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
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