It’s easy, really. You just talk to people.
I know, I know. That doesn’t make for a great, informative post. Also, I realize that this comes easily for me. Well, relatively easily. I’m a teacher, you see, and I talk to people all day. All day.
So it’s not difficult when I’m vending, and talking to other people (NOT SCHOOL PEOPLE). However, I have had to figure out some things that help my vending time move smoothly, and also some psychological tricks that help folks to make the decision to buy (or not, if I’d rather they move along). If you are worried that you won’t know what to say, that you’ll be awkward, that you’ll say the wrong thing, then this post is for you. I’m here for you. You’ve got this.
You can do this! Let’s begin with some basics.
Starting off, please note that I break rules. To break a rule, you must know the rule first, and one steadfast rule of in-person vending is: Never Ask a Yes-No Question of a Potential Customer. The idea is to ask open-ended questions, to get them talking and therefore giving you more opportunities to sell to them.
I have figured out how to ask a yes-no question and turn it into a selling opportunity. My standard question of potential customers is:
Have you visited our soaps before?
If they answer Yes, then I say:
Oh, good, which one is your favorite?
We then begin to converse.
If they answer No, then I give them my Elevator Speech:
Okay, all of our products are all-natural, with no artificial fragrance or color; we only use essential oils for scent. And everything is handmade, from scratch, in my home in Denver.
Usually they reply something along the lines of, “Wow!” or “That’s fantastic!” or “Thank you.” I reply in kind, and then continue the conversation by asking:
What kind of scents do you like?
Aaaand the conversation is started. There’s your open-ended question. They start talking, and I start picking up soaps and shoving them under their noses. (Not really. Okay, maybe sometimes.)
The reason I ask a yes-no question to start is because I think that kind of question is easier for a customer to answer. It’s more shallow, and small-talk-y, which means they are more apt to begin the conversation by responding, even if reluctant. Also, their answer more often than not gives me the opportunity to say my Elevator Speech. If it’s a busy day, and there are a few new customers there, they all perk up and listen to my speech, and I can talk to all of them at once. The higher engagement starts at the end of that pitch; the ones who wouldn’t buy anything anyway just fade away, and the ones who are really interested stick around and keep talking.
There are also a few psychological tricks I use to keep people around and also to increase sales. It helps to have some sort of bulk-purchase deal to discuss when they are deciding on a purchase, but if you don’t have one, that’s okay. My favorite psychological trick starts when a customer picks up a soap and carries it along the table. This person is making a decision. The question I ask is:
May I start a bag for you?
Seems simple, right? She hands it over, and I put it in a bag. However, it is also an opportunity to go for the bulk purchase. If you don't have one, the trick is still there. The psychology of the word, “start,” implies that we are not yet finished; we have to add more soaps/items to the bag. If she replies that she only wants that one soap, and reaches for her wallet, then I roll with that. If she mentions ANYTHING about not being able to choose, or deciding on another, then I mention our Buy 4, Get One Free deal and ask directly if that’s what she wants to do.
Guess which “item” I sell more of than anything else?
That’s right. 5 soaps.
Now, let’s talk about you, because that’s why you are here. What are you selling? Are you able to create a discount for multiple-item purchases? Even 2-for deals are a good idea. My lotions, sugar scrubs, and bath salts are all $12 each, or 2 for $20.
What about your Elevator Speech? It’s called this because it’s a speech you could say in the span of a short elevator ride, if you had to, that encapsulates the description and benefits of your items for sale. Let’s break mine down, so you can create yours.
“All of our products are all-natural…” This shows a benefit. People who buy handmade soap want things that are natural, organic, and not full of crap that sounds like “chemicals.”
“With no artificial fragrance or color. We only use essential oils for scent.” This shows the benefits and luxury of the soaps. People who know about essential oils know they are expensive. It also reiterates that we use botanicals, and not things that are “artificial.”
“...everything is handmade, from scratch, in my home in Denver.” This shows that I am the artisan, so they are buying directly from the person who made it, and from scratch to boot. It also tells my locale, so they can make a decision about buying from a local artisan, rather than someone from farther away. I use this to my advantage at any show in the Denver area.
So, now it’s your turn. Let’s start with your elevator speech. Ask yourself:
Hey, I don’t care if you copy my speech and insert your information in there. Go for it. I’m here to help.
We can talk more in detail about customer interactions in the comments. Have you had a doozy of a customer interaction? Did you freeze up? Were they asking weird things? (More than you think…) Leave a comment and let’s have a conversation about What to Say When, so everybody can learn from more specific situations.
Have you downloaded my Ultimate Outdoor Vending Checklist yet? If not, CLICK HERE to get it!
If you are anything like me, you were audacious in your youth. You had confidence, took risks, walked with style, and you made stuff.
YOU MADE STUFF.
And then life happened, and adulthood, and then what? What happened to making stuff? Paying bills? What's that about?
So you started again, and this time, you thought, "I'll turn that into a business." Maybe you did, and maybe you didn't, (I did! Check it out here.) But your craftiness changed, somehow. You didn't have as much time for it. You focused on your career, or your family.
Listen to me.
You can get that feeling back. You can be a crafty rebel if you want to. You know why? It's simple.
You never stopped being one.
I had an epiphany when I turned 40 years old, and it was this: We never stop being every age we have ever been.
(Click the birdie to tweet that thought.)
Think about that for a minute. You know how to be 20 because you have been 20. You know 10 because you have been 10. And your body and your mind NEVER STOP knowing that, so you NEVER STOP being 10 years old. Or 15. Or 18. Or 42.
This works the same way for who you are inside. If you are creative, arty, crafty, whatever you want to call it--you DON'T STOP being that way! You are still that 15-year-old who hand made her Halloween costume and won the contest in high school. You are still the 30-year-old who faces every Team Snack Day at work as a personal, competitive challenge to out-snack all the others.
