Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Long Beach Comic Expo 2015 - Load-in & Setup

Our second show of the year was Long Beach Comic Expo held at the Long Beach Convention Center.

We attended this show for the first time back at the end of May/beginning of June and had a great time. I loaded in on Friday and then my friend, Maico, came out and gave me a hand in the booth on Saturday and Sunday.

Load in this year was 180 degrees better than last year. Last year, the event was held in one of the smaller rooms in the main portion of the center and we had to load in via the food and beverage loading dock.

Now, when I hear loading dock, I think of a big platform area that has ramp attached to it and you can roll hand carts or pallet jacks up. No such luck. There were stairs but no ramp. Fortunately I was able to convince the security guy to let me pull my truck up to the ramp to unload it and then go park it before I took myself up to the vendor hall. I think he's still impressed that I got the truck unloaded and moved in under 15 minutes. ;)

This year, the load in was amazing! I got up to Long Beach about 12:30 pm and had to wait in line for about 15/20 minutes before I could unload the truck.

Since the event was in a bigger hall,  I actually got to drive my truck onto the vendor floor and unload one row over from my booth! The same went for load-out! To date that has been the best load-in/out at any show.

Long Beach Comic Expo and it's sister show, Long Beach Comic Con, are only two days, which leaves Friday for load-in and set up. After unloading everything, I went and parked the truck and checked into the Hyatt next door to the convention center, yeah it's more expensive to stay there, but it means I can get up 30-45 minutes before I have to be at the vendor hall and wander over, no driving or trying to find parking. Yes, I'm lazy. ;) Besides, the hotel is right across from our favorite Long Beach restaurant, The Auld Dubliner, which is of course where I went for dinner after I was done setting up.

I got 90% of the booth set up by 6:45 and since the hall was closing a 7pm, I decided to call it a night and head out to dinner. Of course I didn't think anything about whether or not there was another convention going on, so I didn't expect every table in the place to be either filled or reserved. Fortunately our favorite waitress, Suzie, was working and she got me a seat at the bar pretty quickly.

Since I didn't know how full the place was going to be Saturday night, I took the precaution of making dinner reservations so that when Tawmis, Maico & Amiee arrived, we'd have a table for dinner.

As usual, the food was amazing and since Cindy couldn't be there to help out, (Friday was her birthday) I ordered a glass of 18 year old MacCallan along with a Guinness and toasted her for her birthday.

After dinner I headed back to the hotel to wait for Macio to arrive from San Diego. and incidentally ended up passing out about 15 minutes before he was dropped off by Tawmis & Amiee. I was conked out so hard (I blame being exhausted from set up and the whiskey!) that I didn't hear him knock. Fortunately, his name was on the room, so they gave him a key and of course true to Murphy's Law, I woke up when he opened the door.

 We sat and chatted a bit over a glass of rum and coke before we went to sleep.

HRM Steampunk Symposium 4 - 2015 - Recap Part II

For those of you who missed Part I, you can read it over here

Saturday morning we pried ourselves out of bed, made coffee in the french press,  dressed for vending and headed up stairs to prep for the onslaught of customers.

We made some minor tweaks to the displays and put out the books that we got from Drake & McTrowell on consignment, which is now available at our online store, we were ready for business, well mostly, there was still more coffee to be had and some food too!

Saturday was crazy for us! When I said onslaught of customers, I wasn't kidding.We had a constant flow of customers come through the booth all day, with very little down time.Come 4:40 pm when they announced that the vendor hall was going to close, Cindy and I looked at each other in shock. I don't think we've every had a day of vending go by that fast. It was such a whirlwind that it took me a bit to remember that I did indeed have lunch and what it was.

Once the vendor hall closed and we covered everything up, we headed to the room and changed into some more comfortable clothes. We relaxed a bit while I added up the numbers from the day and made sure that all the sales were logged and recorded (I swear I'm going to get a barcode scanner one of these days)

From there we again headed to the Auld Dubliner for dinner and then came back to the hotel. We considered heading out to the ball, but we opted to stay in and relax mostly because we didn't feel like getting dressed back up into Steampunk gear.

