Houston artists Brandon Bishop and Nate Blanski were kind enough to invite us to sell coffee and snacks at their amazing art show this past Friday. The show took place at The Hardy & Nance Studios with a number of painted wood cutouts and metal sculptures on display from the artists. This was our first time vending our products in-person, and it was a fun and humbling experience!
In the days prior to the show we were rushing to get everything prepared. This included:
- Wildly inaccurate estimations of how much coffee to roast & snacks to bake
- Brewing a whole heck of a lot of cold brew coffee
- New recipes, including Pumpkin Macaroons and Cold Brew Ice Cream Floats (even more delicious than it sounds)
- New packaging and labels for single-serving versions of our snacks
- Purchasing way too many varieties of milks
We packed everything into our cars the night of the show, 1 year old baby in tow, and made the drive to downtown Houston. When we arrived we were asked to set up shop right by the front door (great for business, presumably, but also a little nerve-wracking for our first event). The main feature of the table was our tray of single-serving snacks.
Our first sale came so fast that it caught us off guard: a band was minutes from putting on a live performance directly across from our stand, and the singer asked us if we had any cold coffee available. Fortunately we had already prepared a whole heck of a lot of cold brew, so we prepared a nice cold cup of it for him!
We had a small but steady stream of showgoers stopping by throughout the night for both hot and cold drinks, and we had a blast discussing coffee and art with everyone (if anyone from the show is reading this, thank you for stopping by)!
By the end of the night, we were swimming in ideas for improvements that could be made to our setup for the future:
- Large, clear signs indicating what we're offering
- A simpler menu; easier to read at a glance
- Less milks (most remained unopened)
- More sizes of drinks available (normal people apparently like to drink way smaller coffees than we do!)
- Free samples
We're stoked to get to work on making these improvements and seeing how they pan out. We have to hustle too, because our next event is closing in fast: Rob is returning as an artist for the 2nd annual HUE Mural Festival, and we've been invited to sell our coffee there as well! The festival starts on Saturday October 15th and runs for an entire week, and we'll be making the trip down for several of those days to sell refreshments to the artists and people attending the festival.
We'll have more details on the mural festival in the coming days!
P.S. If you're looking for a mentor on looking awkward in photos, I'm your man: