Our first exhibition!28 Oct 2009, by Uncategorized in
Yesterday we had our first exhibition (sale). Another NGO that works with disabled youth organized this exhibition for various NGOs who make handicrafts. We gladly accepted the offer to participate, and had spent several weeks preparing products we thought would sell well in the local market. We also had leftover stock from orders, and after tagging and packing everything we headed off to the sale room. The women decided to split into two groups, one for the morning and one for the afternoon. On the bus ride to the sale, I asked them what their goal was to earn in the one-day sale. One woman boldly announced, "10,000 rupees!" It was a high goal, but we might as well reach for the stars and fall in the clouds.
After setting up, we had a look at the other stalls. Some were selling food, some had hand made cards, and some had batik dyed shirts and shawls. Nobody else was making handbags or blockprinted work, so we felt confident that our stall was unique. As the customers started coming in, mostly friends or family of the NGOs, the women took charge of our stall. They told the prices, explained how each product was made, and wrote down each sale in our accounting book. As the day went on, I kept asking to see the cash box, wanting to know our total. But they refused, saying "No, we’ll tell you the total at the end of the day."
After lunch the second half of women came, and they took over sales. It was so amazing watching each one of them grow in confidence as a customer bought the products they had made. I could hear them giggling as a customer walked away, whispering to each other, "I made that bag, and see how much she liked it!"
By the end of the day, the women finally let me know how much we had earned… 9,000 rupees! We didn’t quite make it to our goal, but we were all so happy and thrilled for the women. We gave each of the women an extra bonus this month from the sale earnings, because we know it would not have been so successful without their hard work. And they know that too!