Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hen and Chicks

We did it! We actually conducted business! Oh what fun it was to actually sell a good from our own kitchen and receive money for it!
Ken thought up the fitting name for our stand, and, together with our friend, Fang-Shan, and her two girls, we launched our cute dolls, clips and goodies business. For one day. I don't think we'll be doing this again until maybe spring. It took a lot of time and labor, and most of the earnings were eating up by rent and the cost of materials. But we did earn a profit!

The main reason we did it was to give the kids the experience of dealing with money, customers, and commerce in general. What an eye opening experience for all of us! We discovered that Anna and Joji both love being "laobans"(shop owners). Fang-Shan who grew up manning their family's booth in the local night market, schooled us on what to call out to folks, and how to gradually add in more and more appealing information as potential customers lingered. As soon as she taught us the phrase (in Chinese of course), "Welcome to try our samples", Anna shouted it out to any who may care to listen. There was hardly a second between the lesson and the application. With such boldness and volume too! Finally Fang-Shan had to encourage Anna to wait until she saw people coming near to make the exhortation. Joseph, started out cautiously, "welcome to try our samples...", and gradually worked his way up to being audible to passersby.

Things changed as the afternoon wore on. Anna, after welcoming the entire market attendance to our stand, grew tired of this game, and went off to play with her good friend Xin-Xin, Fang-Shan, younger daughter. Joseph, on the other hand, continued on in earnest. He took his job seriously, memorizing the new phrases he was supposed to add in. Like, "Here we have chocolate (zucchini, but this part was too hard to translate) muffins, here is pumpkin raisin, and here is banana chocolate chip." and "There were made this morning." When Anna, Lydia and the other girls were getting too free with the samples, Joseph put a stop to it. "You can't have anymore; we must save some for the customers!" He begged me to allow him to wear the money bag, and he donned the vendor badge with pride. When the other kids decided to go to the nearby hills (where he loves to be) and play, he declined their invitation to join. "No, I want to stay and sell stuff a little longer." He lasted almost to the end. Ken is convinced he and Anna alone (and perhaps Lydia with her fuzzy little head poking out from the top of the table) brought in the bulk of our earnings that day.

I loved watching Ken in action. He was in his element effortlessly convincing people why they should buy our delicious wild yeast, whole wheat, double chocolate zucchini muffins made fresh this morning. His tone of voice compels people to believe what he says. He should run for president.

All in all, it was a lovely day! And we made no mean profit. We have yet to sit down together and divvy out the spoils:
the firstfruits to God. Thank You for preparing such a lovely day after dreary, rainy ones! And Thank You for strength, no accidents, the opportunity, and so so much more.
The bulk to me. That's right. They must learn fairness when it comes to labor/reward ratios. I woke up every three hours to feed my wild yeast starter and baked everything; I will gladly and freely accept the biggest cut.
A good percent to Joseph. He put in the most time and passion of the little laobans.
A smaller percent to Ken. He was a steady support, and an occasional participator. *
And a nice small chunk to Anna. She did an excellent job with not one ounce of nervousness for the first twenty minutes or so.

Ok, time for pictures. I wanted to get all the details down before they left my head.

Here's our cozy little stand. Fang-Shan is sitting behind her adorable handmade animals and hair clips, and Joji and Anna are getting a feel of manning our side.

Thank you, Maria (also a friend from church) for taking the kids to play! Things started settling down after most of the commotion walked away in a giddy little line. 

All the customers were impressed with Joseph's earnestness. This lady was very, very impressed. Joseph is here trying to get change out of his beloved money bag.

 If you look closely at the fuzz between Joji and I, you will count four little laobans, all working in together in (perceived) harmony. (Lydia decided to be extra needy that afternoon) If you will also look closely at our sign, you will see Anna's chicky on the far left, and Joji's in the middle.

So I am ever so grateful to Ken for hanging with Lydia right across from our stand. The magic had already worn off for Anna by this time.

I'm glad she had her friend Xin-Xin to play with.

Joseph taking a rare break.

Thank you, New Hope ladies, for your support and free-flowing wallets!

Lydia with her sweet potato snack. A moment before, she was coming unhinged because of hunger, poor girl. So Ken had the grand idea to get (delicious!) roasted sweet potatoes for us to share. It only takes a few bites for everything to be right with the world once again. I don't know what she and Fang-Shan are bonding over in this picture. Curious though.
 I am so proud of this content fellow. After he warmed up to it, he became a natural.

The last people to stop by our stall stayed for a long time and talked with Ken. We had found a connection through his wife's and my shared interested in wild yeast starter and sourdough bread. They may even come try their hand at selling some. Their oldest son was so kind to run around and around and around the market with Joji, Anna, Lydia, Tong-Tong (where did she go for this picture?) and Xin-Xin running after him and pulling at his clothes and climbing all over him.

Good times were had by all!
Thank you Lord!
I can, but also can't wait to do this again sometime.

*after pondering over this for the last 10 minutes, guilt has made me hand over the biggest cut to Ken. Without his generous sponsorship, we would not have been able to do anything. Now it's time to go divvy out the chumes.

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