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Planning, Planning and more…Planning

This is practically and specifically what we have been doing for the last month. Planning how to do a show. What to bring. How to set up our table/booth. Lots of planning. Even when we do all of that, I’ve found it very important to be fluid with the specifics of the plan and have a willingness to change to some other idea if the feeling comes.

Each time we’ve done a show, we found something in our system that can be improved, consolidated or downright eliminated. One of the things that we didn’t have at the very first show was a portable way to carry paracord with me to the show. I wanted to be able to make bracelets and key chains for people while they were browsing around and initially I carried all of my paracord colors in a couple of plastic grocery bags. I found out the third day that this wasn’t going to work, when someone wanted a bracelet that we had just made for someone else and we committed to making it for them. Half way through the process, we came into one problem. The dark gray paracord was no where to be found. We salvaged the situation and used a lighter gray, but the writing was on the wall. I needed a way to see the cord colors. Later on after we got home and the event was a distant memory, I found the dark gray paracord in one of the bags. UGH!!

One day when I was sitting in my shop, just thinking about some different things, I glanced at this clear backpack that we bought for one of our kids years ago. It was passed down through at least two of them and at this point was about to end up in the trash heap since no one wanted it anymore. Until the light went off. I could see that it would be perfect to put all of my paracord colors and other items in. It was clear and would be perfect to be able to see everything. Problem solved. Well sort of. Now that we are carrying about 32 colors and lots of other stuff, this backpack is getting heeaaavy. Now I wonder if I should get a short or shallow bin. We’ll see on that one. I do like that I can throw everything over my shoulder and keep rolling.

 

I’ll talk with you next time, Constant Reader. It’s time to go check the backpack.

We have been so busy. Swap meets, Craft Shows…Whew.

I’ve missed writing here for the past couple weeks. My intention all along was to write a post in this blog everyday, five days a week. I was doing just fine with that right up until about a month ago when we started doing show, meets and events. We started doing them the week before Thanksgiving and have done some type of show every weekend since.

They’ve been fun, and quite interesting but, boy oh boy, do they take a lot of time. Granted they are on the weekend, but since our primary product is handmade, we have to spend time in producing enough product to take with us. Some of they items that are easier to produce, I “prep” them and we finish them at the show. As I’ve said in other post, I’ve found that people like to see that we hand make the items. There hasn’t been a show that has gone by without at least one person coming to our booth and asking who makes these items. In our first show or two, the answer was always me. Now I might still make the overwhelming majority of them, but my family is quickly stepping up to the plate and contributing their hands to the craft as well.

Since Thanksgiving, we have done, two Motorcycle Swap Meets and two Arts and Crafts shows. That’s pretty diverse right? I’m sure it sounds like we are probably selling different stuff at one type of show over the other, but we are basically selling the same things. Maybe our signage is a bit different but, I’ve found that people are people. Even though one genre might like a different color combination in general there is a broad appeal.

Well Back to work. We’ll talk more next time, Constant Reader.

 

“I’m starting to feel like a cupcake”

This was a quote by my daughter, Alyssia when we arrived at our second event, the Breast Cancer Awareness Ride at the Victory Biker Church in Lennon, MI. We pulled in the lot and there were a few biker types, guiding people where to park. We pulled up and spoke with one of the guys that was volunteering. I told him that I was a vendor and wanted to know where to park. He showed me where and we pulled in. For the briefest moment, I felt like we were “cupcakes”, but I forged ahead and walked right into the church and just acted as if I belong.

As I figured I caught the attention of a couple people. Why not? At the moment, I’m the only black fellow in the whole building and I don’t in any way look like a biker. That doesn’t really bother me. In my job as a police officer, I’m quite accustomed to going into places where I stand out and am stared at.

It doesn’t take long to be directed to the Pastor of the church, who we met at the Bikes on the Bricks event. I ask him about where we should setup. He directs me to a spot outside next to another vendor who is setting up as well.

We take our place and it’s freezing. Temperature in the low 50’s and a brisk 17-22 mph wind. What are you gonna do, right. Well we hunker down and make the best of it. While we were setting up; a guy comes up and asks if we made any bracelets in the orange and black Harley Davidson color motif. He must have been one of the people that suggested it to me while we were at the Bikes on the Bricks event. I told him that I did make a few of them and he promises to come back and purchase one. Before he left he helps us set up our canopy which I thought was incredibly generous.

When we pulled up we were parked directly next to a man and woman setting up their stand. They had a much bigger setup than we. They had 5 or 6 tables. Oooooh boy. I’m starting to feel that twinge of inadequate. I tell myself to ignore that and keep moving on with our plan.

Next time Constant Reader, find out just what happened with the neighbors.