Country Living Series

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Fourth day of sales

There's no delicate way to put this: yesterday's sales were terrible. Abysmal. Absolutely the worst day of sales since I started this show ten years ago. Altogether I only sold 17 pieces -- on a Saturday, no less -- which is almost one-third of what I would normally sell. I dragged myself back to my friend's house late in the evening, exhausted and depressed.

It's hard to pinpoint why sales were this bad. There seemed to be a lot of crowds in a happy mood, but there were loooooong stretches of time during which no one even glanced at the booth. As Don put it (while consoling me over the phone), there's nothing that could have been done, so there's no sense beating myself up about it.

So on to cheerier things. Despite the lack of sales, there was no lack of interesting things to photograph.

The day started (perhaps appropriately) with rain.

It wasn't scheduled to last very long, but in the meantime I had to reconfigure the booth and remove some shelving units that were outside the awning.

I stacked boxes and shelves in top of folded-up event chairs (which weren't in use anyway) to keep them off the ground, because the water was backing up onto the concrete apron where my booth is located.

But Portlanders are a sturdy lot and don't let a little thing like liquid sunshine keep them from having a good time. They donned parkas and ponchos, opened umbrellas, or just plain got wet with good cheer.

This mom even had a stroller with a built-in rain shield for her toddler.

The first band of the day played bravely... an audience of one.

But the weather soon cleared, I was able to put out my extra shelving units, and things moved on.

Here's a woman's fascinatingly specific handbag.

Another bag.

Comical T-shirts du jour:

This one took a few seconds to "get." ("If you really 'must ask,' I'm a railroad police." No, I don't know what he meant by "railroad police.")

The wearer of this shirt was following his four-year-old grandson around. Very cute.

A little irreverent, perhaps, but it tickled my funnybone.

Some unique eyewear.

Portland's finest had a visible presence, but mostly their services weren't needed. When I chatted with two cops later in the evening, they confirmed this event is generally quite mellow.

A plane with a banner advertisement flew overhead. You don't see these very often anymore.

A fellow Trekkie.

I took a pic of this fellow's Star Wars shirt...

...and then his five-year-old son insisted I take a picture of his shirt too, so I did.

I thought this shirt absolutely personified Portland.

In addition to the tinted hair I noticed yesterday, this year's fashion trend apparently includes fluorescent footwear. I could have taken dozens of photos.

There were several "batcherlorette" parties walking around in matching T-shirts -- soon-to-be-brides and their bridesmaids, out for a day of fun. The brides wore small veils to distinguish them.

This cheery young couple let me photograph their ear gauges. Not my cup of tea, but they were quite a happy pair, so I guess whatever floats their boat.

A happy baby, snuggled against mama's back.

A happy toddler, riding on daddy's shoulders.

Despite the lousy sales and my physical exhaustion by the end of the day, there's no question this event is living up to its history of good-natured fun, with most people behaving themselves. Can't ask for more than that, I guess.


  1. Sorry you had such a lousy sales day. But on the bright side, now you have extra mugs to sell to your loyal readers. I'd love to get two of the purple twisty ones, just tell me how.

  2. *hugs*
    Thanks for sharing all your great pictures with us. :-)

  3. I am so sorry. I think it is a sign of what's to come. People are hanging on to their money.

    1. Or maybe people didn't want to buy tankards.

      Jennifer K

    2. Or maybe people are hanging into thier money....economy is dropping. People go to events that are free because they are free. I think this is the beginning of things to come. It would be interesting to see how things play out over the next few years for Patrice. I wish her and Don well but I really think their business will take a hit in the coming years. They are better prepared than anyone I know so I am sure they will be fine though.

  4. Oh dear, I am so sorry to hear of the poor sales. I have some of your product and know just how well it is made and how pretty the tankards are. I hope you have better luck tomorrow.

  5. A railroad detective is sometimes referred to as a "dick". I think the shirt is saying "If you really must ask, I'm a dick."

  6. We have people who stop by our booth we call "Terminators". They always say "I'll be back."

    ...they never do.

  7. Sorry to hear about the sluggish sales. The economy maybe? Did you notice if many people are carrying bags that indicate they bought something? The few times I've been to the mall lately I noticed not many shopping bags at all. How is your online sales?

  8. You obviously are keeping record of sales. So after this you and Don need to review past sales. This may have been the worst year, but look at the years leading up up to this. Look at other down years and what sales looked like prior. Did you do anything different then vs. now. Any change to product? 10 years is a good product run. What tweaks can you do to change the product? What markets are you doing well in? Does being at the fair generate bulk sales in the Portland area throughout the year? What are new markets you may want to look at, if next year is also a down year?
    So take time after you get home, relax have a glass of wine. And then get together with Don and see what changes you need to do with your current business model. Cheers.

  9. Aw, man...Rain? Nothing knocks the wind out of a show like rain. Sometimes the mojo never comes back even when the rain stops. At least Portland tried to sally forth with their typical mud-in-your-eye attitude. Crossing my fingers for Sunday.

    Stupid rain.

    Just Me

  10. Etsy your mugs please

  11. A little piece of trivia. In 2008 Portland (Multnomah County) gave Obama his greatest landslide in the state, a whopping 77%. Worse day of sales in 10 years? Maybe financially they are finally eating their cooking.

    Montana Guy

  12. I love the t-shirt pictures and how you give us a slice of life in Portland. Really enjoy that. Thanks Patrice!