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The Board Chronicles: Palos Verdes 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 do this event because we like a restaurant.

No one said we had to be logical.

This Street Fair in Palos Verdes was an average event for us last year. Not spectacular, but it was OK. Worth visiting again, we thought. Maybe.

Last year, we found an Italian restaurant that we simply loved, so we wanted to go back to visit it again. The restaurant was better than the event, really, but what’s wrong with that?

Time to see how we would do at the 32nd Annual Palos Verdes Street Fair.

New Ideas

  • I asked that they move our booth this year away from the screaming, so we were put farther from the entrance and closer to the stage. Less screaming is good.

Observations

  • This is a nice little community street fair. There’s free music, there’s alcohol and there are about 75 vendors. It’s mainly buy & sell, but it’s local, it’s small, and it feels like home. I want to like this Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event.
  • Set up on the street near the stage is a bit cramped, so we were there for set up on Friday evening. We arrived at 5:45p, for a 6p set up.
  • They made us wait until 6p. There was no reason for us to wait that was visible … the street was clear, but booth was marked … but we had to wait until the clock ticked. OK, so I started out a bit annoyed.
  • The guy looked at my boards and said, “My board didn’t turn out this well in high school.” Then, he didn’t buy anything. So, apparently, my work is better than a teenager’s, but not something he needed. That seemed to be how this weekend went.
  • Sales were down almost 50% from last year. This event went from about average … to a waste of my time. The only good part of the weekend was the food. Since that’s one of the reasons we booked the event, perhaps we should take that for the win.
  • But then we had to pack up and things took a turn.
  • The sales event ended at 5p, while music was still playing. We were told that the first cars would be allowed on the street to pack up at 5:30. There was a schedule; each vendor had one of 2 entry times. My problem was that cars began getting in the queue to get onto the street much earlier than that – and they simply blocked traffic to get in line. What were people thinking? Event security, manning the barricade at the entrance, did not care what vendors were doing on the street, probably because it was on the other side of the barricade. It began to get crazy.
  • When I saw that other vendors were blocking traffic, I would not do that. Across the street from the vendor entrance was a parking lot entrance, so I parked the Jeep & trailer there, and told the security guy at the barricade that I was there ready for my appointed time to enter.
  • The problem, of course, was that the queue was out of control at this point. Vendors got in line with no regard for when they were supposed to enter the street.
  • When the barricade was opened, it got crazy. Vendors began to just force their way in, and security was no longer in control.
  • Enter Frenzied Velda.
  • We had been communicating by cellphone so she knew what was happening and where I was waiting. Mrs M went to the security guard and complained that the line was out of control. The security guard did nothing. Mrs M complained. Cars kept moving without following the printed rules, and Frenzied Velda had had enough at that point.
  • She simply stood in the middle of the vendor entrance and dared cars to hit her. Obviously, this was NOT SAFE.
  • It was then, and only then, that event organizers got involved and restored a semblance of control to the vendor entrance. I was allowed to enter soon after, at my appointed time and before those in the queue that were attempting to jump the line … and run over Mrs M.
  • Okay, first obstacle overcome. Now it was time to load the trailer.
  • The problem now was that we were slinging containers and loading into the trailer on a crowded street, while dodging the strollers, senior citizens in walkers, and skateboarders that were STILL on the street as they left the free concert. People were everywhere. They were darting in and out. Vendors were trying to load, and some were not concerned about the little people that were trying to go home … with no regard for what the vendors were trying to do.
  • Obviously, this was NOT SAFE.
  • I will not return to this event for that reason. If the Palos Verdes Chamber of Commerce doesn’t understand how to obey traffic laws and provide a safe environment for their patrons and vendors, then I will not support their fundraiser.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Ortega 120. This art-filled discovery had wonderful Mexican food … and served 120 different tequilas. Alas, I didn’t have a sampling, but the evening was wonderful.
  • Honorable Mention: Gaetano’s Restaurant. Wonderful Italian food, 2 years in a row. Get the bruschetta.
  • Worst Meal: Fair food for lunch. Of course.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 185
  • Booth cost: $739
  • Food cost: $288
  • Travel cost: $254
  • Total sales: $1,141
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 0
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 0
  • # transactions: 34
  • # soap & lotion vendors: there were a couple, as is normal at events like this
  • # woodworking vendors: none that do what I do, though there was a turner there, as well as a couple of purveyors of imported Chinese crap wooden boxes & such.
  • Returning next year? Hell, no.

Boards sold: 8

  • Cutting Board: 1
  • Charcuterie Board: 1
  • Cheese Boards: 2
  • Trivets: 2
  • Heart: 1
  • Serving Piece: 1

What Am I Doing Here?   3 comments

I’m sure you’re wondering what I’m doing. After all, I wonder, too.

All of the time.

