July experiences thus far... the good, the bad, the beautiful!

Lana McCullough

Hello friends!

I've loved alot about Salt Spring Island these past few months, but there are times when it isn't easy.  This past weekend was one of those experiences.  I was soooooo excited to get back to Vancouver.  Driving by the old warehouse and the streets of Kitsilano made me so very happy.  It was like coming home.  From the goofy (said with fondness) turn off to get onto Granville Island off of Granville Street to the familiarity of Oak Street, it was a delight to be cruising the old haunt!

But alot of times in the entrepreneurial world, you have to take chances and try new things.  I am here to say that it doesn't always work out the way that you envisioned it.  Not everything is sunshine and perfection.  This past week I was running on adrenaline just thinking about being in Vancity again.  It's been 3 and half years....  That's a long time to be away from somewhere that I felt like I lived at every Christmas for almost 10 years straight.  I had missed it so very much.  My last memories of Vancouver selling was Christmas 2019 and it was an ahmazing year!  Now, to be fair, this is summer time in downtown Vancouver at an event that I had never been at.  I did not expect Christmas market crowds but I have clearly been spoiled by Salt Spring Island Farmers Market.   

Do you want the whole nitty gritty? it goes, almost like a first date synopsis...  First red flag was that I had to get up at 4:45 (yes, there is one of those in the AM) to catch the ferry from Salt Spring to Tsawwassen and arrive at the Vancouver Art Gallery at 8:30 in the morning for a 11 AM to 6 PM market.  2.5 hours of set up wasn't ideal.  But I snagged some good parking because I was so early so I was willing to overlook that.  (plus remember I was so excited to be in Vancouver that I would have been up anyways) got a few early sales around 10:30 so thought that was a good sign.  Was chatting with customers and other vendors and just truly enjoying the experience thus far.  Crowds were lighter than I expected for downtown Vancouver but I know to let things have their time and thought maybe the crowds came out later in the afternoon because it was open until 6 pm.   It was all okay until they moved in the speaker system around 1 pm and started blasting the very loud bar music so that we could no longer really chat with our customers, explain our products or just enjoy a nice Saturday afternoon.  I know, I know, you are thinking that I am getting old and can't handle a little bit of music.  I have friends and family that will attest to the fact that I love to blast my tunes in my car at excessive levels so I can assure you that I am a fan of loud music.  BUT.... I am solely listening to music and driving at that point....neither which requires me to talk to someone at the same time.  It wasn't just me....fellow vendors were silenced as well and that was the nail in the coffin for the day. Seriously, it was so bad that protesters who were at the corner of Howe and Georgia Street (which was across the market for them) moved to a corner a block down from the market so that people could hear them.  I did have some of my Vancouver customers come by and say hello and make my day worthwhile so I do want to thank them so very, very much for that!  I love and appreciate and am so very grateful for you!!  Just because I'm not having a great day, it doesn't mean that I forget to be thankful for all the wonderful things that are in my life.  I still love Vancouver!  I still love all of my great customers there!  (I just will be back at more appropriate venues for me.)

So, I got through the day. The heat was getting up there near the end of the day which I knew might be a concern too but it wasn't too bad.  Packing up was relatively easy and getting back out to the ferry was a breeze as I've driven that route and those streets so many times before.  Easy peesy!  Yay for green flags!  It was so easy, in fact, that I ended up at Tsawwassen by 7:30 pm for an 11 pm ferry to Salt Spring.  The only other ferry was the 7 pm ferry that I knew there was no way that I could catch.  Now, I technically could have done a ferry to Vancouver Island and then jumped onto a ferry from Victoria over to Salt Spring but that was twice as expensive and not necessarily a better answer as I've discovered that sometimes ferry times don't line up with the schedule.  So, we prebooked for the 11 pm ferry and I sat and waited.  I had a quick bite at the new Tsawwassen Mall (well, it's new to wasn't there in 2016) and grabbed a Starbucks at the ferry market and waited it out.  Everything went smoothly as far as loading times and departure times but I did not get home until 1 am.  Huge red flag! lol  It was not a surprise but to see something on paper and think that I can do it, can be completely different than actually doing it.  This one was brutal.  To recap, out of bed at 4:45 am and back in same bed at 1:30 am the following day.  Suffice to say, it was not great.  But, I had to try at least once to see what it was like.  The timing to get over to Vancouver and the loud music killing my ability to sell my product did it for me.  And like I said, I'm spoilt by Salt Spring Island Farmers Market attendance.  I expect that everywhere and that just isn't the case.  Lesson learnt for me!  

So the good news is that I will be at the Salt Spring Island Farmers Market for the rest of it's season which is the rest of July, August, Sept and October.  The even better news is that my supplies are arriving for my new candle line over the next week so that will be ready in a few weeks as well.  I'm hoping for an August launch on those designs.   I am so very excited to get going on this new line!  It is going to be something that is so beautiful and unique that it isn't something that can be found on the current marketplace.  And it will be a more environmentally friendly and cost effective way for the consumer to enjoy candles.  Perfect for the upcoming holiday season!  I dare say this again will be something where I am trying to make the prices go down for the consumer instead of going literally every other company and everything else.

To conclude, yes I am exhausted....but like the photo (even though that is not a pic of me) I have my thumb up and will keep going.  It isn't all sweet success and giggling bubbly moments of joy.  Most of it be honest....but there are those times where I am genuinely questioning my sanity for even trying in the first place.  This was one of those times. lol  They happen.  They don't defeat me.  They just teach me what to avoid and help me focus my attention. 

Hoping you all have a good week....and remember... when it's tough, take a breath and look at the lessons that are being provided for you.  Life sort of does come with a manual if you learn to read the signs.  I am so fortunate to be in a place where I am happy and I plan on making this even more successful.  Please come along and enjoy the ride as I grow my little business back from the pandemic.  It's not all going to be rosy but it sure is going to be an adventure... which last Saturday certainly was.  

Sending all of my love!


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