Lydia Takes the Leap

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Chapter 21

Lydia woke bright and early the morning of the Annual Craft Crawl; she caught a glimpse of the thick fog that poured off the ocean settling around the quiet Santa Cruz streets between her curtains. It wasn’t out of the ordinary, but it would definitely be chilly that morning while they set up the club booth. She threw on a fleece robe and scurried into the living room to grab the phone. Once she was back in the comfort of her room she called Veronica and Karen to go over the plan for the day one last time.

“Ok! We packed the car with the card table, nice blankets, money lock boxes, our business cards and every single product we could pump out this week. Am I forgetting anything?”

“What about snacks?” Karen chimed in.

“We’ll be at a street fair, there will be food EVERYWHERE!” Veronica remarked.

“Oh, I almost DID forget something! Would you guys like to stay overnight after the Craft Crawl? My mom said she will set up dinner and the works to celebrate if we want…”

“Um, yes of course!”

“Yay, I am totally in!”

The girls tittered with so much enthusiasm Lydia thought she’d go deaf in her right ear. They eventually said their goodbyes in order to get ready to meet downtown for the show.

The entire Wyley clan and everything needed for the event made their way down in the car to the Annual Craft Crawl. Lydia was used to having the seat next to her in the car empty, but today she had a giant folded table to lean her head against and multiple bags of her handcrafted products. It was a short drive from her house to downtown, but they passed a lighthouse, two beaches sprinkled with surfers catching early waves, the yacht harbor, and the boardwalk. Such a perfect view to start a full day of selling, well almost… it was still too chilly to feel comfortable.

Mr. Wyley managed to find a parking spot a block away from their designated booth location. As Lydia and her mother unloaded the car, her dad ran over to the event coordinator to get the booth passes and a layout map. His acquaintance had secured booth #68 and as luck would have it was located directly to the right of the Loop De Scoop, a wildly popular ice cream and candy store. Lydia spotted her friends and their siblings already waiting as she walked up to them, her parents in tow.

“Oh hey everybody!” she heaved her bags of slime and pencil cups onto an empty folded chair as Veronica’s brothers ran over to help with the table.

The trio grouped together to have a quick business preshow chat to sort out the tasks. “Alright, here’s what we still need to do before they let the public in. Weatherproof our table, decorate, lay out our items along with propping up our price cards –“

“Oh girls! I wanted to give you something I’ve been working on,” Mrs.Wyley interrupted as she presented a framed chalkboard, their products and pricing flawlessly scripted with colorful chalk markers to spruce up the booth. The girls fawned over it, grateful for the upgrade to their table.

Back to dividing the last-minute details; Karen was tasked with setting up the shelter, Lydia was set to decorate, and Veronica got to lay out the products. Since the club didn’t have time or the funds to shop for a traditional booth tent to block out nature’s elements, Karen had to pop a patio umbrella into the center hole of the plastic table instead. It was easier said than done as the umbrella was practically bigger than her and weighed a great deal more than she suspected.

Karen ended up sweaty and hot, and she begged the girls to let her run home to change. “I’ll be back before you know it guys, I promise!”

“Girl, you live outside of town. There is no way it will be a jiffy,” Veronica bluntly reminded her.

“Well, I don’t want to greet my customers smelling like a sweat sock!” Karen whined, grabbing her house keys in a huff.

“You can borrow one of my shirts! Our place isn’t that far from here,” Lydia interjected impatiently. “Let’s just get moving you guys, they’re opening the gates in one hour!”

Mrs. Wyley overheard their raised voices as she was getting ready to head back to the car and went over to invite Karen along. “You can ride with me, but do you think you’d be able to take Lydia’s cruiser back so I have time to set up for tonight?”

“Ohmygosh! Yes, thank you guys so much. I’d hug you… but then we’d all have to change,” she joked. “Uh, what about Charlie… would it be ok to leave him here?” She gave a worried glance in the direction of her brother sitting beside the tiniest patch of grass, ripping each blade out of the ground singing another odd tune.

“Eh, he’ll be fine. My older brothers are here and Mr. Wyley is staying too.” Veronica gave her a reassuring pat on the shoulder and a slight push down the sidewalk after Mrs. Wyley who was already heading down the street.

Now that the table was set up, Lydia was able to spend some time decorating. She pulled out the contributions her mother had made from the paper grocery bags which included a dazzling tissue paper tassel garland for them to tack along the top of the table along with paper banners looping off three sections of the table to make each girl’s shop shine.

Odds & Ends

Off The Hook

The Wrist Wrangler

When Karen rolled up on Lydia’s beach cruiser, she was wearing a cowboy hat because Lydia’s mom thought it’d be a cute sales technique. She parked the bike and went over to admire the booth.

