Yesterday was the first bazaar day which we held in our parents' garage. I had my own reservations and doubts as to the level of success we could achieve that day but I was pretty sure about what we wanted to accomplish. We wanted to see if we have something to work on in terms of a theme and an idea, and if the customers (the ones we hoped to attract) will pick up on it, and we also wanted to learn how else we can fine-tune everything. While we didn't make much in terms of actual sales, our first day taught us tons of good lessons (as well as confirmed or resolved some thoughts we were not sure about) and we were actually pleased and happy as we closed shop by the end of the day.
|Tending shop is hard work - occasional refreshments are needed.|
|Interestingly, even with the bright low prices, the garage sale customers (mostly female) were hesitant to explore. Even more interesting, we had more male customers drawn in compared to previous garage sales.|
Then it rained during lunch break just as we were hoping for the employees in the surrounding streets to drop by after their lunch. The rain didn't let up until 2PM. A lot of people passed by but they were huddled inside their umbrellas and walking too fast and not even looking anywhere else but ahead.
|We had to move some items out of the rain which messed up our display arrangements a bit. But people were not really looking so I guess it didn't really matter.|
|After raining for the whole of the lunch break period, the sun came out. The street was empty and quiet, as empty and quiet as our bazaar, which actually made us want to take a nap and eat merienda.|
|Rice cakes for merienda. Delicious and filling at only Php5 per piece.|
|And this is how I passed the time especially since we had a lot of it in our hands. The last time I did crochet was in high school. Was happy to find out it's like riding a bike, you never forget (although I have never actually ridden a bike).|
|My sister passed the time by sewing pretty things on my plain brown shoes. Customers who dropped in asked about the shoes if they were for sale. Even the males!|
Normally I would be saddened and discouraged by a day like this. but for some reason I remained optimistic and even excited by all the things that I learned and realized as I observed the customers and the shop dynamics. I scribbled ideas in a notepad, things to consider for the other days of the bazaar (December 4, 16 and 19).
I am also still inspired by the original idea from which this whole bazaar thing sprung from (something I will write about more when it is more a reality than just an idea). As thoughts popped in my head as I made my observations, it also became clearer to me what matters and what is really important. All those years of brand work and strategic sessions and consumer insight projects are probably finally becoming even more real to me. Not only that, I am also discovering interesting new twists and perspective in the usual marketing mix.
Today I am recovering from the exhaustion of the past week and recharging myself for another shop day on Sunday. I am eager to try out a few new things.
One last thing before I sign off on this post: the last couple of weeks of work I did preparing, creating, problem-solving, doing lots of legwork, physical setting up, designing, learning, and everything else has been comparable to a nationwide in-depth consumer research project topped off with a few more layers of midnight work marathons. But I felt infinitely happier and more satisfied at the end of each day, especially as my hands touch each hand-sewn flower or lace trimming, or as I wash my hands gray from sifting through thrift items. My hands, bone-tired and crusty with glue or cramped from so much writing or criss-crossed with thread cuts or mapped with needle punctures. Everything feels real. Yet everything also feels rooted in that realm of soul where I could not enter before. This is no longer just about mental prowess or intelligence or those stuff that fill up an annual evaluation form. This is about heart. This is about spirit. I will be dramatic and say I believe my life's purpose is peeking around the next corner. I hope and pray that I am able to stay on this path even as I have to fulfill financial responsibilities and obligations. Dear Universe, I request for aid and thank you for everything.