Monday, April 21, 2008

Aprons vs. Booty Shorts



What sells at a fundraiser when it’s hosted at a biker’s bar? Sex and alcohol—not clutches, aprons, purses, beauty products, floral arrangements, or glass art pieces.


Connie and I didn’t realize the Special Olympics fundraiser site was a bar until we arrived at the event’s address; nor did we understand that 99.5% of the attendees would be bikers although we knew there would be some, just not that many. We didn’t sell a single thing.


My cowgirl bags didn’t sell.


These didn’t sell either, although Connie absconded with one.



My clutches didn’t sell—nor did the aprons or anything else I prepared.

The organizers invited only five vendors and later told us that they had not had good luck with selling things in the past. I’m not surprised. Out of the five, only one woman had booming sales.



This is Jamie, a biker from South Dakota who designs products that fit right in with the target market group. She kindly posed with her husband, Chi Chi.

Jamie’s helmet spikes sold along with her thongs and booty shorts (new term for me). You can visit her web site to see her products. Her table was popular because she is part of this eclectic biker community and knows what they want. Here is her business card--it took me a while to figure out what her business name means.



Lesson learned for the rest of us. Know your market, a mandate of which we were ignorant. Connie and I envisioned families, Special Olympics athletes, and community supporters.



What to do when you’re the equivalent of an apron surrounded by leather and chains? You adapt. We adapted by simply contributing cash and I overcame my fear of the chains, tattoos, and tough exteriors by talking to people who turned out to be quite nice. It was an alien world for me, but I made friends and Chi Chi let me sit on his Harley—a first for me.



At the end of the day, this is what it is really all about.



It’s about people like this sweet child (his adoptive parents gave me permission to take his photo), one of only three children we saw the entire day—and for good reason. Being a volunteer for a good cause like the Special Olympics is an opportunity that transcends boundaries of all sorts, no matter the circumstances in which we find ourselves.



I don’t regret a single thing.

27 comments:

Kim Bates said...

Oh Junie! Sometimes the Universe just throws us a zinger to show us all the wonders in the world! What a fun experience! And your attitude is really the thing that matters most!
I just finished reading "Moon Over Madeline Island" because of you- what fun and it inspired me to keep following my dream! Have you read "A New Earth"? I'm sure you would find it very inspiring and you would totally get it! You have made an impact on my life...keep up the great work!!! Love reading your blog!
Kim

Ali said...

Oh my word - that's an eye popper of a business card! You really made me laugh. Now quick, go and put all those things you made in an etsy shop and donate the profits from there instead. Much safer!

Although I have to say, you look suspiciously content on that Harley...

Rosie's Whimsy said...

Oh June....you were a fish out of water! You sweet soul you.....take Ali's advice and sell your goodies on Etsy and donate the proceeds.......or donate them to a Hospital gift shop. My, My, the places we will go........can't help but smile....what a good sport you are! ((hugs)) Rosie

Florence said...

Well done for being so open-minded and embracing all that was so unexpectedly different - it sounds like you turned what could have been a difficult day into a brilliant learning experience and met some nice people. You have my admiration...it's hard to bounce back so quickly when sitting next to weeks worth of unsold needlework. x

sassypriscilla said...

June - your post cracked me up and made me feel so sad for all your hard work at the same time. I'd love to buy a clutch - one with the skulls, I think (blue, red, white?) - and pay to have it shipped to me.

I've never had any success at craft fairs. I can't apparently think outside what I would want! I've vowed never to enter another one.

Alice said...

I guess the real estate addage of location, location, location also applies to craft shows. I wonder if you can hang onto all of your items until a special olmpics event and sell them there? Here's to be being open to new people and new experiences no matter how far from our comfort zones!

Sue said...

As I read your post, I laughed out loud, then felt sad, and ended up laughing again! I'm sad that things didn't turn out as planned, but the others' suggestions are great. The business card took me a minute, but once I 'got it' it sure made my eyes pop and jaw drop...then gave me another good laugh!

meggiecat said...

You made my day and put a smile on my face. Given lemons you'll make lemonade!

Kristie said...

You've such a good and courageous heart; I would've left. But not you. You look great on that hog!

Pat said...

