Two weekends ago THREEafrica made its debut at the Delmont Apple Festival in Delmont, PA. THREE was one of 155 booths at the festival selling a wide range of handmade crafts, delicacies, and trinkets. I learned about crafts that I never knew existed: for example did you know you could buy a cheese tray made out of an empty Absolut Vodka bottle? Anyway, it was a very entertaining and productive weekend and we ended up selling over $500 worth of THREEafrica products! We also had a lot of opportunities to talk about the mission and goals of THREEafrica to patrons of the festival, hopefully spreading our message.
Our booth was located right across the field from the entertainment stage and so we were able to witness everything that took place there including the eerily entertaining Baby Apple Dumpling contest, which is exactly what you're probably thinking it is. A panel of “experts” were tasked with selecting the cutest individual out of age groups ranging from one to six years old. Fortunately, not very many children got roped into participating and I was happy to see some boys win. The Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. impersonators didn’t seem to have much of an effect on THREE’s sales, however there was an enthusiastic preacher who may have. She explained her work with the homeless and elaborated on how she believed that people who have been fortunate enough to receive help in their lives should pass the good deeds on to those who have wound up in tight circumstances - a theme which is very much in concert with our philosophies here at THREE.
The weather report for the weekend called for clear skies and sunshine on Saturday and rain for the majority of Sunday. In typical fashion this was actually the opposite of what ended up occurring in reality. Saturday saw at least three heavy bursts of rain and Sunday was absolutely gorgeous. Fortunately, I had acquired a portable canopy which proved very effective at shielding both us and our products from the rain!
I mentioned before that an important part of the festival is not only the ability to directly sell our items, but the opportunity for us to talk to people about the goals and motivation behind THREEafrica. Interest seemed to vary. At this particular festival I had trouble telling whether or not the people I talked to effectively understood everything THREE is trying to do. However, everyone seemed to really enjoy the items we had and we were able to sell several of them based just on their style, colors. and appearance. This was actually really encouraging because it indicates that the items we sell have an objective, inherent level of quality to them. It is not my goal to use pity and sympathy as a means to sell cheap, sub-par items. We want people to buy our items because they're interesting, quality products. We don't want people to buy items that they otherwise wouldn't, simply because they benefit a good cause. A sale is a sale, but I think it really speaks to the level of talent, skill, and commitment of the Malawian women who are making these items when people genuinely think that the items we sell are of high quality.
So I'd definitely categorize the weekend as a success! Despite the fact that it rained (never good for business in an outdoor market) and the fact that it was our very first market we were able to sell a decent amount of dresses and accessories. Thanks for reading and we'll hopefully see you soon!