Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick . . .

The clock is ticking down to ACen. Things are getting done. Other things . . . may not be. 

Ron picked up the label printer Monday after lunch. We got a Brother QL-700, which is supposed to play nicely with iFruity computers, deal with database-type output, be fast, handles labels of various sizes, including continuous ones, and didn't break the bank. In 20/20 hindsight the similar wireless model might have been worth paying a bit more, as then we wouldn't have to find room for it within cord range of the computer. OTOH, it isn't something we expect to keep set up and ready for printing at all times, so it can have a less convenient storage location.

Ron is very happy with it. It does indeed play nicely with our system, and it sounds like the Brother P-Touch software is easy to use and flexible. IIRC Ron hasn't read the instructions at any point. The printer a very simple barcode printed on the back side of the label roll to determine what size is in, and will tell you. We're using a continuous roll of label tape, and you can set the software to make all the labels a certain size, and set different lines in different maximum type sizes (it'll scale as necessary to fit), and AFAIK change the font for each line. If you're printing out of a table you can tell it to print lines X-Y. 

And it is fast. Monday night we started printing new price labels for belts, and it was shooting labels all over Ron's desk (auto-cutter). Oops, so much for keeping them in the order they came out. A small plastic tray solved the problem of labels everywhere. 

We display one of each type/color of belt on the belt displays, and they get a 2" round plastic tag, on a brass clip, which we re-use. I was thinking I'd have to re-write all of them, but we determined that we could print a label of a reasonable size to display the size and type of belt, so new printer for the win. 

Except I didn't have enough blank plastic tags. Fortunately, the best source, even with shipping, is ULine, which is local. Those are out far delivery today, with only standard UPS service. Also more zip-ties, which are used for assembling gridwall (faster and easier than the "proper" gridwall connectors), hanging things, etc.

Last night Ron got all the larger bottles (29 of them) into inventory, printed labels, and I helped get he tags on them.  Then we moved onto hard pouches (22 of those):

 One of Max's drawers, pretty much full of bottles (corks are in another drawer for the moment). If you embiggen you can see one of the tags. 

Pippin's wondering what I'm doing standing over the bin of pouches, or am I going to deposit food into Elrond's bowl for him to steal?  It isn't obvious, but under the pouches laying flat is a full layer of pouches up on edge.

I think tonight I'll work on finishing off the satchels and soft machine-sewn pouches while Ron gets them into inventory and makes tags. 

Monday afternoon I stopped at the Container Store and picked up a couple hanging fabric magazine organizers (the version in shades of brown) to display knitting patterns and the couple leatherworking books we have for sale. We have a folding metal literature rack, but that takes a big chunk of table space, and I think that the hanging displays will be a good alternate choice, especially when table space is short.

I think Ron finally came up with a viable layout for ACen last night:

10' x 20 space (light blue), front is to the bottom. Quarter-circles are the belt displays, heavy black lines (which includes the straight sides of the belt displays) are 6' tall x 2' wide gridwall, heavy green lines are 5' tall by 1' wide gridwall, and the diagonal lines in the corner of the gridwall on the back wall are corner shelves.

The width between the tables and belt displays is 8' wide. Each side space is 4' x 6', with a 2' wide opening between the table and the gridwall wings coming out from the back wall.
(Thing 1 and Thing 2 are taller than our 4' tables, so we'll probably actually swap the Things and the tables, but that doesn't make an appreciable change in terms of this drawing). This layout gives the most table space yet, reasonably demarcates the public and private areas, and has space for Marmaduke, Wash, and X2 in addition to Ron, Xap, and I. 

The private spaces are split, which kind of splits us up. The belt displays will also break up the visual connection between the Things and the tables, but I think those are tradeoffs we can live with. 

Later today I'll probably take a stab at labeling where I think we should put what merchandise - for instance, the bottles, especially the little 2-ounce ones, will not go out front, they're a little too easy to have wander off. Per-capita I don't think the risk of shoplifting at ACen is any higher than any other event, but the population is umpty times higher, so the overall number of naughty people will be higher. Plus, with more people shopping comes more possible distraction. Therefore, I'm trying to think ahead a little.

Last night Ron was questioning if we could get everything done. I think its a good thing Ron started getting merchandise into inventory and tagged. That, and printing new tags for existing merchandise, is a job that has to be done. If we don't get as many more bottles made, or a few less pouches finished, is less important.

FWIW, I think we'll get at least pretty close to finishing, even though we're taking most of Saturday off (my birthday/Mother's Day lunch, MuseCon meeting, and Spamalot in the evening). I think we can get the inventory/tagging done evenings, and on Saturday morning and Sunday get a good bunch more of bottles made, along with hopefully the two bandoliers I have strips cut for. And I keep working on lacing up the soft-ish pouches at lunchtime and evenings. I've pretty much written off the few that aren't ready to lace, but I'm plowing through the rest.  And one evening should finish off the business card coasters we have started (stalled while we debated a printing issue).

Trying not to get antsy about the shirts and vests. I approved the proof Monday, and the salescritter said he'd send them to production ASAP in his response. No shipping notice yet, but it should only take a couple days to get to us from Connecticut, and I did pay extra to guarantee arrival by end of the day a week from tomorrow. 

Table runners for neatening up the belt displays are scheduled for delivery this week. I have a possible grommet plan for those if time permits, but it isn't necessary. Still waffling on another couple side-drape shower curtains, but we wouldn't need them if we go with the layout above, and they'd be picked up from a local brick-and-mortar store if I do decide we want/need them for ACen.

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