OH June! What a debacle! I can't believe the organizers did not choose a better venue for the Special Olympics Fundraiser then that! It almost seems like it was a scam.
But, in your true sweet spirit you made the best of it, and I have to admit those pictures told a great story that is worth a prize! :-D
I hope you and Connie will always have a good laugh when you think back on it.
I think the idea of your having an Etsy store, with the profits of what you sell going to charity, is a good one! Do you have any other ways to sell your beautiful things in time for the event?

Hugs, Pat

Yummers! said...

Oh, Junie... my heart aches for you and all that work you put into everything. What are you going to do with it all? How about Etsy?? I'll buy something... or several. What an experience!! You look really cute up there on that Harley... known as HOGS in this area.
Joni

Anonymous said...

Wow.....just, wow! Good for you, for looking at it as a learning experience and a chance to meet some people you normally wouldn't. It's all rather odd though, why do the organizers have it at a biker bar, especially if they haven't had much luck with sales in the past?! Interesting! I don't know if you want to mess with selling your things online but I'm sure they'd sell, especially considering it's such a good cause. (that lady's business card is a real doozy!)

from Karen @ Weathertop Farm, blogger refuses to recogonize my password for some reason

Carol said...

I am cracking up right now. I love the picture of you on the bike :)

calamitykim said...

I love how you made lemonade with yer lemons! Sometimes, ya just have to go with the flow! I vote for ETSY too! The cowgirl bag is very sweet! I love that fabric! I also read the other posts and went to several of the links about craft shows- very informative! Thanks for sharing your research! I love you Junie Moon! Keep on shining! xxxooo kim

Cat said...

Oh no Junie I am so sorry that you didn't sell a single thing. However, it does sound like you had fun. Would you be able to put the stuff in an etsy shop and then donate the profits. I know I would be buying ;-)

Hugs!!!

Anonymous said...

I think you are my first real life, normal, everyday, hero. You have so many dimensions that come through in this blog. I love that you adapt and go with the flow and find the positive in everything. You are an amazing person (and I only know you through the blog. Your "in real life" friends and family are blessed to have you in their lives!).

nicolette said...

Junie, this is such a wonderful story though you sold nothing.. Didn’t you have the giggles afterwards? Oh my, you should indeed let us all buy one of your wonderful creations, so you can donate to the Special Olympics after all.
I love the business card... I’ve never seen anything like it before..!

Thimbleanna said...

Wow Junie! You're just awesome! You have the best attitude. Ever. Thanks for another Fabulous post!

African Kelli said...

Okay, that is the funniest story I've read in a long time. Let's have some prices! I want a clutch and a bag if there are any left!
And thank goodness for your great attitude!

Jacquie said...

So...when do we see your "bootie shorts?" lol

Beverly said...

I would certainly be thrilled to purchase a clutch if you decide to sell them online!

Storybook Woods said...

Oh my goodness June, I do not know quite what to say. Except you handled it very well. My goodness what a day. Love Clarice

Jan said...

Now how did I know that you would find a silver lining in an otherwise disappointing situation? I applaud you for finding the humor in it and making the best of the day. I have a feeling you made everyone of your readers smile today.

hunnybunny said...

Oh Junie, I'm sorry you didn't sell anything there, and think the idea of an etsy shop is a remarkable one. I'm glad you got to know some of the bikers in my experience some of the nicest people I've met were bikers. It's funny how once you get past the rough and tumble image they can be such remarkable community oriented people. Like you, there's a reason you look so natural on that bike. OK maybe not, just a suggestion.

Saucy said...

Junie, June June,

Oh, I'm sorry but I laughed and laughed at the thought of you at a biker bar with Chi Chi. And all that hard work of yours getting ready... but that business card really was a riot. Honestly, June, what will you get into next?

Fiona @ Dragonfly-Crafts said...

I'm so sorry June, what a shame NOTHING sold. Unusual place for a fundraising function. Maybe you can sell them somewhere else?
So glad you made some new friends and you look "HOT" on that Harley.
Sounds like a great day anyway.

Jennifer said...

I'm so sorry things didn't turn out like you had hoped. Who picked the location for the auction? I would think there would be other places that would be more successful and draw a more diverse crowd.

Hmmm....

An etsy shop sounds like a wonderful plan!

Good luck!

-Jen