This weekend the weather was perfect – slightly cooler, but bright sun, and not even the faintest hint of weather issues. Saturday morning we rolled out of our driveway loaded with all we would need for the two days in Lincoln Park…. and it was a crisp cool morning. We quickly found our booth space and drove the SUV right behind the space to set up. Wow, our neighbors on either side were the same as last year. John Gulyas and Marianne Posch are amazing silversmiths. We have been admirors of their work for years. On the other side was the family of photographers that specialize in photos that are architectual detail and spell out words or names. Across from us were a stained glass and glass blowing artist, an art poster gallery and another photographer/print maker. There was a synergy and vibe in the air that is so unique to Tremont. Residents came out with the dogs, strolling the park. And the announcements – 1 hour to show open… 30 minutes to show open – move your vehicles off the park. And then it started… we knew because over the sound system boomed Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”… the classic first sounds of the festival. There were swelling crowds, and friendly people.
And we were so thrilled to see so many old friends, people Steve used to work with, and residents of the neighborhood that remember us. Our tent was bustling. We must have given hundreds of salt and sugar scrub “Hand Spas” over the course of the weekend….
What was new?
- Wine Crate Displays: We put our newly sourced out wine crates into the displays, and they added height and interest in the Salt/Sugar Scrubs and allowed us to display them more vertically. We also put the crates into use with our Shave Kits and Shave Soap… we like the look of wood… simple yet sophisticated.
- Storyboard Signs: A first attempt to create visual interest and provide education on both the Salt/Sugar Scrubs and the Reblooming Bags. I had glued photos and printed pages onto a black Foamcore board. I liked the idea, but need to perhaps get this printed professionally as the outdoor environment compromised the foamcore. With the ReBlooming Bags I wanted to create an interest in where the various colors of plastic bag come from. Those who stopped and read it enjoyed it, but the signage was below the table and was often lost in the swirl of people in the booth.
- Elaine’s Wallpaper Upcycled bags: Thank you Elaine Slea for your wonderful donation of a box of bags made by sewing the sides of the wallpaper to create lovely one of a kind bags. We had more people want to buy the bags than i have ever imagined. The green “upcycle” factor was a very popular idea. They loved it. And we are so thankful for your generosity.
- Wine Crate Checkout Station: We positioned a small table with a wine crate atop it for our checkout… cash register, bags, business cards. It worked out great. we had a lovely arrangement… and people naturally gravitated toward the checkout because of the bags.
And where was the farthest a customer this weekend came from? We had a number of folks visit us from Detroit, and Syracuse, Colombus, Cincinnatti, but the one group of people that came the farthest were three people from Beijing China. How wild is that to know our soap will be going home to China. It is fascinating to see where our work is going. I am toying with the idea of laminating a world map and beginning to mark with pins where our products have gone.
We also had a number of people stop and visit us because they saw us at Brookstock in July. That is always a wonderful treat to have people follow up, because they love the products and wanted to buy more. We love repeat customers!!!!
What were our Big Sellers? Ofcourse the soap was selling well, and the Salt and Sugar Scrubs were very popular. This year a few of my higher end reblooming bags sold, as did a few pieces of my silk. That was a blessing and a surprise.
We had a cute incident occur sunday. A little girl came into the booth, sniffed most of the soap, and then we heard lots of coins gingling. She was $1 short of affording the bar of soap, and wanted to get it for her mom for a gift. My husband sold the soap to her for the money she had in her hand…. she tugged on his shirt and said can you lean down here… and gave him a big kiss, with tears in her eyes. She was so moved that Steve would be so kind. We dont know the story behind it, but we too were moved, encouraged that we are allowed to see those moments and have those glimpses of compassion.
And then there were the street dance troop that was dressed in black leotards with pink tutus and flamingo faces on their hands… A mom had a toddler in the stroller in our booth as this troop passed… we knew the child was freaked out because of the blood curdling screaming. Poor little one was scared to death. It didn;t help that one of the dancers bent down to her height to show her the puppets… the screaming got more intense. Oh, poor baby… she did eventually calm down.
Our booth was also ground zero for a gathering of friends, coworkers, family… with incredible connections – my friends that are nurses and work at a specific hospital finally met each other… that was awonderful connection. Even our pastor and family visited, and their kids had a riot in the kids village….
I plan to put pictures up within the day, but wanted to post this and say we had a wonderful weekend. We were dog tired at the end of it, but the tiredness was well worth the many blessings we received. Thank you Tremont. Another amazing year!!!