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!

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Last Day of Store Fundraising!

Hello everyone! First of all, a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to our fundraiser for our new storefront! We have raise 21% of our goal. Not enough for the major repairs, but enough that next week we will be starting our major build out!

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Our window sticker has gotten a lot of excitement and curiosity from our neighbors!
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Turning the office side from industrial cream to warm brown. Going to continue the steampunk aesthetic in here!
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Stripping off decades of old paint, we found beautiful old oak beneath!
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Speaking of beneath, beginning the clean out of the old basement. Yay working sump pump!

There are still a few hours to donate, so click here to help and get cool stuff!

What’s next for us? Next week is loads of lumber, so we can begin building the wall to separate our front gallery from our workshops, with new counters and new flooring for general awesomeness.

Thank you again everyone for your help!

 

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One last cool picture for you: Historic picture of The Boulevard! We found this in the shop while cleaning it out.

 

On Wicked, Steampunk World’s Fair, and JME

Over the last week, serious allegations came out against Jeff Mach and Jeff Mach Events, organizers of Wicked, Steampunk World’s Fair, and several other events in New Jersey. We have taken a few days to consider our response and see how the event company would handle the situation. Last night we received the official response from the new event CEO that Jeff will no longer be involved with any of their events or allowed to be at them.

We’ve been talking about it seriously here, so here is our response for you, our fans and fellow convention goers.

  • We will still be vending at this year’s Wicked Faire and Steampunk World’s Fair. These events are paid for well in advance and we can not afford as a small business to let that money be a wash or scramble to find another show at this point in time.
  • While we personally have never had any problems with Jeff or JME, we do not dismiss or disbelieve those who have. You have our support and we wish you had felt more comfortable to speak out sooner.
  • We will be watching to see how the new management handles this year and evaluating whether we will do these shows in the future.

Conventions, events, and faires are supposed to be places of fun and escape. We all try to watch out for each other, and we hate to see when something like this poisons any part of our greater community.

This is our promise to you:

  • If you are at any event where we are vending, and feel harassed, followed, or otherwise unsafe, we will happily give you shelter. If you feel ill, we will give you a seat. We will stand by you until you find a friend or a member of event staff who can help you.
  • If for any reason our behavior ever makes you uncomfortable, please let us know. We want events we attend to be enjoyable and safe for all.

Our sympathies are with all effected, and we hope that we will all be able to move forward to a good year of events.

Thank you.

Big Update: Our Awesome New Store!

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Those of you who follow us on our social media know that since November things have been super special for our business. So here’s what happened:

In October, Nathaniel found out that the building he had his workshop in had been sold, and that the new owners were not keeping the current tenants. So, we put aside a couple of days to find him a new building, preferably in his home town of Eden, NC. A couple of conversations with amazing locals later, and we were shown a vacant older storefront with amazing front display windows, a built in office, and a huge main room. It needs some love, but it is perfect for what we have wanted.

So, a couple of days later we had an agreement with a new landlord and I was planning a major move to North Carolina to join Nathaniel with the amazing shop.

It’s been a bit of a slow start, getting all of the legal business stuff taken care of and getting the funding together in our slower sales part of the year. But we are on the way to making something awesome! When we’re done, the front will have a sales gallery, the back and office will be made into our studio space. We’ll be able to create more efficiently, have space to teach, and bring our creations to an old downtown.

We need your help fulfilling this dream! We are currently raising money for our build out and building repairs. Visit our IndieGoGo campaign and we’ll give you awesome things for your help. Or, help us spread the word, or buy something awesome from our online store! Everything or anything will help.

We’re really looking forward to fostering a local creative community, and we’d love to have you with us for the adventure!

Catching Up – What a Year It’s Been!

Hello everyone! It’s been quite the crazy year and we’re way behind on sharing what we’ve been up to. And there is awesome news to come!

So, let’s start with catching up on a year worth of incredible shows and a huge thank you for everyone who came out to see us.

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First to kick off the summer was Awesome Con! Cynthia squeezed a lot into one little table. Next year, we have a full booth to share our geeky armor designs!
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It was the weekend of Wonder Woman! This amazon came back to show off the bracers she bought from us.
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Blerdcon was a first year convention in DC, dedicated to underrepresented groups in pop culture. It was one of the most welcoming events I have ever been to, and we are happily looking forward to next year.
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A closeup of our extreme colorfulness for Blerdcon.
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Scares That Care! This was our third year at this event, one of our favorites every year.
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Our awesome artist friend Kat joined us in our room this year, and made these awesome signs to help people find us.
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…and then she became part of the room decor…
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…until we had a little building emergency adventure.
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But all was well and we kept on having fun for charity!
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Next was our first time at FanExpo Boston. A decent weekend, though we definitely learned from it if we choose to do it again.
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Our endcap booth at Boston. The artist section of this one really is print and comic artists, so we’d be better off in the dealer area.
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Dragon Con! Another crowded tiny table. I am hoping for more space for next year.
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These bottles continued to be a huge hit – almost all of them sold day one!
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Entering fall with Frederick Pagan Pride. A beautiful, brightly sunny day.
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Nathaniel put out a great display of new bone knives for the fall.

That’s it for the shows that I remembered to take pictures of this past year! Check out our show schedule to see where to find us next.

Event Review: Virginia Renaissance Faire 2017

We love participating in VARF, and were happy to return for five weeks this May to June! Of course, with an outdoor fair and the growing Virginia heat, there are always some hiccups.

First weekend, I was madly trying to track down our new tent with absolutely no info coming from the company as to an ETA. So, week of we went ahead and bought a car port from Harbor Freight and some canvas for side walls so we would have something.

So when did our new tent arrive? The day before show opened, so too late to get it set up for first weekend.

We did get it all set up for second weekend, thought we were hot and tired and did not realize it was inside out until it was all up. We left it that way for the show. Last hiccup? We were in our usual spot, but with a larger space it was clear just what an odd hill it was. The tent stayed well, but we were constantly having to accommodate for the lean. Next year, we’re adding a platform and an in-tent fan!

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Our temporary tent on the grey first day of faire.
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Second day – sunny, and Nathaniel’s huge sword from Artomatic is raised to gain attention to our odd space.
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Second weekend – new tent raised… inside out. Oops!
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Nathaniel working on armor at our demo table.
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Drawing the eye however we can – a new sign with our new logo, and a new colorful ribbon cape.

Event Review: Steampunk World’s Fair 2017

This was our second year doing Steampunk World’s Fair, and we were happy to move to an inside hotel room space. This set up is unique as far as shows we have done – the first floor hotel rooms become vending space, small boutique shops that have creative set ups. Fortunately a vendor friend pointed out we would need to bring more lights, because hotel rooms are not meant to be bright. We also thought to buy a lot more vertical displays, because this was not a good space to try and bring multiple tables in and have multiple customers at a time.

Only things we’d change for next year? Confirm all details with the hotel so we don’t have any check-in issues like we did this year, get something eyecatching to put outside our room, and make some advertising posters including that we do costume repair.

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First wall you see when you come in – our refinished water guns, the popular flasks, and more.
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Fully into the room – waist cinchers and masks.

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The grid wall and extra lighting really made a difference in our display.
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My first holsters, and a continuation of my leather and lace series.
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More swords and the giant flask. Our eye catching corner.
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One of the takers on our repair services. Love to corgi themed costumes!
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The costumes are definitely one of the highlights of Steampunk World’s Fair.
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Nathaniel’s plasma caster – huge steampunk mod. Can you guess what this started as?