Archive for the ‘Westlake Village’ Tag

The Board Chronicles: Westlake Village Republican Women Federated Holiday Luncheon 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.

I did the Gingerbread Boutique in Westlake Village, which is where I met the President of the Westlake Village Republican Women Federated, who invited me to vend at their holiday luncheon on a Thursday at the local Four Seasons hotel.

I said sure. Why not?

Estimated attendance was 60 … but this is an upscale city; the event was held at the Four Seasons. However, I had no expectations.

Thank goodness.

New Ideas

  • This was a 2 table, boutique set up for Mr M as a solo event. Have I ever done that before?
  • I am not used to loading the Jeep with containers, and going to an event. I didn’t load a table; they were supplied. Have I ever done that before?


  • This is event # 11 of our 15 events in the 4th quarter. WHAT WAS I THINKING?
  • Load in was an adventure: the directions were very clear, actually. Go to the loading dock, take the elevator, walk through the catering area until you hit a stairway, and turn right. The room is ahead of you, on the other side of the food prep area.
  • It was.
  • You have to love the setting, with my stuff right beside the lectern and the waterfall in the background. Everything is in one room for this holiday luncheon:

  • Did I mention the costumed carolers?

  • The white rectangle on the tripod was a framed Trump campaign sign, which was a raffle prize.
  • The presentation, by the way, was not hyper-partisan. The President of the organization spoke about the concerns about how split we are as a nation, and how it’s important that we come together.
  • Absolutely.
  • Something you don’t see at every event: the housekeeping staff doing stretching exercises en masse before they go out to do their duties.
  • New rule: no events where the promoters take a percentage.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Hello, Old Friend.

Saturday Lunch: Mrs M made me a ham sandwich, which I ate in the car while the event attendees ate the meal served by the hotel. For me, that’s meal # 2 for the day that was eaten in the Jeep, if you’re keeping track.

Saturday Snack: nope.

Saturday Dinner: Henry’s MOS from Papa John’s. High living.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 112
  • Booth cost: $180
  • Food cost: $11
  • Travel cost: $58
  • Total sales: $423
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $174
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 3
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several
  • Saturday alarm: 5:45a
  • # transactions: 5
  • # soap & lotion vendors: none
  • # woodworking vendors: just me
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 8:0
  • Returning next year? probably not

Boards sold: 8

Magic Bottle Openers: 4

Word Blocks (all custom orders): 3

Serving Tray: 1

The Board Chronicles: GingerBread Boutique 2016   1 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.

gingerbread-boutiqueI met the vendor coordinator for this event at the Westlake Village Street Fair; Michelle was my neighbor and told me I should be a part of her November event.

I listened, but I was sceptical. After all, the GingerBread Boutique was happening on a Thursday evening and a Friday … successful weekday events aren’t just unusual. They don’t exist.

In my experience.

But, Michelle kept after me, patiently answered my questions, and assured me that Mrs M’s Handmade could be successful at this event.

She wore me down. We’re in for the 35th Annual GingerBread Boutique, which is staged at St Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church in Westlake Village as a fundraiser for the Westlake Village Junior Women’s Club. The event proceeds are 100% donated to local charities.

New Ideas

  • Who needs Mrs M? I solo’d at the event with our double booth. I drove the trailer to the event with all of our product, but only used some of our display pieces due to the limited space.
  • This is an indoor booth, and booth spaces are about 8’x7′, the instructions say. I got there, and my space was by the back door, and wrapped around a stairway to the stage … and my job was to make it work. OK. This was going to be an unusual layout. Can do.


