Archive for the ‘Home Show’ Tag

The Board Chronicles: Santa Barbara Home & Garden Expo 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.

Santa Barbara artists have a virtual monopoly on events in their city. Most events require you to be a county resident to be a vendor. When the opportunity came up to represent at an event in Santa Barbara, I was very interested.

This promoter does 3 home & garden shows in Santa Barbara (and one in Santa Maria) every year. It fit on the calendar.

Let’s see what all the fuss is about in Santa Barbara.

New Ideas

  • Same setup as last week in Visalia. I didn’t even unload the trailer.
  • I had a corner location with a wall that extended forward to the door … and the promoter invited me to fill the space. I was happy to oblige with an extra table that I dedicated to a cutting board display. I sold 3 boards off of that “feature” table.

Observations

  • Got to the venue for setup, and found they had me in a single booth. I asked the promoter if that was a mistake, and she put me in a double. After researching everything following the event, I believe the mistake was mine, but she had the space, so it all worked out.
  • But … I was right by the exit. I an superstitious about being by the door, but whachagonnado?
  • This is a relatively small event, with about 70 vendors. All were indoors. Some traditional home show businesses (AC repair, window replacement, bath remodel, etc). Some buy & sell, from Scentsy to import crap. A few artists. And me.
  • The first buy & sell vendor left at 1:30p on Saturday, after only 3-1/2 hours. I mean, it was slow, but, wow.
  • I didn’t sell anything until 3p on Saturday. In the next 2 hours, I sold 15 pieces, including 5 cutting boards. Patience is a virtue.
  • A self-professed turner came into the booth, talked about her passion for the hobby … and bought 2 cutting boards. Loved that!
  • As at most shows, I was asked if I was local. I generally responded that I was “local-ish,” from 2 hours away. 2 of the questioners talked about how they wish there were local artists here.
  • What is it with the insular approach to art vendors in Santa Barbara? That’s a mystery to me.
  • Sunday started slow … and stopped. Not. Good.
  • This weekend, I could have done the nearby Goleta Lemon Festival, which we’ve done a couple of times previously. That event has not proven very profitable, so I though I’d try something new. This event … was a bit worse.
  • Requests were for an elephant board, surfboards (I’ve been out for months now), in-counter boards, and a few custom boards “with details to follow.” We’ll see; good follow up orders could make this event more interesting for next year. Without them ….

The Food

  • Best Meal: Woodstock Pizza, Henry’s MOS. Best pizza I’ve had in some time.
  • Honorable Mention: Hello, Old Friend
  • Worst Meal: Chicken & Fries from the diner @ the Showground. The fries were not edible.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 176
  • Booth cost: $500
  • Food cost: $96
  • Travel cost: $315
  • Total sales: $1,365
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $454
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 2
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several
  • Saturday alarm: nope
  • Sunday alarm: nope
  • # transactions: 10
  • # soap & lotion vendors: there was one; she had a big bath bomb display
  • # woodworking vendors: one of the artists there did woodburning, but not woodworking, really. She just decoratively burned pieces of wood.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 15:4. Amazing.
  • Returning next year? Doubtful.

Boards sold: 19

6x Cutting Boards

6x Trivets

2x Word Blocks

2x CNC Signs

1x Cheese Board

1x 5 Section Server

1x Custom Order

 

 

The Board Chronicles: Visalia HomeExpo 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.

Visalia is another community on the edge of the mountains that many travel to and through while on their way to a getaway in the Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Parks. Visalia is in an area with a lot of farms & ranches, so there’s agricultural business in addition to the recreation economy. It’s a growing community, and I was convinced that going to their 17th Annual HomeExpo just might be a good idea.

Though I’ve driven through the town, I don’t think I’ve ever stopped there before. Time to see what’s what in Visalia.

New Ideas

  • For the first time, I’m putting up the Trimline frame with the mesh walls but without the canopy top. I need to display the signs … and you will see that, once again, they are my top selling item at this event (though not the highest revenue item, of course).

