When What Can Go Wrong Does Go Wrong

Being a small business, a creative person, an artist, a self-employed person… there are so many things that can go wrong, and usually no one but yourself to fix it. You can’t keep going if you don’t adapt.

Fortunately, we are stubborn.

Oops, We forgot something!

 

With as many shows as we have done, it is to be expected that occasionally something has been left behind. Packing for events is never not stressful, no matter how many times we have done it, and it often happens at the end of very long weeks trying to make as many things as we possibly can.

Sometimes, it is specialty displays that get left. We left our mask displays behind once, before we learned how to show them on gridwall. Last minute solution? Skinny pillows from Goodwill that matched our booth colors. We still use the pillows to add some interest to our displays.

Inventory that gets left behind is probably the most annoying. That’s things that might have sold that customers never see. Fortunately, all of our inventory doesn’t fit in just one box, so we’ve never left behind all of our inventory. It does mean putting out pretty much everything else we have made to make up for it.

Most recently, we forgot a bag of stakes that goes to our large, medieval pavilion for a one weekend event. It uses both large stakes for tension and small stakes to pin the 16 poles. Replacing all of those at a moment’s notice was next to impossible and would have been painfully expensive. In that case, it was a cost decision – buying a new backup tent at Walmart was more cost effective than buying all new stakes. So creative use of Walmart canopys it was!

For one show, we even had our entire tent not ship on time! And that’s why one of our backup tents is a 10 x 20 carport.

Rain, and Wind Oh My!

If you do outdoor shows, you have to contend with weather.

Actually, amend that. Sometimes, you have to contend with weather even with an indoor show. Shows on snow days where no one can make it to your indoor show are a not good you can’t do anything about.

And then there was that one time there was a pipe leak above our booth and we had to move tables to avoid stinky water. Thank goodness none of our products were directly under it!

But rain and wind… they will happen, and you have to adapt.

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Poor mangled steel tent! The only tents that survived the night were the full reenactor tents.

Wind is our least favorite. Several seasons ago, we lost three pop up tents in the course of a year. One was twisted beyond any hope of salvaging by a hurricane remnant. That was the year that made us buy our medieval pavilion!

Sometimes, it just means no sleeping in the tent at night, like we usually do at renaissance faires. High winds or thunderstorms tearing through a camp site can send us to sleeping in the car – which at this point we are well prepared for with foam mats and car blankets. It used to send us to a hotel.

And then there’s rain. Rain is easier for a tent set up than wind, but not good on leather products or on foot traffic. Product we can shift, and what is where will rotate when the rain get bad. Leather goes to where it is most protected, wood gets a little wet. But rain also means mud. We were “the dock” at last year’s Virginia Renaissance Faire because the hill became a river that parted around our makeshift wooden platform. Not setting up for an extended time without a platform again!

But if it’s only a one weekend event, we have to rely on organizers for things like straw. Our poor neighbors once had a river through their tent!

But whatever the problem, if there is a show we have paid for, we will be there! Maybe sometimes a little late. Maybe sick or sleep deprived. But we’ll be there!

What show disasters have you had to deal with? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments!

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Looking Back on 2018 – The Good, The Bad, and the WTF???

20180208_154144Hi guys! Thanks so much for sticking with us through a crazy year. As promised on our recent Facebook/Instagram post, here’s a quick run down on our past year! And I’ll go more in depth with pictures and other awesomeness soon.

Let’s start with The Good, shall we?

  • We’re still working on our awesome old building – which we are now the proud owners of!
  • We have two “sibling” businesses that we opened in support of our main business: Cynthia is running the Crooked Treehouse, a gift shop featuring our pagan/new age work, the work of other local artists, as well as crystals, candles, and other pretties. Nathaniel is launching The Olde Post Office Theater & Game Parlor, a black box theater, game space, space for classes, and general space to come and hang out.
  • We’re getting involved with our business neighborhood, The Boulevard, and we can tell the efforts are starting to be noticed.
  • We ran our first ever haunted house this past Halloween! Each night got progressively better, it brought in new friends and contacts, and helped more people know we’ve got things going on around here.
  • We made some absolutely amazing things! Our first ever major mascot cosplay commission, leather armor collaborations… We made stuff we are defintely proud of this year.
  • Lots of new contacts, new friends, new opportunities – some of which we can’t talk about yet, but I will definitely be better about sharing them when we can.

Now, The Bad

  • This was not a good year for our show circuit. Starting off the year with what happened with JME/Steampunk World’s Faire putting one show at low attendance followed by a show not happening and being out that money… then being out other shows, parts of shows, or attendance due to weather, luck was not with us.
  • Oh god, the weather! Our rainiest Virginia Renaissance Faire ever (actually led to one day closing completely – check out our video of the river!), two hurricanes through North Carolina…
  • … And speaking of that, we still have not gotten our roof fixed. We’ve gotten quotes for it, but still working on that whole fundraising thing. The rain and wind were not kind to it, so we’re currently working out of about half of the building.
  • …And because of that, we have not yet been able to open the building to the public yet. Sorry guys!