Sunday was another busy day though it slowed down at the end when most people opted to head home and not stay the extra day.

Monday we drug ourselves out of bed for the final day of vending and since it was such a short day we wore our every day clothes so when it came time to pack up and load out, we didn't have to go change.

Load out went pretty fast, I think we were packed up and on the road in about 2 hours, from there we made our usual stop at Dairy Queen for food, before getting back to San Diego and unloading everything at the shop.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

HRM Steampunk Symposium 4 Recap - Part I

Home, unloaded (mostly) and already powering full speed ahead into planning and prepping for our next event, but before we get to that, let's recap our first event of the year, Her Royal Majesties Steampunk Symposium.

This show is the first show of the year for us and we always look forward to gearing up and spending the weekend on the Queen Mary for the weekend. This year was no exception.

Normally we leave around 2 or 3 pm to get up to Long Beach between 4 or 5 depending on whether or not someone has dorked traffic one of the freeways. This year we didn't actually hit the road until 7pm, because Cindy had to work until 5 and then had to fight her way out of downtown La Jolla, those of you who live in San Diego for any period of time know what I'm talking about. Of course, this also means that since we were slated to load up and go when she got home, the Traffic Gods[tm] decided to be extra rude and made the drive home much slower.

It all worked out since I still wasn't done loading up. Between herding the kids, and having my day discombobulated from having to run all over town, I was a bit behind in what I needed to do.

We finally hit the road about 7 pm and made our way to Long Beach by 9 pm. The Traffic Gods[tm] must have felt bad for the earlier mess and gave us a clear path, except for the road work that we had to navigate through up near Camp Pendelton.

Once we got to the Queen Mary, we unloaded the show stuff and dropped everything in our booth space, leaving the step up to be done first thing Friday morning when we had access to the vendor room. We usually try to get at least the grid wall up the night before, but Cindy and I just wanted to get unloaded and then check into the hotel room and then find the bar for a much needed drink.

The antics and adventures we had when we checked in can be read about over here.

Set up always tends to be an adventure no matter how many times we've put up the booth in different locations. This year was no different.

The vendor room was in a new location from last year, which meant new placement in the room. We didn't really pay much attention to the space when we rolled in Thursday night and dropped off all the grid wall and tubs, Friday morning we were whistling a different tune.

Normally our booth space is 10 feet x 10 feet, this tends to be standard for most conventions that we got to, however, do to the layout of the room and there being two huge pillars along the side we were on, our space was 8 feet wide x 12 feet deep, which gave us 96 square feet of space to work with, instead of 100 square feet. While 4 square feet (2 ft x 2 ft) doesn't really sound like much, when it comes to display space it's actually a lot of room to put stuff.  Now, we're down 4 square feet, but we have a new set up to try out for the t-shirts which gets them off the table and stored (in theory) in a much easier way to control inventory and get at the certain sizes. So on to the grid wall set up we go!

Loading in
We really have a love/hate relationship with grid wall. It's the best way for us to set up the booth and display a good portion of our inventory and it's also great for space delineation. What it's not, is great to move around, it's heavy, and bites the heck out of your fingers if you get them in the way. Thankfully, we were able to get rid of the 8 foot pieces we had and now only have to deal with 6 foot x 2 foot panels and 5 foot x 1 foot panels.

So in comes the grid wall along the back wall....oh wait...that's not a straight wall, it had a built in cabinet that curves outward into the booth, which of course means, we can't put a table along the back. ~scowl,grumble,swear~

Putting up the banner
Time to rethink the booth layout, which at this point Cindy makes the smart move and goes for more coffee as I sit there working things out in my head and cursing under my breath.

After some shuffling and creative thinking, we got the grid wall up and used the curve to our advantage, though it did cost us a couple extra feet of display space and the second table that we normally have, but we were able to get everything in the booth displayed, though it was a bit too crowded for my tastes. Of course, us artists are our own worst critics too.

Here we are all set up and ready for the first customers on Friday, not to bad for not having our usual amount of space.

All set up and ready for customers

 We ended up tweaking and rearranging things throughout the weekend, but over all we were happy with the set up that we cobbled together.

Cindy & Colleen
Once the doors opened for the day, things flew by, before we knew it they were announcing that it was 4:45 and the vendor hall was going to close 15 minutes later.

While we both devoured lunch at some point during the day, we couldn't wait for the room to close down so we could head out and get dinner.

Glorious Guinness

True to form we, went to the room, changed and headed out to the shuttle to have dinner at our usual haunt, The Auld Dubliner.

In past years the vendor room has closed at 6pm, which usually doesn't put us at the Pub until 7/7:30 depending on how long it takes us to change and take the shuttle over. This year vending closed at 5pm and we were at the pub by 6pm, which of course, was packed to the gills. Thankfully there was a couple leaving and we were able to get a table pretty quickly.
Selfies or ceiling photos ?

With drinks & dinner ordered, we chatting with Mike & Bre, from L.O.S.E.R, who were sharing a room with us. Of course what dinner isn't complete with a few fun(ny) photos and some photos of the Pub decor:
The bar area, with a rather impressive whiskey selection

We're not sure if Mike is trying to serenade Bre or eat her brains.

Friday, January 16, 2015

First show of 2015 - HRM Steampunk Sympsium

We're back at it for 2015 and I'm hoping that I can be a bit better at the upkeep of the blog and the goings on of Wyng'd Lyon. I'll do my best but I can make any promises.

Last night, January 15, 2015, Cindy and I loaded up and hit the road for Long Beach for our first show if the year, HRM Steampunk Symposium.

After leaving an hour later than we wanted last night we got to the Queen Mary with an hour to unload, which for Cindy and I is an amazing amount of time. 

We checked in with the vendor coordinator, found our booth space and had everything out of the truck in a total of 30 minutes.  The whole evening was a comedy of errors though, from the dolly having a mind of its own in the hardwood floors of the Promenade Deck, the wheel of my suitcase deciding that it was going to stop work and literally go sideways, right down to checking into our room and discovering that I booked a room with two twin beds instead of two queens. Certainly not conducive for sleeping 4 people, so back to the front desk to upgrade the room so no one had to sleep in the bathtub.

Once the room issue was straightened out, we went to find the bar and settled in with some friends for a couple hours of laughing and swapping stories.

  After finally turning in a bit after midnight, we both slept like the dead and are now working on caffeinating ourselves and waiting for the maintenance guy to come fix the shower. Yep, the fun continues! 

Oh look the maintenance guy just showed up and I need more coffee.

More to come as the day progresses!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Happy Birthday Kevin

Pretty much every artist has a muse, or an inspiration and I'm sure that it can be said that every business person has something or someone that inspires them in shape or form..

Today I wish Kevin Workman a very Happy Birthday, for he was my inspiration to take that first step into growing my business, to getting it out of my home and into my own location. Let me tell you, it was a hell of a step too.

Nervousness couldn't even begin to explain the feeling I had upon looking at rental space and signing a lease for a 300 square foot space. After I signed that lease, I really felt like I was going to throw up, it put things into some serious perspective. It was time to sink or swim and there was no way I was going to sink, at least I hoped not.

And so far, in the words of Dori from Finding Nemo - "Just keep swimming", I have.

It hasn't been easy, by any means, but it's been an adventure and on that road, I've met many wonderful and amazing people and I've expanded.

I've moved from a space that was just over 300 square feet to almost twice that. I've added inventory ranging from items I make myself, to hosting the work of other great craftsmen and artisans and thing just keep growing. I've gone from a handful of one days shows, to a large list of 2 & 3 day conventions all over the West Coast and not only has the business grown, but so have I.

It's been an amazing ride and I thank Kevin for his inspiration in getting me to take that first step. The only thing missing, is him see it in person.

I love & miss you Kevin, but I know that you're always with me in my heart and my memories, and that you would be proud to see where that first step that you inspired me to take has taken me.

Happy Birthday my dear friend and thank you for all your inspiration! I hope that some day I can inspire at least one person the way you have inspired many.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Confirmed upcoming events:

Here's the latest event schedule for Wyng'd Lyon:

April 25-27, 2014

Kingdom Con is San Diego's gaming convention held at the San Diego Crowne Plaza in Mission Valley. This will be the first time for Wyng'd Lyon vending there and we're looking forward to the fun times to be had. Visit their website for more information.