  • Event # 4 in our parade of 11 events in the 4th quarter. I can only see more from here.
  • Who needs Mrs M?
  • I finally filled out & sent in my application for this event in September … 7 weeks ago. Every time I had a question about how the event worked, I found the answer in the application. With my required initials beside the passage. Excellent application; excellent information in it. My retention of that information: not so good.
  • This is a central cashier event. Good news: I don’t handle any money at the event. Bad news: I have to hand write a receipt in triplicate for every transaction, and then keep the purchased items until a receipt stamped “paid” is returned to me by the customer. Not my favorite way to handle cash at an event, but it did give Mrs M an accurate representation of how many lotion bars I sold. But what scents, she asks?
  • I do have my limits.
  • The Thursday night event was a cocktail party. Wine. Women. Me. What’s not to like?
  • I was a bit under dressed, though, as many of the ladies were at a cocktail party and wore their heels & little black dresses. I was at a vendor event, in shorts. They tolerated my presence, but I should have thought through the whole Wine, Women & Me thing.
  • … when I initialed the passage on the application, no doubt.
  • One of the legendary moments at the Mowry table was when I instructed our growing family to no longer discuss underwear during our family dinners. The boys had brought their girlfriends to our table, and eventually those young ladies were fiancés, and now wives … but somewhere early in the process, I was uncomfortable with the discussion of under garments. I figured boys’ minds were focused enough on such things without added discussion. In my presence.
  • The girls decided that discussing U-wear was perfectly fine, since they couldn’t discuss underwear. I took exception to that opinion, and a family legend was born. Now, many years later, both the boss of me (the younger Mrs M) and MrsMowry were delighted, however, with my story from this event: one of my vendor neighbors sold, uh, ladies underwear. During her sales pitch, she shared her cup size with her customers. And with me, a very few feet away. All of the time.
  • Sometimes I just can’t catch a break.
  • No free lunch, apparently. Vendors were supposed to get a coupon for a free hot dog from the cart, but somehow the person handing out the coupons missed me in my double booth. I should have gotten 2 lunches. Free. And I got nada.
  • Part of the Mrs M tradition is the packaging that every purchase gets, complete with a bow around a pretty cellophane bag. Mrs M gets lots of props for her post-sale presentation, but she wasn’t at this event. My packaging got big props. One lady told me that I have a very feminine side. Well, OK, then.
  • Own the demo. When Mrs M is not available, I excel at demo-ing lotion bars. I explain the advantages of Mrs M’s lotion bars, and the relative disadvantages of regular lotions. I own the demo. I effectively sell lotion bars.
  • Must be my feminine side.
  • Nope. It’s my speech degree from Mizzou. In my humble opinion.
  • I’m a communicator. That’s me.
  • The application told me that I had 90 minutes to strike the booth … and I included on the app my note that 90 minutes would be tough. It was. I was packed in 90 minutes, but it took me another 30 to cart the stuff out to the trailer and begin loading. The organizers were patient with me … and good communication was key. They knew what I was doing, and I asked for their guidance. As you should.
  • This charity event takes 20% of your sales in addition to a $400 booth fee for a 12 hour event. Our sales were really very strong for a Thursday night/Friday event, but with that 20% take by the house, the fee for our strong sales ended up being $895 (according to my calculations. I won’t get the actual check for 3 weeks. Sigh.). That’s a huge fee – our 2nd largest booth fee EVER. However, we did end up doing sales of three times that booth fee … and it was a Thursday/Friday event. I could have been sitting at home, with no revenue. Or, I could have been with the women & wine.
  • You know what I chose.

The Food

Thursday Dinner: Subway

Friday Breakfast: Hello, old friend.

Friday Lunch: A Polish Dog from a cart. And chips.

Friday Snack: Nope

Friday Dinner: With leftovers like Velda’s Chicken Piccata, I am always OK. Oh, and bourbon.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 192
  • Booth cost: $400 booth fee + 20% of sales = $895. Oh, and a $30 raffle prize.
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: several
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several
  • Total sales: $2,661
  • # boards available: almost all of them
  • Thursday alarm: nope
  • Friday alarm: nope
  • # transactions: 56
  • # soap & lotion vendors: just us
  • # woodworking vendors: just us
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 19:2
  • Returning next year? Probably

Boards sold: 21

Magic Bottle Openers: 10

Medium Surfboard: 4

Custom Order: 2

Notepad Clipboard: 1

Bear: 1

Large Cutting Board: 1

Domed Cheese & Cracker Server: 1

Cheese & Cracker Server: 1

The Board Chronicles: Westlake Village Community Street Festival   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.