You are still a crafty rebel. You never stopped.
The big question is: How do you get that spark back? How do you find the time? How do you become that person again? I'll tell you.
How to Be a Crafty Rebel
1. Dig out all your craft supplies, including tools. Set them out somewhere in your home. Trip over them, daily. Have fights with your spouse/roommate about it. Ignore all criticism. Lie and say you are making a hat for her/him.
2. Hand write thank-you notes, as a rule. No more emails or texts. Put a stamp on it and send it.
3. Color the tips of your hair. Just the ends.
4. Start a YouTube channel. Or a blog. Or a new Pinterest board entitled "Crafty AF."
5. Make something. Then make another thing. And another. To start, it can be as simple as dinner, or as complex as a self-portrait completely out of melted crayons. Crochet a sweater for your coffee cup. Or a hat for your dog (not your spouse/roommate, you lied, remember?). Draw a mandala. Take photos of everything for a week, and post them on Instagram. Use ridiculous hashtags that will get you no followers whatsoever.
6. Think about starting your own crafty business, while making tea one day. Write down all of your crafty business ideas. Buy a ridiculous, fabric-covered notebook for this express purpose.
7. Join the Crafty Rebels group on Facebook and learn from others who have done it and continue to do it. Read and write and share there, and become part of a community of crafty rebels. Use the hashtag #craftyrebel.
8. Sip your tea and smile.
Take a second and read the sidebar on the right, over there.
Go ahead, read it. Who writes this?
I am all of those things, for real. FOR REAL. I write, more than anything. I write and publish my own books. I am, of course, writing this blog post right now. I'm a crafter (I've got my first class up on Skillshare! You should check it out!), an entrepreneur (click here for my soap and skin care), I play roller derby and workout in a CrossFit gym for sanity, and I have a family and friends.
Many of those friends have exclaimed, many times, "How do you do this?" Well, they also have to realize, when they are asking me that, is that I haven't seen them in a long time, because I'm busy. But so is everybody--this isn't a busy contest. This is about how to juggle. This is a circus management contest.
I'm sure there are plenty of bloggers in the Universe who can tell you how to get your home organized. How to organize your closet. Your kitchen cupboards and pantry. Your children's clothing and clothing donation when they grow out of it.
I am not that person.
My home is very often a wreck, because we craft for a living. My closet is a disaster (I'm an 80/20 person, for sure). My kitchen has food in it, somewhere. My child's clothing needs a good purge, as she has grown 8 feet the past half year.
I can live with all of that. I CANNOT live with having my business affairs in a mess. Absolutely not.
Hey, your business is important! This is how you feed your family, right? (Or how you want to feed your family. I don't know your life.) For me, everything else can be a wreck, but come retail tax time, my taxes are PAID, because I set the money aside and planned for it, and I did it efficiently because I had all the records for it at my fingertips.
Yeah, go ahead. You can be jealous. I'll wait a minute. ::flips hair, looks at watch::
Over the years, I have become very good at organizing my business, it's true. In our crafty circle here in Denver, some call me the Tax Lady, because I know so much about this stuff, and I'm practical about it. Hey, I'm happy to help them--it's not like I have some big secret.
I'm happy to help you, too.
CLICK HERE and sign up for my free mini-course, 5 Days to an Organized Business! Over the course of a workweek, you will receive an email every day with a link to a private video I have made, outlining my systems. Hopefully you will find some good information, and you can also leave a comment on the video so we can all have a conversation about it, and help with problem-solving.
Get your act together, and keep it there. This IS your circus. These ARE your monkeys. You can do this!
Week of 12/25-12/31/2016
Sunday: It's Christmas! Merry Christmas, everyone!
Last night was just lovely, and today is shaping up that way, as well. I'm up and at 'em at 6am, because we are going to my friend Ann's house for brunch, and I am signed up to make the coffee cake.
I have never made coffee cake before. But it's cake. How hard can it be?
The Pinterest recipe does not fail me, and it is not hard. The crumble on top is huge and delicious. I have no idea how the cake below it is, though. Should be okay--it has a whole cup of sour cream in it.
I rouse the family and get them showered and get myself showered and dressed, and while waiting for this all to happen, we have a few extra minutes to talk. I bring up my husband's idea of getting a job outside of the house. He says he wants to do this to make money so we can take nice vacations. My thoughts: this will be a big lifestyle change for us, as he will no longer be home to handle things like grocery shopping, cooking, and other household things. We will not have anyone home with our daughter when she is off school and I am not, on teacher workdays. We will end up eating take out more, because I know myself. Or we will be eating crockpot meals all the time, which is fine, but our pre-planning game will need to be stepped up.
I recommended to him that he focus on eBay. He loves eBay, and has sold things on there before. He has a really good eye for things in thrift shops that will sell and are valuable, particularly having to do with music and electronic instruments. We discuss this plan, as well as his plan to start a YouTube channel.
Time to head to Ann's. We arrive and there's coffee, and she has a ham, and there's egg casserole in the oven. I help with the spinach salad, we chat away while finishing up the food, and we all sit down to eat at 12pm. It's all delicious, of course. We have a lovely time eating and chatting and just hanging out doing a lot of nothing.
Afterward we come home, and it's my nap time. I know I've been talking about naps a lot, but that's because I seem to NEED one every day. Also, I have time for it. Also, I'm on vacation. Naps are my jam right now.
I get up, have some cheese and crackers, we play some ridiculous video games together, and then that's it. I'm out. To bed at 8:30pm for me, even with a nap. Another great day.
