This is a guest post by unschooling teenager Miles Brack.
About a month ago, my local home-schooling group held a “winter markets”. Mum suggested that I sell my wooden model guns…
Setting up for the markets was a little hard. Seeing as I’d never met the audience I had no idea what to make for them.
I had a hunch that the long guns had potential to be a best seller, but since they were the hardest and most expensive to make, I didn’t know which ones to make. (I had to make new ones because I had made my previous models out of treated pine. Treated pine can be dangerous if burnt or ingested.)
I decided to bring the following demonstration model long guns just to show what could be made.
- THOMPSON (SMG)
- VECTOR (SMG)
- P90 (PDR)
- M1 GARAND (SAR)
- 98K GEWER (RIFLE)
- SAWEDOFF SHOTGUN (SG)
- AK47 (AR)
Mum said that it being just some small markets, not many people would be carrying large amounts of cash on them.
Taking this into account, I chose the easiest and most popular real life pistols to make models after.
I chose the infamous COLT 1911 and WEBLEY ENFIELD.
Over the course of four days, I made 12 guns in total, 6 COLTS and 6 WEBLEYS. After the first step of the colt, I realised it would be easier if I take on a production line style, for instance, I would cut out one gun, then the others one by one, rasp them one by one, sand and add triggers and sights one by one, all like a single person factory.
It was a frustrating adventure. I think I ran the podcast industry dry whilst making these 12 guns.
But finally, after brushing the sawdust off my jumper and going to sleep the big day was upon us… THE MARKETS!! Stocked with a headful of gun facts and a near perfect image of the mock-up market table, I was ready!
I dressed in my WWII Swiss motorbike jacket and lugged all my gear into the car. We were to meet in a scout hall that was not being used for that day. However, being the early people that we are we got there half an hour too soon.
So we sat in the car and waited in the car air conditioning, accidentally killing the poor family behind us with carbon-monoxide poisoning from the car’s exhaust.
10 o’clock finally rolled around and we walked inside. We were the first people inside the hall and the first to set up. After propping the M1 and the GEWER against the table, the first few people started rolling in.
And thus, the age old sound of a happy child rang out around the hall: “OOH RIFLES!”
As Mum suggested, I kept my prices low, COLTs 10 dollars and WEBLEYs 15 dollars. I had written out some small “business” cards with our email address on them for people to contact us if the prices were too high or if they wanted to order something special. A few people started to check out our table but kept walking away. Business wasn’t looking good. Until… At the beginning of the second hour, Mum had the bright idea to do a “half-time sale.” So I walked up to a group of people who had shown plenty of interest before, and whispered: “Colts are now five dollars.”
With these few words shouts of incomprehensible excitement echoed around the room.
The stampede of feet rushing towards our stall was almost unbelievable!
When they reached my stall they all handed me five dollars and chose a gun. “Thank you very much,” they said as they ran off with their new pistols.
That was it… My first ever sale! I now had $20 in my mess tin (cash register).
Gradually word spread as all the Colts had been gobbled up from the desk.
The air around the table slowly fell silent, and cobwebs began to form… as not a single child had come past in the last 15 minutes.
I looked at my stock… a barren wasteland where 6 proud “100-year-old” Colts once stood, now clutched in the hands of joyful children.
But what remained? 6 more pistols! I’d almost forgotten! The WEBLEYS!
Sitting all nicely in a row were 6 more pristine wooden firearms, ready to be sold. But their price was too high, as it too had dropped with the Colts, the fee of $10 was yet still too high… A cunning idea popped into my head… “Do what has been done before!”
Yes, YES, I MUST, I must follow through! And lower the revolvers’ price even further.
Strolling over to another group I again whispered the familiar words: “Webleys are now seven dollars.”
Sitting in anticipation, I was ready with the tin to receive a hailstorm of coins.
However, a different scenario unfolded: only a few people turned up, they each bought a gun and picked up a card… Now with only 3 Webleys left, I was thinking all the market was supplied with their wooden needs.
Until… A man turned up… not just any man, a man with children… he walked up to our desk and gazed over the stock. He gestured to his son “what about this?” The son, who was clearly not paying attention, suddenly stood upright and beamed from ear to ear. “Ooh, $7 dollars!” “Have you got that much?” the father asked. The boy’s face screwed up, his brain straining to think of a valid excuse.
“Let’s count,” the father said as he pulled out a bag of change. And so, the man began to count…
10 cents… 50 cents… two dollars fifty… until he reached the magical number of SEVEN…
“That should do it,” he said as he handed me a handful of change. Shocked after his impossible counting, I managed to squeak out “thank you very much”. The majestic being plucked up a Webley and handed it to his son who leaped away with excitement…
The day slowly began to end, the flow of people slowly dried up and stalls were being packed away…
We decided to do the same, packing the long guns into a backpack and the remaining pistols into a suitcase. I lifted the table and all the rest into the car.
And thus, the day ended, a fun and successful outing, managing to sell 90% of the stock and gained $45.
Thank you for reading and letting me be on the site.
Yours truly: Miles Brack
If this post piqued your interest feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get one for yourself.
About Miles Brack
Miles Brack is a 15 yr old historian who enjoys the recreation of historic actions especially the eras of the World Wars. He also likes tennis, his dog Winter, and is looking forward to getting a boat licence. Proud owner of the coined phrase “progressional history.”
Thank you, Miles, for writing this post for my blog. I enjoyed your story very much. You have a wonderful way with words.
You might also like to read A Day in the Life of an Unschooling Teenager: Miles Brack
I wonder if you or your children have, like Miles, turned a passion into money. I’d love to hear your stories!