Mulhenberg Summer Festival Day 4

Well I wanted a busy day but didn't get it. It was hot, and slow, very slow. I almost did better on Wednesday with only 5 hours to the day rather than 10.

The people across from me insisted on playing the same two CD's the whole time. It was Willie Nelson- singing all kinds of stuff- including "Wind Beneath My Wings".. and the other was 20 different versions of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" which has now taken the place of "Roll Out The Barrel" in my head. Wonderful...

If I look at the show as an individual experience- for what I paid for it, I did OK. And Since I haven't been there in 4 years I did pretty good, and since I have done two other bigger shows in the same geographic region in just under a month, I didn't do too bad at all.

My problem is that it comes on the heels of Musikfest, and this show is so much slower. If I do a bigger show, say Philly Folk Fest, then my adrenaline stays up and I just keep on going like the Energizer Bunny. But this show is slow, so I get tired, and a little cranky too. And it feels like a let down. I mean, going to the bank yesterday helped, filling out the deposit slip felt good, but the hours at the show were excruciating at some points.

But depending on next year's schedule I may go back. It will also depend if K is around or not so she can pick up many of these hours as well. But I am exhausted and I can't wait for vacation to start later this week. But I have so much to do before then it is ridiculous.


Mulhenberg Hospital Summer Festival Day 3

So day two's sales were only a few dollars more than day one's were. Bummer. Here is hoping that today gets busier since it is a Friday.

I have had a headache all day, started out with my sinuses- so I took some sinus meds that put me to sleep. Then fell back to sleep this afternoon with a slight headache still and woke up with a whopper. Certainly feels like a migraine.

I brought socks to knit tonight. I usually don't knit non-business things at shows but I need these needles empty for another project before I go away next week. And i am getting sick of these socks!

Tomorrow I start a Dorset button tutorial on my favorite Ravelry group so I have to get that info together, maybe tonight if the show is quiet.

So yesterday I kept myself from keeping tract of the stupider comments I have gotten at the show... but today...
"Patchouli Soup" (the sign clearly states soap.. and that "you should buy it for your father because he is always eating"
"Are these fudge?"- now EVERY fragrance is labeled with the word SOAP, and there is a big banner above my head that says NATURAL SOAP, and another banner with my company name and the words SOAPS & TOILETRIES... Where fudge figured into this is any ones guess...

Overall sales were pretty good for only having 5 hours of show. The rain stayed away and I am looking forward to a busy Saturday...


Mulhenberg Hospital Summer Festival Day 2

Well, in the first two hours I made more sales than all of yesterday. That is a good thing.

I am also trying to strain to stay awake, because although I took a nap today, the music that my neighbor is playing is lulling me to sleep. I don't mind the music, I actually like it, it is just ballad after ballad. Zzzzz...

I am also resisting the urge to keep track of every dumb comment I hear tonight. There have already been a few winners.

Since this show is at a hospital it draws an interesting crowd. The usual you expect, doctors and nurses and administrative staff. Then it brings in people who are visiting loved ones and stop in to take in the festival. It also gets locals, because of the rides and games, lots of families. The Bingo brings in the seniors. It is one of the most diverse crowds I sell to to say the least.

I miss having K here. I would love to go play bingo. I am a bingo junkie and will play whenever I get the chance, which isn't that often to tell you the truth.

I am seaming together soap savers. I knit almost 50 during Musikfest but I hate seaming them so I am trying to bring 15 or so a day to get done. Then they need to be sent to my mom so she can make the ties, since I don't crochet.

I do love the fact that the hospital grounds are non-smoking. It is a nice change from all the cigar smoke at Musikfest for sure.

I am also taking this time to get a lot of stuff done. i have placed orders for supplies, researched some new packaging, and even started a new catalog. It is great that I can get Internet service here and that it is pretty stable service as well.

But that is all for now. I am getting cold. The crafters on each side of me put the sides of the tent up so they can get a breeze and it freezes me out. If I come back next year I am going to have to try and get a center spot- less breeze, but of course that means next year will be sweltering hot too. You just can't win.