Monday: Wake up at 2:15am, starving and needing to pee. Cannot fall back asleep. Force myself to stay in bed until I can't stand it, I'm just too hungry. Breakfast at 4:15am. Eat, read some news, bad idea, change to blogs and Pinterest. Get really tired, go back to bed until about 8am.
Up, but nobody else is, so I take care of the dog and do my blog entry! Week 51! Finish that, send that. Update this one.
Tuesday: Spend the day at home, working on YouTube videos. Yay! Two videos published! My husband got me a new microphone, so I'm using that now, and everything sounds all velvety. Yes!
Wednesday: Up, dressed, coffee. Rouse my daughter for her dentist appointment, then to lunch, then shopping to return a jacket she got that did not fit. Had some ice cream. Survived this mall excursion (hate the mall!), came home and unloaded all the crap from my old car, because it's being donated. I filled out the application online this morning, and they called me an hour later, saying it would be Thursday or Friday that they come pick up the car. So I had to unload it of all the stupid junk (ALL THE JUNK OMG) before that happens. Luckily, it was 55 degrees out and sunny.
Thursday: Up and at 'em. Went to gym, worked out, felt great. Came home, ate. Did some computer work. Get a call from the towing company that they are on their way for the car. Gah! I need to remove the plates! Run out and do that, note that it's above 60 degrees and I should just hang out outside. Later on, noticed that the cat needed to go to the vet because she had a urination problem. Husband gets cat in carrier, cat freaks out, carrier BREAKS, cat runs to house instead of away. I let the cat in the house, fix the carrier with hair ties, get out some wet food, the cat comes running, get her in the carrier and husband takes her to the vet. Chaos. Afterward, shopping for a damn dishwasher. The person at Home Depot is busy, so we decide to buy the one we want online. Go out for kebabs. Delicious. Home, and to bed.
Friday: Get up, hang out online, do some social media stuff, decide today is the day. Gather things to return to Macy's, return them to Macy's. Go back to Home Depot because the online price was $200 higher than in person, so I suck it up and spend the time, because that's what it costs for a discount, apparently. Get that done, go to Costco, buy a garbage can for the kitchen that has a motion sensor to open automatically. I feel like I'm living in a futuristic wonderland! No, seriously, now we have one for garbage and one for recycling. Amaze.
Do some computer work, chat with my friend about crocheting amigurumi (see cover photo), then it's off to the gym for the 5:30 HIIT IT. A roller derby friend joins us to try out the gym. Yes!
Saturday: New Year's Eve! We made it! I'm so sore, I decide to skip the gym, knowing that I will be going on Sunday, which is January 1st. Hand-wash the dishes (new dishwasher will arrive 1/5), make cookies for tonight, even though my diet plan starts tomorrow (for real! I'm one of those people who can do things from January 1...this blog is an example!). Tonight is our last hurrah with sugar! Make the cookies, fart around on the computer, text the friends, take a nap. It was a supremely chill day. Get up, make jalapeño poppers, make deviled eggs, husband makes cocktail sauce for shrimps, and we are set. We watch Michael Jackson videos, and then Weird Al videos of the same thing and laugh. We then commence playing Wii U minigames as a family, until about 11pm. I am ready to collapse, as usual, and so I wish them well and go to bed. My daughter wakes me up at 12:00am to say Happy New Year, and don't I want to get up to see the illegal fireworks? Sure, kid. I get up, watch some fireworks, have PTSD because of the gunfire (my neighborhood is not fancy), wish them well again, and go to bed, peaceful and happy that 2016 is at an end.
I don't usually get excited about the calendar changing over, because I'm a teacher. My years go from August to July. This calendar year, however, has been very, very difficult, and Im so glad for the calendar to flip over. It's all about attitude in the end, really, the new year.
Happiness is a choice.
Happy New Year!
Week of 12/18 - 12/24/2016
Sunday: Private label order from the witchy store, already! She emailed me, saying she wanted to re-order as she only has a few bars left. Dang, lady! I told her it wouldn't be able to be delivered until after the Christmas holidays, and she said she understands. Excellent. Online orders got mailed. Good. Laundry got done. Awesome.
Monday: School. The children are crazy, but I don't care because I have to spend 3 hours in a meeting in the morning. Great way to spend a Monday! That was sarcasm! Come home, get some stuff done, go to bed because it's all I can manage.
Tuesday: School. Again. The children are more hyped up. Why are we having school this week?
Wednesday: School. Last day before break. The children have lost all pretense of behavior. Some are melting down. Why are any of us here?
Come home, husband recommends we go out to eat, which I think is a grand idea, so we do. My daughter is stoked to be on break (see photo above), and is still acting silly. We eat, I have some wine, we go home, change into pajamas, and I go to bed wth my laptop and watch a movie. Get sleepy. Fall asleep.
Thursday: Wake up at 6:15am. I slept for 9.5 hours. It's a miracle and welcome. I get up, have a leisurely breakfast, work on my printable planner for 2017, shower, and go to my waxing appointment. After that, to the gym! Work out, feel great. Come home, eat lunch, take a bath, make cookies and then wrap presents. It's Christmas at brother-in-law Nathan's. Every child in our family seemed to be there, and they all seemed to be talking at top volume the entire time. For a teacher, this is somewhat unnerving. It was fun to watch them open gifts, though.
Friday: Up too early, but someone has to take the Jeep in for a scheduled oil change. Take it in, wait in the coffee shop on the corner, pick it up, go home. Have some coffee, then off to the mall.
On December 23rd.
I hate the mall on a slow day. HATE THE MALL. But my husband is our cook, and I always get him something from the Le Crueset outlet. So I had to go. As I'm walking in, I notice a GLARING ERROR in some marketing materials. How do huge corporations let this happen? It was on a window display AND huge cardboard-like things inside, too. I am dumbfounded.
