Sunday, November 14, 2010

Boutique Day

No posts for almost a week means exactly what the title of my last post said - crunch time! There has also been no cooking at my house this week. The days before a show are always crazy because I'm trying to get a million things done. The boxes of candles need to be unpacked and re-organized because at the end of a show all I usually want to do is get the heck out of there, so I end up throwing them all back into the boxes with reckless abandon. I don't know which scents ended up in which boxes, and it's always a mess. I also need to take inventory so I can replace any popular sellers that are running low, and this time I made some new ones because I added a couple of new scents this week. Since I'm on my own for this show, I have to make sure I have the supplies I need in case I actually sell something - shopping bags, tissue wrap so the candles don't bang around inside the bags, business cards, pens, calculator, tablecloths, lots of small bills to make change... you get the idea. All the vendors were also required to donate an item for the door prize raffle. Of course, in the midst of all this work, I still have to go to work at my real job. Making the candles is the fun part, but I still have to do the packaging, labeling, adding price tags and warning labels, and then there is cutting and tying those cute little strips of homespun that I think adds a unique personal touch to my candles. It can all get pretty tedious though, especially when the cat decides one of my tubs or boxes is a good place for a nap, or when I stand up for a split second and sit back down on one of the dogs. Damn, those girls are quick!

This is a little bit of my week in pictures:

Freshly poured candle wax waiting to set up and cool. The little strip of red at the bottom of the jars is the color they will be when they are finished.

I wanted to use my new mini-cinnamon bun mold to make some more tarts. These are just cute little chunks of scented wax that you can melt in a tart warmer, there is no wick and no flame. I wanted to make them look more realistic so I experimented with coloring the wax and adding some real cinnamon. The "icing" is scented wax colored white. If I add the icing while the wax is very hot it looks more like a glaze, but if I let it cool a bit it looks more like thick, rich frosting. I was very pleased with the result. Don't these look good enough to eat?

I wanted to do something creative with some quart jars I had on hand, so I stocked up on those cute little fall "picks" at Hobby Lobby when they were 1/2 price. I spent a few hours one afternoon cutting them up and filling the jars, then topping it with a votive cup and one of my own hand-poured votive candles. I want to do the same thing with Christmas lights and tiny ornaments, but since this boutique was held in a synagogue I was not allowed to have any Christmas items. I think these would make a lovely Thanksgiving centerpiece - and I still have a few left!

I finished all the last minute preparations yesterday, and we loaded everything up last night. We were up bright and early this morning so I could be there by 8 am to set up. Last night was pretty cold, so once everything was set up and the jars started to warm up, it was funny to listen to some of the lids go "ping" just like they do after you've been canning and your jars begin to cool. Anyway, here is my display table all set up and ready to go:

Another view:

Today's boutique was a short one, only 5 hours. I met some new people and reconnected with old friends, and even sold a few candles! It was all good. Next weekend I will load it all up again and spend a fun afternoon at my friend Carrie's house. Carrie is a Pampered Chef consultant - she started after I quit, and unlike me, she has been very successful. She is having an open house and has graciously invited me to bring my candles. We did this last year and it was great fun! She invited a few other ladies as well - there were purses, jewelry, and Dove chocolate. You heard me. I hope she's back again this year, because there were samples.

The next step for me is making a decision about whether or not I want to continue doing these shows next year. I would by lying if I didn't say that all the hard work and preparation with no guarantees of selling a single thing isn't getting a little old. There are some options I need to explore first, but it's possible that there might be a website in my future. Stay tuned...

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