Tell Me Why I Should Buy From You…


Back to back weekends of Comic Cons are finally done.  Days of being on the road are over.  Driving south, north, east and back west have taken its toll.  It’s like being a traveling salesman hitting up each convention.  New products showcased, people to network with, and complete strangers that you work hard at making them open their wallet and buy a piece of your livelihood.

Comic Cons aren’t all fun and games.  They’re mostly fun and games. But there is an air of work about them as well.  Subtly and not so subtly.  Sometimes it’s just striking up a conversation. Other times it’s working the floor trying to entice people to come check out your stuff.  When I’m at a convention, I’m always selling- only you wouldn’t know it.  

I walk around talking to other artists and vendors about what they make/sell.  I get right into what they believe is their end goal.  Not the product on their table, but their future.  I try and understand what makes their lives worth coming to these shows.  I find out about their “other life” away from the convention floor.  By the end, I haven’t said a thing about my wife’s business.  I wait until they ask what we do.

And that closes the sale. Not me forcing a product, but me being genuine as I listen to their stories. Guess what? The next time I see my fellow artists and vendors- I remember what they said to me. I ask about their families and how things are going from one convention to the next.  I’m not selling a hat.  I’m making a friend. If they choose to buy a product, that’s nice. If they choose to just hang out and talk shop, that’s great as well.  

What I sell is a sense of well being.  All it costs is a few minutes of your time.

Home Away From Home

While we are attending Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo this weekend we are staying in an Airbnb. It’s my first time using the service (my wife’s second). I’m impressed with the crazy amount of savings compared to a hotel.

We are staying in a two bedroom apartment that is fully furnished.  Cable tv, comforts of home include two full bathrooms and a kitchen at our disposal.  My only complaint, if I can really complain, is that the place we are in is in various stages of renovation. None of which are affecting our stay in any way.  But that makes it feel more like home.  Especially for me.

Our home is in a constant state of renovation or changes.  Being in someone else’s place that is the same, means to me that they are regular type folk.  I appreciate the fact that the owner of this place is allowing us to take over for a long weekend.  It’s in a great location and really close to the convention.  We have made a few meals as well which has saved us tremendously instead of dining out all weekend.  


For my first experience using Airbnb is worthy of wanting to use it again.  The savings and comforts are unbeatable.  I have a feeling we will use this service more often as our travels continue.

My Fellow Convention Carnies aka Fandom Family

When you do the Comic Con circuit you make lots of friends. When you’ve done it for seven or eight years- they become extended family.

This is our sixth year at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. I laugh and enjoy the time we spend here. We look forward to seeing everyone again in person. Of course we follow one another on the various social media platforms, but there’s something to be said about the face to face interactions.

Where’s Waldo- spot the artist edition.

First is Terry.  We met him as our booth neighbor on our third time to Emerald City in Seattle three years ago. We met up again at Stan Lee’s Comikaze later that year. We told him about journeying into Calgary, so he came out last year and loved it. He’s back for more this year.

Brass and goggles!

Attic Raiders/In the Attic are the first people who introduced us to trying to get out into Comic Cons.  Bless them for pushing my wife to branch out. We have had many adventures with them. If you need Steampunk- they are the people to go to.

Cute Glass.

Bling Squared is run by a couple named Stanley and Neacol from Salt Spring Island, BC. They make the most adorable glass figures. My wife met them through Etsy teams and we share many a Con tale with them.

East Van represent!

Awesome Sauce is another artist from Vancouver.  We met them at Vancouver Fan Expo when they sat across from us about three years ago. Now they are right next to us in Calgary for the second year. They make fun stained glass and also have classes available in Vancouver on how to make them.

Mike and Lisa are two very different artists and have tables next to each other. They are married and have been doing these shows for years.  The friendliest people ever. Always worth a stop to pick up fandom art, magnets and generally cute stuff.

Two Gargoyles sit directly behind us in Calgary. These are the two funniest guys around. We sing songs, talk about old 80’s movies and generally cause a raucous.  Oh, and they sell art and comics too!  Mike is also a very amusing West Jet flight attendant with a few YouTube videos worthy of enjoying. I guess you could say viral.

