I did it. I exhibited at WonderCon. For the vast majority of you who don't know what that is, it's the San Francisco version of ComicCon. And for the rest of you, ComicCon is the biggest pop-culture convention in the US. But back to WonderCon. I decided last October to apply with my plush toy line. It would mean a huge amount of money spent on the exhibitor fee, hotel fee, display fees, gas money, and innumerable other expenses. I had a small lump of dough built up in my business account and pretty much sank it all into this one show. The question was would it pay off.
I convinced my husband to take off work for a few days to come help me at the convention. My sister agreed to drive down from Utah to watch my kids while we were gone. Another friend agreed to manage the local craft event I was supposed to be running that weekend here in Vegas. And I even sweet talked my sisters into helping me with some of the tedious sewing while we were supposed to be enjoying a relaxed beach vacation the week before the big event. By the time the convention rolled around, I had sewn $13,000 worth of plush toys in 4 months. Throw in my factory produced item, and I would be going to San Francisco with $18,000 worth of Flaky Friends (my toy line). I had no doubt I'd sell it all. I'd put in the work and there are required, rewarding consequences for hard work. I'd sewn enough to be able to drive a nail with my finger tips so I knew I'd done my part.
When the car broke down on the drive to the convention, I panicked a bit. It set us back a few hours, but we got back on the road. When we got miserably turned around in the traffic in San Francisco and couldn't find the unloading dock with the clock ticking on our unloading time, I almost passed out in the passenger seat. But unload we did, and I set up in Moscone Convention Center with my toys flanking me with sewn on smiles. I had made it. Now just to sell $18,000 worth of plush in three days.
How did it go? This is where I give you the line about how it was invaluable for the contacts I made, how much fun the crowd was, and how I got a lot of business cards. No, really, I did have a good time. The other plush artists I met who have growing product lines were very helpful and will hopefully provide invaluable mentoring/advice to me in the future. And today I got an email from a customer who bought from me at the show with a custom request. But as far as the books go, after 4 months of non stop sewing, neglecting my kids, pizza dinners, and a ridiculous amount of money invested, I'm coming out pretty much exactly where I was last Christmas. According to my bank account, all the work I've done this year never happened. So that's why I've decided to treat the small stack of business cards I accumulated at the event as my magic beans. With all the blood, sweat and tears that went into getting them, they've got to have some magic in them. Grow, beans, grow. Because if you turn out to be duds, I'm going to kick myself in the face until I stop trying to do anything ever again.