You Must be Wondering How that Tango Night Went
Actually, pretty well.
Here were the high points:
a. The music (Jane Firmunn Hollander, Stas Venglevski, Wayne Wildman) was beautiful and the dancing (Nina Tatarowicz & Eli Leserowitz) was breathtaking.
b. Jane Hollander did a wonderful job of organizing the event. Lynn decorated and catered and was efficient and organized.
c. Many of our regular customers attended and loved it. There were clamorings for more (wow, they don't know how much work this was for Jane & Co.), and even acknowledgements that $10 was too low a price (when's the last time you heard that in a bookstore?)
d. It was an event that clearly validated our rearrangement of the store. We could not have done this if we kept the tall bookcase maze through the center rear.
e. Christine Povinelli did a great job getting publicity, and was very easy to work with.
f. Greg affably allowed us to move his shift back two hours; together with Amie and Jason, we were able to staff the event without extra cost. Thanks to you all.
g. Best dressed crowd Boswell's had to date. Many folks dressed in concertwear. I really liked this.
Here were some of the setbacks:
a. By far, that we couldn't let everybody in who wanted to attend. We turned away at least 50 people, maybe 100. I would have let more people in with a regular reading or even a recital, but due to the visual nature of the dancing and the promise of open dancing (to say nothing of code), we had to cut things off. Folks were not necessarily happy, and I expect to get complaints. Fortunately, most of us (I'm sure one of my booksellers was remiss) let folks know to come early by phone, and we sent out a warning email, and an even more blatant warning correction.
My apologies who arrived after we hit capacity.
b. Priced too low. I worry Jane didn't cover her costs. Of course, I haven't asked yet.
c. Event made my customers happy, but didn't necessarily drive sales. Our business is substantially hurt by the bicycle races (hurray, now we have two dead days in the summer) and the cash registers did not ring much before and after the event (unlike Dwellephant's marketplace idea, which really worked on every level). Did it help at all? Yes, because one of the participants went to town and bought several of our second-hand sets, including one multi-volume collection of Italian Renaissance works, which I had just moved to the back of the store, near the performance.
d. Maybe one tango-related book sold off our display We're going to keep a display up for a while longer, and we're carrying both Jane's (Doggie Dreams) and Stas's CD's (Stas may come up again in another post, as he reminded me of his Schwartz connections). I think folks might not have been interested in carrying something home that night, but they might buy a book later to help preserve their memories of a memorable good time.
e. Originally I thought it was noble to pass the entire admission fee to the organizers, but we ran into problems. Because of this, we couldn't have advance tickets and couldn't take credit cards. It might have worked better for us to raise the price so we could do both of these things. On the other hand, this could have led to more errors. By not having advance tickets, we could just shut the door when the concert started.
f. Regarding the advance ticket thing, I think this would have not been an issue except that Christine did such a great job that enthusiasm really seeped into the market well beyond my customer base. We had folks from Cedarburg to Mukwonago attending, some of whom were the late folks we couldn't let in. Without a PR person, with the press I'd normally get on an event, and with a higher entry fee, I think we'd be able to keep it to a very manageable 150 people.
g. I hit the wrong settings on my camera and everything came out blurry.
Jane and Christine's next project is a doggie concert. We've got the info at the shop.
Giving the Gift of Reading
4 days ago