Self-Sufficiency Series

Monday, July 30, 2012

SELLOUT!!!!!

Sellout! I sold out of tankards!

Okay, not quite. But I only had SEVEN left, so frankly it's "close enough for government work," as the saying goes.

Seriously, yesterday morning we had 34 pieces left, and I said I would be happy (delirious, in fact) to sell 15 more. Sundays are fairly slow at this event plus it closes earlier in the evening, so lower sales are the norm. In fact, I sold 27!!

The booth, yesterday morning. Sparse sparse shelves.


The booth, mid-day. Even sparser shelves.




By the end off the day, this is all that was left.



Altogether we sold a total of 176 pieces. I went around all day so thrilled I was babbling like an idiot. I have NEVER experienced such amazing sales. Thank you ALL for your prayers and well-wishes, it worked!!

Some sights from the day. In the morning this gentleman wandered by and I begged permission to photograph his beard. Looked terrific.


This mother was walking around, looking very retro-hippy. I have a fondness for hippies so I thought she looked pretty.


We saw helicopters all the time. I think the park must have been near a launch-pad (or whatever they're called). Some were news helicopters, some were police helicopters, and who knew what the rest were.


An interesting fashion statement. Not unattractive, just... different.


A kilt-wearer. There was a kilt-seller two booths down from us, doing their best to get the men of Portland into these attractive garments. Seriously, I have a fondness for kilts.


Unfortunately this photo turned out blurry, but I was trying to get a shot of the plugs in his ears.


Later in the day another fellow came through, attentive to his one-year-old son who toddled into my booth. It was one of those heart-warming things where daddy clearly adored his son, though it was funny to see daddy covered with tattoos and piercings. I asked permission to photograph his earlobe, and he proudly told me they were at 7/8 inch and told me (in possibly more detail than I needed to hear) about the process involved in stretching.


A drawbridge rising. Oh man, these things are fascinating to watch.


T-shirts du jour:






And this startling declaration:


(Polygamy, I was told, is a type of beer.)

You'll never guess what this fellow is doing. He's taking a photo... of my "knucklebuster" credit card machine. Yes, really. In fact, he was the second "Generation Y" fellow to ask what it was and confessed they had never seen one before. I felt very OLD.


In the evening as the festival wound down, my friend Mick and I broke down the booth. I'm not exaggerating when I say this crate his holding our remaining stock. Make a note: next year, bring more tankards.


Before returning to my friend Wendy and Tim's home, I indulged myself for a couple of happy hours in Powell's Bookstore, a wonderful place.


Think HUGE, and you'll have Powell's. It takes up one entire city block and is four floors high, with a maze of half-levels and odd staircases and vast aisles.



I spent (cough) probably more than I should, but hey, it's my once-a-year indulgence. And Don very kindly told me not to worry about it.

As I checked out, I noticed this stack of bumperstickers by the cash register sporting Portland's unofficial motto.


This is my friend Wendy and her daughter Libbi. Wendy and Tim adopted Libbi from Guatemala when she was a baby. I love this family like crazy.


Moments after I post this update, I'm climbing into my car for the loooong drive home. Once again, dear readers, thank you for your prayers and support for a most extraordinary weekend.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Third day of sales

This lucky streak of excellent sales here in Portland continued yesterday when we sold an astounding 60 pieces. Sixty. Wow. That's 149 total for the weekend so far, and we still have today to get through. Sunday sales at this event are traditionally much lower (plus we don't have much stock left) so I'll be deliriously happy with selling 15 more.

This is what our booth liked at opening on Saturday morning. We had removed one entire shelving unit (from four units down to three) in order to keep the remaining shelves looking full.


As the day progressed, I kept removing additional shelves from the lowest levels.



By midday we were down to two shelving units (and even then, we kept removing the lowest shelves).




By the time we closed in the evening, the shelves were comically bare. It's a sad truth in retail that the emptier the shelves, the lower the sales. However having only a SINGLE shelving unit in the booth isn't the best idea either, so I'm not sure what we're going to to -- possibly put up the smaller two of the four shelving units and just distribute whatever we have left over them, and hope for the best.