Observations

  • Home Show Fridays are days for woodworker hobbyists that are retired to come into the booth and tell me what they’ve made.
  • Friday was one of those very rare days when I didn’t sell anything. We’ve done 142 events at this point … and this is the 2nd time I have had a day with zero sales.
  • Think it’ll get any better?
  • Parents: control your children. Please.
    • My coaster display is in the front of the booth at this event, and one little boy touched the coasters & moved them. Coaster sets are displayed with 4 matched coasters in a stand, and that bored little boy moved them around, leaving the stands half filled. Mom said, “don’t touch things,” and kept walking. My display was left messed up. Mom didn’t care.
    • I was engaged with a customer, and didn’t see that another little boy picked up a bread saw. He started poking his Dad in the legs with it. Dad was oblivious, talking to a buddy. It was when little boy started squeezing the blade against the wooden frame of the saw that another customer saw what was happening and took the saw away from the little boy. Dad continued to be oblivious. As I finished with my other customer, the kind customer returned the saw to me, explaining what had happened. The blade had come loose from the screws holding it in place, so the customer didn’t buy that one. They would have; they bought the other 3 that were on display and wanted more.
  • Women: control your purses. Please.
    • 2 women (note I am not calling them ladies) saw my coaster display, still in the front of the booth, and decided it was an ideal place to set their purse while sorting through whatever they were carrying. One of those women then proceeded to knock coasters on the floor when they picked up their purse. She did pick them up … but no acknowledgement, no apology, no responsibility.
  • I sit under a sign that says “Meet The Maker.” 2 different people asked me if I did that on purpose. Uhhhhhh….
  • I’m not exactly loving Visalia at this point.
  • Guys, control your urges. Please.
    • I was engaged with a customer, talking about cutting boards. Another guy interrupted to show me a kitchen counter that his buddy got from a local woodworker that this guy had recommended. He didn’t want to buy anything, he just wanted to show me the great counter that his buddy got. Uh, OK. I turned, and the other customer was now gone.
  • A vendor truth: when a person in your booth wants to show you pictures on their phone, it almost always ends badly.
  • I did get ‘whelmed at 2pm on Saturday, though. Busy, busy. And then … it was over. Not nearly enough, unfortunately, but at least I did sell something.
  • I hung a set of 3 Word Blocks (Live, Laugh, Love) on a mesh wall at this event; it’s the first time I that I have done that. They are now on their way to Italy, I’m told!
  • A Lady walked into the booth.
    • “Here’s the sign you should make, ‘I love you to the liquor store and back!'” I have no response to that.
  • Who knew that my worst neighbor at this event would be Home Depot? They were promoting their home services, and at one point had 4 reps spread across an 8′ booth space (meaning shoulder to shoulder) while they were stepping into the aisle to stop people, saying, “Are you a Home Depot customer?” Stepping into the aisles is against the rules, of course. Oh, and the adjacent storage shed that they were showing had a 42″ wide door that blocked the aisle anytime it was opened. Once opened, it would come to rest in the aisle while they were talking about the interior of the shed. I hate amateurs.
  • A guy walked into the booth.
    • “How much is that sign? I have the perfect place for it.” he asked, pointing to the sign with the $50 sticker on it.
    • “$50,” I replied.
    • “Oh, too rich for me.” And, he turned & left.
  • An old guy shuffled into the booth. He was mobile, but barely. He then talked to me about being a cabinet maker in Mexico City back in the 40s. He liked the work, he said, but when he made a mistake, his boss pulled his ear. He didn’t like that part, he said.
  • Woodworking has changed. Thankfully. No ear pulling in my garage Woodshop.
  • Requests were for flooring (that’s a first), backgammon boards (2x), counter tops (3x) and in-counter boards (2x).
  • Sales were very disappointing at this event … attendance was down. The promoter knew that my sales were poor, so he’s going to make me a deal for a booth at their bigger spring show. That’s a very nice accommodation. It appears I’ll be back in Visalia, come February!

The Food

  • Best Meal: Mrs M’s dinners, from the freezer. AirBnB’s are the new normal.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 482
  • Booth cost: $750
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 3
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several
  • Saturday alarm: 6:15a
  • Sunday alarm: nope
  • # transactions: not nearly enough
  • # soap & lotion vendors: there were a couple
  • # woodworking vendors: No one like me. There was a company that would build you a rough stock bar for your backyard; no clue how they did.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 16:0
  • Returning next year? Doubtful

Boards sold: 16

CNC Signs: 3

Bread Saws: 3

Word Blocks: 3

Trivets: 2

Cribbage Board: 1

Chess Board: 1

Heart: 1

Lazy Susan: 1

Large Sous Chef: 1

The Board Chronicles: AV Home Show 2017   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.

Going into this event, I knew 2 things:

  1. I love local.
  2. Mrs M hates Home & Garden shows.

She’s got a bad taste in her mouth after a frustrating Home & Garden experience last year – she even passed up a trip to Fresno a couple of weeks ago to do that Home & Garden Show. The Fresno H&G turned out to be a good show for me … not to mention a bachelor weekend in Fresno. Apparently, Mrs M endorses that.

With the AV Home Show, however, she gets to spend the weekend with the Granddaughters. That’s a winner, regardless of the event results. She’s in.