I was there right after they opened, and got out of there in 1.5 hours. Got a gift for my daugher, purchased at grandpa's request.
Drive to the pharmacy, pick up my husband's meds. Come home, have some lunch.
I need a nap. Dang it, I'm supposed to be on break!
Take nap. Get up. Wrap ALL THE PRESENTS, while my husband and daughter are out of the house, grocery shopping on 12/23. I wished him luck before he went. They come home, we eat some dinner, then commence with watching a Christmas movie: Krampus.
It's got a Christmas theme! It does!
Saturday: Christmas Eve! The best part of being on break is sleeping until I wake up, with no alarm. What a glorious feeling. Get up, feed the animules, coffee myself, feed myself. Do some work on the computer, then put it away and do the dishes. We are hand-washing everything as our dishwasher has died, and we suspect that appliances might go on sale after Christmas. I'll check on it, anyway, and we have hot running water, so hand-washing it is. No big deal.
Naptime comes, and when I get up it's time to walk the dog on this 60-degree day. We go for our walk, and when I come back, it's a Christmas miracle! The living room has been tidied up! We can hang out in our own living room and not feel like we are in an episode of hoarders! For a minute!
My husband makes some dinner, and we watch The Polar Express, because my daughter says that's tradition and WE HAVE TO. Fine, I love that movie. We eat dinner, and then open gifts, and it's a happy, wonderful, quiet evening at home with just us. Lots of laughing. I'm so very grateful.
We have more than enough food.
We have a house, with heat, electricity, and running water.
We have automobiles.
We have each other, sitting in the same room for hours, being happy.
I wish the same for all of you.
Week of 12/11/ - 12/17/2016
Sunday: Oh. My.
I am very sore.
Got up, had some coffee, fed and watered the animules (yeah, you read that right), and cruised Facebook. While cruising, got an order from a friend here in town--a big one. I can put that together and deliver it on Monday. Awesome. Then I have to get ready to go to my friend Michelle's house for brunch. I was gone nealy all day yesterday, and now this?
But it's brunch at Michelle's. This is no big deal, and she's feeding you.
Wash face, brush teeth, put hair in ponytail, put on jeans and a sweatshirt, and gather some crafting supplies, and I'm out. She said she wanted to make some solid lotions for gifts this year, and would I teach her? Of course I will.
Go to Michelle's she has coffee, all is well. She made a crustless quiche and sausage bread and hazelnut cookies dipped in chocolate, and we also had mimosas. Ann came over, and we all visited and ate and then we crafted and then I went home and went straight to bed. Update blog, send blog newsletter.
Child asks for French toast.
Fine! Up, and to the kitchen. Husband gets up too, so I make French toast for the child and coffee for him as he does not want French toast. All are fed and watered, so I take a hot, hot bath, and after that, go to bed for a nap.
OH GLORIOUS NAP HOW I LOVE YOU.
After the nap, I eat and then rouse the child to help me get the ornaments down from the loft in the garage. Yes, the day after a CrossFit competition, the greatest thing ever is to CLIMB UP AND DOWN ON A NEAR-VERTICAL LADDER. Omg, my quads hurt so bad.
My now very tall child helps me out, and we get everything down. She puts on the Frosty the Snowman video, and we get to work putting the ornaments on the tree. It takes us all through Frosty AND Rudolph, and then the big tree is up. That's about all the work I can handle, and then I notice the pile of dishes.
Do the dishes, manage child getting to bed, get myself to bed, collapse.
I've been writing "collapse" a lot this year. I should go back and count.
Monday: Oh, my. I am still sore. That's okay, no gym today. I am skipping roller derby because I still can't skate anyway, so there you have it. Go to work, go home, rest some, pack the big order and deliver it. Visit with my friend for a few minutes--lovely. Head home, have dinner. Bed.
Tuesday: Off to work with workout clothes at the ready. Arrange for my husband to pick up the child so I can go to the gym after work. Do so. On the way home from the gym, husband says he's out shopping and that I'm on my own for dinner. Okay, fine. Come home, let dog out, scrounge for leftovers, ooh! A baked potato. Choose to fry that in some coconut oil and slice off some roasted pork and call it yummy dinner, which it is. Get clothes together, shower, get daughter's clothes ready while she showers, early to bed.
Wednesday: Ugh. I think I'm catching something. I have a cough and sneezing and my eyes are puffy. How boring. Go to work anyway, muddle through, even though I'm a union rep and things are getting ugly. Faculty meeting after school, leave promtply at 3:40pm even though everyone else stays. They get 30 minutes per month for a faculty meeting that's built into our 40-hour week, and they want us to stay late each time. I refuse. My time is valuable. Come home, get daughter ready, go BACK to school for her band concert. The band teacher is incredible, the show is awesome, my daughter does very well as do all the children, and we go out to dinner. Cram dinner in piehole, go home exhausted, in bed at 9:30, which is FAR too late to go to bed.
Thursday: That was far too late to go to bed. My eyes are still puffy, and I still feel like I might be coming down with something but my body is fighting it. Two more days of school this week. Text friend whose order is still not picked up/delivered, and let her know my husband will deliver it today or tomorrow. Check email--two soap orders! Yay! I have free shipping going on through today. Hmm. I need to remind myself to take that off in the morning.
Friday: Finally, Friday. (How many times have I said, THAT this year?) Up and at 'em, get a Starbucks because it's Friday, and get to work. Work and work and shhhh -- take my lunch break to go shop for a gift for my daughter, because the place is only open until 6pm and I can't ever get there. And do they have the thing? YES THEY HAVE THE THING! You know, we have had plenty of years where we couldn't afford the thing, and it feels really good to be able to buy her the thing she wants. I try not to spoil her too much, but she is an only child. Take the thing home, then go back to work and finish out the day. The kids are insane. Gotta get out of here.
