(There will be pictures of Scratchy throughout the post…I took them this morning while he was on the back of the couch across from my work table and laptop. He has nothing to do with the post. He’s just cute.)
I spent a lot of the past week getting ready for the holiday bazaar at our elementary school. In typical fashion, I left a lot of things til practically the last minute.
I did a bunch of sewing…I did a bunch of baking. I wrapped goodies in cellophane bags and cinched the bags closed with pretty ribbon.
I worried I didn’t have enough to sell. So I overcompensated by bringing everything I have ever made along with me. No, not really. But that’s how I was the night before – I’ll bring these! I’ll bring those!” I ended up with more stuff than I had space for on the table. Not just more stuff, but more variety. Too much variety.
I arrived Saturday morning with laundry baskets of handmade items and baskets and a tiny fake Christmas tree from which to dangle ornaments.
Julia helped. All day. She helped carry things from the truck into the gym, she helped set up, and toward the end she took over the role of proprietress. People would approach my table, look at a few things, and then Julia would ask loudly and cheerfully “Are you gonna buy something?”
None of them bought anything, but they smiled.
It was a good turnout, especially during the first two and a half hours or so. A lot of the people were from the school – families, teachers…the principal bought a package of my lemon/white chocolate/candied ginger biscotti.
How did I do? Well, I can’t retire yet, but I did okay. The biscotti were my biggest sellers, and I sold some springerle as well. I’d put out broken bits of cookes so people could sample before buying. I’d also made brown sugar cutout reindeer cookies with both chocolate and an orange-flavored confectioners’ sugar icing drizzled across them. I thought the reindeer would be popular, but I didn’t sell any of them. Ah well. They’ll go into gift baskets for family and friends. (Surprise!)
I also sold a bunch of suet cakes I’d made (for the birds)…some pressed paper ornament/gift tags…a couple of hair vines…a lavender sachet or two…I think that’s everything.
The funny thing is, I spent a TON of time this week stitching little embroidered Christmas tree ornaments and little framed, embroidered “mini art” (framed in little embroidery hoops). None of them sold. Ah well. I’ll put them in one of my Etsy stores. Or I’ll give them away. Or I’ll hang them all over the house. And in the car and the truck. Haven’t decided yet.
The consensus was, among all of the vendors yesterday, that people weren’t really spending a lot. No big surprise, given the economy, especially in our little state. But they spent some money, and they spent it locally, at a little school bazaar, so that was a good thing.
It was fun. A good friend had the table to my right, so in between customers and lookers, we got to visit and catch up. My kids had a lovely time exploring the “kids’ room” – the library, where “gently used” items were donated and then sold at greatly reduced prices so that kids could shop – ostensibly for gifts for their family members. Julia bought herself this giant plush flower with a long stem and wire in the stem so you could wrap the stem around something – the bed post…your brother…whatever presents itself. Then she bought a lovvvvvvvvvvvvvely shiny, aqua blue shoulder bag. She showed me the two compartments. She was very happy with that. So grown up. And at the very end, when the people in the kid room were just trying to get rid of the stuff, and everything had been reduced to a quarter (and, eventually, FREE), she brought back a plush white teddy bear angel. She also spent her money on popcorn, water, and cola. Then she insisted there had been a fly in her cola - “I felt the wings going down my throat!” so she tossed the unfinished soda. Oh, and she bought hot cocoa as well.
So….I learned some things…
People buy biscotti.
Children will come back for free samples. Children will actually stay parked at the “free sample” corner of your table until the samples are gone unless their parents drag them away.
It is very difficult to concentrate when the vendor opposite you is selling really yummy looking gourmet cupcakes. The chocolate cupcake with chocolate mint frosting was very tasty.
Sincere compliments are almost as good as sales. Think about it – you’ll spend the money on something and it will be gone. The compliment, and the resulting little sparkle of pride, can last far longer. I realize compliments won’t pay the mortgage, but they also don’t jack up the electric bill, so you might as well hang on to them as long as your memory allows.
That’s it for now.