At least not till next year, as the school fete has come to an end. After 8 or so hours, a bit weary, but it was fun.
Quite an interesting learning curve – got a lot right enough, but there is always more than can be refined, if I ever intend to do this again! I do have one other planned fete coming up in November, but that is about it.
Fun seeing the kids’ reactions.
The display stand with the black cloth covering it, is the Centipede XL which I just got back after lending it at the start of the year. It is perfect for this sort of thing. I made a top from 6 panels of MDF which were cable-tied together to create one overall top. This allows me to take the top off and fold it up for storage/transportation. I made it from 3mm MDF as that is what I had to hand, but 6mm or 9mm MDF would have been better. As the MDF only has a few holes drilled right at the extremities for the cable ties, I can still then use the pieces on the CNC machine :) It worked very well – easy to transport, easy to set up, and stable. (Does that make it a stable table?). In comparison the vacuum-formed tables are reasonably easy to transport (they weight quite a bit more but have much less surface area) and quicker to set up (if you factor in attaching the top).
That gets me thinking – I could come up with a segmented top for the Centipede, which engages with the holes in the leg caps. That would remove the need for cable ties and make a really rigid (crossbraced) system. Make a good way to use it as a workbench as well. Alternately, I could recess out the area where the top of the leg touches the top, so the whole top piece can still be stored perfectly flat. I’ll work on that, and let you know what I come up with!
Sales were ok, not unreasonable, not as high as I would have expected. I did a quick gender comparison – ie assuming some models would appeal to one gender more than the other (and those that would appeal more to both). It is a really rough tool – for example, I chose a swan to be oriented towards girls, and a cobra to be something that would appeal more to boys, and a turtle to be neutrally biased. That might infuriate some people, but the reality is that if you got a bunch of primary school students and gave them the choice (with no observers, or chance that classmates etc would ever know the choice made), that certain toys would be selected disproportionally higher for one gender over the other.
The analysis is very loose – I did not record the gender of who was making the purchases, or who they were purchasing for, so already there is a lot of interpretation built into these stats.
Girls liked a lot less variety than boys in the toys chosen.
Of the total variety of girl-oriented toys, sales were concentrated around 41% of the range available.
Of the neutral toys, 53% of the variety available were purchased.
For boys, 75% of the range had at least one sale made.
Kits vs Preassembled models
This data is not very relevant, as the models were only able to be collected at the end of the day, whereas kits taken straight away. Additionally, there was only one of each type assembled, and between 0 and 10 kits available.
Girls’ purchases were 71% kits
Neutral purchases were 53% kits
Boys’ purchases were 78% kits
Of all the purchases available:
Total sales of girls-oriented models: 20%
Total sales of neutral-oriented models: 23%
Total sales of boy-oriented models: 56%
As very few types sold out completely, this data was not heavily influenced by particular models becoming unavailable.
Other interesting observations – quite a few people looking (kids and adults) – “Wow, these are really cool”, then after checking the price “Wow, these are really cheap” (the vast majority being around the $5-$7.50 mark). However even after uttering both those comments, the person looking around would then wander off. Interesting that something that is regarded as “cool and affordable” still does not necessarily result in a sale.
I would have sold more if there was no restrictions on whether the person could buy and take the pre-assembled model, so having two or three of the most popular kits pre-assembled would be beneficial.
It may also be better if there was less variety of kits available, and so people could select the ones they want for purchase, rather than having to ask for them. While this makes perfect sense (and is how we shop most of the time), it is a lot harder to do this in a market-like scenario with limited space. Especially with bulky products that have a degree of fragility to them. Again, if I was doing this on a regular basis, I would be able to justify the additional investment in the multiple storage containers needed to keep everything sorted. For a one (or two) off, that is less practical.
All in all though, it was a fun evolution, and I’d do it again.
Filed under: Techniques, Wooden Toys | Tagged: Fete, MakeCNC, MakeCNC.com, Market, School | Leave a comment »