This is Mick and his wife Patti, old and dear friends. Mick is helping me run the booth this weekend. Patti has a bad back and couldn't handle standing on concrete for ten hours, but she stayed and visited for an hour or so.


I didn't see so many funny T-shirts today, but here are a couple:



This amazingly sexist T-shirt, I was informed by the wearer, was given to him by his girlfriend. Ooookay.


And I absolutely loved this one. (The square root of Chuck Norris = pain.)


I noticed a woman with numbers either tattooed or drawn (with marker) on the backs of her legs. Why, I have no idea.


I have no idea who this band was but they were fabulous. They had people dancing all over the event.




A pretty city-scape.


Lots and lots of people yesterday! You can see the booth next to me, which sells temporary tattooes. A very nice woman named Linda mostly caters to the children who come through, putting flowers or nice patterns on their arms or cheeks.


But at one point I glanced over and saw this, well, startling sight.


Here's Linda, diligently applying a tush tattoo. Brave of her, I thought.


Not to be outdone, the woman's friend also bared her buns for a temporary tattoo. As a gentleman in my booth commented, "I thought they took out the trash on Tuesdays."


Later I asked Linda, "Is that the strangest place someone's asked you to tattoo?" She laughed and said, "Close. I've refused a few." She said that while she would never have the courage to pull up her skirt in public, these women were at least  nice about it.  She said she's dealt with some obnoxious men who wouldn't take NO for an answer. In these cases, her husband has persuaded the potential customer to take a hike. "You have the right to refuse service to anyone," I quipped, and she agreed.

All the vendors were pooped after yesterday's crowds. Today promises to be much slower-paced and relaxed. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Second day of sales

Wow, what an amazing two days it's been so far! This event spans four days, and we've already sold nearly half the stock we brought! Yes, yesterday we sold an awesome 45 pieces! That's one more than yesterday, and two more than the same day last year. Wow. And again I say, wow.

My friend Wendy and I started the day at a nearby coffeehouse where I indulged in a steaming cup of chai tea (a rarity) and we yakked a lot between working on our computers. It's so much fun to visit with this dear woman.


Parked right outside the coffee shop was this miniature car. Wendy says they're very popular in Portland. I can imagine -- the gas mileage must be through the roof.


Then it was off to the event. The day started out cloudy and cool (before clearing to a nice sunny day), and I think the weather helped sales. Everyone could relax and not worry about the weather being too hot.


In honor of my interest in wacky T-shirts, my friend Mick (who is working the booth with me this year) wore this gem.


Didn't see too many other wacky T-shirts except for this one:


My booth is located not far from the stage, so we're subject to whatever is being played (good and bad). Yesterday was good. There was a reggae band...




...and then in the afternoon a band started playing called Cherry Poppin' Daddies, whose specialty was swing. Apparently this band was wildly popular in Portland about ten years ago (when swing music enjoyed a revival) and oh man, it was easy to see why. The crowd in front of the stage was packed, and random people all over the place were bopping in time to the music. Fabulous band.





An old and dear friend named Christy stopped in to say hello. She used to live just up the road from us when we lived in Oregon. Couldn't believe my eyes when she walked into the booth! Her daughter is now in college. Sheesh, where do the years go?


Portland has to be the most tattooed city I have ever seen. This gentleman sported some amazingly detailed artwork on his calves. This is his daughter...


...and his father (who recently passed away). Admirable but rather, well, permanent tributes.


A woman walked by with a baby carriage... made specifically for a dog (with zippered screens). Funny! She gave me permission to take a photo.


It was a day of pretty tame sights until this startling woman started walking around, dressed like a... well...


Come to find out she was a walking, talking advertisement for a strip club. Yes really. She was passing out business cards (a customer told me this). Only in Portland? Who can say.


As the afternoon wore on, I removed first two, then three, then four of the lowest shelves from the shelving units.


These I stacked in the back of the booth.


Even so, by evening the remaining shelves were looking decidedly sparse.


Today my friend Mick and I will remove and entire shelving unit and fill the shelves of the remaining units full once more (it's a sales trick -- products on full shelves sell better than products on half-empty shelves, go figure).

Thank you for all your prayers and well-wishes, they seem to be working!