Mulhenberg Hospital Summer Festival- Day 1

I love that this show is only from 5-10 pm during the week. The place is pretty busy right now and it is 7 pm. It is also a good family atmosphere.

It is raining some, very humid, but I am cold. Most people are looking at me weird in my sweatshirt, and bare feet, but I am comfortable- sticky- but comfortable.

The booth across from me is playing some gosh awful music. I think it may be old Willie Nelson?? But I am not sure. I can tell you it has a distinct twang to it and a slow enough tempo that I am going to fall asleep soon.

It is fun to be next to B, but she is so far away. The booth between us was not sold so she let me spread out some. The tables are all laid out straight, about 18 feet. Everything seems so far away.

The soaps are getting slick due to the humidity. Some of them never really dried out after Musikfest.

I have tried to bring a bunch of things to do to the show but I am being thwarted by technology. First I want to work on a new catalog, but I am having trouble with the small screen and lack of mouse on the lap top to really get any real work done. Then I tried to work on my mailing list and get it updated from the last few shows, but I guess I forgot my password, because I couldn't log into the account. So now I am waiting for an e-mail with my password information so maybe I can start that later.

Sales seem slow, but after just getting done with Musikfest, it is hard not to think that the day is slow. Also, many people come here multiple days and they buy later on in the festival. Today is to look around, eat, and let the kids ride the rides.

Also this show has a more mature audience than many I do. The crochet tea towels are flying off the table of the lady next to me. It is just that kinda show.


Musikfest- the day after

We went early this morning to the bank to make the post show deposit and then to tear down the tent. Tear down went quickly expecially after C showed up to help. Glad he did because the temperature and humidity were quickly climbing through the roof. We got to the house and unloaded what I don't need for my next show and brought everything that can melt into the house.

I made hot dogs and roasted corn for lunch before C and K left for the airport. C has a business trip and K is visiting a friend for a cmaping trip. I napped before they left, I was just exhausted. And although it is barely 7 pm, I could go back to sleep now. But if I did I would be up at 4 am so I am trying to make myself stay up at least a few more hours.

I've started my monsterous list of things to do, which includes this blog. It also included cleaning my desk, which turned up a ring I have been missing for about 6 weeks now. It was prety much in front of my nose the whole time, just under some technology (a flash drive) on my desk. But it is found, and back on my hand where it belongs and i am happy and my finger no longer feels naked, and I don't try to play with a ring that isn't there anymore.

But I am off to do more things on my list. I am trying to fix my desktop that I think has a virus, so here I am in the living room ordering supplies and other stuff. Tomorrow is soap making and set up for my next show...

Musikfest Day 10

Rain, rain, mud, mud, and more mud is the theme for the day. It rained during the night so we came in to puddles all around. They got drained out because of the promoter coming around with a hose and a sump. Things were messy but not too bad. I even made a few sales, even though the soaps were slick from the humidity, and really, honestly, downright yucky. I din't even like putting them in the bags they were so slimy.

Around 6 it rained again, this time hard, with lots of thunder and lightening. More puddles, bigger puddles. Another trip out with the sump drained most of them, but really all the mud was slick and gross. It was hard to walk around and it was even sucking the shoes off of some peoples feet.

The day wasn't terrible but it wasn't stellar either. Sales wise it was the worst of the last five days. I got a good sale at the end from another vendor and had a few good trades as well. We put everything away and left for the night so that everyone who needed to get out could leave and we didn't have to fight as much mud and fight the darkness and potential for more rain.

Overall I was up this show, about 10% over last year. It was great to finally be up for a show this year. I ran out of quite a few soaps, got two special orders in the works, a possible wedding, and 7 stores in contact with me about carrying my products. One is for sure, and the others are strong possibilities. I think that this year was a great year for me and I am really happy with the results.


Musikfest Day 9

Not as fabulous as the day before but still good. Multi-day shows always make me wonder a little- how every day can draw a different crowd- in size - in temperament- in socio-economic status. I wonder if it is the music being offered that day or exactly what it is that seems to draw such a diverse crowd.

