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
With only 9 days to go until Christmas we are in super crunch time! Today we sold 49 pens, that was one every 10 minutes! We were very busy and I am starting to run out of certain pens. I will go back to the warehouse on Monday night and make some more pens to take back with me for the last 7 days. So far, we have sold over 125 pens more this year than we did last year at this time. Top selling pens are still the Kallenshaan inlay pens, watch pieces pens, snake skin and antler pens and my cigar pens! Sold out of all the Faux Cigar pens – they sold fast! Well it is off to sleep another long day tomorrow!
It is holiday time at Grand Central terminal and the decorations have come out both outside and inside. This is a world famous cultural destination in Manhattan known for it’s shopping & dining. Right now, this is my home for the next 24 days! Sales of pens have been brisk in the past several days after Thanksgiving, so much so that I have to go back to my shop on Sunday and make more! Big sellers have been the Kallenshaan inlay kits, watch part pens and my tobacco wrapped cigar pens. The hours are long 10-8 but the sales are compensating for it.
Well its time to get some sleep and get ready for the Saturday crowd! Happy Turning – Barry
Grand Central Holiday Fair is now open again and my booth got a face lift thank to my web designer
Right side of booth
Susan (thanks Sue). One comment that the staff at the Holiday Fair mentioned to me last year was that I could improve on my signage and thanks to Sue we have done just that! Now people can easily see what we are selling. Another comment from the staff was how the pens were made. We added some process shots on the walls so people can see just how the pens are made. Of course we elaborate on the process to really get them focused on how much work goes into making one of the pens.
So far after 7 days of sales we are slightly ahead of last years pace but the real sales did not start until after Thanksgiving which is in a few days! We will keep you informed! Have a Happy Thanksgiving with your families and this will be the last day I have off for a while – Happy Turning – Barry
Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner Ronald Neely for his Meteorite Blue/Green Opal Inlay Fountain Pen! The kit is a Sedona Black Titanium Fountain Pen Kit. The judges had a very difficult time deciding on a winner but Ron pulled it out in the end! Just some of the comments from the judges were “original,” “nice design,” and “great fit and finish.” All entries in both categories were really great, but only one person could win the grand prize.
First runner up: Larry Morgan with his
segmented Ultra Cambridge pen
Second runner up: Joe Spina with his
Rainbow Rhodium Venetian Fountain Pen
First runner up: Oscar Fluitt with his
Shark Pit Elegant Sierra pen
Second runner up: Jim Burkett with his
segmented Gun Metal Cigar pen
Popular Vote Category:
Joe Tuinstra with his Black & Blue modified Cigar Pen Joe managed to get 725 people to look at his pen, and 117 to vote on it as their favorite!
On a personal note, this was a lot of fun for us here at Arizona Silhouette.
It is really enjoyable to see all the great entries with the creativity and diversity in kits and ideas.
I want to thank the judges, Tom Barron, Don Ward and Curtis Seebeck also the staff at AZ for their valuable input on making this a successful contest.
We look forward to doing this again next year!
Happy turning – Barry