Virginia Renaissance Faire 2016 Wrap-Up

One of the challenges of doing faires and festivals is weather. It is completely out of your control, but your sales can depend on it. It can make a show vary a lot from year to year. So this year, five weekends and only one of them without rain… well, it did not make for a great Virginia Renaissance Faire this year.

We still love our small-ish state renaissance faire. We made great new friends and had a lot of fun. Hopefully next year the weather will be with us again.

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First weekend – Sunny day, but just after ten straight days of rain. Mud certainly made set up interesting.
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Our new sign! Finally got a good booth sign made.
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Fun and colorful for opening weekend.
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One of the best things about being a vendor is seeing old friends.
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Next weekend, more rain and mud. Did the best we could to keep it off our visitors.
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I love making leather leaves out of scraps, and I had been wanting to make a Green Man for a while.
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Just a couple of tea sets left after Steampunk World’s Faire. And the glass flasks were a huge hit this year.
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People kept admiring my wait cincher, so I finally made some lovely hand tooled ones for sale.
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Yay! For once, a photo of me in the booth.
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We had an unusual challenge compensating for a hill. Didn’t seem like much when we set up, but everything was on a lean.
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Kids loved playing with the wood weapons on this table.
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Look, sun! We loved every time we got to dry out a bit.
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Added geeky waist cinchers for the fourth weekend, and a few large glass bottles.
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Small necklaces – charms and bodice knives.

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Cloaks! They continue to be popular, no matter the weather.

Event Review: CSM Renaissance Faire 2016

As every vendor at conventions, faires, and craft shows knows, sometimes you just don’t have a good weekend. It’s particularly unfortunate, though, when it’s a show you’ve previously done well at.

CSM Renaissance Faire is a small fair we’ve been involved with since it’s first year. It’s on the same weekend as a lot of other possible shows, but we’ve kept doing it because it’s a fun little thing, and turns a nice profit for the cost. Unfortunately, this year was painfully small. From the outside, it does not look like they’ve really even let the college students know that this event is going on on their campus. There were a tiny number of vendors, so really not enough to keep those who did come out around.

We spoke at length after the last day to one of the organizers, and he seems to want to make this show work and be better. The several of us – vendors and entertainers – that stuck around to talk to him all had ideas and volunteered our assistance to see it happen. So, this show sits at “we’ll do it again if he actually takes us up on the assistance. If not, we’re filling our April another way next year.

So now… photos!

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After Show Report: Southampton Renaissance Faire

We added a new fair to our shows this year – Southhampton Renaissance Faire, near Virginia Beach. As an April show, it was still a bit chilly be this was a fun, vibrant weekend fair and great for getting the fair season rolling.

This fair really had a great atmosphere. Lots of vendors happy to be out on a lovely weekend, good crowds, and an entertaining night life. This fair threw one hell of a pot luck feast for people staying on site Saturday night, which was both delicious and an awesome way to hang out with show friends we’ve made over the last couple of years.

The only criticism is that the flow of how they set up the space was kind of bizarre, and we definitely want to be farther from the entrance next year. But this is a firm contender for a regular event for us.

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We set up our booth for a nice walk around set up, visible from the multiple ways people would walk around the booth.
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Yes, that is indeed a chicken in a tutu, on a leash. I love fairs.
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Sky, my new little fan, watched my leatherwork demos.
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Mark, channeling his inner barbarian, in an awesome bear pelt one of the other vendors had for sale. I wish I’d had the funds for some of his gorgeous furs!
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Thanks guys for a great start to the fair season!
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The patchwork red tent makes its opening appearance for the year! A bit of a breeze, but not too bad of one.

After Show Report: Madicon 2016

Well, I’m definitely a bit behind on sharing our awesome show stories, but we’re in a good catch up time, so here we go!

Madicon is a fun little convention at James Madison University every March. It is one of the smallest events we do, but it’s great for getting our year rolling. Plus, we get to reunite with a bunch of vendor neighbors we meet over the year.

This year they expanded the vendors a bit. I’m not sure how that did for others as far as sales, but I liked the feel of the newly set up room. We did nicely, but partially that’s from a lot having been learned working as hard as we have over the last year.

