When What Can Go Wrong Does Go Wrong

Being a small business, a creative person, an artist, a self-employed person… there are so many things that can go wrong, and usually no one but yourself to fix it. You can’t keep going if you don’t adapt.

Fortunately, we are stubborn.

Oops, We forgot something!

 

With as many shows as we have done, it is to be expected that occasionally something has been left behind. Packing for events is never not stressful, no matter how many times we have done it, and it often happens at the end of very long weeks trying to make as many things as we possibly can.

Sometimes, it is specialty displays that get left. We left our mask displays behind once, before we learned how to show them on gridwall. Last minute solution? Skinny pillows from Goodwill that matched our booth colors. We still use the pillows to add some interest to our displays.

Inventory that gets left behind is probably the most annoying. That’s things that might have sold that customers never see. Fortunately, all of our inventory doesn’t fit in just one box, so we’ve never left behind all of our inventory. It does mean putting out pretty much everything else we have made to make up for it.

Most recently, we forgot a bag of stakes that goes to our large, medieval pavilion for a one weekend event. It uses both large stakes for tension and small stakes to pin the 16 poles. Replacing all of those at a moment’s notice was next to impossible and would have been painfully expensive. In that case, it was a cost decision – buying a new backup tent at Walmart was more cost effective than buying all new stakes. So creative use of Walmart canopys it was!

For one show, we even had our entire tent not ship on time! And that’s why one of our backup tents is a 10 x 20 carport.

Rain, and Wind Oh My!

If you do outdoor shows, you have to contend with weather.

Actually, amend that. Sometimes, you have to contend with weather even with an indoor show. Shows on snow days where no one can make it to your indoor show are a not good you can’t do anything about.

And then there was that one time there was a pipe leak above our booth and we had to move tables to avoid stinky water. Thank goodness none of our products were directly under it!

But rain and wind… they will happen, and you have to adapt.

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Poor mangled steel tent! The only tents that survived the night were the full reenactor tents.

Wind is our least favorite. Several seasons ago, we lost three pop up tents in the course of a year. One was twisted beyond any hope of salvaging by a hurricane remnant. That was the year that made us buy our medieval pavilion!

Sometimes, it just means no sleeping in the tent at night, like we usually do at renaissance faires. High winds or thunderstorms tearing through a camp site can send us to sleeping in the car – which at this point we are well prepared for with foam mats and car blankets. It used to send us to a hotel.

And then there’s rain. Rain is easier for a tent set up than wind, but not good on leather products or on foot traffic. Product we can shift, and what is where will rotate when the rain get bad. Leather goes to where it is most protected, wood gets a little wet. But rain also means mud. We were “the dock” at last year’s Virginia Renaissance Faire because the hill became a river that parted around our makeshift wooden platform. Not setting up for an extended time without a platform again!

But if it’s only a one weekend event, we have to rely on organizers for things like straw. Our poor neighbors once had a river through their tent!

But whatever the problem, if there is a show we have paid for, we will be there! Maybe sometimes a little late. Maybe sick or sleep deprived. But we’ll be there!

What show disasters have you had to deal with? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments!

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