Thank you so much to everyone who dropped by our booth at the Grand Lodge of California’s 167th Annual Communication, (especially Eddie Rivera who told me on Facebook he'd come by and he was true to his word. =) And a special thanks to everyone who said they enjoyed my designs, while I’m hoping to eventually make money from the t-shirts, It’s not about the money, (of course if I don’t make a profit eventually I will have to stop so….). I design them because I enjoy designing them and it really gives me a good feeling when someone else says they enjoy them too.
Before I tell you how we did and if we’re coming back next year, (spoiler alert – we are), let me tell you about some of the interesting obstacles we faced. Two days before we’re scheduled to leave I find out we have a corner booth. Cool right? Well, not so much if you designed everything as a standard on the aisle booth, particularly when you are using pre-cut pvc as your racks. Still, I didn’t panic. I spent quite a bit of Wednesday morning in my driveway working within a taped off area that represented our 8 x 10 booth, and I found a way to make it work.
At least I did until I got to GL and found out that my booth was only 8 x 6, and it came with a large pillar in one of the corners, (about 4’ around). Right about this time I was having a meltdown, in fact, I’d say some of the words coming out of my mouth were definitely not repeatable in polite company. My first booth layout sucked, however, after some more thought I was able to get it to where I felt it worked pretty well. Luckily I had brought plenty of extra connectors just in case, and I was able to stretch the sandbags that I was using as anchors.
By Friday morning I was starting to feel like things were going to be ok until our next door neighbors moved in – they were our competition. That’s right, two t-shirt booths side-by-side, probably not the best idea…. But we’re all brothers and we managed to get along great.
But that’s enough of the doom and gloom, you’re probably wondering how we did right?
Well we sold 161 t-shirts and 6 hats! All of which sounds great but we barely managed to break even. So why come back if there’s no profit to be had? Simple, the exposure was awesome! We met some fantastic people, vendors, GL Officers, Past Grand Lodge Masters, wives, you name it. We learned a lot about what to do and what not to do, and while I doubt we’ll ever get rich selling t-shirts at GL, I’m betting every year will get a little better in sales and we’ll still learn new things. Plus it was fun. =)
I’ve already got some great ideas for next year.
So how did the designs do? Well, Is That Your Ship Yonder was our best seller and accounted for 24% of total sales, mostly in Navy as opposed to Black. Second place was the new California Freemason at 15% of sales, and third place was the new Made In America at 13% of total sales. Honorable mentions go to the Two Flags Veteran design and the King Solomon’s Temple Scoreboard, (11% each). Everyone really got a kick out of them and we sold out of Make entirely and almost all of the scoreboard.
The new “Seek Further Light” and “Raised Differently” didn’t do as well as I expected but the new 2B1ASK1 Badge design did better than I expected. The one thing I’ve come to realize lately is that I have no idea what’s going to sell. I’ll just continue to make t-shirts that I like and hopefully other people will like them too.
If you’ve read this far, I just want to say thanks again for your support!
Orange Grove Lodge #293
Dennis Rootes, PM