Crafty Geeks are a couple of tables up from us. They sew some pretty awesome quilts and quilted pillows. They even sell the patterns for those of you willing to make your own.  Numerous fandoms are represented in their designs.

These are a small collection of our Comicon family members. We share laughs, stories, network, and talk business. It’s always great to be surrounded by like minded people.

Evil Footwear

I’m an idiot.  I thought wearing some rugged shoes would have been a good idea in Alberta. I was wrong.


Standing on my feet for the last six hours has pained me.  The concrete floor of the convention center sucks.  Luckily My wife almost always remembers to bring some foam mats to cushion below us.  This year, she brought her gel mat from her studio with us. 


I am eternally grateful that she did this. Tomorrow I am going to wear my runners instead.  Forget looking good- I need to last three more days on my feet.  I don’t want to be grumpy at my favorite convention of the year.

Perhaps when we get back to our AirBnB I will take some Advil and soak my feet.  A little me time… Maybe some scented candles? Aroma therapy? Foot rub? That last one won’t happen- who am I kidding.

Calgary

‘Cause Alberta doesn’t suck, but Calgary does…

Every time I think of Calgary, this song lyric pops into my mind.  It’s the final line in a song from a brief tv show in the early 90’s on CBC titled “Three Dead Trolls In A Baggie”.  

I’m not a fan of our neighbourly province.  However, we are here in town for the Calgary Expo. The best reason to head into Alberta.  It’s the sixth year we have driven to this convention. I really don’t know any other reason to cross the Rocky Mountains.  The views through the mountains are beautiful though.


I love Calgary. It is one of my favorite cities in Canada. I love driving around it. I love the people here.  It’s a big city with a small town feel. Even the high rises aren’t that tall. We are staying at my first Airbnb. It’s a lovely corner apartment on the outskirts of Calgary. The view of the city is worth the cost. What we are paying here for five nights is what we would have paid for two nights in a hotel. So far, so good!


I don’t think that the Three Dead Trolls In A Baggie were right. Perhaps the song was sarcasm. Because Calgary is the only place in Alberta that doesn’t suck.

Break? What Break?

Last week we drove from the Vancouver, BC area to San Jose for Silicon Valley Comic Con. We left on Wednesday stayed one night in Ashland, Oregon before a weekend of nerdiness.  We returned home by leaving at 05:30 on Monday to make it home by 8:30pm the same night.  We only have a couple of nights at home…


And we are leaving again tomorrow morning at 08:00 to drive through the Rocky Mountains and into Calgary, Alberta. We are going to drive straight through and should be there by 8:00pm the same day.  Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo is a four day event beginning Thursday. It’s a hard go, but a lot of fun.  

It’s even harder go to have a day and a half in between traveling.  I’m on vacation from my regular job and when we return from Calgary, I’ll have six days of recovery.  My wife isn’t as lucky.  Her business is always on.  She is constantly working.  Even while selling at these shows, she is often sneaking off to email correspond with online questions.  Her business is her pride and joy and she takes it very seriously.


My wife also has ups and downs but can’t just leave it in the office.  Her studio is only steps away from the side door of our home. She doesn’t get to go on vacation as easily as myself.  But when I’m on vacation and traveling with her- I like to think that I’m alleviating some of her work load.  

And I get to hit conventions!  Have I mentioned how much I enjoy those?

Don’t Panic.

It’s the night before my wife and drive to Silicon Valley Comic Con.  Panic has finally subsided and acceptance has come over us. (Well me anyways.) We will have the merchandise that we have- no time to muster any more.  Hopefully enough.  Hopefully lots of sales. Hopefully a ton of fun.

Not only do we have a con this weekend, but we come back home for one day then off to Calgary for another.  15 hours driving to our first location, then back another 15 hours.  Next week is only 10 hours from our home through the Rocky Mountains to the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo.


I love both of these conventions.  The SVCC has so much tech that my nerd brain can hardly contain its excitement.  Astronauts, robotics, vr, videogames, actors, gamers, artists… and the cast of Sesame Street?!?  But wait there’s more! Gary Fisher photo ops! (Carrie Fisher’s dog).  That last one is a bit much.  But after the success of “Grumpy Cat” at Stan Lee’s Comikaze it doesn’t surprise me.