As if in a bid to mock them, the clouds grew darker and rain clouds were starting to form in the sky. The rain started pouring down so hard that it streaked Mrs. Wyley’s beautiful script and made their table damp. While the wind whipped the weak umbrella Karen had struggled with earlier and tore the lovely banners to shreds.

“Oh no!” Karen started to cry as she tried her hardest to shield the table with her small body, the cowboy hat flying off her head and into Charlie’s face.

Leaping into action, Lydia reached for the blankets they had stashed under the table in case it got too chilly to use as a replacement table cloth. She instructed the girls to pull their items so she could remove the mess.

The weather was against them, and the hard work they’d put into making their booth look good seemed to have gone to waste; theirs looked ordinary. They stole glances around the fair, noticing the other booths’ exotic touches were saved by the secure tents the experienced sellers knew to bring. Soon, they started feeling weary about the state of their booth. They felt they had already failed despite the Craft Crawl gates still not open to the public.

“Come on guys, it’s not that bad! It’s just like our set up for our first couple sales and we still did great. Remember we sold out of stock?” Lydia was starting to get really good at putting positive spins on everything.

As if by magic, the rain slowly came to a stop and the dark clouds started to melt away, the girls cheered up slightly at this and linked arms to go check the state of their appearance in the bathroom one last time. At least they could look good, even if their booth was a mess.

Unfortunately while no one was paying attention due to this last minute bathroom break, Charlie broke into Lydia’s slime supply and mixed half of her stock into one gigantic squishy blob. Left with such a small supply of stock she looked down defeated, but unwilling to quit.

“Hey! Don’t look so glum, my plum,” Mr. Wyley gave her an encouraging smile and continued. “Do you have anything to upgrade your product quickly? Anything you could add in?”

“I have some emergency glitter in my bag; you could have that!” Veronica jumped up and pulled a container of silver sparkles to hand over to Lydia.

Mr. Wyley and Lydia exchanged looks of surprise and Lydia thanked her. She set aside a corner of the table and poured sets of colorful slime and glitter into a bowl, mixing them and dispensing them into the little jars Lydia had packaged them in originally. While she worked on repackaging before the guests were allowed in, Veronica erased the original price of the slime, changing it from three dollars to six dollars under the instruction of Mr. Wyley.

“Now, you have a more expensive looking, limited, one of a kind item with a price to match.”

The crowds of eager buyers flooded the sidewalks right at 1pm. It was a very busy afternoon just like the first day they’d started selling their products downtown many weeks ago. They had a new goal now: attract as many customers as possible and they knew it wasn’t going to be an easy ride. After a long morning of arranging and rearranging, the girls couldn’t wait to introduce their brands.

Customers trooped over to their booth one after the other and there was a big increase in the sales. Most were not that interested in the items being sold at first and only wanted to see the youngest entrepreneurs on the block, but ended up buying a thing a two after all. Everyone was impressed by the hard work the girls had put into their business. Many parents commented on what great role models the girls were for their own kids. Veronica was recognized by a female customer who had bought pot holders from her a couple of weeks ago.

“Oh… Hey, girls. I do hope there are still more pot holders in stock. My mother loved the ones I bought for her on Mother’s Day and would like to have more of those.”

“At your service, Ma’am,” replied Veronica, with a wide grin on her face.

Later that afternoon, Mr. Hackett stopped by to pick up Charlie and the Greyson brothers were ready to go home with their parents. They wished the girls good luck on the awards show later on before heading out.

At the grand finale of the show that evening, they won Craft Crawl’s Best Newcomer award for their minimalistic booth, despite the ups and downs. The judges rarely saw such great determination from young people.

“Wow! Thank you so much,” Lydia commented into the microphone, receiving the award on behalf of the group. “We worked so hard to get here. We tried to make a difference in the business world and we did it. We believe that no matter your age, you are never too young to start a business of your own. When you have great adults and a wonderful team around you like we do, the sky is definitely the limit for you.” The audience applauded her speech.

As the girls headed towards the exit, Mr. Wyley in tow carrying the folded table, a middle-aged woman approached to invite the girls to another craft show coming up in a few weeks in San Jose.

Mr. Wyley gave some heartfelt advice to the girls before they could answer. “Not everyone has the courage to do what you girls did and I’m so proud to be a part of your business. Even when you’re in doubt, just say yes and you will figure it out later.”

“YES!” accepting the invitation, they beamed in agreement and collected flyers containing more information from the lady.

The trio had such a great experience and were so glad they’d made a choice to start up a business club. They thanked Mr. Wyley for being so supportive and promised to use their business proceeds wisely... this time. These boss ladies were on cloud nine that evening on the ride home in the car.

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