheap wood that mounted the bottle opener. I think they were $15 each, or 3 for $30. Something like that. Note that I had no Magic Bottle Openers to bring … and I haven’t made any since, either.
  • The thing about this event is … the crowd just keeps coming, and there are enough buyers mixed in that the event works for me. It’s a numbers game, and this first quarter event is just good enough to stay on my calendar.

The Food

  • Best Meal: nope. This is about saving money. If there are good restaurants in Fresno, I haven’t found them. I haven’t looked.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 408
  • Booth cost: $1,000
  • Food cost: $92
  • Travel cost: $432
  • Total sales: $2,542
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 0
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 0
  • # transactions: 19, spread over 3 days and 22 hours of the event
  • # soap & lotion vendors: there were at least a few, a couple were handmade
  • # woodworking vendors: everything from redwood exterior signs to wine barrel patio furniture to pallet wood signs
  • Returning next year? yes

Boards sold: 21

Cheese Slicer: 2

Cutting Boards: 3

Cribbage Boards: 3

Cheese Boards: 4

Coaster set: 2

Trivets: 2

Chess pieces: 1

Lazy Susans: 2

Sign: 2

The Board Chronicles: Claremont Pie 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.

** ** **

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!

** ** **

For 2 years running, I’ve been approached at the Claremont Village Venture event in October to do this event in March. Last year didn’t work, but this year the event did fit on the calendar, so ….

It’s always seemed like foodie events should be a natural for me. I haven’t found success at drinking events (the Winter Wine Walk in Ventura comes to mind), and the results from the Chili Cook-off and Bar B Q events have been spotty, to say the least.

But I like pie. I’m going to Claremont.

New Ideas

  • Not new … more of a back to basics idea. I’m doing a 10×10 booth with no games. Only cutting boards, serving pieces and a few signs.

Observations

  • The vendor info packet announced that a fire extinguisher was required in the booth. A check will be done, it promised.
  • ’twasn’t.
  • Very nice little event, it seems. Maybe 40 vendors. I’m in booth 201, right next to the alleyway exit from the Wells Fargo parking lot, I’m told. Sounds like a corner space.
  • It was, but only until they set up the canopy, tables & sound system for the bands that played next to me all day. They were acoustic with some amplification, but I did have to talk over the, uh, music.
  • One performer was a ukelele band. They were the loudest. Kind of fun, actually, once you got past the pronounced amateur status of the performers.
  • The event was on a pretty tight side street … Once booths were up on both sides, there was only room for about 4 people to walk down the aisle side by side. Or, that would be a couple going in each direction. That’s it. Baby strollers, Roll-ators, motorized chairs … it got interesting when the crowd thickened. Which it did: good crowd flow all day long.
  • I was immediately in front of my booth, talking to a customer about the Carnivore Boards, when a motorized chair ran into the cardboard trash can and pushed it into me, knocking me off balance. No big thing, really, but illustrative of the crowded conditions in the aisle.
  • I stayed in my booth.
  • Where I belong.
  • Lots of traffic. Sales didn’t break any records (I hate doing so few transactions in a 6 hour event!), but certainly proved to be worth my while.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Only left-overs for dinner. I’ll take Velda’s Beef Bourguignon anytime.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 130
  • Booth cost: $125
  • Food cost: $13
  • Travel cost: $68
  • Total sales: $1,096
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $890
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 0
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 1
  • Saturday alarm: 4:55a
  • # transactions: 8
  • # soap & lotion vendors: no clue
  • # woodworking vendors: no clue
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 15:1
  • Returning next year? Yes, if the schedule allows

Boards sold: 16

  • Trivets: 4
  • Cheese Slicers: 3
  • Serving Pieces: 2
  • Carnivore Boards: 2
  • Cutting Board: 1
  • Magic Knife Holder: 1
  • Sous Chef Board: 1
  • Lazy Susan: 1
  • Coaster Set: 1

The Board Chronicles: Good Old Days 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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I like trying new events … but they are often high risk.

Such was the case with the 62nd Annual Good Old Days in Pacific Grove, CA. I couldn’t find a vendor that had tried the event, and the information I did get was primarily from the Chamber of Commerce, whose job it is to promote tourism!

I decided to take a chance.

30,000+ in attendance was promised. And that number of people may have been there. Somewhere.

Today, I can state with certainty that the vast majority of them never found my booth. As we shall see, that was no small task….

New Ideas

  • New events are always difficult: you have to figure out everything. This event was made more difficult because the street names changed near the downtown area where this event was set up … and every direction I received in writing as well as in person was not correct.

Observations

  • While I was trying to follow those directions, I got trapped with the trailer between a couple of kiddy rides … getting out was not pretty. Good directions would have been so, so helpful.
  • By the time I found booths 212 and 213, I was not a happy camper. But, I unloaded the trailer, parked & got to work.
  • My neighbor was some sort of chiropractor, I think. In any event, they placed their Honda generator right behind my booth.
  • I wasn’t going to catch a break at this event.
  • Community events can be very, very good … or they can be without value to out of town vendors like me. Such was the case here: it was a waste of my time. Sales didn’t get over $1,000, and I’m *never* happy with that.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 623
  • Booth cost: $570
  • Food cost: $124
  • Travel cost: $230
  • Total sales: $879
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 0
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 0
  • # transactions: 12 (see the problem?)
  • # soap & lotion vendors: no clue
  • # woodworking vendors: no clue
  • Returning next year? Never

Boards sold: 12

  • Surfboards: 2
  • Cheese Slicer: 1
  • Cutting Boards: 2
  • Trivet: 1
  • Cribbage Board: 1
  • California Bear: 1
  • Sign: 1
  • Chess Board: 1
  • Lazy Susan: 1
  • Magic Knife Holder: 1

Last Ones   Leave a comment

It’s been a long year, and in many ways, a difficult one. Not in the shop so much … it’s when I venture out of the shop that bad things happen. Sometimes.

But, good news, I’m not leaving the shop for a while. That’s good: I can do some interesting work if I just give myself enough creative time!

I’ll be working on a few shop upgrades (FINALLY) over the next couple of weeks, as well as finishing up the last few boards that didn’t make it to the finish line. I have about 30 pieces in process including bread saws, cutting boards, cribbage boards and a, uh, new piece of wall decor. They all need a bit more attention, but that’s for another day. Thankfully.

Here’s the latest, and last 2019 treats, to make it to the finish line.