I always have high hopes for Friday night, but let's be honest, nothing ever happens. Like, absolutely nothing. It was a great effort for me to soak in a hot bath, get out, put on pajamas and comb my hair. That's literally the sum total of what I did.
Someone please remind me of this the next time I have high hopes for a Friday night, okay? Because I went to bed at 7:30pm.
Saturday: Up at 5am. Awesome sleep. I slept the sleep of the perpetually exhausted. Get up, make coffee, give the chickens liquid water, as theirs has frozen in the night (it was 50 degrees on Friday, then dropped to below zero overnight. We also got about 6 or 7 inches of snow. I have a party to go to later on, for which I must make deviled eggs, so I have to go to the store. I think I'm going to skip the gym and do some yoga at home instead.
Yoga at home does not happen as I get busy with keeping warm, as the temperature is absolutely frigid out there, and I need a day off. I do manage to make deviled eggs, however, and showed up at the party and had a good time. Stayed up too late, though--11pm. Not sure how that's humanly possible for me, but it is.
Hey, want that deviled egg recipe? You got it!
Week of 12/4 - 12/10/2016
Sunday: Wake up around 6? 6:30? I have no idea. It's my first true day of sleeping in, and I plan on doing not one damn thing.
Get up, let dog out, give chickens liquid water, retrieve their frozen water, make some coffee, sit down and drink it.
Aaaah. Yeah, that's it. Not one damn thing.
Get my computer out, start scrolling through Facebook, realize I haven't posted on my FB page...NO! No! No work today! Get off of Facebook.
Cruise Pinterest for a while, get hungry, make some breakfast. Eat that, get another coffee, and retire to the bedroom to binge-watch Vikings. Do this for a long, long time. Finally get up, go to Target to buy toilet paper and paper towels, and new batteries for our garage door openers. Get a phone call from a friend, informing me that our mutual friend is in a crisis: her husband died on Friday. Call her, ask what she needs, buy French Onion dip. Drive to her house, deliver the dip, and stay and talk and cry and laugh and cry again for a couple of hours. Arrange for my husband to come over sometime this week, with the dog, to cheer her up.
Home. Get clothes ready for the week. Bath. Bed.
Monday: Let's do this. Think about my friend who is having surgery to remove brain tumors. Think about her all day, at random times. Chat via text with another friend who has placed a soap order, to arrange for pickup or delivery. After work, go to DMV to register the new car, finally. Only have to wait 15 mintues--miracles are alive and well. In and out in under 25 minutes.
Home, make some dinner, eat the dinner, then go to roller derby to blow the whistle and not skate because the tendonitis in my ankle is still a thing and I don't want to ruin it while it's feeling better. Come home, to bed, exhausted.
Realize that my friend is probably recovering from her surgery, remind myself to text tomorrow.
Get up, talk to husband about soap delivery tomorrow, he's on it, all is well, to bed for real this time.
Tuesday: Again with this work outside of the house. Up, coffee, chicken water, breakfast. Get dressed, out the door. At lunch, update this blog, and then go through old blog posts, backing them up. Check Paypal because we got an order. Paypal shows no transactions. At all. But there's a balance there? Click the "contact" link, and see that they have an alert about technical difficulties. Print email of the order for a packing slip, give up on Paypal for the day.
Wednesday: Up! To work! And back home again. Note the soap order from yesterday, note that I must print out the packing slip and pack that order.
Also note that it's absolutely frigid, and maybe tomorrow would be a better time to pack orders. When it isn't zero degrees in the garage.
Eat some dinner, watch Vikings. Try to go to bed, but the dog keeps whining because my husband is at a friend's house, and he's not used to being alone. Dog wakes me up three times in the night.
Thursday: GUH. I'm so tired! Get gym clothes ready, get breakfast and lunch ready, get dressed, get out. Have to scrape the car and warm it up. Zero degrees, still. After work, manage emails from three people--two at work, and one from roller derby--with soap orders. Hooray! Husband packs Paypal order from the other day, and we work together to quickly pack the others because it's still dang cold, after I get home from the gym. I have to deliver two of the orders tomorrow, one at work, and one on the way home from work.
Friday: Starbucks time. Head to work, get all the work done, go to Target because COUPON, find a couple of gifts. My daughter picked them out, for my husband, and did a very good job. "He will like this!" Yes, he will.
Come home, wait for husband to return, then pack up soap order and deliver it to my friends. Spend several hours with them talking about our lives. Wonderful evening. Come home, then off again to drive around and look at Christmas lights, as a family. Late to bed.
Saturday: Up at 6:00am, breakfast of ham and eggs at 6:30, then get ready for the gym, as it's competition day!
The whole time I'm getting ready, I think about the definition of "sanity." Whatever, I'm still doing this.
Go to the gym for our once-yearly in-house competition. Work out SO hard, have all the fun, eat all the health food and protein shakes. Afterward, amazingly, I walk to the car, and then my husband calls and asks if I can go to Costco. Walking would be a good thing at this point, so I agree to it. Finish there, come home, walk the dog as well. Eat something, start making deviled eggs by boiling the eggs, get them in ice water, then take a hot bath with Epsom salt.
Realize toward the end of this bath that I will not have the time to complete the deviled eggs for the pot luck roller derby party. Accept this fate, finish up, get dressed. Cancel soap delivery becasue the map shows red for the traffic all over this town. Client agrees, is happy about it, no worries. Go to roller derby party, enjoy. Eat some. Drink lots of water--so thirsty.
Come home, go to bed, absolutely exhausted.