I am tired and although I sit at the show thinking of things I want to blog, once I get here in the morning I can't think of any of the witty remarks I was thinking of during the day before. I have tried writing myself notes but then I don't live in the moment as much, the day is almost seen through a lens, of how I would blog this, or blog that.

I did learn that male horses like the smell of Patchouli and find it an aphrodisiac. See what an interesting job I have!

I do now have the possibility of three local shops looking at my stuff to sell. A few of them would be special order fragrances which I really like, that way I may be able to have things in all the places without stepping on each others toes. I also have a possible wedding in the works to do favors for. I say possible because until a contract is signed I don't get too excited, but I am pretty sure this one is a done deal.

Sales were good, not as good as Friday but still good on their own. After Friday being so busy, Saturday seemed tame. I have made my sales goal and have exceeded it by just a few dollars. Time to see if the rain lets up and if Sunday is a good day or a wash out...


Musikfest Day 8

One word...


I had about an hour where the booth was just jam packed with customers making rather large purchases. It really sent the night's sales over the expectations of the day. The rest of the day was a steady stream of people so I never felt bored.

As night came I got really cold. I always thinks it's odd to feel cold in August, but sometimes it happens.

It is funny how different crafters at the same event can have such totally different experiences. This year for me is invigorating. I am excited about getting back in the workshop and making more soap, having to redesign the catalog, order more supplies and all that. Some people are just not having a good show and feeling the love of the crowd. My heart goes out to the, I want to see everyone succeed.

I got home and was exhausted. Flopped into bed, dirty feet and all, and instantly fell asleep.


Musikfest Day 7

Today K went and opened the booth for me so I didn't have to come in until 4is. I got a bunch of stuff done around the house and things cleaned up before C came home from his trip. I also ran to the bank for some change and got her some curry chicken for dinner:)

Today is more about the little things...

1) I LOVE having the new stage by the crafts section. I know for some crafters this means some music they need to talk over during the night, but for me and my booth placement, I love it. I think it draws a large crowd and dare I say it, a better (spending money) crowd as well. The music is in short sets with the bell guy doing his routine in between. So people seem to be listening, shopping, and then listening some more. It keeps people in the area more than other things have done in the past that have been down by us.

2) They fixed the light by my house. It used to be AWFUL at night. I'd come home tired and would literally sit for 5 minutes at a red light. I often put my car in park for fear that I would fall asleep and roll through the intersection. They must have fixed the timing because each night I only sit there for a few seconds before it changes to green and I get to go home!

3) The vibe at this year's fest s very positive and uplifting. I am not spiritually or emotionally tired this year at all. In previous years I have felt drained in all aspects, not just physically tired, but this year I have been getting such positive feed back and seeing so many repeat customers that it has been uplifting and is helping me find my groove again. This show has renewed my passion for being a soapmaker.

As for sales- I am right on target. If the weather holds out I may even surpass my goal, but I am not counting my chickens before they hatch just yet...


Musikfest Day 6

Banker's hours. That is what I kept today- banker's hours. I went in early with K and brought in inventory and came back to the workshop to get a bunch of stuff done. But honestly, I ended up taking a nap for a hour. I actually woke up feeling rested for the first time in weeks. I have been dealing with a month or so of insomnia. I have no problem getting to sleep, it is the staying asleep part that is hard. So I listened to my body and took the nap.

I arrived bringing lunch and K and I got to have some sushi. Yum. I walked around and saw the new vendors for the second half on the festival, some are great, and well, some aren't...

K left me about 6 pm and then the night began. Sales were brisk once the tempo started picking up and some customers brought in friends so it was a joyous night as I got to see some regular faces and meet some new ones.

All in all when I got home I did my nightly paperwork and was very happy with a Wednesday sales number and I got packed up for the next day and crawled into bed. Only 4 more days left to go!