So, without further ado, enjoy some photos from March’s Madicon!

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We got a table on the end, so I was able to bring my nice new rolling rack for cloaks. Fleece is so cozy for March!
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Nathaniel has been perfecting his light up blades. I think these are the second and third versions. Plus, experimenting with a dark box to best show them off.
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We’ve really figured out how to take a one table space and make a whole little booth.
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Madicon benefits a local wild bird rescue organization. I love when they show off the birds of prey! Here’s a tiny kestrel.
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Yup, the leather masks still get to come along. And by request, more bracers!

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.

Show Report: Wizard World Richmond Comic Con

20150801_185339Hello again! It’s a busy time of year for us, and we just got back from our second convention in two weeks. This time, Wyrd Armouries took our wares to Richmond for Wizard World’s Comic Con. This was our first time doing a comic convention together – I have done several as Wyrd and Wired – and it was interesting to see what people were interested in and what they bought.

Overall, I’d put this convention in the “okay” category. Well, once we got past a few car disasters (the first car we packed decided being in gear wasn’t fun anymore) and horrible traffic to get there. We did alright financially, but it was a lot more work to get there and was not quite as fun overall. Getting people to part with money took a lot more work than we are used to at a convention. If I was looking at this convention as an attendee, it seems to be much more about autographs and photo ops than panels and content. Which, if that’s what you like, was fine and there were good guests.

One of the highlights of the convention was watching all of the costumes go by. From an amazing amazon of a Wonder Woman to a tiny Doctor Who teething on his sonic screwdriver, people watching is fun. And seeing many of our favorite fellow vendors! We were diagonal from our old neighbor, Emizart, doing her second show. So many cute little dragons. After doing conventions for a while, each one is a bit like a reunion with old friends.

Here’s some more photographic highlights from our booth:

Poor lonely Green Lantern - you're the only one of my new leather masks that didn't sell!
Poor lonely Green Lantern – you’re the only one of my new leather masks that didn’t sell!
We have the full set now for our favorite amazon. Yes, the rope is tied as an actual lasso.
We have the full set now for our favorite amazon. Yes, the rope is tied as an actual lasso.
Hey Spidey! There's a friend here looking for you.
Hey Spidey! There’s a friend here looking for you.
Fun and easy gifts - these steampunk gear, propeller, and old book necklaces are still popular.
Fun and easy gifts – these steampunk gear, propeller, and old book necklaces are still popular.
The full corner table setup. We added the Gleeman's Cloak up high as an attention getter. It worked.
The full corner table setup. We added the Gleeman’s Cloak up high as an attention getter. It worked.
Last minute addition - glowing green axe!
Last minute addition – glowing green axe!
See you again (in this guise) at Wizard World Nashville! But coming up next, Invervention (Internet Convention in DC).
See you again (in this guise) at Wizard World Nashville! But coming up next, Invervention (Internet Convention in DC).

Show Report: Scares That Care Weekend 2

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Wyrd Armouries – all your monster hunter needs!

Wyrd Armouries just got back from our first horror convention, and it will not be our last. Scares That Care Weekend is a small convention as the ones we attend go, but one with an excellent atmosphere, a great staff, and fun people. Plus, they are very serious about the money they make going to charity, which is very important.

We had some minor hiccups as vendors. When we started, our table was kind of tucked back in a corner, and thus people didn’t really approach. It was made worse when one table next to us didn’t show, so people would swing wide and barely look. But the staff was nice and fine with us moving a bit on Saturday, which helped not just us but the other occupied table next to us.

There was also the fact that is was our first time at this convention, and our first time at a horror convention at all. As a result, we tried out several new products, in as a mix with the ones we usually bring. It was very easy by the end to see what sold and what people had no interest in, so we know better what to bring next year.

And yes, this convention is on our “will do again” list. We already have ideas! But until then, visit us next weekend at Richmond Comic Con!

Our booth at Scares That Cares. Tweaking our display and colors all the time - I rather like this look.
Our booth at Scares That Cares. Tweaking our display and colors all the time – I rather like this look.
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Vampire Hunter’s Tool Rolls – one of my new products, and one of our hits of the weekend. Must make more!
Inside the monster hunter's backpack. Quick and easy monster repellent, candles, badges.
Inside the monster hunter’s backpack. Quick and easy monster repellent, candles, badges. People had good laughs looking into this set.

