Hi 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!
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!
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!
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.
Yeah, I am way behind. Glimmerdark was in February, a fantasy and dark fairy convention that took over from Wicked Faire. It had it’s issues as a new/revised event, but I look forward to seeing what it becomes.
So to catch up more easily, I’m just going to sum it up in pictures. Enjoy!
Sometimes, we’ll take a chance on a new event. That was the case with this one – we received an invite through our Etsy store, and it sounded like fun. It was a two part event. In the daytime, a family friendly witch’s bazaar. At night, an adults only party.
While the event was fun, it was not really successful for us as vendors. Traffic was low, and the two events with the break between them didn’t really seem to work for crowd energy. I think this event would do better if it decided what it really wanted to be and focused on it.
The site was a fun park, which in the daytime was great to wander and see all the vendors. At night, not all of the vendors stayed… and unfortunately those that did weren’t all clumped together. Which also meant as the October evening temperatures dropped, people stopped wandering.
The costumes were cool and the people were fun, but this was one of very few events that we have left early.
Don’t forget – we really need your help to buy a new tent! Your help with our fundraising efforts is massively appreciated.
One of the highlights of our September is always Pagan Pride Days. These are lovely one day events all over the country where various people of pagan leanings come together. This year we made our way to three of the events: Frederick MD, Northern Virginia, and Belmont NC.
This was our second year at Frederick Pagan Pride, and I am happy to say much less rainy than last year! Actually, it was a beautiful day. The event took place on the front lawn of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Frederick. It was a wonderful setting, welcoming and friendly. And speaking of, we happily got to meet up with various vendor and fair friends as well.
The following Saturday was Northern Virginia and Belmont NC Pagan Pride Days. I went to NoVa, Nathaniel to NC. So I only have photos from NoVA. It was a little weird being back on my college campus – that had been a while! The setting gave this festival a definitely different feel. And I started off the day with our canopy, which had already been stressed by the winds at Steampunk World’s Fair, breaking as I went to set it up. Thank goodness for PVC pipes and duct tape!
We don’t do a lot of one day shows, and this one was unique. Fun, creative… It was great for a small show’s first year, and I really look forward to seeing what it becomes.
In August in the historic downtown of Frederick, MD, there is a Penny Farthing race. You know those Victorian bicycles with the huge wheel? Yup, people race those. Steampunk Frederick was located at a small theater about a block away, with all sorts of interesting creative types. It took a lot of adjusting to figure out how we were all setting up in the odd spaces of the hallways and small rooms, but once we worked that out it was a fun, long day.
We got our almost two tables worth of space along a wall across from the entrance to the actual stage.
Thank you neighbor, we think you’re awesome too!
Hello again Momo! It’s fun seeing rennaissance faire vendor friends at the steampunk shows.
And our steampunk vendor friends, bringing out their awesome costumes!
Steampunk Dalek and a penny farthing. I love the pairing.
Awesome Steampunk Tardis!
Great costumes are definitely the highlight of a steampunk event.
Nathaniel having fun with Steampunk Xena
Moment of recognition for contributions to the steampunk community.