Thursday, May 23, 2013

ACen Aftermath

Picking up on the end of the last post, which is ideas and plans for next year:

Two booths. This year's gross covered this year and two booths for next year, and with better/more preparation we think we'll definitely have enough sales to make two booths worth the cost. 

As said, more tails. Tuesday morning I ordered a dozen more tails, which should be the first batch in a planned slow buildup to what would have seemed like Stupid Amounts a month ago. I only have a half-dozen swivels, and probably won't order a batch until next week, but since we're leaving for WisCon tomorrow, that's ok. 

Horn bows. A few years ago Ron made, and we sold, some bows using gemsbok horns as the limbs, with grips he carved extending into the horns. They look really neat, but have some issues related to actual archery use, so the last four horns have been languishing. But I think a bow or two made up for display/costume use has a high probability of moving at ACen. I just have to figure out an elegant way to keep the horns on the center grip when un-strung (the previous ones relied on string tension to keep them together, which was not a problem, but ACen rules require bows to be un-strung or to use obviously-yarn "strings").  

I have to admit that getting the horns out of the house wouldn't make me sorry, either. I'm eyeballing the Rubbermaid bin they're in for tails, for yet another reason. Guilty guilty guilty. 

Potion bottles, as in small bottles or vials in leather clips/cases/holders, for LARP and steampunk-ish costumes. We had several requests at ACen, and I think a couple at CodCon.  Tuesday Robin and I did some web searching, and came up with pretty cobalt-blue nice plastic bottles, plastic test tubes, and some nice small glass bottles. Robin is planning a dieselpunk costume (especially now that he got his hat, which looks kinda WWII German officer-ish), and wants a batch of test tubes, too. 

Robin and I came up with carrier ideas for the test tubes, and Ron has ideas for holding bottles. Previously we'd made bottles completely wrapped in leather, and had plans for fancier ones, so Tuesday I looked at the glassware stash in the workroom. I found a pair of small bottles that contained bath salts, one green and one blue, that we'll start with. They've been emptied out, washed, sat for a while with Simple Green in them, and now probably contain baking soda, in an attempt to deodorize them. Robin is also setting aside a couple few pear-shaped Orangina bottles, (that ad is . . . odd) and I expect I'll be ordering test tubes and more bottles soon.

Not steampunk goggles. Although we've had many requests at ACen and other events, they're not something that we have any interest in making.

More gridwall. On Friday Ron declared that if we're doing ACen again he wants more gridwall. If he can get it into the trailer, I'm not going to argue. On Thursday I noticed somebody had a very narrow gridwall panel, and subsequent exercise of my Google-Fu disclosed the availability of 1' x 5' panels (the panels we currently have are 2' x 6'). Debating if some of the narrow stuff may be useful. 

We also discussed better possible methods of displaying pouches on gridwall. I'll probably get some gridwall hardware/hooks so we can experiment. 

Bags. Several ACen customers asked for bags, and we get asked at least once a day at other events, so I'm debating if I want to get a small stash of bags. We could re-use grocery bags, but . . . meh. Should have had Ron check what sizes/counts of bags GFS has yesterday when he and Robin were shopping for the MuseCon party at WisCon. 

Printer, POS software, etc. There were a couple times on Friday that we used Ron's iPad in addition to mine to record sales, but overall we don't think we'll need a second printer, especially as we can e-mail electronic receipts from Ron's.  Ron ran into some bugs running his perl scripts to extract sales data, mostly related to things like apostrophes in the imported inventory records. He's also saved off pre- and post- ACen records so that not only can we check what we sold, we can see how that compared to what we started out with.

Power. Even if we get more sales next year, I don't think we'll need to pay for power. The only thing I had to plug in was the wireless hot spot; the printer got low but we have a spare battery for that, and my iPad didn't need to be plugged in (until we got home and I started playing games/reading), so the UPS was fine and I expect to be so next year. 

Different physical record-keeping space. We didn't use the small table we usually have, so I was using one of the drawers of The Grinch as a shelf for my keyboard, the top for my iPad and various odds and ends, and had the cash and coinage in various other drawers (at least three different arrangements). All made me twist and reach funny to greater and lesser extents. But with two booths we'll have space for the small table and ourselves.

So there we are. Lots of plans for next year. And I'm still feeling short of sleep. I'm not making a decision until after WisCon and I look at next year's dates, but I'm not sure both WisCon (even though we don't have dealer space there) and ACen are a good idea in the future.

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