It is that time of the year again, Grand Central Holiday Fair is coming up in 29 days. The panic and stress is really kicking in now. I have to get ready to take over 1,300 pens to this show and I am not yet there. I have about 700 ready so I will be in high pen making mode for the next 29 days! I am making pens morning and night and going to the warehouse during the day. As you can see I have my booth in our sun room and touching up the paint with special fire retardant paint (NYC fire regulations). Next week, I will start to lay out the new graphics and put the pens in place to make sure it all looks good before we take it to NYC on November 16th.
This weekend I will be demonstrating casting and turning acrylics at the Ohio Valley Woodturning Symposium and during the other demonstrations, you guessed it I will be making pens! So, if you are in the area stop by the symposium in West Harrison Indiana and say hi! Happy Turning – Barry
Just a quick update from the Washington DC Pen Show. This was my sixteenth (16th) year that I have displayed my pens at this show and it was the best show in all those years! My first show was with Rich Kleinheinz in 2004, where we split a booth because we did not know if our “hand made” pens would sell at a Fountain Pen show. We were pleasantly surprised and I have been attending ever since. I believe that the key for successful sales over the years is absolutely having new items for sale each year. I have “regular” customers that come each year to see what new pens I have and each year I pick up another new customer that asks me if this was my first year to display at the show! They looked shocked when I tell them it was my 16th year there.
My new pen for this year was my “Moon Tree” pen which I sold several of them. The pen is made from Sycamore seeds that flew to the moon and back on Apollo 14. I told you about this pen in my last blog. Fountain Pens were of course the most popular but the inlay kits from Kallenshaan still remain a very strong seller! Every year at this show I see more and more younger people asking for fountain pens which is a very exciting trend. Of course you still get the odd person who asks who uses a pen anymore? But then again why are they there at a fountain pen show? Still it was a great show and I hope it carries over to my next high end craft show in September in Tarrytown, NY. Talk to you later – Happy Turning -Barry
The ICPCR wholesale Cigar Show is over and I am driving back home. Today Wednesday I drove 13 hours to get a jump on getting home. The store owners liked the way the booth looked and my large overhead sign did attract attention. The pens that got a lot of attention were the Faux Cigar pens followed up by the tobacco leaf pens.
This show was huge! Some of the larger Cigar Manufacturers such as Cohiba, Drew Estate, Perdomo, Oliva, Fuente and others had booths which were at least 2,000 square feet with a minimum of 20 sales reps in each booth! And here we were with 2 people! Speaking of people, I want to thank a good friend of mine Susan Doring-Zook who came out to the show to help me – thanks Susan!
Will I do this how next year is still up in the air, I will have to see how many orders come in to make it worth the time and effort. I have to get some sleep, I have another 1,500 miles to go before I get home – Happy Turning – Barry
After 2,527 miles I arrived in Las Vegas and got an early jump on the setup at the Sands Convention Center by dropping off
all 600 pounds of my booth at the convention center. I first stopped by the Hoover Dam and marveled at this mass construction job! It truly is massive and the parks department did a great job on the new viewing sites for the dam. The image I took was from the new bridge spanning the Colorado river from Arizona to Nevada carrying interstate 11 and 93.
It is 98 degrees in the convention hall and so I will start to set it up on Thursday. I will show you so images of the set up tomorrow – Happy Turning – Barry
Driving out of Denver on route 70 west thru the Rocky Mountains is a fantastic drive. The river, people white water rafting, the tremendous cliffs and then I did something I always wanted to see – The Arches National Park in Utah. Two of the more famous rock formations that have been there for millions of years. The first is called balance rock (for obvious reasons) and the second one is called the window arch. These are really two separate arches but AI took the picture from an angle that makes it look like a pair of eyes with a nose.
Well tomorrow I might roll into Las Vegas but before I do I will go to thru the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam! Then it is work! Long days of driving but I always wanted to see this part of the country.
Drove 11 hours today and let me tell you that Kansas is a wide state 424 miles and boy is it flat! After the days journey, I wound up just outside of Denver in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. It is the end of June and there is still snow on these mountains and it is cold here. The elevation is over 9,000 feet and it is 42 degrees and I am in shorts and a tee shirt not thinking I would be stopping in the mountains. Wait until tomorrow when I am in Las Vegas in 100 degree heat!
Thanks everyone for the suggestions, I will see how many I can cram into this trip.
Day one is in the books. I drove 929 miles stopping four times including a side trip to Casey, IL. to see the “BIG” stuff they have there. In Casey, IL a small town that houses BIG things like the worlds largest rocking chair at 56.5 feet tall. They also have the worlds largest functioning mail box at 5,743 cubic feet. You can mail a letter inside the mail box. Finally there was a giant pencil 32.5 feet in length. (how many pen’s could we make out of that wood?
Time to get some sleep for the drive tomorrow. If anyone has some suggestions for tomorrow, I am all ears? Thanks – Barry
Okay, I am officially in panic mode! Next weekend I start my 2,700 mile solo journey (don’t worry Lenora & Mike are still in the warehouse taking & filling orders) to the International Cigar Retailers Association Meeting. I have to be in Las Vegas on Thursday to start setting up my booth for the 6 thousand attendees! I have been making pens like crazy for the last month and like all of you, thinking just one more of a particular pen style will do, and I wind up make 6 of them! I will be offering my Faux Cigars and other finished pens to the association members. It will take about 5 days to drive out there and then the show is 5 days and another 5 days back home. It will be my great adventure!
Does anyone have any suggestions for different & interesting places to stop or sites to see, like the world’s largest ball of string? That was just an example but I will be driving east to west in a straight line taking route 70 west most of the way. So any suggestions where to stop, will be helpful. Thanks and I will keep you posted. – Happy Turning – Barry.
At the Woodworking Shows people have been asking me how the Holiday Fair turned out, and I apologize for this blog being so late. We broke down the booth the day after Christmas and then started getting ready for the Woodworking Shows and it has been non-stop ever since! Every Thursday we leave for another city, and do not get back until Monday morning, then we have to replenish the products we sold over the weekend at the show, and get them organized and shipped to the next location. This weekend will be the 8th Woodworking show (Milwaukee) and we are pleased to see all our friends at each city!
The final tally, after 42 grueling days of selling from 10 AM until 8 PM, we wound up selling 965 pens! The Cigar pens with the tobacco and cigar bands wrapped around the pen tubes were still the best selling pens followed by the Kallenshaan inlay kits and watch part pens. Last year we sold 745 pens. I’m crediting the improved packaging with the increase in sales. All the inlay kits were coupled with a matching box, and by having a matching themed box, it made for a perfect gift! A vineyards inlay kit was coupled with a wine pen box, and a caduceus inlay kit was matched with a caduceus box. How these were presented made a big difference! The pens without a matching box took longer to sell than a pen with a matching box, and we also charged more for that product than just a pen. It’s a “no-brainer” to offer your higher end pens with a nice box. It increases sales!
People ask me would I do it again and my answer is Yes, I would do it again! Hope to see you at the next Woodworking Show Happy Turning – Barry
Well, I got back from a a month plus residency at the successful Grand Central Holiday Craft Show, and jumping right into The Woodworking Shows! I will be teaching seminars each day. The full schedule is at the bottom of my bio page. It’s a lot of fun! I was happy to see MANY new, and younger, faces at the first one in Baltimore last week!
KANSAS CITY, MO
ST. LOUIS, MO