Sled Dog Skippy

SKIPPEH SNACKS attacks Homer

Skippeh Snacks officially “opened” last Saturday at the Homer Street Faire, organized by the Council of the Arts. Sarah and Jules had encouraged me to participate in the fair when I was unable to get a farmer’s market table for the season. Let me say, the farmer’s market is gonna be a cakewalk after 8 HOURS of toasting, glazing, salting, slinging, and selling nuts. Farmer’s market is like 4 hours long. Much better.

I woke up at 6:15AM on Saturday (*shudder*) and STILL had more work to do that I could not do without Ryan’s help the night before. The standard “wait until the last possible second Skippy” kind of thing. Set-up began at 8:00AM, even though the Faire didn’t open until 12:00. Ryan and I (and my amazing quiche, I have no shame admitting) met Jules, Sarah & Gregg there and commenced setting up the event tents in our designated spots–next to each other, of course. We took some breaks for breakfast and were ready to go in about an hour.

There weren’t that many people milling around, so I though, “Ehn. I’ll start cooking at 11:00.” 11:00AM passed and I thought “Meh, still not too many people. I’ll relax and start at 11:30.” I did want to cook ahead so that some cups would be filled and ready on my super display. Yes, I made those cake stands MYSELF. I am so crafty.

look at the cake stands people! LOOOOOK at them!

look at the cake stands people! LOOOOOK at them!

Well, waiting until 11:30 was a mistake. Apparently glazed pecans, almonds and peanuts, cooked on site, are THE crave-able item at 11:30 AM on a Saturday to the citizens of Homer. I was slammed as soon as the first pecan hit the skillet. Thankfully, Ryan was there, sleep deprived, and he salted and slung product into cups, made to order. I would have been totally hosed without him. He took money, he remembered orders, he made no less than 3 supply runs. Before the fair, I had two thoughts: 1) No one is going to buy my delicious snackies 2)AND oh crap. What if I run out?

The latter was the theme of the day, and Ryan kept me supplied by running to the store and buying 2 & 3lb bags of nuts, butter, and brown sugar to keep Skippeh Snacks going.

There was finally a little slump around 2:00 and 5:00 and we finally got to sit down and relax. The weather was great and the wind was blowing–which was good for me because it spread the smell of toasty sugary pecans everywhere. After a while, Jules and Sarah noted that the formula for constant sales was the yummy smell–so I just kept cooking nuts to attract people. I think people were also interested in the process and wanted to watch me cook in my fancy pants apron that of course, coordinated with my set table. I am so matchy-matchy it would make Martha Stewart barf.

I know, I know. RUFFLES. Me, in something girly. Insanity.

I know, I know. RUFFLES. Me, in something girly. Insanity.

I had so much fun with Jules & Sarah all day. We kept each other going with our own brand of hilarity and silly voices and they did well with CommunKnitty Stash. Sarah’s husband Gregg acted as caterer and general helper of the day and kept us plied with food and snacks.

I got a lot of comments on my logo, designed by Tyra of The Design Function. Who wouldn’t love Skippeh the Squirrel? Thank you so much, Tyra, for all your hard work. My stand looked so professional because of you!

it's SKIPPEH! Doesn't he look so excited about selling nutz?

it's SKIPPEH! Doesn't he look so excited about selling nutz?

Jules was so awesome and even MADE me a plushy Skippeh from some socks, as a suprise–he was quite the star at the table on his little cake stand pedestal.

The day ended well. I even recognized a friend from Denali, who was visiting Homer, and we had a little reunion. It was hard to believe it had been 4 years since I last saw her. And Sarah surprised me by giving me a beautiful felted clutch bag that she had made. I had been pining over it since she first made it. It didn’t sell, for some insane reason, and I was the lucky owner. Jules and Sarah tried to say it was for all the help I gave them, but it felt like I did nothing. I was just having fun in the weeks before the fair, drinking wine and winding yarn with them. That’s not work!

Money wise, I did okay! I sold 145 8-oz. cups of nuts! That’s more than I had anticipated. It was nice to be told I had the best value out of the food and snacks there; it was also nice for restaurant owners that I know and respect come to me and be supportive and say they liked my product. It made me feel really good to watch people taste and sample and just grin and then buy.

The post wouldn’t be complete without thanking my mom & dad: they’re entrepreneurs, too (well, mostly Mom). I grew up SELLING. I have been told many times I am quite the salesperson. I’ll tell you the secret…are you ready for it? I was taught the best kind of customer service: SAY HELLO & SMILE. Seriously–it really is that easy to attract customers. I am still shocked when I go to craft shows, fairs, & farmer’s markets where the vendor basically ignores me, even when I am “oohing” and “ahhing” over his/her products. It’s insane–I know these people are there not only to make money, but because they probably really enjoy doing it. It sure isn’t a desk/regular job. I think it’s sad when I have to say hello first. I think I should be greeted and asked how I am. But then again, that’s how I was raised and what I was trained to do. And I KNOW that greeting people is half the reason I did such great business. I engaged people walking by. I don’t have to pressure or be annoying. I didn’t even have to say “Would you like to try a sample?” All I had to do to get passerbys to come to my table, if they looked like they would walk on by, was look right at him/her and say “Hello! How are you today?” and then they’d all amble right over. That’s it. And it made me feel good to be smiling all day.

I don’t think I’ll be taking over the snack world any time soon, but I really like doing this. I like cooking, I like selling, I like talking to people. I’m really proud of my products. Thanks for all the encouragement!

4 Responses to “SKIPPEH SNACKS attacks Homer”

  1. tmc says:

    Yay! I’m so proud of you! :)

  2. Skippy says:

    @TMC–thank you thank you!

  3. MK says:

    HOORAY FOR SKIPPEH SNACKS! SO PROUD OF YOU!!! I can’t wait to try some! And your Skippeh Squirrel is freaking awesome, great work, Tyra! Much love.

  4. Sara P. says:

    Hooray also! And holy poop, that’s like 73 lbs. of nuts! What flavor combos did you finally decide upon?

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