Week of 11/28 - 12/4/2016
Sunday: Second day of a great show! I make a one-two-restock box (comment below if you get the reference), and off I go. SO GLAD I hired a friend to help me, and I realize at the end of another huge day what a difference it makes. Having someone else vending with me means that every customer gets attention at the moment they need it, which keeps them from walking away. As predicted, I nearly sell out of bath fizzies and special salts. Only 7 jars of fizzies and 4 jars of salts left for next week! I also sold over 30 bottles of lotion--I only have 5 bottles of Lavender lotion left, and that's it. Also sold out of Lavender Lemon completely (none on the shelf at home, either), and Oatmeal Honey.
Pay my friend, break it all down, load out, come home, unload, and have some dinner. Attempt to get something ready for work tomorrow in the way of lunch and clothes.
Monday: Day 3 of 8 work days in a row. When it gets to this time of year, for any teacher, getting up on Monday is difficult. After having worked nearly every day of break for some amount of time, then two weekend days, this Monday is very, very difficult. Get up anyway, suffer through. After work, come home right away, lie down for a nap, doesn't work. Go to roller derby to say hello and also to deliver the huge order I got from a friend on my team--so supportive! Stay for about 45 minutes, then go home and go to bed.
Tuesday: Day 4 of 8 in a row. Go to work, while there have some amazing ideas for the upcoming year, regarding the course and some printables. Write these down in a Google doc while I have a minute. Come home, think about my show this upcoming Saturday, realize that I have everything ready because of last weekend, relax. Go downstairs to my office and make an update video! I'm only 39 weeks late.
Wednesday: Day 5 of 8. My patience is starting to fade. Husband is finishing up the private label soap order we got last week, so he can deliver next week. I am doing various computer work every day, to get back into that habit. This week is very difficult at work--the children are very rowdy. Recovering from a week off is brutal in public school.
Thursday: Day 6 of 8. I continue getting ideas for my new projects every day, and gleefully write them down on the Google doc from before. Glee turns to despair when I start doubting the whole thing. Why am I doing this, when another (big another) is also working in this niche? What handmade business owner will listen to me?
Come home, rest, eat, walk the dog. Cry on my walk, thinking of my mother, and wishing she was here. This Christmas is going to be difficult.
Friday: Day 7 of 8. Up and to work, Starbucks first. Get all the things done in preparation for next week, which makes me feel better. Create work calendar for next week as well, which makes me feel better still. Write down a few more ideas/plans, finish up, head home. Get some computer work done, print out a soap order I got online, get my clothes together for tomorrow, collapse in bed.
Saturday: Day 8 of 8 in a row. Up early, get some coffee, feed and water all the animals, feed and coffee myself. I take my time this morning, as this is a small show that will run from 1pm-6pm, and my load-in time is 11:45am. I also don't have to bring a table, as they are provided. Only 1, 6-foot table is provided, so I'm not bringing all 4 shelves, either. Things will have to get creative.
Load-in is easy, and I don't expect this show to be very busy, as this doesn't look to be the fancy part of town.
I am happy to report how wrong I was.
The market managers sure know how to get the word out to this crowd. It was busy the entire time! Of course, this was a smaller show, inside a large coffee shop with an event room in the back, so "busy" today is not the same as "busy" last weekend, but there were lots of people just the same. Having an event in this venue was lovely--snacks and espresso were available the entire time, as were restroom facilities. Music was playing, and the atmosphere felt very "bustling." I did about as well financially as I expected, maybe a bit more, and we tore down in a flash and I was driving away at 6:30pm.
The last show of 2016, done! Arrive home, unload, have some dinner and TWO glasses of wine, take a bath, and to bed.
I'm sleeping in tomorrow.
Week of 11/20 - 11/26/2016
Sunday: Sleep in until 5:30am. Glorious. Today is BIG PRODUCTION day, so I take my time and remind myself that working at 7am for no reason is stupid. Drink coffee, eat a little, update last week's blog. Wash my face, brush my teeth, get dressed and get started working. Start with bath fizzies, because the way I make them, they have to sit for about 8 hours before they will "pop out" of the mold without crumbling to bits and enraging me. I put them in 1-inch square ice cube trays, and really pack them in. I only make these twice per year, because they are a pain in the ass.
After this, I set myself to the task of deep-cleaning the kitchen. Full dishwasher! Hand-wash all the rest! Clean the countertop small appliances! Rearrange things! Get madder and madder while my family sleeps in and I am working!
I should not be mad. We have this whole week off from school, and all the soap is made, so my husband's work is done for now, so it's on me. Fine.
After cleaning all the things, I go shopping. Eat a little bit, then to Michael's. Score! Cute little chalkboard things for signs! Then to Target -- two new buckets for hauling soap, because the lids on a couple of mine are broken. Then to Walmart (I hate it but sometimes I have to suck it up) for pint sized glass jars, and incidentally some fresh rosemary because they have it.
Come home, husband and child are up and are helping with house cleaning. Start bottling liquid soap, using labels already printed. Bottle it up, clean them off, label them, and into the bucket.
Around 6pm, I unload the bath fizzies onto a paper-towel lined tray, and put that up.
That's two things for the day. If I do this every day until I die, I'll catch up.
Monday: Up at 5:30am. Let dog out, have coffee, find workout clothes. Drive to the gym, work out, feel great. Come home, have breakfast, chat with a friend, chat with my dad who is in town, and is it okay if he comes over in the afternoon instead of the morning?
YES! Thank goodness. This gives me time to work! Run to the store for distilled water for lotions. Come home, make bath fizzies again, then make and package up some lavender rosemary bath salts for the show. Clean up, make plan for tomorrow: bath fizzies, then lotion. Today, I have to go to my wax appointment, then pick up some essential oil at the soap supply, and then dad comes over and we will hang out and I will put him to work wrapping baker's twine around all the jar things while my daughter stamps the tags for them. I like to put "To: From:" tags on all the gift-type items, as it seems to help with ease of purchase.
Dad comes over to visit. I end up wrapping the jars while we visit. After he leaves, we have some dinner, I unmold the fizzies from this morning, and then I'm done, and I go to bed.
Tuesday: Up at 4:30am. Force myself to stay in bed until 5am. Get up, let the dog out, make oatmeal for the chickens because it's cold and snowy and I ran out of chicken feed. They will love it. Have some coffee and oatmeal and decide to get the lotion making done.
6:30am. Making lotion. THIS IS NOW MY LIFE.
Finish making the lotion, cannot find the blank labels, as my husband has rearranged the desk area and now the labels are gone and what am I going to do omg. Leave him a note. Get ready, go to my guru appointment in Boulder.
Appointment is very painful, yet helpful, as I anticipated. Maybe this ankle will actually heal, now.
Come home, update blog, get started on bath fizzies for the day. Finish that, Dad comes over to visit, and I set him to the task of spiffing up my shelves. He touches up the edges with a chalk paint pen, and then I take other pens and decorate the shelf edges. They look amazing. My husband shakes his head and rolls his eyes the whole time. He thinks I always go too far.
Check email, and lo and behold, we have another private label order, for right away, if we can do it, and can we do it? 4 batches of salt bars? We were JUST talking about this yesterday, and here she is with an order. We need to talk about her more often.
Wednesday: Up at 5:45am, let the dog out, have some coffee, and get ready for the gym. Go to the gym, work out, feel great. Get a coffee at the drive-thru on the way home. Make some breakfast, and all of a sudden my family is up? And moving? They have been sleeping until noon lately, so this is surprising. I make breakfast for all of us, and then I get moving
I have two online orders to pack and deliver, because they are a) both local and b) both got free shipping because they were over $50 and c) one of them is relatively close to my friend who is giving me her stepladder for my display this weekend.
Packed up, and off I go.
First delivery is easy--I've delivered here before. Check the milk box, but it's full, so I put the order on the porch under the mail slot.
Second delivery, I have to drive for. Find it easily with gps, and drop that off on the front stoop. Onward to the ladder. I chat with my friend for a little bit, about local shows and how some organizers do not care about vendors at all, etc. The show I have this weekend is run by amazing people who love the vendors, so I'm glad I'm not involved in the other show we discussed.
Drive toward home, remember groceries, go to the grocery store. Ask myself why, WHY do I ALWAYS go to the store the day before Thanksgiving? WHY
Get white sugar and a couple of other things, not too long of a wait, head home. Unload the car, and all of a sudden I'm exhausted. I suppose working so hard eventually catches up--and I realize that I worked every day last week, and then every weekend day, and then Monday and Tuesday as well as today, so taking a nap is an okay thing to do.
So I do. For about 30 minutes.
And then it's time to make the last thing: sugar scrub. It takes me about an hour total to make it, put it in jars, and clean up.
And now, I relax. We have family movie night, and I fall asleep about 20 minutes before the end of the movie. Great day.
Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving! So glad I got the production done before today, so I can take it easy. I make pies in the morning, then my brother and sister-in-law come over for a visit, and then I take them to my brother-in-law's house (where my husband and child have gone ahead) for a Thanksgiving feast.
So much feast. All the food. I had to walk it off right afterward.
Friday: Up and at 'em. My friend Ann and I always go Black Friday shopping, but for the past couple of years, it's been mostly for ourselves and not for gifts! I did get a couple of deals, but we mostly do this for some friendship time. My brother and sister-in-law came with us (they are visiting from out of town)! A fun morning.
After that, it's time for details! I got the money for the till, bottled and tagged all the bath fizzies, packed all the buckets, found the garland, got my outfit together, made myself a salad for lunch, got my snack bag ready, gave the chickens food and water and closed them up, showered, and collapsed in bed.
Saturday: IT'S SHOWTIME! Up at 5:15am, took care of the dog, put the lunch in my snack bag, remembered a fork (miracle!), brought extra water. Wash my face, put on makeup, get dressed. Load the car at 6:30am. Get husband up as he offered to bring the shelves that I painstakingly decorated earlier this week, so they don't get scuffed. He's thoughtful sometimes!
Drive to the show, arrive 5 minutes early to my load-in time, awesome. Unload the shelves, send hubby home. Unload the rest, park the car, then come back and haul the stuff in. PRO TIP: Get a Rock 'n' Roller. Just get one. That is not an affiliate link. I don't get any money from this recommendation, just the satisfaction of knowing that your crafty life will be easier because of it. It is worth every damn penny.
I digress. Haul it all in on my cart (except for the ladders, just carried them), and start setting up. It's only an 8x8 spot, so it's tight! I'm on a corner, and facing the door into the ballroom, so I decide to take the corner and have the tables out, instead of in. My hired assistant shows up 10 minutes before showtime, excellent.
And we're off.
OMG THIS SHOW IS MORE AWESOME EVERY YEAR! It was so busy, the entire time. I'm so glad I hired the assistant, because it meant we could both use the toilet as needed, and get some lunch and cram it in our pie holes, as needed! Totally worth it! Also, because I live my values, I paid her $15/hour.
WORTH IT! Great day with sales and fun times, as well.
Come home, get family, go out for dinner. Come home again, take a hot, hot bath, collapse in bed at 8pm.
What a week! One more day of the show tomorrow, as well!
