Archive for the ‘Mountain Festival’ Tag

The Board Chronicles: Tehachapi Mountain Festival 2017   3 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.

This is our 3rd trek to the mountains of Tehachapi for their Mountain Festival.

How good is this event? Good enough that Mrs M will brave the heat of August to serve the fine people at Mountain Fest. And neither she nor her lotions have melted yet….

This strong community event (that’s still in search of a logo!) is centered at a city park. There’s free entertainment on the stage that’s surrounded by vendors. Other events happen in surrounding areas, from a 5k to a rodeo to a car show … well, you get the idea. This is a fun community event, and it’s been very good to us. In 2015, it was our best event ever, though we’ve broken that record many times since. We did better in 2016, as well.

Tehachapi has been good for us. After a shaky beginning this year, our legacy events are now on a growth streak. Will we continue doing better this year than last?

New Ideas

  • After 5 weeks with no events, everything seems new.
  • For years, this event had the vendors on the streets on 2 sides of the Phillip J Marx Central Park, and had the food vendors on the park grass on the other 2 sides. Due to a food vendor illegally dumping their cooking oil on the grass last year, the positions were reversed, with the food vendors out on the hot asphalt streets, and the merchandise vendors on the cool grass.
  • We are back to using our new Trimline 10×20 canopy, which hasn’t been out to play since Memorial Day. Hope I remember how to put it up!

Observations

  • I did not remember how to put the Trimline up. Definitely took longer to figure out which pole went where. Unfortunately.
  • It’s no fun loading in when the temperature is above 90*. I had to push every cart up hill, and then over soft turf that had been over-watered in anticipation of a high traffic weekend.
  • For the first time ever, clipboards were my # 1 selling item. And for almost the first time ever, Velda said she was wrong and I was right … to make clipboards.
  • A guy in the booth commented, after seeing Mrs M’s offerings, that he could no longer use the phrase “uglier than homemade soap.” Never having heard that phrase, I inquired and found out that he grew up in Florida. Apparently, Floridian soap-makers don’t know what they’re doing.
  • Later, Mrs M was asked if she offers classes. And the answer was no, so there appears to be no hope for Florida.
  • Requests were for card table repair, a walking stick, a job and an RV cabinet. Tehachapi is an eclectic bunch that doesn’t play chess, apparently.
  • In our 3rd year at this event, we definitely felt the power of legacy. Lots of return purchasers for both of us. Foot traffic was high throughout the event … and I believe putting the food vendors on the streets surrounding the park was a good thing for crowd flow.
  • Velda premiered Luscious Lemon Grass soap at the event, and sold more than half of the batch. She also brought out a new batch of Olive Branch soap, and sold more than 3/4 of that batch. She’s got work to do to prepare for our next event!
  • I do love helping people, explaining what makes a good cutting board. I just wish they would come to the booth before we’re trying to load out. Velda & I both lost at least 30 minutes during load out because we were helping late customers. The event closed at 5 … but we were not loaded and on the road until 7:30.
  • We came in with moderate expectations for this event. We knew the crowd, we had good inventory. We were ready.
  • We killed it.
  • We started the year being down in sales at every event we were repeating from 2016. Now, it appears the tide has turned. This is the 3rd repeated event in a row that we’re up in 2017.
  • And thanks to some custom orders from a couple of the volunteers that help to run this event, we were way up. That’s good … Papa needs a new CNC. It’s now on order, and it will fundamentally change what I can do, and how I can to it. The Woodshop is going to be humming this fall. Stay tuned.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Best Western. It was “free.” Thank goodness.

Saturday Lunch: Cheese & Crackers, when we had time. We waited until too late to eat … and then got rushed. You just never know….

Saturday Snack: Nope.

Saturday Dinner: A burger with friends. The best way to do events!

Sunday Breakfast: Still worth every penny of free.

Sunday Lunch: Did it again, but earlier.

Sunday Snack: A chocolate soft serve ice cream cone from the booth right in front of us. Yum.

Sunday Dinner: A Big Carl from Carl’s Jr in Mojave. Late night sustenance, nothing more.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 183
  • Booth cost: $300
  • Food cost: $165
  • Travel cost: $459.17
  • Total sales: $3,929
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $3,005
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: several
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several
  • Saturday alarm: 5:45a
  • Sunday alarm: Nope
  • # transactions: 112
  • # soap & lotion vendors: just Mrs M. There was a doTerra rep as well.
  • # woodworking vendors: there was a turner … couple? Co-op? In any event, they were there as well
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 18:3
  • Returning next year? Yup.