This is the 29th Annual AV Home Show in Lancaster. Will it meet Mrs M’s expectations, or mine?

New Ideas

  • The show talked about an open presentation in their vendor materials – nothing above 36″ in the front 5′ of the booth. That’s common in pipe & drape environments, but not so much in open craft fair environments. I opted to not use our canopies, so we went with our 6 tables at the event & no sides or backdrop. No signage, either. The booth felt naked.
  • The only way the canopies would have worked would be to either take off their tops and just leave the bones … or use the canopies as is and use our lights to better display our stuff. The neon-like lights in our building were pretty garish. The light was very blue, which washed out a lot of color in the boards. However, I decided it wasn’t worth it to put our lights up.
  • Note to self: negative thoughts are a bad thing.
  • Come to find out, this was the 29th Annual AV Home Show … but the first time that they’ve added a craft fair to the event. That was a surprise. First time events are seldom great. Unfortunately.

Observations

  • The craft fair building was located perhaps 100 yards from the two main buildings that housed the Home Show. There were a few outdoor exhibits to walk by while you were going to the craft fair … but not many. And since there was limited signage that announced the craft fair and pointed the way, some people came to the Home Show & had no idea that we were there (which I confirmed by talking to actual attendees). There were 2 or 3 portable signs, but if you missed those … you missed it.
  • I knew this event was going off the rails when our craft fair had booths for Damsel in Defense, LuLaRoe and a few vendors offering unbranded imported merchandise. Though most of the vendors were showing handmade goods, more than a few were not. I really don’t like it when I have to sign a 15 page contract, provide insurance and jump through multiple hoops to be a part of a “craft fair” … and I’m not.
  • Friday was a waste of my time. Only 5 hours for the event, but sales were a puny $131.
  • Saturday was worse.
  • This was our 2nd event with a major pet adoption presence near us, and it was again an irritant. One common rule for all events is that you’re not allowed to solicit outside of your booth: you can’t wander the aisles harassing customers. The volunteers showcasing the dogs weren’t harassing customers … but the dogs were. Volunteers actually sat in the aisles holding dogs. Aisles were clogged. Since the dog cages were located right next to the entrance (mistake!), the entrances were clogged as the dogs were taken on walks.
  • The first vendor to leave early & load out on Sunday was in the booth directly adjacent to the pet adoption chaos.
  • I like dogs. I support pet adoptions. I have always had pets. But when pet adoptions from an organization that doesn’t pay for their space interfere with the “craft fair” that I’ve paid money to be a part of, I get a bit less enthusiastic. And, for the record, a “craft fair” has nothing to do with pet adoptions. Just sayin’.
  • 50% of the vendors broke the 4th wall of their booths and extended their displays into the aisle. Most of these infractions were minor, but it bugs me when vendors don’t follow the rules that are there for the common good. Some just think they’re more special than that … about 50% at this event, come to find out. When people take unfair advantage of the public space, I’m irked.
  • Not to mention when event producers don’t enforce their own rules.
  • Breakdown could not begin before the event closing at 5pm Sunday, per the rules. The cages & such for the animals, though, were broken down beginning at 3pm Sunday – with a truck parked right beside the entrance for their gear. This was a very visible sign that the event was over, and traffic fell precipitously and predictably at that point.
  • The event was OOTW.

One. Of. The. Worst.

  • Requests were for a board with metal handles, a banana holder, a paper plate holder, really big juice grooves, and, to complete my bad weekend, the # 1 request was for … chess boards.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Bagel & cream cheese. Toasted, of course.

Saturday Lunch: A hot dog & fries. The only reasonable choice, it seems. Oh, and the cheapest one, as well.

Saturday Snack: Nope.

Saturday Dinner: No motivation = no good food.

Sunday Breakfast: See Saturday.

Sunday Lunch: See Saturday.

Sunday Snack: See Saturday.

Sunday Dinner: Brisket at the Southern Smoke BBQ & Brew in Newhall. This is a delightful place.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 116
  • Booth cost: $200
  • Food cost: $151
  • Travel cost: $0
  • Total sales: $473
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $122
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 0
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 1
  • Saturday alarm: 6:15a
  • Sunday alarm: 6:15a
  • # transactions: 20
  • # soap & lotion vendors: There were at least 5 vendors offering soap; a couple offering lotion. None had the complete presentation & varied group of products offered by Mrs M, IMHO.
  • # woodworking vendors: There was a turner and a scroll saw artist. Several wooden sign makers, of course. And me.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 3:1
  • Returning next year? No. Hell no.

Boards sold: 4

Small Boards: 2

Magic Bottle Opener: 1

Small Surfboard: 1

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