Tuesday, September 25, 2007

That guy in the booth

Go to most events, kink or otherwise and you see him, tucked away in the vendor area, hiding behind their folding table like a morose troll under a bridge. Sitting there looking bored and more than just a wee bit desperate. As you walk past you stray away from his gaze and give only a cursory glace at the wares, save he take your feigned interest as an opening to latch onto you in a pathetic attempt to sell you something.

When I first started selling rope at public events I made a promise to myself, the day I became such a person was the day I quit.

I never wanted to resent having to come to an event. Little resentments build into a larger cancer that sucks the joy out of what you do. Customers can sense that and they will stay away from you in droves. I genuinely love my customers and am delighted when I get the chance to interact with them at events. Their love of the rope fuels my drive to work harder. Getting to hear their stories and share with them my latest color or rope find is the best pay check in the world. I never want to be that guy with his stock, piled forlornly on a table, just counting the hours till this event is over and he can go home.

No, I want my customers to know that when they come to see me it is an event, it is something to look forward to.

sure it does not always work out that way. Shows are exhausting, stressful events and I have been known to be a pretty grumpy Monk by the end. However these are all temporary things.

My greatest enemy, the thing that will eventually cripple and destroy all I have built is long term burn-out. The size and prosperity of my company is only limited by the amount of hours I choose to put in and how long I can stay in the game before my body wears out and my joy bleeds away into resentment. Thing is, It is not just my burn out that I must factor in these days either, the constant grind of the deathmarch also takes its toll on my crew and partners as well. If I intend to continue to do this for a long, long time (and I do) I need to be mindful of their burn rate as well.

Thankfully, after years of hard work, our customer base is astounding. We are finally at a point where we don’t have to attend every sales event just to make the rent. Rather we can pick and choose our events and make those appearances really count. We are talking big, memorable events where folks will remember the show.

So this year, when the call for vendors at the Folsom Street Fair was announced I had to really ponder my choice. I love the event, love the show but with a show in Boston the month before and a Christmas season that even in its earliest stages is already showing signs of being insanely busy I had to make the tough choice.

This year the TwistedMonk.Com show will not be coming to Folsom.

We all needed a break and frankly we have too much work here at the Abbey right now to even begin contemplating mounting a show worthy of our customers. Nope, this year we are going to sit this one out.

That is to say the company proper is sitting this one out. Me? I’m still coming down for the party. See, in the past 3 years of selling at the event, I have NEVER ventured any farther than the nearest porta-pottys. All the sights to be seen and I’ve not seen anything save what passed in front of my stage.

So this year, Monk will be a tourist at Folsom--Ready to take in the sights, explore the possibilities and not have to pick his profession over his passions. Who wants to get into some trouble?

Fear not, gentle reader, this does not mean that we will never be returning to the streets of SF in the future. In fact we are currently in negotiations for next year’s event.