O HAI THAR INTERWEBZ! Yesterday I declared an Arachnid Planet day, which means I holed up in my room with my door closed and did not interact in person with anyone, even Boy. He was disappointed of course, but this was one of those "is this my home or not?" things. I need a Room Of One's Own, and he knew the job was dangerous when he took it.
Because, y'see, when I got home Sunday night I was more than exhausted. After days of BAKING FRENZY and then the market, I was so out of it I was in the "mumbling incoherently and asleep on my feet" stage. The last thing I remember is I think sitting down with Boy to watch the Doctor Who that he missed. That was, I think, about 7pm. I woke up the next morning a little before 9am, and I have NO IDEA how I got from the sofa to the bed. Gaaah. Whoa. Huh?
Didn't make my break-even goal. Fell about $25 short, but there are a lot of things on my expense list that are really to be recouped over time, like promotional materials and what Alton Brown calls "hardware" -- extra baking pans etc. So Boy and I (1) had a great dinner and (2) bought expensive booze to take home. Anything else we split, which was like $10 each.
I'm actually rather lucky. It was a really slow market. It was a one-time event, so it's not like most people even knew it was happening if they didn't walk by. The space was overbooked and none of the vendors had enough room, especially the body-work people like Boy. The tarot reader had to set up in the middle of the aisle. *rolls eyes* All of the other vendors were things like jewelry and candles and other arts and crafts, most of them either on the not-cheap side of the scale or, y'know, beaded necklaces. I was the only food vendor, which was excellent, as I had the biggest customer turnover of the entire market. Even the other vendors were buying from me, which heh, because I'd already planned to give away my leftovers to the other vendors at pack-up time. I was also the only one actively trying to engage customers -- I went outside and offered free samples to passersby, gave out business cards, and even inside at my table I was saying hi to the people who passed and asked if they wanted a free slice of bread and such. Most of the other vendors just sat there talking to *each other*. One of them even sat with her back to the aisle to do so! While I was outside I observed such to the market boss, who was also trying to draw in the punters, and she said they were "networking". W'ever.
Aaaannnyway, What I Learned: The crusty white sandwich bread was a waste of time -- sold one loaf. The english muffins didn't sell very well either because they had to be kept in a cooler; they weren't on the table and if people can't see it and taste it they won't buy it. On the other hand, the Anadama and Honey Wheat zoomed off the table, and I almost ran out of lemon-ginger scones! Generally brought too much merchandise; that was a combo of expecting more people in attendance and my obsessive baking insanity.
Another thing I learned: be more of a pro. Estimate how much product you want to produce, work out how much ingredients you'll need. You won't constantly be saying "shit, I ran out of butter again!" And you'll also be able to determine prices per loaf for break even and profit margin.
Yeah, I'm going to look around for more markets. For the more professional ones I have to get a ServSafe certificate. I was hoping to bring in enough cash to fund the course/exam, but not. Shrug.
In the end, though, I had a great time. GONZO LIVES!
Gonzo Bread Co.
- WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE VENDING MARKET, by Spider, age 47