3 Years ago I had an idea....& yes....it was "weird" and random & complicated. It was the Spring Antique Show of 2014. For those of you not familiar with the Round Top - Warrenton Antiques Festival here in Texas, it is an incredible BI-ANNUAL, 2 week long (and growing) extravaganza of ANTIQUES, & DesiGners, Artisans, Artists, Collectors, & TREASURE Hunters. There are fields FOR MILES full of tents of these vendors, halls piled FULL, venues & facilites just FULL of ANYTHING & EVERYTHING anyone could want. People come from ALL OVER the world! I had to paint the picture. My heart tends to lead me to the dusty fields.
So... 3 years ago in April of 2014, I was feeling my way through the auction industry & trying to find my place. I am all about guerilla marketing & it was eating me up that I had not thought of a way to share the AUCTION AWESOMENESS with ANYONE who might listen to me there. I mean....THOUSANDS of people. I had an antique consignment auction there a year earlier, which was pretty successful for my FIRST auction on my own, but I realized quickly that I was competing with the show itself for the crowd of people that I wanted to reach. I didn't want to do that again. People come there to SHOP, to spend time with each other, to share in their common love for Antiques...JuNk,...clothes....whatever suits their fancy. I didn't really want to mess with that. I wanted to be a part of it &&&&& promote what I LOVE.
SO....dun...dun...dun.... My idea was to spend an ENTIRE week of the show, traveling from field to field - asking the vendors if they wanted to donate an item where the funds would go to a charity of their choice, and allow me to have an auction....right there at their tent....and grab the attention of anyone that was around. I had reached out to a list of non-profits for them to choose from, created these handy-dandy agreements & my pal Christie & I set out to conquer the fields of Warrenton....one tent at a time. Let's just say.....more vendors than not.....didn't think it was as cool of an idea as we did. We got A BUNCH of NOs....BUT we talked A LOT about auctions.
|Christie & I setting up at Chelsea's Meadow in Round Top. She'll be with me at Zapp tomorrow!|
We finish up the evening, go eat in Round Top & just sit & recap. We had gotten the name of WHO we needed to talk to at Zapp Hall, but decided we needed to meet the next day. We were beat up. I don't even know how it happened, but somehow my other friend Cathy felt compelled to introduce me to Larry & Jennifer Clack from the Chelsea's Meadow field in Round Top. He asked me my idea & I remember being so.....apprehensive in sharing & HE. LOVED. IT. First breath of life with this idea. They asked us to come by the field the next day after I met with Zapp.
Next morning...I head over to Zapp Hall to meet with Bobby Boyd & Cheryl - the owner of Zapp. I sit down. Tell him my idea & he said. We have a vendor that was supposed to be here. She's been diagnosed with cancer & she couldn't make it. I KNOW I can get all our vendors on board, if the funds we raised went to her. There was a medical fund that was set up for her, so our next plan was to figure out how to make that work, adjusted the plan, & went to work marketing.
I head over to Chelsea's Meadow in the afternoon. I sit down with Jennifer, share my FULL idea with her, the progress that was made that day & she opens up about her friend (in her 30s, 4 children, a husband who had just been laid off, in late stage cancer.) By the end of that conversation, we were having two auctions, & helping two groups of people HELP their people.
So what is all this about right? Why is this such a big deal? When I had the "Wandering Auctioneer" idea....my intent was to spread the POWER of auctions & how they bring people together. It was not to make money....at all. Why would someone spend so much time doing this IF they weren't getting paid? So here is the personal part....
|Yes...that is a little red wagon, with a PA System & those AWESOME flyers.|
A little more than 11 years ago, my Dad had went into a diabetic coma. His organs had started to fail & they were able to bring everything back except his liver. If he was going to live he HAD to have a transplant. That. Was. A. Fact. I remember having a family meeting. It was me & my two siblings, Mom, Dad & Uncle Melvin - who is a cattle auctioneer. They gave us the low down. They shared the RIDICULOUS amount of money we needed to raise & I just remember my sister and I going from panic & uneasiness to problem-solving mode. We immediately started talking about fundraisers & we immediately started pounding Uncle Melvin with questions. He has called HUNDREDS of church feasts & picnics & fireman's feasts & to put it plainly....we just figured it out. We had no REAL idea of the work that went into these events. We just knew we had to do it. Let me tell you....you learn REAL QUICK you can't do it all on your own.
|That's my Pops...helping me make our hand-glued hand fans for the escapades of the "Wandering Auctioneer."|
I. WILL. NEVER. FORGET. How our community & family & friends rallied around us. One of my Dad's old friends had called me, asked me what was going on & I shared it all. I literally thought she was calling just because she wanted to know. She was an editor for a Tri-County Newspaper & that next Thursday there was a FRONT-PAGE article about the benefit for my Dad. We had SO many items come in for the auction that we had to plan more fundraisers, with more auctions to sell it all. We had 3. A dinner, dance & auction in our hometown - a Team Penning Benefit with Live & Silent Auctions & Live Music - & a Ranch Sorting Benefit in Ledbetter with a Live Auction. Between the 3 we had raised somewhere around $90,000 - which was still not enough, but with the sale of some land to my AMAZING Uncles....We.Got.It.Done.
When the dust settled & you looked at the numbers.... The numbers from plate sales, the numbers from dance sales & the numbers from the auctions....the auctions OVERWHELMINGLY got us where we needed to get. TRUTH.....An auction seed was planted in me that day that would start blooming 3 years later...down to the month. I got my auction license in the mail in November 2011. We were fundraising in November 2008.
Here's the thing though....all of that is GREAT & important, but as a young person, I could not understand the WHY. WHY did these people come out of the woodwork with these items? Why did the bidders CHOOSE to spend their money this way? WHY did some of them show up at each one? Why? Why? WHY? & HOW could we EVER possibly thank them all. Here is my conclusion: They weren't looking for anything. They CHOSE to freely give. They gave because it mattered. They gave because they cared. They gave because they could. They gave because something resonated with them in such a way that it compelled them. It's one of those things where a "Thank You" in the Newspaper & on a thank you card couldn't even begin to do it justice. It was bigger than any one of us. It was bigger than the situation. It was BIG & the Auction Method & the Auctioneer made it happen. From that day forward I couldn't help but see both as PROBLEM - SOLVERS.
|This is me calling my second auction. Uncle Melvin (Our life-long Problem-Solver) |
catching bids for me at the Carmine Volunteer Fire Department.
(My Uncle Fritz is in the plaid shirt behind us.)
I've had my license since 2011 & I have been HELPING PEOPLE SOLVE PROBLEMS ever since & I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. It IS the greatest business in the world. I went from not knowing my place to helping clients solve: Real Estate Problems, Fundraising Problems, Liquidation Problems, Estate Problems, Surplus Problems....
SO...when Bobby Boyd sent me a message in March, asking if I'd be able to help them raise money for 2 members of their Zapp Hall Family... I figured out how to make it work. In November...The Tedders of J.Tedder Design were in a MAJOR car accident. They have two children. Jason has not been able to fully go back to work & Jessica has, just recently. Two years ago...The Tedders not only donated items, but bought items to show their support.
|J. Tedder Design Original Piece|
We will be running two heats :). First auction starts at 12:30 - second one at 2PM. We will be RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ZAPP FIELD. Look for PURPLE signs.
Buck Up Baby & BE THERE! :)
P.S. HAPPY NEWS: My Pops is still kickin' & has gotten to see all THREE of his grandbabies, of which he ABSOLUTELY ADORES. Both ladies that we raised money for in 2014 won their cancer battle!