Sunday, May 5, 2013

Well Spit, or how snow in May really really sucks.

this is just *some* of the damaged tents ... I am guessing 30 or more tents where laying around in clumps looking like crushed spiders.
 The last week has been rough, let me tell you.

Last weekend was my last chance to get ready for shows.  We also had some social obligations, but really it was about getting ready.  I even took an extra day off of work.  I've been having so much anxiety about shows this year... one of the best ways to combat anxiety is to be proactive... to be as prepared as possible.  To think through any problems and have solutions in place for them. 

Last weekend I was going to really pump out inventory, do a mock up of the booth with the new displays incorporated and just really get mentally prepared for any issues.

Friday went well, had some bonding time with the family, did some flea market hunting (found a old adding machine, a couple of older clocks to rip up) and got 10-11 inventory items done.

Sat morning and afternoon got more inventory done, went to the retirement party of a good friend, and by Saturday evening, I felt strange, but happy I was accomplishing so much.  I even got some housework done!!!

Saturday night I got sick, and spent the next 2 days either in bed or in the rest room.

I won't go into details, I had some sort of virus or flu.   I don't think I've felt that .. bad... in YEARS. 

Monday late afternoon I started to feel somewhat normal again, but exhausted. 

This means of course that I didn't get to do all the little rituals that would have made me feel ready to face the summer show season. 

But you know what...  I actually did feel better mentally about shows.  Why? because I gave myself permission to be OK with what I could get done.  Maybe I was just too tired to fight myself for once!

I did everything I could to get ready.  Getting sick wasn't my fault.  Monday night, instead of the full mock set up with tent and everything in the yard, Jerry brought up to the studio the displays and an extra table.  Since the shelf units have liners in them, I just set up the 2 tables and laid the liners around my studio and just did it that way.  It took Monday and Tues night to figure out the layout, but I got them figured out, and once I had jewelry set up on them, it looked fine.  And I discovered I had more jewelry ready to go that I realized.   I also got the jewelry packed  in order.. a huge time saver when setting up at shows.  This way, you get all the displays set up, and each layer of jewelry corresponds with a certain set of displays.
This is our "bad weather" set up.  other than the spiny racks everything is flat to the table and unlikely to blow away.  it's very small and compact, easier to keep dry if the rain is heavy.   If it's really windy we hold the tent down and don't put out earrings at all ( I have magnets on the back of the earring cards, which really does help keep them in place)

I wish I could report that the "good feelings" lasted longer than they did.  My show was the Pella Dutch Market during Tulip Time.  When the weather is good, over 130,000 gets pumped into a small town in Iowa.

Unfortunately  the weather wasn't good. Thursday started out cold, wet and rainy.  And windy.  So instead of my nice,  10x10 booth full of  lovely artisan jewelry goodness, we set up 2 tables and had 6 ft of space. 

We call this our "bad weather" set up.  it's minimal, wind proof ( well, up to maybe 40 mph) and rain proof but it's hardly inviting to customers.  Then again, when the weather is bad, especially cold, we aren't going to sell much jewelry anyway... if customers have to peel off gloves to try stuff on, they aren't going to try stuff on.  If they don't try stuff on, they are not going to buy it.  It's just the way it is.

Around 1130, the rain became snow.. that melted as it hit the ground.  By 1230 the temperature had dropped enough that it started to stick.

Can you imagine trying to sell jewelry in a snow storm? Freezing temperatures?  I don't have too.  We left early that day, skipped Fri entirely as it snowed all day.  Pella ended up with over 6 inches of snow in less than 12 hours.  It snowed off and on all Friday night as well.

Saturday was predicted to be warmer, in the 50's if not exactly dryer.  We had left the tent up on Thurs, which in hindsight was a mistake.  Rain more or less runs off a tent, but snow? The snow collected, and the weight bent the tent struts.  3 of the tent struts are cracked... once one of them breaks completely the tent is dead.  We are lucky actually.. our corner of the park was somewhat protected from the snow.  Many people came back to tents completely fallen in.  Our tent was still usable on Saturday... but I doubt it's gonna last more than a show or 2.  It doesn't close up correctly due to the bends in the metal.

This is my mock up of what table 1 should normally look like
 I want to give a big big thank you to the organizers of Dutch Market... the Pella Women's association.  They handled the bad weather with grace.  They went around to all the vendors and told them to use their own judgment --- and it wouldn't jeopardize future shows with them.  Do you know how rare that is? most shows, even in absolutely horrid weather, won't do that.  They are too afraid of people abusing that privilege.  All the contracts are written with bad weather clauses-- some just threaten to never let you in the show again, some have fines!  The pella contract has one also.. but common sense prevailed.  My hat is off to them!   They also arranged Saturday morning for a scrap metal guy to get all the broken tents removed before the show started at 9am.  There had to be over 30 of them.  Most shows if you end up with a broken tent.. they make it your responsibility to take care of it, which can be almost impossible if you are out of town.  Jerry and I have already decided to do the Dutch Market again next year. 

Sales on Saturday were very few... again, people don't buy jewelry much if they have gloves on.  We took a loss on this show once you figure in we have to buy a new tent.  We have an old tent with broken corners... Jerry will double check.. if it has the same struts we might be able to make one or the other tent whole again... but my guess is we are buying a new tent.

This Saturday is Downtown Farmer's Market, and hopefully lovely weather.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Table 2.  ... first "good" weather day show we have ( hopefully this coming weekend!!!) I"ll take a pic of my normal set up which includes 2 shelf units and sometimes a small table if there room

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.