Reaggregation: A Collection of Unorganized Thoughts – Part 2: Inventory

  • Aggregation – collection into an unorganized whole

On Friday I rambled about Events, and today I’m moving on to product ideas and inventory.

Inventory for Shows

Now I need to figure out what to actually take to sell at the shows.  I’ve mostly been taking only jewelry to the events I’ve done so far this year, because I’ve been dealing with one 6-foot table as my space and I don’t really have enough inventory of my other items yet.  Going to a 10×10 layout will definitely allow me to take more than just jewelry, though.  So what do I make?

One thing I’ve decided is that I’m no longer going to list my one-of-a-kind items in my Etsy shop, at least until after the holidays.  These are items I’ll be taking to the shows and home parties.  This will help me with inventory control, as I won’t have to worry about selling something in person and online at the same time, or deactivating online listings when I go to a show, or searching through my show inventory to find something I sold online.  To save space for one-of-a-kind items in my show display, I can leave out the items I have up online and just have a book of photos of them, directing people to go online to make those purchases.  This is one of the reasons I’m looking for photo albums, as I want to print out photos of my items for that, as well as photos of the custom orders I’ve done, and have those available for people to look through to get ideas for their own custom orders (more on items I’m looking for later).

As I mentioned before, I’m planning to do more “period” pieces and have a selection of inventory that’s geared toward SCA events.  I’ve been collecting Medieval and Renaissance portraits and artwork on a Pinterest board for inspiration.  I’m also looking at garb, such as some simple T-tunics made from “upcycled” fabric to keep costs down.  While maybe not strictly period, my aim is more toward “the look for less” so those who don’t sew and can’t afford something more elaborate can still fit in.  With that in mind, I’m also thinking of taking some modern clothing and “rewondering” it to look more period.  Another idea is to create some mix and match modular designs, such as sleeves that tie on, tabards and aprons, and various accessories that can completely change the look of a basic piece.  I’ll need to do some more research, but I’ve found a few patterns to start playing with.

Speaking of patterns, I took pictures of all the patterns I currently have and posted them in an album on my Facebook page.  I view patterns like I do recipes, as a basic guideline that I can spice up or make substitutions to as I see fit.  I like to take elements of various patterns and mix them together to create something unique.  I love doing custom orders, so email me at rewondered@gmail.com if you have an idea of something special I can make for you.

I also want to expand on the 50 products I made for my IndieGoGo campaign, increase my inventory of those types of items, and create more of the ideas I haven’t made up yet.  I’ve been considering trying another IndieGoGo campaign with another 50 new products in 50 days, but I’m not sure if doing that going into the holiday season is a good idea or not.  My focus will probably be on replenishing stock for the shows, rather than making new items.  However, some of the items I’m planning to do for the shows are new designs, so with some coordination and organization, I might be able to pull it off.

Speaking of holidays, I’d also like to get some Halloween and costume designs done and up, and time is running short for those.  And I should be already thinking about Christmas designs.  I have a few up in my Etsy shop, but should probably get a few more done.

New Designs

So here are some of the new items I’m working on:

  • Period “Replica” Jewelry – Designs based on portraits and artwork from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
  • Basic garb – T-tunics, chemises, simple dresses, etc.
  • “Upcycled” garb – Modern clothing “rewondered” to look more period.
  • Garb “Accessories” – Sleeves that tie on, aprons, tabards, headdresses, hats, belts and sashes, pouches, corsets, etc.
  • Steampunk “Accessories” – Bustles and overskirts, corset tops, top hats, bags and purses, belts and harnesses, spats, cuffs, etc.
  • Costume and cosplay pieces – I’d love to try some recreations of costume pieces that are available in City of Heroes, and I have several other costume patterns I need to play with.
  • Hair accessories – Barrettes, headbands, hair sticks, elastics, and various headpieces.
  • More bags – I have a bunch of different patterns and a few other ideas floating around in my head.
  • Skirts – I’m working on a few of my own design, and I have several patterns.
  • Wondiosyncra-Tees – Upcycled t-shirts featuring descriptive words.
  • “Feminized” t-shirts – I’ve seen several nifty ideas for taking a regular t-shirt and making it more fitted and more feminine.
  • More “rewondered” clothing and costume pieces
  • More embellished hoodies
  • More pillows
  • More wall art – Word art designs using quotes, collages and mixed media, signs, etc.
  • Adding matching earrings and/or bracelets to some of my current designs

Hmm… maybe another 50 new items in 50 days wouldn’t be so hard to do after all.  Do you have any ideas for things you’d like me to try my hand at?  I’m always open to suggestions!  And boy, do I need to get busy!  So I’ll bring this post to a close, and we’ll have a part 3 soon™.