Westlake Village Street FestivalBoasting over 100 vendors, the Community Street Festival is a cooperative venture between the city of Westlake Village and the Rotary Club of Westlake Village that actually produces this event. This year is the 22nd annual, so expectations were high as I packed the Jeep on Saturday … and prayed that the Sunday event would be in the non-rainy part of the weekend.

The weather broke spectacularly, with blue skies and a warm sun on my face at 8a as I was setting up. It cooled some in the afternoon as the clouds and breeze returned, but the weather was great as long as you didn’t look to the sky in the north, where it was dark grey. The weather at the event, though, was really fine.

New Ideas

  • This was a rare event that Mr M’s Woodshop was given permission to do solo. No Mrs M at this event – and no Mrs M products, either. This was all me, all the time.
  • New display pieces were used for the first time: crates holding Magic Bottle Openers, Clipboards & Sous Chef Boards were featured on two tables. This was a huge upgrade, and now allows these pieces to be displayed easily, and in quantity, without having to hang them in the air (and bang into people’s heads).

Westlake Village 01Observations

  • No signage to help me find the designated parking lot for vendor entry. There was a map … not much help for me while driving. After 2 wrong turns, I found the guy with the clipboard standing in the driveway for the right office building. An address would have been really helpful in this GPS age.
  • First time at a new event, and I arrived early. This event had assigned times for street entry, and they made me wait in a parking lot for 30 minutes until my assigned time approached … even though there were few vendors actually on the street. Control appeared to be important to the organizers.
  • Set-up was very spaced out; every booth was a corner location, 10×12. The booths were set up on a wide street; everyone could have been 10×15. At least.
  • I don’t really like short, one-day events with a full outdoor set-up, and I certainly don’t like doing day-long events solo. All I can do is sit in the booth and wait for the next conversation. This was exacerbated by the fact that my last transaction was at 1:30, and the crowd had totally disappeared by 3p.
  • Mr M was a lonely, lonely man.
  • Only one cash transaction today: everything else was on a card. I didn’t even need to bring change!
  • Lots of dog walkers. No clue why two white poodles were air brushed & colorized. One was purplish, and the other was green and blue, with a number 10 left in white on its side. Why would someone do that to their dogs?
  • The most vicious dog moment was when there were 9 dogs in close proximity and they suddenly went into aggressive mode. Between the 9 dogs, they may have all weighed 30 pounds. Total.
  • This is the first event that I’ve shown two products in quantity: Magic Bottle Openers (9) and Clipboards (11). I sold 6 of the bottle openers … so they have found at least one appreciative audience!
  • Requests I received: Chess boards (3), a birthday gift for an 80-year-old, furniture refinishing, an RV cutting board & a charcuterie board. I’ve got 1 chess board and 2 charcuterie boards in the shop, but they aren’t done. There’s always more to do….
  • In the end, this wasn’t a great day, but it’s certainly true that the weather forecast was ominous at best. The actual weather was better in the morning, but the final results from this event were less than spectacular.

The Food

Sunday Breakfast: Jack In The Box # 28. Won’t be doing that again.

Sunday Lunch: A ham & cheese sandwich brought from home.

Sunday Snack: Nope; I was tied to the booth … and this wasn’t a good event for eating, anyway, with only 2 food trucks in residence.

Sunday Dinner: Velda’s meatloaf. Yum.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 102
  • Booth cost: $160
  • # of people I met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 1
  • Total sales: $585
  • # containers of product taken: 15
  • # boards available: 122
  • Sunday alarm: 5:14a
  • # transactions: 9
  • # soap & lotion vendors: 2 – Mary Kay Cosmetics was there, and a small batch soaper as well
  • # woodworking vendors: 2 – me and a wood turner
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 9:2
  • Returning next year? Maybe

Boards sold: 11

Magic Bottle Openers: 6

Lazy Susans: 2

Cutting Board: 1

Small Board: 1

Large Sous Chef Board: 1

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