Boards sold: 21

Clipboards: 5

Cheese Boards: 3

Custom Orders: 3

Small Boards: 2

Cutting Boards: 2

Magic Bottle Openers: 2

Small Surfboards: 2

Large Cutting Board: 1

Lazy Susan: 1

The Board Chronicles: Tehachapi Mountain Festival   3 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.

TMF2015It was our big August event … the only August event we scheduled. The average temperature in Tehachapi for August indicated that the lotions should be OK (direct sunlight and high temps are not their friend!), so we committed to the event in spite of some heat concerns.

And it was hotter than normal this year, come to find out. Temps went into the 90s, but with judicious use of our portable awning (as you can see in the bottom picture), the lotions were just fine.

As were we.

Best. Event. Ever.

We had our best sales event yet. In our vast experience as vendors (we’ve been doing this 18 months, can you believe it?), we hit our stride at this event.

This is a wonderful community event. People wandered in to the park throughout the day to enjoy free live music and stroll through the handmade craft area. There was also a smaller area for commercial vendors, as well as food vendors (of course!). Some of those booths were fundraisers for community organizations (hot dogs by the Boy Scouts!).

New Ideas

  • I had a “complete” inventory at this event, with examples of every kind of board that I’ve been making. The result of that complete inventory was sales of 12 different kinds of boards. I know that my challenge is to keep this variety available through the holiday season.
  • We moved up from keeping wads of cash in our pockets to actually having a professional cash drawer. It really did make handling the money much easier.
  • Two different total strangers thanked me for being a part of the Mountain Festival. These weren’t staff members from the sponsor, the Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce. I mean, wow. LOVED this community.

Observations

  • Great neighbors at this event. Of course, we chose to be next to Theresa’s “Heart String Creations,” and the producers accommodated that request. Theresa is a joy, and her neck coolers helped us beat the heat throughout both days. (HIGHLY recommended!) The other neighbor sold tutus, magic wands and such for little girls, and did a great business. My fellow slave labor from that booth is a radio personality in the Fresno area, so we bonded immediately and told war stories all weekend. Being around good people is such a rare and wonderful thing!
  • Very good attendance for what proved to be a relatively small number of vendors. There were about 30 handcrafted vendors and perhaps another 16 commercial vendors. Very little duplication, and I heard several vendors talk about they were having a good event. We certainly did!
  • Anytime I sell the most expensive board on the table, I have a good event. This time, I sold 4 of the 5 most expensive boards on the table. That makes for a very good event!
  • With sales success comes the realization that I need to make more stuff. And go to the lumber yard. I’m good with glue for now (I bought 2 gallons last time), and I should have mineral oil to last the year (Velda bought 8 gallons when it was on sale).
  • Do you know anyone else that has gallons of mineral oil in the garage woodshop … and is happy about it?
  • There was a fire burning between Tehachapi and our home, so we couldn’t take the most direct route home. We detoured to the east and took a freeway (the 14) home once we reached the Antelope Valley, and avoided the roads closed by the fire. That fire in the San Francisquito Canyon isn’t very close to our home, by the way, but did add 30 minutes or so to the ride home.
  • All product & booth infrastructure was unloaded and into the house, shed or garage woodshop at 9:50pm. Then I got to sit down. This is a glamorous and glorious life….

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Holiday Inn Express (note to self: use more salt & pepper for at least SOME flavor)

Saturday Lunch: Velda’s fruit & cheese extravaganza

Saturday Snack: Too busy. Too hot. Not hungry.

Saturday Dinner: I was promised Mexican, but I got South American. Not the same thing, but very good.

Sunday Breakfast: Holiday Inn Express with more salt & pepper

Sunday Lunch: Velda’s fruit & cheese extravaganza, take 2

Sunday Snack: Still too busy. Definitely too hot. Not hungry.

Sunday Dinner: Take out after we got home from Carl’s Jr. Necessary, but hardly satisfying.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 327
  • Booth cost: $300 for a 10’x20′ booth
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Total sales: $2,631
  • # containers of product taken: 27
  • # boards available: 118
  • Saturday alarm: 7am
  • Sunday alarm: 7:10am
  • # transactions: 70
  • # soap & lotion vendors: only 1!
  • # woodworking vendors: only 1!
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 15:7

Boards sold: 22

  • Lazy Susan: 4
  • Large edge grain cutting board: 4
  • Cutting board: 2
  • Large cheese & cracker server: 2
  • Small board: 2
  • Cheese board: 2
  • Pig cutting board: 1
  • Small sous chef board: 1
  • Medium surfboard: 1
  • Chess board: 1
  • Bread board: 1
  • Custom board order: 1

Tehachapi - Mr M Tehachapi - Mrs M

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