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  • Writer's picturemyzenacres

The Beginning

The last few months have been a whirlwind of productivity. I had the opportunity to go to Zurich with my sweet husband for work, however, I felt like spending the money on my plane ticket was not the right decision at this point in our lives. I had not yet made any real progress in my burgeoning business, mainly due to lack of start up funds. So the money we had set aside for Zurich, thanks to my dad’s luck in a reverse raffle prize generously shared with us, became the money I needed to buy the supplies to get this train out of the station. Zurich will always be there.

The big opportunity came in the form of Wendell Wonderland, the annual holiday event in downtown Wendell. It was only $25 to secure a table in the vendor area on Main Street. I decided to try my hand at homemade bath products, as well as my favorite baked goodies. The cookies and Muddy Buddies were a no brainer, as I had made them all so many times before. The time and effort involved were significant, but it is what I love to do and what my family and friends love to enjoy. The bath products were a new endeavor, but with some recipes and creativity the options and outcome were fantastic. Bath bombs were certainly a trial and error process with some turning out better than others; in the end they were lots of fun and my kids enjoyed being the testers. The sugar scrubs were very simple, yet the variety of scents and colors I created provided something to make everyone smile as they took a whiff of the intoxicating aromas. The last product I offered were cold relief shower melts: a combination of eucalyptus and peppermint which are so helpful when you’re congested. It was so much fun preparing these products for the big night!

When the night of the event arrived, I was filled with nervous anticipation. I was hopeful that friends and family would visit, in addition to looking forward to meeting new people and fellow vendors. As luck would have it, I chose a spot between a sweet lady selling candles and a spicy mama selling delicious salsas. I set up in front of the wine and beer store that hosts my weekly yoga class; it was a familiar location so I felt at home. I hurriedly set up with the help of some local football players getting in some community service hours. The young man who helped me lug all of my heavy totes to my site happily got paid in cookies. My hubby was en route from Zurich and my parents were taking care of my kids, so I was flying solo for this event. Fortunately visitors came and supported my efforts, including the kids and parents who were a happy sight for this mama. I truly appreciated the encouragement of the friends who stopped by and stocked up on sugar scrubs. It was a chilly evening full of excitement and friendly banter set to the holiday tunes sung by a local church choir. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience at my first vendor event.

There were many lessons learned during this experience. The biggest lesson came when I discovered that the church a block away was having a “cookie walk” at the same time as the town event. People were walking by my table with boxes full of cookies, which made selling my cookies a little more challenging. There were a few sweet grandmas who bought some for their grandchildren in tow, rave reviews from all, but at the end of the evening I was left with a lot of cookies. Lucky for me, the salsa lady took some in trade for a jar of her spicy tomatillo salsa. Other lessons came in the form of questions from potential customers, as well as my restrictions to cash and PayPal payment options. My favorite question of the night was, “Where do you source your ingredients?” To which I replied, “Walmart and Amazon.” Not sure what answer she was looking for, but I was truthful.

I left at the end of the evening exhausted and satisfied. Even with a pile of cookies left over, I had sold a good number of bath products, got my name out there, and met some lovely locals. Since that night I have continued to learn and grow in my production of sugar scrubs, as well as adding face scrubs and body butters to the mix. This is only the beginning. I have so very much to learn about making skin care products, starting a business, and balancing this new endeavor along with caring for my family and household. I pride myself on being a lifelong learner, yet I didn’t realize that this new path would teach me more about myself than the new subjects I am exploring. Challenge accepted.

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