Here are my goals for this blog for this year:

  • First thing I’ll do is catch up on the remaining installments of The Board Chronicles. I believe I still have 7 events from 2019 to review, including some very notable ones. The most notable ones. Those reviews (should) publish over the next several days.
  • This site will get a face lift in 2020. This blog will turn 8 years old this year (!), and it’s time for a new look.
  • I’ll continue to publish pictures of my work, observations about life in the Woodshop, The Board Chronicles, and other topics as the mood strikes.
  • I’m going to add an index for The Board Chronicles and change the organization for my woodworking, so it’ll be easier possible to actually find things.
  • I’ll definitely continue the Presidential Portraits series. And, if Mrs M has her way, I’ll be adding to the National Parks section as well in the coming months. If I have my way, I’ll be publishing more recipes as Mrs M does more cooking.

I also have a plan for my companion website, Mr M’s Woodshop:

  • This site will get a major change in focus: I’ll be adding a “click to buy” option. People will be able to directly buy items from the site, instead of, uh, having to communicate with me.
  • I’ll be updating pages so that the pictures used are more illustrative of my current work. Some of the pictures shown are of pieces I made a few years ago, and nothing good comes from living in the past.

So, there you have it. A bit of philosophy and my online plan for 2020.

OH, and that kickstarter campaign I promised for last year? I believe it’ll be coming your way this year. Game Night is finally going to happen!

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.

** ** **

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 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: 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 Sacramento 2018   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.

** ** **

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!

** ** **

The Camp Fire was largely contained by now, but this event still was smoke impacted on November 16 – 18, 2018. Sacramento is much closer to Paradise (only 88 miles), but the smoke was less bothersome, and got better every day. But would it be enough?

After having a very, very disappointing event last weekend, I was hopeful. That’s all I had, really. If this event didn’t score, then I would be in a deep hole.

New Ideas

  • Last week was my first Harvest Festival, so I got a $100 discount off of the price. This week, no discount. I paid the full $1,590, which was now the most I’ve ever paid for an event.

Observations

  • I arrived at the motel Wednesday night and was in the middle of a little insurrection. There was no hot water in the motel due to some plumbing issue. People were yelling, checking out, not checking in … it was a mess. I got the room key & hoped (that word again) that I would have hot water the next day.
  • I did.
  • Friday started hot. I was ‘whelmed by 1pm. I had people standing in line – 3 deep – to give me money a couple of times. Those are good times.
  • I had a person give me a suggestion for a sign (this never ends well):
    • If you love someone, set them free
    • If you hate someone, set them free
    • In fact, set everyone free
    • People are stupid. Get a dog.
  • Requests were for an appetizer server with a slot for a wine glass, odd cribbage boards, a thinner heart-shaped board (mine are 3/4″ thick), and 2 separate requests for deviled egg trays. These are my people … and this will happen soon, I said to myself. A year ago.
  • Editor’s note: it’s now 2020. Deviled egg trays will happen soon. I’m working on the design now. Honest.
  • This event was great. I couldn’t believe how many pieces I was selling … and by Sunday, it was clear I had done something special.

Best. Solo. Event. Ever.

  • I sold more pieces at this event than I ever have before. Even with the increase in volume, though, my average selling price was higher than ever before. Sacramento came to shop, without question!
  • The top selling items were from the CNC. Signs were my top seller, but almost everything I sold had been touched by the CNC.
  • I had a long drive home on Monday, but there was a smile on my face.

The Food

  • Best Meal: I had a treat meal at a BJ’s that was pretty tasty. The venue was very near a shopping/restaurant district, so life was good

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 768
  • Booth cost: $1,590
  • Food cost: $232
  • Travel cost: $580
  • Total sales: $5,637
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 2
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several
  • # transactions: 58
  • # soap & lotion vendors: my next door neighbor was a soaper, so I felt right at home
  • # woodworking vendors: many, many woodworkers are here. My favorite is a retired couple that owns (?) a company in North Carolina making lawn furniture out of white oak. Very nice work … but the “sellers” were definitely not the “makers,” at least not anymore.
  • Returning next year? Yes

Boards sold: 73

  • Cutting Boards: 15
  • Lazy Susan: 1
  • Cribbage Boards: 4
  • Signs: 15
  • Cheese Boards: 8
  • Hearts: 5
  • Cheese & Cracker Servers: 3
  • Trivets: 8
  • Small Board: 1
  • Clipboards: 2
  • Chess Set: 1
  • Serving Tray: 1
  • Coaster Set: 5
  • Sous Chef Board: 1
  • Magic Bottle Opener: 1
  • California Bear: 1
  • Wine Bottle Coaster: 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: Great 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!

** ** **

The Great Fair is held in Fountain Hills, AZ. We actually attended this event before we were vendors; brought to it by our snowbird Aunt & Uncle that live in the Phoenix area. With their recommendation – and the promise of an all too rare visit if we just came to this event, we were all in. The dates were February 23 & 24, 2019.