May 2-4, 2014

Back for its 4th year and probably one of our favorite events, Gaslight Gathering is again being held at the Town and Country Hotel in Mission Valley, Ca. Come out for some great panels, performances and costumes! Ticket can be bought at the Gaslight Gathering website.

May 17, 2014

Join us again for the North Park Festival of the Arts street fair, a fabulous one day event of art, music, food and many other fun activities for the family and the best thing, there is no admission fee! For more information, visit their website.

May 31-June 1, 2014

Wyng'd Lyon will be vending at Long Beach Comic Expo for the first time, join us and Tawmis & Maico from the Comic Relief Podcast to see what type of  mischief the three of us can wrangle together. For more information about Long Beach Comic Expo, visit their website.

Stay tuned here to the blog or visit http://wyngdlyon.com/events for an updated listing of the events that we are going to be at throughout the year.

Hope to see you all soon!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

HRM Steampunk Symposium Part IV

For those who missed them, here are Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3

The last day of conventions are always the saddest day for me, because that means we're one step closer to having to pack up and go home to the daily grid. Though in a way it's a double edged sword, because it also means that get to go home and see my kids who I haven't seen for 4 days.

Lather, rinse, repeat with the early morning wake up time (again). At least this time I had something t keep me occupied, Cindy had forwarded me a copy of her recap of the Run for Your Lives Zombie 5K that we did back in October 2013. One good thing about being the first to wake up is that you get to enjoy some peace and quiet, the bad thing is trying to be quiet or keep from shaking your bed mate out of the bed from laughing so hard remembering the hilarity of the events that took place during the run. For those of you who want to share in the hilarity, you can read the recap here.

After enough giggling and the alarm clock finally going off, we all get up and started the morning dance of packing up our belongings and taking them down to the car since we had to be checked out of the room by noon and well, we'd all be in the vendor room for any final sales that would be happening.

Most of the day was uneventful though come 1pm there was much commotion when a group of bandits burst into the room and robbed a few of the vendors, us included. We gave up a good fight but were overcome when they ganged up on us. They rushed out the side door when the constabulary rush in to try and make an arrest. Incidentally most of the bandits were caught, and the day was saved. The few that escaped and made it back to their hide out ended up with quite the surprise. See, the tricky lasses that we are, decided to replace the cash with Hershey's kisses.

If you haven't guessed by now, the above robbery was staged as part of the weekends events. Our friend Phineas asked if we would be willing participants to be robbed by the League of Supremely Evil Revolutionaries (L.O.S.E.R). Though I think they were a bit surprised when not only did we fight back, we ended up with their "cash"

After the afternoons excitement died down, we visited with friends and customer and then said by to Andee who had to leave for the bus station to make her way back to Tucson. Before Cindy and I knew it, the vending day was over and we started breaking down and packing up. Mike and Bre stopped by and said their good-bye and apologies for not staying to help as Mike was coming down with the plague.

Cindy and I had the booth broke down and packed up in an hour, something that used to take us at least twice that in the past. Of course it took us longer to get off the boat and loaded into the truck since there was a line of vendors all waiting to use the same elevator to get off the boat. Now most vendors are pretty patient people and all tend to laugh and joke when waiting for things to progress, but there is always one that causes some sort of hate and discontent and this event was no exception.

Incidentally not only were Cindy and I the subject of this guys rudeness of cutting in line, he happened to be the same guy that commented on Cindy's Lovecraft shirt a few events back, saying that it was a great shirt, and then proceeded to ask her if she even knew who Lovecraft was. . I'm sure you can imagine the ranting that ensued from both of us at that point. 

Once we finally got ourselves down to the parking area, we got the truck loaded up and hit the road making our usual stop at Dairy Queen for dinner before making it back to San Diego to unload the truck and then go home to pass out.

HRM Steampunk Symposium gets better every year and it was an awesome way to start off 2014. We can't wait to be back on the Queen Mary for another round of fun and shenanigans.