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Reaggregation: A Collection of Unorganized Thoughts – Part 1: Events

  • Aggregation– collection into an unorganized whole

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and planning and brainstorming lately, and asking myself a lot of questions.  I’ve been wanting to write about some of the conclusions I’ve drawn, questions I still have, and ideas I’m working on, but have been having trouble deciding how to present them.  Did I need to write separate posts for each one?  Do a poll?  Get things more concrete before writing anything?  Ooh, and what’s this new idea over here?  Shiny!

Yeah, so I’ve been going around and around in my head lately, and nothing’s been posted here in three and a half weeks.  Wow, three and a half weeks, really?  Where did September go?  I swear it was August just a minute ago… is that a squirrel?

Oh yes, that’s right, I was organizing my thoughts.  As you can see, it’s a bit of a process.  So forgive me if I get rambly…

Events

Let’s start with events.  I really want to have a table or booth at two or three events every month.  One of the things that took up a good chunk of my September days was an SCA event, where I teamed up with a friend of mine who sells Auntie Arwen’s Spices.  This led to me thinking about other products and more period pieces I could make, but I’ll come back to that.  Let’s stay focused on events here. (I know it’s hard, but really Wondie, you can do it!)

So yes, more SCA events.  They’re fun and appeal to my theatre geek side, plus I get to dress up!  Next on the list is Birka in January.  Mostly I’ll just continue to team up with my friend for these, as it gives us both an extra hand for set-up as well as someone to talk to during the slow times.  Plus I am a total newb to the SCA and my friend grew up in it, so she can help me avoid mis-steps.

But January is a long way away, and the holiday selling season is coming up, so that means craft fairs.  Unfortunately, I can’t afford some of the fees for some of the larger shows, and many of those are juried and I don’t have photos of the new products I want to make, since they’re not made yet (remember, more on inventory later).  Also, the deadlines for many have already past, or they’re already full of jewelry artists.  Speaking of deadlines, my funds are extremely limited until about October 15th (and only a little less limited after that), so I’m juggling when I can actually apply, and the longer I wait, the greater the possibility that I won’t be able to do the show due to it already being full.  I also want to stay in New Hampshire to avoid having to deal with out-of-state vendor issues.  I’m still looking, so if you know of any that you think I might want to look in to, let me know.  For the moment, I’m seriously considering these:

  1. Hudson PumpkinFest – October 12-14 – I’d only be able to afford to do one day, likely the 14th.  My major concerns for this show is that it is outdoors, which means I would need to have some kind of tent/canopy, and the only one I currently have access to is 10×20, which means I need to pay for extra space as well as fill it with inventory.  Also, the deadline is October 1st.  So this one is looking unlikely, as I just don’t have the funds for all the extras I’d need that quickly.
  2. Windham High School Craft Fair – October 27th – This benefits the school’s drama and band programs, so I definitely want to support that.  Just need to get some pictures and I can send my application in.
  3. John Stark Arts Market – November 3rd – This is in Weare, and benefits the school’s art department.  Another one I definitely want to support, and close-by.
  4. Great Bay Charter School Holiday Craft Fair – November 10th – This in Exeter.
  5. Merrimack High School Annual Craft Fair – November 17th.
  6. Holiday Keene Craft Show – November 24th – This is a bit on the expensive side, but I can pay a deposit now and the rest later.  This one only allows 10-15 jewelery artists and requires pictures and a description of all products and equipment I’ll be using, so I need to figure out my display before I fill out the application.  This is also over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend when I’ll be running specials in my Etsy shop, so inventory management is going to be tricky.
  7. 23rd Annual Beaver Meadow School PTO Gourmet Bake and Craft Fair – December 1st – That’s a mouthful, isn’t it?

I’m having trouble finding any others in December that aren’t already full.  These would keep me busy every Saturday between October 27th and December 1st, though I’m open to other ones that are closer/cheaper/better if they are available.  There’s also Sundays and possible weekday events, as well.  Of course, while I’d love to do them all, the upfront costs are a bit out of my reach right now, so I’m going to have to pick and choose.  If you’d like to help me get to more shows, consider buying a gift certificate, which could of course be used when you come to any of the shows, or order online.  Stock up now and get your Christmas shopping done early! 🙂

Home Parties

Another idea I’ve been considering is home parties.  Ages ago, I used to be a Pampered Chef Consultant, and I really enjoyed the idea of getting a chance to explain and demonstrate the products to a small group of people, and help the host or hostess earn free stuff.  Why not apply that concept to my products?  Especially as we gear up for the holidays!  Wouldn’t it be awesome to go over to your friend’s house, have some wine and munchies, and get a bunch of awesome handmade gifts for your friends and family without having to make them yourself or brave the crowds at a craft fair?  It would also be a great way to do custom order consultations, and people could bring any jewelry that needs simple repairs.  And if I did these on Saturday nights, after the craft shows, or on Sundays, everything would already be packed up in my car. 😉

I’m still working out the details, but the person hosting the party would get a percentage of the total sales as credit toward their own purchases, and additional incentives if their friends book a party of their own.  This would work out to free gifts for yourself or your family and friends, just for inviting a few friends over and giving me a space to set up a display table.  So let me know if you’re interested in hosting!  Of course, you’d need to be somewhere that won’t take me more than a couple of hours to drive to (sorry Florida friends!) but perhaps I can do an online version of this too.  Need to get more items up online first, but it bears thinking about.  I’ll get back to you on that. 🙂

So with these ideas, I could be VERY busy between now and Christmas.  And I’m going to stop here and continue collecting my unorganized thoughts in future posts.  Stay tuned for Part 2: Inventory!

