We're always excited to get together with the local community in Venice for BBQ and beers in support of a good cause.

We recently had the opportunity to take part in the Venice Brooks Festival - an annual gathering of BBQ, brands, and bands organized by our friends at General Admission. Unlike the nearby Abbot Kinney Festival which has vendors of all shapes and sizes, Brooks Fest is about promoting the vendors and artists that are an authentic part of the Venice community. It’s also an opportunity to give back, with 10% of sales from the festival going back to The Teen Project.

The day started off bright and early, with Ryan and me unloading a truck full of watches, boxes, plants and other miscellaneous goods into our vendor tent - conveniently located at the center of Brooks Avenue, directly between the beer garden and the BBQ pit.  After some improvised decorating and a bit of advice from our neighbors we had our mini Vaer shop set up and ready to go.

The early morning traffic was a blend of Venice locals on their way to grab a coffee and tourists making their way to the beach. Our buddy Marco rolled by around 11 to help us put the finishing touches on the display. It wasn’t long before he’d put his Minnesota charm to work helping us grab the attention of our first few customers. Over the next hours more and more friends dropped by - some just to say hello, others to pick up their first Vaer Watch.

Since we sell most of our watches online, we always appreciate the opportunity to interact with our customers face-to-face, answer their questions about the watch, and let them test it out and try it on. We have a lot of confidence that once you pick-up the watch, feel the weight of the case and the machining of the crown, the overall quality of the product is really apparent.  In the off-chance that folks still aren’t convinced, we also always have a demo of the watch ticking away underwater.

The biggest challenge we’ve found selling our watches in person, is helping people decide which bands to choose. It’s hard enough online, but when you’ve got all the colors available to test and try on, it can be a real dilemma. Half the time, we we end up deferring to their girlfriend’s opinion.

By mid-afternoon the party was in full swing; reggae music was blasting and the smell of barbeque filled the air. While everyone else was kicking back in the beer garden,  Ryan and I had our hands full with a long line of customers eager to learn more about the watch and our business (maybe a 6 pack of Modelo in the tent). The rest of the day passed by in a flash, and when I finally paused to look at the time on my wrist it was nearly 7pm.

Ryan and I left the tent in the capable hands of our friends and took a quick walk around the festival. The sun was setting, and it was quieter now. We had a chance to chat with the other vendors and sponsors and share our experiences from the day - it seemed like everyone had a great time. Before we finished packing, we said our thanks to the crew at General Admission, the team that made the whole thing possible. They were proud of the event, and we're all already looking ahead to next year.

While I never got a chance to sample the pulled pork, the 2017 Venice Brooks Festival was an incredible day nevertheless. Not only was it a chance to catch up with friends, it was an amazing opportunity for our business and great chance to showcase our commitment to the Venice community.