Musikfest Day 5

Today I got up and packed up inventory, measured out some lye so I can make soap, and picked some beans from the garden. Then I went over to the show and set up with K and left here there while B and I went to have lunch. By the time we got back to bring K her salad, she had only made 1 sale, so needless to say, the morning started rather slow. I left again with B and we went over to a local park for our twice a month goal meeting. This is where we catchup with each other and share our goals for the next few weeks and see how much we accomplished over the past few weeks. This is not only to keep us on track with our business, but we hash out personal goals and domestic goals as well. It is good to have someone keep me in check and keep me motivated. Besides, I have to pay her $1 for every goal I don't accomplish, and that is a lot of motivation in itself.

Anyway, I made it back to the show about 3:30 and it was still pretty empty so I walked around the festival for a bit to check out the crowd and the retail vendors and the food vendors. When I made it back around 5:00 things were starting to pick up. K left around 6 and about 7-10 pm I had a real rush of sales. The day turned out to be good for a Tuesday and I am still close to my sales goal for the show. But I still have the second weekend, which is usually better for me anyway, so it is still possible to be on target by the end.

All in all, the first five days have been a success and I am happy:)


Musikfest Day 4

C had to get up at 4 am to get to the airport on time for his morning flight. I got to bed about midnight but kept waking up coughing. My throat has been dry a lot at night, I don't know if I need more water during the day or what, but it has been happening quite often lately. Anyway, he was sweet enough to tell me to go back to sleep and just woke me for a goodbye kiss before he left. I got up about 6 am and checked my e-mails and ran the credit card sales from the day before but was just tired so I went back to sleep until C called to tell me his plane was leaving.

I cooked some zucchini before I left and got packed up as well as paid some bills and answered some e-mails. The time in the morning before I leave passes so quickly, before I know it I am back at the show.

The mud is drying out and the area as a distinct "wet dog" smell. I brought the computer to do work but forgot the cord, so this will be short lived. The people are out and about, no one wants to shop this early in the day, hope they all come back later!

And they did come back! Sales were brisk and surprisingly good for a Monday. I am right on track to make the amount of money that I need/want to make for this show. I don't want to get my hopes up, but it even has the ability to beat last year, if the weather cooperates and if the the crowds stay large.

Last night K came over and surprised me. I didn't expect to see her so soon after getting back from her summer trip. I was really excited to have her and am glad that I will have some help this week while C is away.

I freaked out a customer, because I remembered that last year he bought an orange wash cloth. It is funny how some things just stick in my mind, like a sale, or a particular shirt or face, but I am terrible with names and hardly ever remember anyone's. I think it is great that my customers make an impression on me, I hope I make as much of an impression on them.

Onto Day 5- halfway done and soon some new vendors switch around. It will be interesting to see who comes and goes. I guess I could look it up in the show book, but it is more fun just to see what happens...

Musikfest Day 3

Better if it was referred to as as Musikmess. It rained hard overnight and continued on into the morning. Large puddles of mud formed around the craft area and some electricity (including ours) was out. I even has about 2 inches of standing water in one section of the booth, but luckily it was in the back where we sit rather than where people shop.

Another crafter and I joked about mud wrestling in the puddles to make money, because if the rain didn't stop it may be the only chance we would have to make an income all day:)

After C got our electrity fixed, guess it was the GFI, we hunkered in for a few hours and watched the rain go by. The soaps get downright slick in the rain as they draw the humidity from the air to them. Yesterday they felt like I showered with them before putting them out for sale. Pretty gross.

The rains came back in the afternoon but this time they left the thunder and lightening behind. It was just a few hours of on again - off again rain with no real wind. I wish the rain would cool things off, but it doesn't, it just makes the day more sauna like.

Given the weather I was really happy with sales. I am close to last year's average, so if the weather holds out like they say it should, I think this will be a good show this year. I am tired though, I keep thinking that it is Friday tomorrow rather than Monday. I keep expecting my dad to come home and he just left... I cooked some yellow squash in the morning and finally got to try my three bean salad which was AWESOME!! and eat some peppers and onions with sausages.


