– Two weeks ago, I drove 15 hours to Florida in a rented Nissan (with Mississippi plates ~ totally incognito!), packed with matted prints, greeting cards, plaques, and display-stuff, to attend my first ever Megacon in Orlando. I stayed with my aunt and uncle, who live 20 minutes from the Orange County Convention Center in a neighboring city, and whom I hadn’t seen in over a decade.
“I recommend biting off more then you can chew to anyone. I certainly do…” ~ Alanis Morissette
I had so many expectations riding on this one show… I had invested a fair amount of money into supplies, and though my accommodations were free, my travel was not. Nevertheless…
– Four weeks ago, I had just started my preparations: ordering ink, paper, and extra business cards, filing my business tax info with the State of Florida, informing my relatives that I planned to be in the area (whereby they graciously lent me their guestroom)…
– Two days before I left, our house was in chaos as I sat at the computer printing 8″x10″s, 5″x7″s, greeting cards, and bookmarks by the sheet…. from breakfast til after midnight. Joe managed the children, and I managed not to have a breakdown.
– Two days before the show, my greeting cards were still un-cut, my bookmarks were un-assembled, and my prints were un-signed and un-bagged in their cellophane sleeves. My reunion with Aunt Mary and Uncle John took place as I sat on their couch cutting prints, and handing them over to my aunt for packaging, while talking and watching the Florida weather station, and teasing their cat, Dale, with scraps of expensive paper to chase.
We arrived at the Convention Center around 5PM on Thursday, parked in the South Concourse, and spent an hour wandering about looking for “Hall D”, where Megacon was to be held the following day. Discovering we should have parked in the West Concourse, we walked 30 minutes back to our vehicle, and pulled into the loading dock to receive our exhibitor badges at 7PM.
– I didn’t have the foggiest idea how to display my larger prints after realizing the shower hooks I’d brought were too small for the backdrop rod. So I hung them MacGyver-style with yarn and Duct-tape… except one of my prints kept slipping out of the tape, so Duct-tape isn’t infallible, at least in my hands.
– My booth partner on Friday, the first day, was a girl I’d never met before in my life…. so I waited in the lobby, watching hundreds of costumed people walking by, trying to recognize someone I’d only seen in photos (who would be carrying “a boxful of dragons”).
[Full disclosure: Sarah and I have known each other online for over five years, and chat on Facebook every day! LOL]
– I didn’t get around to finishing the bookmarks until Sunday, the last day of Megacon’s three-day event. And I spilled acid-free glue on my aunt’s upholstered recliner. :/
– I had no Superhero character portraits to sell (comic/sci-fi fans were the target market), and I didn’t have much in their preferred price range either; nothing to compete with my neighbor’s superhero caricature trading cards (ACEOs), which were selling like crazy for $1.00 apiece. hehe
Wow, this list could go on for hours….
Needless to say, I was woefully unprepared for this particular show!
This is how I tend to be in most areas of my life…. flying by the seat of my pants… Remember my first outdoor craft show, when I didn’t bring a tent!? LOL
And, surprisingly, I did well enough at Megacon to reimburse my $300 booth fee and travel expenses ~ although I didn’t return home stinking, filthy rich, as my husband hoped I would. The Dr. Who Cat and one of my older pieces, a photomanipulation of Dominic as a fire-breathing dragon cat, were really popular. :)
I was reminded of my first few craft shows, where I struggled for every sale. Just when I’d established myself in one local venue, with regular customers and a solid assortment of merchandise on display, I was thrown into a much larger arena.
Megacon is a far-cry from the Westminster Farmer’s Market.
But now I have a plan… one that involves collectible prints and cats dressed like superheroes. I will return to Florida next year, ready to do battle with the big boys.
Although I will most likely be still folding my greeting cards when you walk into my awesome booth…. which is held together by invisible pieces of Duct-tape.
Some things will never change. ;)