Chatsworth (Part IV)

So now we are on Sunday. Spirits were still good, since we all had always promised ourselves to see this as a mini holiday rather than a serious “must sell” event. We packed all our stuff from the rooms, loaded the cars, dropped Michael’s car at a parking lot outside the estate and arrived again well in time before the RCA tent even opened.

Obviously our expectations in terms of sales were dampened, and the start to the day was indeed slow. However, it did pick up considerably, and in the end Sunday was a good day. In fact, had all three days had the same turnover as Sunday, we would have walked away with a small profit. There were even some people who poked their heads in in the morning, said they’d come back in the afternoon, and they did. We sold the last item, a pair of candlesticks for £35, just before we started packing up all our goods. Last minute, sort of. No discount, though (can’t afford that).

We also had some surprise visitors. At around 11:00, Helen’s cousin Jane popped in to pay us a visit. She runs her own business with flower arrangements, mostly for weddings and birthdays, and therefore has a good appreciation for what goes into running a small business and preparing a trade stall. She even bought a bottle stopper as a present for her dad. We always suspected she might pay us a visit, but it was still nice to see her.

And then an even bigger surprise. Another of Helen’s cousins, John, and his wife Rachel, appeared in the tent. They were completely unexpected, and John admitted that if it wasn’t for the fine weather and the fact that they live just round the corner, they wouldn’t have come. They didn’t even know we had a stall there (I don’t promote my business amongst the family, it either works with the general public or it doesn’t). And they also bought some small items.

And then we had a guy who bought my red monkeypuzzle bowl. He was so taken in by the various bowls, his wife had to almost physically restrain him from buying more than one. Not that we would have minded.

Customers are a funny lot. They come in all shades, ages, genders (we even had a gay couple), you name it. That goes to show that the fascination with wood goes across all boundaries, age groups, education. Most people like the material, and want to touch it, feel the grain. I just have to figure out what to put in front of them, so that they cannot resist and buy it.

In the end, we sold about a dozen items on Sunday, all across the range from £3.50 to £65. In the end we had even used the payment box a few times, and it worked smoothly. What a relief. Nobody ever haggled over the prices, but then some of the items were priced down from my usual level. Again, this is an area where I have to figure out what I can charge without scaring people off. If somebody is willing to spend £60 on a nice bowl, would they also spend £70 or £80?

Around 17:45 we started packing our stuff, and by 19:00 we were ready to leave. That was another success, being able to break down the stand and put it into the van completely in less than 90 minutes helps. The trip back home was largely uneventful, and that was Chatsworth done.

The next couple of posts will deal with things like: success or failure, being considerate or not, and other general ramblings. Oh, and lest I forget, I have now secured a stall at the Craft & Design Expirience in Henley-on-Thames, running from 24th of June to 26th of June. See you there!

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