Musikfest Day 2

Wow, what a good day. The weather was hot, but beautiful (except for that freak 10 minute rain storm mid afternoon) and the people were out and about. Sales were great, I sold three shaving mug sets and am very excited about the response I am getting to this new product. I have even sold out of all the shaving soaps that can be used alone or as refills, so I have to get pouring more of those ASAP. They won't be ready for this show, but maybe the next if I can get on them right away.

I have realized there is a plethora of people smoking cigars this year, both men and women. I really, really, hate cigars. They are pungent and persistent, with the smell lingering for what feels like hours. I also think that so far the cigar smokers I have ran into are less courteous than cigarette smokers. They just some on in the booth, smoking away, and driving out other customers like bee keepers tending their hives. And even 20 minutes later customers come in and comment on the cigar smell. The tents don't have great ventilation so the smoke just rises and sits in the top portion of the tent dome. Blech!

Now I know I shouldn't generalize like this, I am sure there are plenty of courteous, pleasant, cigar smoking people who smoke genuinely good smelling cigars. I just haven't seen/met any yet this show, and boy, how I would love to meet some.

This morning I cooked some three bean salad using fresh beans from the garden and the CSA. I'll try it tomorrow after it marinates, and I think this is the first time I have ever had it with fresh beans, rather than those out of a can (and made my own dressing, rather than a bottle). I think that cooking a little every morning helps me feel normal during this time of intense hours at the show. I am trying to eat better and use up the veggies that are taking over my fridge.

I also met a gentleman who works for a local essential oil distiller. I would love to source all my oils locally, and can't wait for the show to end so I can explore this possibility. I am always leery of these sorts of encounters, but I genuinely think this may pan out. I'll keep everyone posted.


Musikfest Day 1

We started the morning by setting up the booth. Typically I do this on Thursday but with K in Costa Rica and C in Puerto Rico, I had to wait for C to get home to help me. We went over around 10 am and it was nice and quiet, easily found our spot (Yay, I'm next to A!) and started set up. It wasn't that hot, less than 80 degrees, but VERY humid. I was dripping by the time we got done. Once we got the tent up, C concentrated on getting the tent tied down and I set up the product.

About Noon we left with just some signs to put up and a few things to bring from the shop. We went over to Dickey's BBQ for lunch..yummy, but by the time we got home we were both a little sick from the combination of the hot set up and then the food. Our bellies ached to say the least...

C did a bunch of stuff for work, I took a nap, and then a shower, and after packing the car with some last minute stuff, we headed back to the show, just as the rain started. We checked the weather and it looked like we were in for a long night of thunderstorms, but just a few hours later, the sun came out and the weather cleared. This was great because just this afternoon they were calling for hail and enough rain to possibly flood the creek in some areas. So I am sure some prayers were answered with the weather passing us by. BTW, thanks B for calling me and warning me about the weather possibility, I am humbled that you thought of me at fest:)

The night continued to be quiet, much quieter than a usual Friday at Musikfest. Sales were not brisk, but I saw many of my regular customers, and some new ones from Mayfair as well. Overall the night was pleasant and fun. I liked having the time to chat with people rather than having to hurry to the next customer and being able to point out new products and stuff.

I got a new sign from Isa, it just says "natural soap" but I think it may help with some confusion over if I have candles or not. From far away sometimes it is hard to tell, and now there is a sign, all anyone has to do is read it. Ironically, I was still asked at least three times if the soaps were natural- even with the sign, and my company name being A Natural Alternative. I like to think it is the copious amounts of beer at the fest, not the IQ of the general population at fault for these silly questions.

So overall, I can't let the first day of sales get me down. I will still have a great fest and with day 2 slated for some beautiful weather I think I am in for a busy day. They also put a new stage in near the handcrafts, it is acoustic, singer/songwriter sort of stuff. It is a nice interlude between the bell guy's performances and last night had some good stuff to listen to that drowned out the Polka from behind me. It is nice to actually be able to hear and enjoy some music at Musikfest for once!