20180831_165003The WTF???

Okay, the WTF is not nearly as specific, but it’s been an interesting year of good and bad working together in really strange ways.

  • For example, fighting with our roof and trying to figure out ways to get it fixed was part of how we ended up buying the building, which opens up all new opportunities for the next year.
  • Going to a tiny show that we did mostly as a filler to try and make up for ones we lost due to weather didn’t net a lot of sales… but it did open us up to a whole new potential part of our business that is now in development.
  • Not being able to open the gallery yet is part of what drove us to open the other related storefronts… which are starting to feed each other in a nice communal way.

So long story short, thank you everyone for their patience this year! We are hoping we’re about to be past a bad year hump, and we have some great plans coming for the next year!

Show Review: Madicon 2017

On to March in my review catchups! We enjoyed doing Madicon at James Madison University again this year. It was the first show for our new logo design tags and redone displays, and we were really happy with the new look.

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We’ve started doing more shows with more space this year. So two table display!
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Fun with red, black, and gold and all new signs.
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Wyrd and Wired has a new logo as well for my dice jewelry.

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Welcome 2017! General Updates from Wyrd Armouries

Hello Wyrd Armouries fans! We hope 2017 is treating you well thus far. We’re busy planning an amazing year, and wanted to take a moment to share some updates with you.

Our first half of the year in shows is set. Look at all these fun places you can find us this year:

  • March 10-12: Madicon, Harrisonburg VA. Link.
  • April 22-23: Southampton Renaissance Faire, Courtland VA. Link.
  • May 5-7: Steampunk World’s Fair, Piscataway NJ. Link.
  • May 13-14, May 20-21, May 27-28, June 3-4, June 10-11: Virginia Renaissance Faire, Spotsylvania VA. Link.
  • June 16-18: Awesome Con, Washington DC. Link.
  • June 30-July 2: BlerDCon, Arlington VA. Link.
  • July 21-23: Scares That Care Weekend, Williamsburg VA. Upstairs.  Link
  • September 1-4: Dragon Con, Atlanta GA. Link.

New year, New Tent… and displays, and tags, and…

We have bought our new tent! The new tent will be 19 x 13 feet, with red and white stripes. So you can still spot our red tent at fairs! I will totally be sharing photos once it arrives.

On top of that, we are revamping our display looks and our product tags. So stay tuned for the awesome new looks!

A pause in custom orders, but new things to come.

Nathaniel is in the middle of moving, so his workshop is currently closed. So, sorry to say no custom orders for the moment of weapons or woodwork. Other custom orders are still available.

But it shouldn’t be closed for long! Stay tuned for the announcement of when the workshop will reopen.

Thanks everyone, and here’s to a good year to come!

After Show Report: Farpoint 2016

Another year is upon us, and another cold February show to kick it off! At least this year did not have snow, but the wind during set up was bitter. But that’s why winter shows are indoors.

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The colorful corner of our table – leather masks and dice earrings.
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Awesome cosplay! Matt the Radar Tech, complete with “Sorry I killed your son” cards.
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Leather outfit – prototype for the upcoming faire season.
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Wood blades. light up blades, fun toy weapons!
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Sunlight blinds guests midday, but makes the dice look pretty.

It was an odd show this year. Most of the dealers we spoke to were not happy with the turn out. But looking at the numbers at the end, it’s funny to see we would have been happy with our sales several years ago. But as business gets bigger, it’s time to look for bigger things.

I did outfit the front desk in cloaks to keep them warm though. So yay for winter on that!

After Show Report: Hunt Club Farm Renaissance Faire

When we were first led to where we would be setting up at this show, I had to laugh. “We should tell people to look for us in the cemetery. This is a first.”

A lot of Hunt Club Farm made me grin. This was their second year holding a Renaissance Faire, but the farm itself has been there quite a while. We started off a tad lost – the farm was easy to find, but where we were setting up wasn’t. I accidentally wandered through the petting zoo, waking up llamas and pigs, before we found someone to lead us to where our spot was.

So, into the Halloween Maze we went, through the old mine shaft and into the graveyard…

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…wander through the mausoleum to find our shop…

It was certainly an unusual space, but made for a fun one. It might not have had as much traffic as some areas, but it had plenty. Especially Saturday, which was an absolutely gorgeous day. Plus we got to visit again with some of our favorite booth neighbors from shows past.

Sunday… well, was not so nice a day. The rain rolled in over night and we spent Sunday cold and wet. Fortunately, cold and wet does not keep “die-hard” rennies away, even at a weekend faire.

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Our little corner of the maze. Notice the impressive muddy puddle.

Rain does add some complications to any show. Not all inventory does well with the wet, so some items weren’t on display the second day.  Plus we had forgotten one canopy top – oops. So we made an emergency run for a tarp to make inside the tents slightly dry. At least not actively being rained on.

All and all, even with the dreary ending, this was a fun faire that I heartily recommend for the future.