Archive for the ‘sacramento’ Tag

The Board Chronicles: Harvest Festival Sacramento 2019   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’ve been working on catching up.

Today, I have! Here’s the latest installment of The Board Chronicles. And, stay tuned, there are big plans for 2020!

Enjoy, and thank you for your patience!

** ** **

Harvest Festivals are very big events in our region. There are 9 of them in a year, spread between northern & southern California (and 1 in Las Vegas). This highly successful series of events features handmade goods only (well, almost), and are scheduled in the key 4th quarter.

The costs are high, but the rewards can be very high as well. After initially planning to do several HFs this year, I eventually settled on doing just one, as all of the others had a conflict of some sort. Plus, I was pretty busy …

I did 2 Harvest Festivals in 2018. However, both were impacted by the Camp Fire, so they probably weren’t a perfect indicator of what I can do at a Harvest Festival. Still, the Sacramento event was very, very good for me in 2018.

Time to see if I can up my game a bit more with my almost “complete” product line, as I now define it!

New Ideas

  • My set-up is much like last year, with a double booth utilizing mesh walls hung from the Trimline frame without the canopy. No Mrs M: Harvest Festivals are 100% me.
  • New products this year include Cheese Slicers, Garlic Dipping Boards and Cracker Things.
  • Last year, the guidance for how to sell at this event from the promoter got me to thinking, and I tried – but failed – to produce engraved price signage for all products. This year, that is complete, with price signage for everything from Carnivore Boards to Bread Saws to Cribbage Boards. Look at the booth shots, below, and you’ll see the little wooden signs on every table I have.
  • Some larger display pieces now have signs integrated, such as the pieces for Surfboards and Large Serving Pieces. My signage is now better.

Observations

  • Big ideas require a time commitment. Set up is on Thursday, the event is Friday – Sunday (with tear down), and then I drive home on Monday. That’s 5 hotel nights, Wednesday – Monday. Some scrimp on the hotel cost by driving Sunday night after working a full day, or arriving later on set up day, but that’s not how I roll. Go big or stay home, if you will.
  • Several products are missing this year: Magic Bottle Openers, Serving Trays, Sous Chef boards and California Bears. Not having California Bears while in the state capitol … is a bad plan. I’ve been out of MBOs all year, and they used to be my #1 seller. Another bad plan.
  • I need more time in the shop.
  • Sold a charcuterie board to a guy that wants to mount a watchmaker’s lathe on it and hang it on the wall as a display piece. Well, OK, then.
  • Friday started hot and stayed hot. Lots of traffic on this work day in November. Sales were over $2,500 on this day, and that’s rare air for me. Rumor was that Friday attendance (you have to pay to get into a HF) set a new record.
  • Saturday got better, as you would expect. I got ‘whelmed several times. When people are 3 deep with product in their hands, waiting on me to wrap and do the transaction … life is good.
  • Sold 2 Foodie definition signs to one person. Don’t know them … but I bet they eat well.
CNC Sign 19 – 732 Foodie
  • Put up the unique In This House sign I made from Red Oak and Sapele, and it sold very quickly once it was out of the container. Hmmmmm.
CNC Sign 19 – 713 In This House
  • There was a lot more traffic on this day, but there were a lot of requests for discounts, too. I don’t get offended when people ask for a discount … but I don’t change my prices, either. It wouldn’t be fair to all of the people that pay the published price. Shows like this are not swap meets; people may expect to haggle, but I will not oblige them. My prices don’t change.
  • Cracker Things are the odd thing I’ve added this year, and they continue to surprise me with how popular they are. I hear the words over and over: CTs are “cute” and “clever.” I’ll take that for the win.
  • Now I have to come up with another cute & clever idea for 2020. No pressure.
  • Sunday sales fell precipitously, but this event delivered in a serious way. For the first time ever, I sold 100 pieces at a single event.
  • 100 pieces. I bring about 300 pieces to most events … so that means I sold about 30% of my total inventory in Sacramento.
  • Oh, and our biggest event of the year for each of the last 5 years is in 2 weeks! I have a LOT of product to make in that time.
  • But, that pressure was for another day. As I added up the results, there was a smile on my face. A big smile.

Best. Solo. Event. Ever.

  • And, as I write this in 2020, I know one more thing:

Best. Event. In. 2019.

  • I certainly plan to do more Harvest Festivals in 2020!

The Food

  • Best Meal: Nope. Given the other costs I had for this event, I did my best to stay in the hotel room and eat frozen food from the microwave.
  • Best Meal: After finding how bad traffic was to get to the grocery store from my hotel, though, I definitely tried Uber Eats delivery. It was easy. It had a convenience cost, but it was worth it. After a full day of fun in my booth, I was tired!

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 754
  • Booth cost: $1,590
  • Food cost: $182
  • Travel cost: $508
  • Total sales: $6,019
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 2
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 1
  • # soap & lotion vendors: Several. This is a very competitive marketplace. Very competitive.
  • # woodworking vendors: See the above comment. Lots of woodworkers are here.
  • Returning next year? Absolutely, and I intend to be cute and clever, too.

Boards sold: 100

  • Cheese Boards: 11
  • Trivets: 19
  • Charcuterie Board: 1
  • Signs: 11
  • Cribbage Boards: 5
  • Cutting Boards: 5
  • Cheese Slicers: 9
  • Lazy Susans: 6
  • Coaster Sets: 2
  • Bread Saws: 3
  • Small Boards: 4
  • Hearts: 2
  • Cracker Things: 15
  • Surfboards: 2
  • Garlic Dipping Boards: 4
  • Serving Piece: 1

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
%d bloggers like this: