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Monday, July 21, 2008

We were our own best customers

It's probably something that every veteran crafts seller already knows: Sometimes, even the best planned events aren't as successful as we expect them to be. In this case, on Sunday we participated in an arts and music festival in the city's largest park.

We made a checklist:
  1. Jewelry? check.
  2. Weaving? check
  3. Knitted items? check
  4. Display? check
  5. Banner? check
  6. Cooler full of bottled water? check
The festival should have been great, considering the location, time of day, and overlap with another event. It just didn't turn out that way. It was a very hot weekend--102 degrees in the park--and the event sort of fizzled in the sizzle.

We sold a few things to the festival goers, and then our helpers started showing up. Slavica, who oversees the ESL program at Emily Griffith, bought a beautiful traditional woven Karen bag, but missed out on a darling red charm bracelet that Hajia bought from Haiffaa. Jaime bought a scarf and a necklace. Cathryn looked at everything and spent quite a bit of time seriously considering a woven Karen blouse and skirt. All in all, those of us who were there to work at the booth did the bulk of the shopping.

We are lucky to have access to a new EZ-Up canopy and as of this weekend, a brand-new banner. This may seem inconsequential, but these things really do help us look more professional. More important, I drive a Jeep, and although gas prices will do what they will do, this is the official A Little Something haul-it-all vehicle. As long as this project goes on, I cannot get rid of the Liberty. It is the only vehicle of those owned among us that is long enough to haul the EZ-Up, plus accommodate all of the other things that go into creating a mini-boutique in the middle of a field.

The booth looked great, we had plenty of help late in the day, and everything was on course for a profitable day, but in the end, we only sold a few items. It was just too hot, and it was the third or fourth consecutive day of just too hot. We went through almost a case of bottled water, plus some Gatorade for the electrolytes.

All was not lost, though. Since business was slow, we had a chance to fine-tune the displays and walk around a bit to check out the competition. Jaime spent most of the day tagging all of the new jewelry and reuniting earring and necklace sets.

We get to do this again next week, albeit on a much smaller scale. Let's hope for strong sales, lots of volunteer recruitment, and many opportunities to educate visitors about refugee resettlement and the A Little Something project.

1 comment:

Mary V said...

That heat was unthinkable! Your banner looks really great, very professional, I agree, these things do wonders for the morale and for the serious look of the endeavour! Keep drinking the water!