Week of 11/13-11/19/2016
Sunday: LAST farmer's market of the season! The weather is just about perfect, which means we have gone 26 weeks without one drop of rain this season. Unprecedented! Sales are good because I'm pushing the "stock up now for the winter" angle. Soap doesn't go bad in a few months, you know. While vending, my roller derby people start ordering on our GroupMe, because we have a game tonight, and can I bring soap? Yes. And face lotion? Yes, of course. And more soap for me? Yes.
I check my email, and we also have an online order, so I pack that up while vending, to make sure I don't run out of those things.
Great day all told, come home, unload, pack up online order into mailer. Rest a bit, then get ready for our roller derby bout. Find the uniform, eat the food. Go to the skate center, set up the track in an instant, gear up, play for half a bout, then gear down because of ankle pain again.
That's it. I'm taking the rest of the season off. I stay to coach the second half of the game, and we tear down, and that's it. Home. Bed.
Monday: Rouse myself somehow and get to work. Work all day, and FINALLY I can come home at a decent hour. Rest. Eat dinner. Walk the dog. Remind child to shower before bed. Change her sheets because teenager. Ugh! Go to bed around 8pm. Delightful!
Tuesday: Difficult to get up today. Am I sleep deprived?
BAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA ::breathes:: HAAAAHAHAHAHAAAAAA
After school, drive to title company for husband to sign one paper and collect the check. Yes! Deposit the check while I'm in my car in the parking lot. Once again, I say THE BEST technological invention EVER is mobile check deposit for banks. Seriously, this is the best thing ever. Who enjoys going to the bank?
Nobody, that's who.
So I get the mobile deposit ready to go, and it tells me that the amount of the check exceeds the mobile deposit allowable about. WELL OF COURSE IT DOES.
Immediately change plans and go straight to the bank to deposit the check. And OF COURSE it won't be available right away. I have to pay my friend for the car I "bought" from her! Hello? Like they care.
The do not care.
Go to Whole Foods and buy some snacks. Come home. Have dinner. Husband has purchased pint jars for my upcoming craft show. Start making craft show "to make" list in my head. Go to bed.
Wednesday: Get up, go to work, happy that the check is deposited and worried that my friend can't cash the check I wrote for the car. Text friend to tell her when the monies will be available. She is unfazed -- "I'm not surprised. I thought that would be the case." SO GLAD she's my friend. Work all day, come home, rest, eat dinner, walk the dog. Or did I walk then dog and THEN eat dinner? I don't remember. Either way, it's supposed to snow tomorrow so we'd better get this walk in. Start planning for Skillshare classes, realize that it's still holiday craft show season, laugh at myself, and continue making the craft list. Husband is making all the soap this week, so we will be fully stocked. So grateful for him. So grateful I hired him!
Thursday: Up and at 'em, wearing correct clothing. Drive to work, oblivious that I don't have a snow scraper in the new car yet (FORESHADOWING!). Work, look outside around 10:30am to see if it has started raining like they said. They said it was supposed to rain starting around 10am and turning to snow around 5pm.
IT IS A BLIZZARD.
How long have I lived here? How long? ::rolls eyes at self::
Finish work, then pack it up and go outside. Luckily, my friend parked next to me does have a scraper and volunteers to clear my car of snow. THANK YOU LOVELY FRIEND. Drive to the store to pick up a cheese and cracker platter for tomorrow after school--daughter has her cast party. Come home afterward, eat, then head off to a high school showcase night, where my daughter might attend.
At the end of the showcase night, my daughter stomps her foot and says, " I HAVE TO GO TO THIS SCHOOL NEXT YEAR!" Um....okay? I agree, as it's a tremendous school, and all told, seems quite safe and has everything she wants to do. Easy decision.
Go home, collapse.
Friday: Finally, Friday. Drive the Jeep to school because the new car has only front-wheel drive. Roads are either completely dry or packed with ice -- at last, a good decision with the car. Work all day, children are lunatics because it's right before break, somehow make it through, finish the work I needed to finish, and head home.
HOO-RAY, I am on break.
IMMEDIATELY start working on products to make, starting with the easiest, bath salts. For these holiday shows, I'm offering Himalayan pink salts inside my usual salt mix, with added pink rose petals (dried) and a rose essential oil blend (see below). Package those up, and then quit for the night.
Saturday: Get up, eat a little, and go to the gym. IT'S BEEN A MINUTE. I am fighting some plantar fasciitis in my left ankle, and I inform the trainer that I have to modify my workouts, which of course, she supports. Work out, feel great. Come home, eat a little more, and cruise the Internet/check my email. While on Facebook, one of the people working for the craft show I'm doing next week texts me, saying she saw the photo of the Himalayan pink salt I put on Instagram, and do I have a photo of the finished product, so she can promote it with a gift collection she's putting out on social media for the show?
YES OF COURSE I DO!
While making products, ALWAYS take a few photos of the process and the finished product, for social media. YOUR PRO TIP OF THE DAY!
I send her the photo of the finished product, and I see it later on that day in their social media! I share that post, and then decide to make about triple the amount of those salts for the show. I do have another show on Dec. 3, in case I don't sell out. But I probably will--I sold out of every promotional item I made last year.
Rouse family, get them ready, and head out for a family fun day--we are going to see Trans Siberian Orchestra! ALL the lasers, ALL the lights, ALL the fire, and amazing proficiency with instruments. If you need a spectacle and a distraction, I recommend it. Wow.
After the show, go out to eat at a favorite middle-Eastern restaurant, then home, and I collapse in bed at 8:30pm. Glorious sleep! Tomorrow--BIG production day!
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Who writes this?
Hi, I'm Amy Kalinchuk. I am an author, publisher, crafter, entrepreneur, roller derby skater, wife, mom, and friend. I try to be organized and maintain an air of enviable breezy elegance. I do not always succeed. But crafting? I can do that. And small business. I can do that, too. So can you! No, seriously, you can do this! I'll show you.