Ron took Friday off, I worked. The plan was to be at CoD (College of DuPage) by 4:00, when the vendor's room opened for setup. I didn't get out of the office quite when I meant, so I was a few minutes late. Ron, Robin, and Marmaduke had arrived early, and had everything inside waiting for me. I think Xap arrived around 6-ish, but that's a SWAG.
We had two 6' tables/spaces, but the room was far from full, so we, um, kinda oozed over into another 4' or so of space. The CoD tables were 36" wide, which is 6" wider than our 6' tables. I'm not complaining. Robin did a good job packing hanging pouches onto the gridwall. Marmaduke's logic in arranging belts completely escaped any of us. :) Ron forgot the new sock yarn, but grovelled a lot about it.
Friday the room was officially open 6 pm - 10 pm. We got one or two smallish sales Friday.
Saturday we were officially open 10 am - 10 pm, but I knew the door would be open when the convention opened at 9 am, and due to waking up earlier than I wanted to and not paying attention to the clock, I got there shortly after 8. So it was a really really long day.
Ron's been suffering from insomnia and bursitis in his shoulder, so instead of sending Robin and Marmaduke home late afternoon to let the dogs out, he bailed about 3:00. The dogs appreciated it. We didn't miss him - that was about the time sales died and we were bored bored bored.
There were far fewer cosplayers around than last year, and no anime room. However, there was a LARP group across the room from us. The LARPers were our friends, sales-wise, but even so we only had slightly over half of last year's sales by the end of Saturday. (I just looked at last year's report here on the blog, where I said we got about half our sales Saturday, and the other half split mostly evenly between Friday and Sunday). I was not a happy camper, although we had cleared entry, etc.
Sunday the LARPers came through again, and we ended up doing about a hundred dollars more than last year. Still going to have to think about CodCon next year - we'll be good if there's enough Cosplay or LARPers, but tabletop-ish gamers aren't our customer base.
Packing up was a little slow, as Ron directed Robin and Marmaduke in how to pack the Things, to save his shoulder.
But, to get to the even more interesting news:
Marmaduke made the comment Sunday morning that we should do ACen (Anime Central, a ginormicon held in Rosemont). I explained that while ACen is ginormous, it is also not-quite ginormously expensive (Chicon/Worldcon was ginormously expensive), plus all the hassles of having to get union workers to unload and set up, blah blah blah.
Except, one of our neighbors said, ACen has negotiated so dealers can do all their own unloading, setup, and bring in their own food (another Thing with some cons at the big convention centers). And you have a potential customer base of 20,000. Twenty thousand. My mind boggles.
My brain started working. ACen booths are 10x10, if you get one early enough its $650, currently $850, but the first one comes with five, yes 5 memberships. And the map shows empty spaces, still.
I e-mailed to ask if there really are still spaces left.
Ron and Xap agreed that I was barking mad in general, but not in regard to the possibility of doing ACen.
I talked to the neighbor some more.
We played with the CAD program on my iPad and came up with a layout that we think will work, in one space. No stringy bits or instruments, leather only.
We determined that we probably need to go into overdrive for the next month on making pouches. And promptly got orders for two custom pouches. Of course we did.
Xap read the policies. I re-read information and realized there's a registration-pre-approval process, that I think I initiated. (I forgot to screen capture the screen I'm pretty sure I saw saying I did it right, it didn't generate e-mail saying that (unlike account creation), and I it doesn't show up as a pending order). It doesn't help that by that point both Xap and I were more or less loopy.
Re: loopy: Sunday afternoon a customer picked up a pouch to buy, and half the latch fell off, broken in a way I've never had happen before. I kinda stared stupidly at it, and said I couldn't fix it. After a couple minutes more staring I managed to tell the customer I could fix it at home and send it to him. He chose a different pouch.
Robin is not interested in ACen, but Marmaduke doesn't have his membership yet, and will gladly trade Thursday and Sunday labor for a badge. Xaplet Minor is green with envy, as she has a conflict. Not sure where badge #5 would go, maybe Xaplet Major, if he's willing/able to work for it.
Late last night I got e-mail back saying that there are a few spaces left. I responded with a thank you, and asking if my attempt to do the pre-approval was eaten by the trolls under the ethernet bridge, or did it get through (in more formal phrasing). Waiting impatiently for answers.
Yesterday I stayed home (mostly planned), and Ron came home after lunch. We went out to the Leather Factory store, and I found nice black soft leather in the scrap bin. I'd been planning to make belt satchels, sporrans, and smallish tabbed pouches, so it was an opportune find. I ended up cutting 5 belt satchels and most of 5 tabbed pouches out of it ("mostly" because I still have to cut inner pockets out for them, which I'll do out of my stash of bleah-colored steering wheel cover remnants).
So, with luck we'll be doing ACen.
The Big Idea: Maurice Broaddus
3 hours ago