Friday, August 29, 2008


The Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Exposition in Toronto. A big show...this is the first time I have done this show. Its pretty expensive...the point of sale terminal rents for 250 bucks, the insurance was much the same, and the booth was renting for rather more than the usual booth. On the other hand there were compensations.

The people above are "horror cheerleaders", they go to movie screenings, parties and shows to ... um...well, I'm not quite sure "what" they do besides look photogenic. But I can clearly see that being tall is a definite requirement. I had to check out my neighbours...its a rough job, as you can see, but somebody has to do it.
Brenda had spent all winter making chain mail bracelets, chokers and jewelry items. Above, you can see me puzzling how to sell these things. After she put them on display cards, it got easier.

And here is the sales booth. Obviously it was just before opening because of course, once the opening bell goes, the people are wall to wall. Also you know the show is not open yet because Brenda is actually sitting down! You can see my armours in the background, and a new way to display the swords at the side. This method seems to have been very effective...the swords can be seen, yet they are well out of the way. I brought my carved sign, and am thinking it was less than effective...perhaps if I had hung it a lot higher. Gosh knows I had the space.

So thats the 8 by 8 workspace I spent the weekend in. What a job!


Buffalo said...

$250.00 seems very reasonable if the show provided decent traffic. I was a great deal more than that for space back in the 70s. Have to admit I've never heard of a vendor having to provide any kind of insurance.

STAG said...

That was for the point of sale terminal. The machine which allows me to take VISA, Mastercard, Amex and Debit. The booth rental was separate, and came to just under a grand.

Buffalo said...

A grand nut to crack? I hope sales were brisk and plentiful.

STAG said...

We weren't sure we were going to break even until midway through the last day. Then sales took off...we did about a third of our sales in the last 6 hours.

The insurance is a requirement that we are happy to supply, but "event" insurance is expensive, and simply adds to the overhead. Since a large part of my product line consists of weapons (as defined under the law) event organizers demand that we supply our own insurance.

We try very hard to vet the people we are selling knives to...I card people when they look under 25...and on two occasions last week, I am glad I did!
(I believe that once you are over 18, you are a responsible adult, and can own a weapon. Note the key word here..."responsible". I have been known to say to people..."you know, being a responsible adult means that if you mis-use that tool, YOU are responsible." This comment tends to straighten their crooked smile.)

Often at a comic book show, there are so many kids having fun that you lose sight of the fact that these are young people who are in their formative years, and they attempt to model themselves on heroes such as "batman" and the "power rangers". They rarely if ever identify with the "joker" or "the riddler". With my armour and weapons, I attempt to promote the "honour", the "courtesy", the "chivalry", and the knightly virtues which resonate with young people, rather than the filthy disease-ridden back-biting reality which it probably actually was. This is an attitude which few of my rivals seem to have. They call the knives "costume accessories" as if they were necklaces, instead of meeting the issue head on like I do. The kids are not stupid, they WILL pick up a weapon, maybe not today, but certainly tomorrow, and without a code of conduct, may use it to bolster their self esteem but in a bad way. At least I have a chance to promote safe handling of these tools by re-enforcing the codes of conduct their parents have drilled into them all their lives.

Buffalo said...

Knives and firearms have been such a part of my life from a very early age that I find the current onus ... aggravatingly ... something.

Glad the show turned out well for you. Going home with an empty wallet isn't a whole lot of fun.

justagirl said...

I never knew vendors of this sort had to carry insurance, either. But obviously, it makes perfect sense considering the weaponry you are selling. I also have no idea what the laws are here in the U.S. regarding selling swords to people….lots of gun laws, but do we have sword laws? Hmm. Kudos to you for taking the responsibility upon yourself to vet the buyers as much as you can, and for promoting chivalrous virtues. You’re a good man, Stag. ((Hug))

STAG said...

I AM blessed with good people around me.

Keeps me honest. Kids are not hell raising back talking irresponsible sob's unless you treat them that way. They have pretty consistently risen to my expectations.

Someday Buff, you and I will take a nice long bike ride together...say, through the Pembina hills. I know a couple of good fishing branches down there, with lots of kin to provide crash space. Hope you like Ukrainian cooking.