I have always wanted to do something different in my life but I lacked the courage. And I always thought I'm different but the fact is .. I'm very much the same as anybody else. Last weekend I finally stepped beyond my normal life routine. Did something I thought I'd never do. Well.. could be nothing to some people but something to me.
The event... My sister and I rented a spot in a 3-day bazaar organised by a state mosque here. I had some home made cakes and my sister sell health product of which she is the distributor. We were really nervous about it since we have never done this before. I HAVE NEVER done this in my entire life! Not even during school or college where sometimes some students set up booth to sell something during any college event. Not me.. I was such a public freak (well, I do have my reasons!!)
The expectation ... really, I didn't know what to expect since it was my first time. I also did not think of the sales.. though I did hope for some returns. My "little" worry was the weather since the heat was rather unbearable for the past week. I worried whether I can survive the heat under the tent for 7-10 (or longer) hours a day. My main objective was to get the experience of selling... and to see if my so-called culinary skills can earn me some money.
The experience ... WOW! My first impression.. we were really the small fish there. We were competing with the "real business people". Other booths were occupied by seasoned sellers who had been selling their products for at least a year or so.. who had done this kind of sales numerous of times if not daily. They have all the "right" tools and peripherals to do the selling. I was slightly taken aback at first. Then again I thought, what do you expect, this is the real world. I was doing real sales, meeting real customers from all walk of life. I got a bit nervous then. Somehow my nervousness dissapear when we were greeted by other sellers.. they were SUPER friedly and helpful! My... was I pleasantly surprised. We got acquainted in no time. The booth on my left was selling all kind of dates and raisins, and their hot selling Halal coco drink - MOSHA, fresh in the market. They consists of a few humble young man, ready to help you anytime. My right neighbor is a gutsy friendly, talkative lady and her workers selling Muslim apparels. By the end of the first day, we got acquainted with almost all the sellers, around 20 of them. Though some may be our competitor, but the selling and teamwork spirit is amazing.
After 3 days .. I would say the experience was priceless. Forget the heat which thankfully was bearable because it was rather breezy! Socializing with people on the streets, sellers who are very determined in selling their products, as well as customers of whom you never know what to expect from them except that you hope they would buy from you. You get that exciting feeling when you see people approaching your items, and you tell them excitedly what they are all about. They came, the looked, tasted and looked again. If you are lucky, they buy... if not they just said thank you, smiled and walked away. And you.. took a seat again! Isn't that interesting?
The sales ... welll.. I didn't do so well in this one. Perhaps I did not do enough research on the crowd. You have to reach the right crowd. I was selling cakes in a mosque area. Perhaps a better place to sell cakes is in the mall or offices where the crowd would be more represented. Eh? People who go to mosque are mostly elderlies- who are not supposed to eat sweet things? 80% of my sales came from family and friends who came to visit us by invitation (yup, told thm I'm selling!) and the neighboring sellers who got hungry, or appetised by the cakes. I had leftovers at the end of each day which I would generously gave away to the "neighbors" or my family members. At the end of the 3 days.. I barely covered my costs. My friends thought I was selling the cakes way too low beyond the market price.. well it's true actually. ... I WAS just testing the water!
So that was my first step, hopefully towards something bigger. I will definitely keep on moving further if God wills. Except for the next time around, instead of jumping right into the sea, I will learn how to swim first!