This is the first year that my wife and I have decided not to bring our children to a few of the shows that we attend.  It feels strange.  It feels wrong. It also feels right. It’s going to save us money.  Plus my wife and I are really enjoying our time together lately.  We need those few days without teenagers in order to relax.

My mother has been kind enough to stay with our children while we are gone. Hopefully my mother survives. (My wife and I would like to do these trips more often.) Back to packing now. It’s an early start tomorrow for us to travel most of the way south to our destination.  Off to find my geeky t-shirts and download the SVCC app for this weekend.  

Can’t forget that my 3DS needs to be charged as well!

Emerald City Comicon: The Sunday

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!  We’ll sell you the whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge!

The final day of Emerald City. A sense of relief had washed over the artists and vendors before the day began. We mingled and shook hands and wished each other good luck for the day. We were all tired with sore feet and getting “peopled out”.   We all knew the end was in sight.


Then the crowds entered. The show floor filled with people eager to buy goods. Unusual for a Sunday. Oftentimes people say they will come back & don’t. But it seems many were true to their word, at least for us. The sales were strong throughout the weekend. Our Sunday sales were comparable to our Friday and Saturday sales. In fact, we beat Saturday’s sales making this another successful convention.

Lastly, we did our tear down. Over the years of numerous conventions, my wife has developed a system that gets us packed up and out within 30 minutes.  

We were home a couple of hours after that. It sure will be nice to sleep in our own bed tonight.

Emerald City Comicon: Saturday.

Saturday.
The hardest day of nearly every con is Saturday. All of the artists and vendors know it. We power through the crowds and the overabundance of human interactions in order to have a successful day. Emerald City was no different.

We made it through. A couple of lulls in the crowds towards the end of the day allowed for an escape from our vendor table to visit fellow vendors.  The consensus seemed the same:  The traffic flow was odd.  Many of us attribute it to the fact that they have added an extra day to the show (Thursday).  So instead of a traditional three day event, it’s now four days.  This spreads out the spending from the crowds over an extra day.

My wife did fairly well for the day.  As with most Saturdays at any show- we are limited to the amount of wandering we do (besides a quick visit to see friends nearby).  There always needs to be someone at the booth watching it.  Having both of us there for the majority of the time made it difficult to enjoy the show floor.  This worked in our favor- we didn’t spend much money!


We also didn’t see much in the way of cosplay in our location.  But the cosplay we did see was quite well done.  It made me sad that I didn’t have a plan for this show.  But I have six weeks to get something together for our next show.

After the show tonight, we met up with a couple fellows from my work for dinner and beer.  It was a good way to relax- but knowing we had an early morning ahead of us, meant cutting out early.  Even though we are at the convention, it’s still a business trip for my wife.  

I can’t escape it- Sunday will be all work and no play.

Emerald City: Friday


Our first full day at Emerald City Comicon began as it always does.  Since we are in Seattle, a trip to the Starbucks is in order.  This is so I can try one of their specialty Comicon inspired drinks.  This year’s was a choice between “The Groot” and “Hulk Smash”.  I opted for Hulk today.

The next thing we do is re-arrange our set up.  I have no idea why this happens- but it happens every time.  It’s like we show up, place the merchandise out, and then on the Friday- change it up.  And we end up selling lots of stuff!

Then we head off to greet old friends. As you start to become more familiar with them, you know how to act around them.  

There is one fellow who shakes hands by clasping your hand between his.  He also insists on hugging us. He is super friendly and exudes a pleasant energy that makes the rest of the day joyous.  A great way to get your convention juices flowing.  As we do our rounds, we start to network with more vendors.  Most everyone is friendly and willing to share advice about the con or future events. 


Then the sales begin.  The day rushes past in a flurry of smiles and chitchat until suddenly there’s only an hour remaining.  During that hour is a lot of talking with the nearby vendors about how the day went.  Many have big smiles knowing it was a success.  All of us knowing there is still two days left to go.

Now it’s time for a quiet evening in the hotel.  The next day is the big one.  Saturday.  The day that most people attend.  The day that sometimes increases the attendance by 50%.  The busy day.  The rough one.