Virginia Renaissance Faire Wrap Up

Well, it has been a crazy five weeks for us, and mostly in the good way. Almost every week had us hurrying back to our respective studios to make inventory to replace what sold and fill special custom orders. We had some great outfitting team-ups, and while we are enjoying a little bit of a rest we’re already thinking towards next year.

Here’s some fun photos from around our tent:

More leatherwork added as the weeks went on. And one week, I had comics on the mind.
More leatherwork added as the weeks went on. And one week, I had comics on the mind.
Nathaniel's wooden weapons, in all kinds of shapes and sizes, wait for  their new homes.
Nathaniel’s wooden weapons, in all kinds of shapes and sizes, wait for their new homes.
Or perhaps an axe is more to your liking?
Or perhaps an axe is more to your liking?
Visitors line up for the Queen's procession in front of our booth every day.
Visitors line up for the Queen’s procession in front of our booth every day.
Thus, we also get to meet the court...
Thus, we also get to meet the court…
...and the Queen's lovely ladies.
…and the Queen’s lovely ladies.
Finally, the Queen!
Finally, the Queen!

Virginia Renaissance Faire, Opening Weekend

Hello everyone! We’re going a tad nuts at the combined lands of Wyrd and Wired and MalHanch Armouries, and we have been for a couple of weeks. All of it was to get ready for our first bigger show together, all five weekends of the Virginia Renaissance Festival.

First step, the new and improved Red Tent…

I spent the day before opening finishing the sides and getting sunburn while painting our sign and front trim, while Nathaniel made new stands and tables.
I spent the day before opening finishing the sides and getting sunburn while painting our sign and front trim, while Nathaniel made new stands and tables.
End result? Way better tent, and easy to spot in the middle of the fair. Plus, shade - a must for a summer fair!
End result? Way better tent, and easy to spot in the middle of the fair. Plus, shade – a must for a summer fair!

Next, bring in the happy customers…

Our happy first customer of the second day, with his new shiny weapon.
Our happy first customer of the second day, with his new shiny weapon.

Or just lure colorful characters into the shade as the day gets hot…

Nicely detailed costume! Always a good idea to befriend the Goblin King.
Nicely detailed costume! Always a good idea to befriend the Goblin King.

Saturday had their highest opening day attendance yet, and it’s always fun to watch the festival crowds. Now to rinse and repeat for the next four weekends! So, stop on by and look for the pretty red tent.

Show Report: College of Southern Maryland Renaissance Festival

This was the third year of the College of Southern Maryland Renaissance Festival, and our second year as vendors. It’s a tiny show, but we love it. This faire is thrown by the theater department of the College of Southern Maryland, on the front lawn of their performing arts building. Each year the faire centers around multiple performances of a period appropriate play – this year, it was Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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Nathaniel the corsair threatens to stab me with a tiny knife, while wishing he had waited a week to shave his hair off. Cold!

We showed up on a cold Saturday, threatening rain. A boon for my cloak sales, but not all that fun to sit in. Still, people were out and about, having fun. The local chapter of the SCA joined in this year, teaching, giving demos, and otherwise adding to the faire feel with their presence. Everything felt just a little more renaissance and festive this year.

Probably the last show for the patchwork red tent - but we're still sticking with red! And first show for awesome helper Gwen.
Probably the last show for the patchwork red tent – but we’re still sticking with red! And first show for awesome helper Gwen.

Our booth was first in the row, just across from the SCA and in front of the outdoor stage. Which mean we have a great view of the highlights – magic show and Queen Elizabeth are awesome – and lowlights – ouch to blocking with your face, fighting demonstrator – of the faire. And we are right there, bantering with guests and doing our best to the festive air.

This show, tiny as it is and as early as it is, is also a bit of a test market for us. We touch base with friends from the Virginia Renaissance Festival, bring out new items we’ve been making, and encourage people to come to the bigger faires later in the year. It’s free to attend, so next year, take a look for our big red tent and see what’s new!