New Ideas

  • The weather forecast was not good for this February event: it was probably going to be cold and wet. Therefore, we planned for it and brought our Trimline. The event has a Friday set up, so we drove in on Friday, put up the booth, and then returned to the hotel.
  • Our timing was good. Just as we had the booth up and returned to the car, the “wintry mix” began to fall. Cold & wet, indeed.

Observations

  • When we arrived Saturday morning, it took some time for me to realize that the rain that fell in Fountain Hills (we had stayed in a motel a few miles away) was colder than we had at the motel. In fact, it was freezing.
  • 4″ of heavy wet snow – actually icy slush – was on the roof of the Trimline. Walking around the event, I saw at least 12 canopies that had been crushed by the weight of the snow. Product was destroyed. Nothing good comes from weather this cold and wet.
  • As it warmed up a bit on Saturday, the snow melt began to flow. Since the event is on a hill, we had an icy river flowing through the booth all day long. Thank goodness I transport all of my boards in plastic tubs … everything was soaked that touched the asphalt.
  • Also, thank goodness I wore my hiking boots to the event with heavy socks. It was *cold* standing in the icy snow melt that flowed through the booth all weekend.
  • With weather this cold and wet, sales were poor, of course. Several experienced vendors that we respect told us to not judge the event based on this year; better sales would come with better weather.
  • Best comment of the event: 5 senior citizens walked by the booth. The ladies were all 75+. The oldest looking lady, 85 if she was a day, read one of my signs out loud as the group was strolling. The other ladies had no clue what she was talking about, so when she read this sign, her companions were shocked!
  • Will I come back? Probably. Will I pray for better weather? Definitely.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Dinner with family for the win.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 906
  • Booth cost: $1,000
  • Food cost: $158
  • Travel cost: $273
  • Total sales: $1,406
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 0
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 0
  • Saturday alarm: 6a
  • Sunday alarm: 6a
  • # transactions: not nearly enough
  • Returning next year? No. The calendar didn’t work out for 2020. Maybe next year.

Boards sold: 26

The Board Chronicles: Winterfest 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!

** ** **

Winterfest was held February 9 & 10, 2019. It’s a main street event in Lake Havasu City, AZ, and my 2nd trip to the event. Last year, the infamous Flying Dry Soup Canopy made its way into the lore of Mrs M’s Handmade. Weather forecasts were much nicer for this weekend, so I had high hopes for my 3rd sojourn into Arizona.

New Ideas

  • I reserved a triple booth for this year … but Mrs M opted out. That left me solo for the weekend, and with a lot of space to fill. Since I only had a double canopy (the Saturday morning setup leaves NO TIME to put up the Trimline), I added tables in the “annex” that did not have a canopy over them.
  • Cheese cutters make their debut at this event. Made my first batch with Dr H’s help over the holidays.

Observations

  • The day started poorly. The load in started at 6am, and I was in position early. I was directed to line up in a parking lot across the street from the entrance … and then the event did not control which vehicles entered next. I hate being lied to. But, no big thing; I entered in plenty of time.
  • Once there, I parked the trailer and started unloading. I got yelled at almost immediately from someone that didn’t like the way I parked adjacent to my booth to unload. They were frustrated they couldn’t drive by the trailer … but the street just wasn’t wide enough for the big truck with duals and a 20′ trailer to get by me. They had to wait for me to unload. I hate getting yelled at by an idiot.
  • It was 6 in the morning. I was yelled at for no good reason. So, yes, he was an idiot.
  • Once I was unloaded, I moved the trailer to the parking lot. I followed the rules – but this event is pretty much a free for all. That’s the problem: lack of control by the organizers. In my opinion.
  • She said: “Cheese cutters. I love it. You never see these anymore.” And I’m thinking … I better keep making these.
  • He said: “Do you give lessons?” Uh, no. And, I’m from LA, so….
  • She said: “That’s a nice cheese slicer. And, I’m from Wisconsin, so I know cheese slicers.” I smiled.
  • This proved to be a good weekend, and as successful an event as you can expect in February. I left a deposit for next year.

The Food

  • Best Meal: This trip was not about the food. At all. The menu was cold bagels for breakfast, ham sandwiches for lunch & TV dinners in the hotel room. My only plan was minimizing expenses.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 628
  • Booth cost: $320
  • Food cost: $92
  • Travel cost: $354
  • Total sales: $2,299
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $1,533
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 0
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 0
  • Saturday alarm: 5a
  • Sunday alarm: none
  • # transactions: 34
  • # soap & lotion vendors: no clue
  • # woodworking vendors: no clue
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 33:1
  • Returning next year? Yes

Boards sold: 34

  • Trivets: 5x
  • Signs: 5x
  • Coaster Set: 5x
  • Cheese Slicers: 5x
  • Hearts: 3x
  • Clipboard: 1
  • Lazy Susans: 2
  • Cutting Boards: 3
  • Cheese Boards: 2
  • Cribbage Boards: 2
  • Small Boards: 1



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.

** ** **

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 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
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