Two deliveries tonight. With Halloween around the corner it’s all about skeletons and pumpkins and other gory things that people seem to celebrate this time of year. I have an hour in between so I camped out at my favorite Denny’s downtown on Broadway so I could write a quick blog.
As anticipated this time of year is one of the busiest on the calendar. Right through till New Year’s (that’s right I’m already looking past Christmas. You have to in this business) and if anything like a couple of years ago, right through January, it’s one mad rush. Every minute counts. Because of that it makes me smile to remember a conversation I had with someone this morning. Not a first time by any means, I heard someone say to me, “oh you do this full time? So do actually carve all year?” People have this impression that there’s this tiny niche of brides-to-be from really rich families that occasionally order ice sculptures and they can’t conceive of a business that could be so busy with these few rich brides-to-be. The question invariably follows; “so who do you carve ice for?” That’s when I have to stop and think. Not because I don’t know my customers but because they are sooo many and in sooo many different walks of life. Here’s a sample from last month.
There was the Vancouver Club in downtown Vancouver. That one stands out like a beacon because it was so big and all-consuming and took a couple of weeks to prepare for let alone 20 hours to set up, service and take down.
Then there was a “made for TV” sculpture that came at us suddenly (like the TV/movie orders usually do). And as if the order wasn’t big and strange enough in its design (sorry I can’t divulge the name of the series till it airs) they wanted four of the same thing. Of course, everything has to look as though it was filmed only once when in actuality it took place over a whole day. Oh, and they hired me for the whole day so that I could replace and refresh the set. No complaints there given the fact that most people haven’t got a clue how slippery and heavy ice is. Moving on… a constant diet of logos showing off a whole variety of businesses. A bunch of these came together just yesterday when The Times of Canada hosted the Diwali Awards Gala at the Bombay Banquet Hall. This order was in limbo for weeks and weeks and never looked like it would amount to much. Until the sponsors got on board and then all of a sudden, “can we meet, like tomorrow?” Two large sculptures showcasing a variety of donors and two smaller ones each focused on a specific business.
Oh, and did I mention Government House on Victoria Island. For a few years now they call us up to provide ice sculptures for their fall gala. I’ll be delivering this one next weekend but it’s been in the design and carving stages for a while now. Then there’s a never ending appeal to have seafood displayed on a whole variety of trays, some of which are multi-level. Or an order from a high end restaurant that wanted sorbet plates and beverage cubes. All this before we hit the Christmas rush. We’re stockpiling ice right now because it’s going to get even busier. Giant Santa sleighs, thrones, Christmas trees etc, all coming down the pipe.
You’ve heard me say it before and it’s so true; “we’re always a phone call away from panic.” Last week I was on the phone with a client up in Kelowna. They’re ordering a sculpture for their 90th annual fundraiser in support of their favorite charity. They offered to have Valerie and I attend the event and stay over for night at their high end resort hotel. When I declined because we already had other things on the docket for the next day they said, “You really are busy aren’t you.” Yah, that kind of sums it up.
So when you ask me, “do you stay busy all year?” you tell me, “Do I sound busy?” After 12 years in business I’ve come to cherish the occasional slower time because I know it’s going to change and it’s probably going to do so suddenly. You kind of understand why we’ve been hunting for someone to come alongside us in the business. Things look promising and maybe I can write something about that soon.
Thank you for reading along with us! #theicemen