Monday Musings: My Life As A Superhero

As I’ve mentioned before, I play City of Heroes and am a DJ for The Cape Radio, which caters to players of that game on the Virtue server. I’ve been doing this for the past eight years, so when a friend sent me a text telling me that they had announced the closing of Paragon Studios and that the game would be shut down before the end of the year, I was in total shock.  We knew the game wouldn’t last forever, but on Thursday they were handing out codes for a new aura and they just released a new power set on August 21st, so there were no signs this was coming so abruptly.

Since then, we’ve been gathering in game, on Facebook, on various forums, and consoling each other in our grief.  Because we ARE grieving.  For many who play this game, it is a home, a place where they can be themselves, a place where they can find their friends.  We feel like the rug has been pulled out from under us.  One person likened it to watching your house burn down, knowing there’s nothing you can do to save it, but still trying to run in and pull out as many of your precious possessions as possible.  We’re taking screenshots and videos, sending notes and tells to those we don’t have contact with outside the game yet, watching DJ Zero actually move around (he’s been floating frozen in the same spot for years, but suddenly is just standing there, going through the idle poses like a normal character, which is surely a sign of the apocalypse).  We’re running our favorite missions one last time, trying to get through the ones we never got to, giving away all the enhancements and salvage we’ve been hoarding to someone who might be able to use them in these final days.

And we’re remembering, and writing down everything this game has meant to us.

In 2004, everyone thought I had a pretty good life.  I was married, lived in a nice house, drove a nice SUV, went out to eat several times a week, and was involved in several bands.  I had just started going back to college and rediscovered my love of Theatre.  I smiled and laughed and seemed to be pretty happy.  But inside, I was anything but.  I had been living this lie for so long that I no longer knew who I really was, what I really wanted, why I was even bothering.  The mask I wore had become permanently attached.

When I began playing City of Heroes, it was just a fun game, a way to escape my reality for a few hours and be someone else.  But as I got involved with the community, as I got to know other players both in and out of game, I found people who encouraged my creativity, who helped me to explore various aspects of my personality, who listened and let me cry on their shoulder.  I found people who cared about some strange girl on the opposite side of the country, or even in a completely different country.  People who wanted to get to know the person on the inside, who looked past the fake smile and cheerleader persona to see the scared, lost and lonely girl huddled in the corner of my brain.

As I put on the mask of my superhero persona, I learned to free myself from the mask I’d worn for so many years.

Each character I created had a piece of me, but none more so than One Hit Wonder.  She was my best self, the me that I wanted to be.  When my marriage fell apart, as it was inevitable it would, my then-husband tried to tell me that I wasn’t my character.  But he was wrong.  I used Wondie to explore my own personality, to learn who I really was, and over time, I became her, and she became me.  No, I can’t control fire, I don’t have twin daughters, and I never had a record deal, but the personality, the who Wondie is deep down inside, that’s all me.

In 2005 I got a divorce and moved to the other side of the country.  I lost track of many of my City of Heroes friends as I didn’t have internet access for some time.  In 2006 I picked up the game again, and was amazed to see characters run by, stop, then turn around and throw their arms around me.  People remembered me, actually missed me, and were so happy to see me again.  I felt like I’d come home.

As I reconnected with old friends, and met new ones, I developed some very important relationships.  Obviously, I found someone who convinced me to give marriage another try. 😛  But two others that stand out are the ones I asked to be my Best Man and Maid of Honor at my wedding.  Even though they both live around 800 miles away from me, they didn’t hesitate to do whatever it took to be there that day, to stand by my side and share one of the most special days of my life.  And they both know, if they need me to stand by their side for anything, I’ll jump in my car and drive through the seven states it takes to get to them.  And to think, I never would have met them if I’d decided not to play this game.

City of Heroes has an amazing community.  No other game I’ve played has made me feel more at home, and it’s hard for me to think of any other place to call my home.  There’s lots of speculation about what game we’re all going to move to, but none of them feel like they “fit” just right, because none of them are City of Heroes.  These aren’t just a bunch of gamers running around bashing the bad guy pixels, this is a family.  That’s what I’m going to miss the most about not being able to log in to City of Heroes, my family.

Feel free to share your story in the comments here, on the forums at The Cape Radio, or over at the new effort to keep everyone together at City of Heroes Forever.  And keep in touch, please.  I love you all, and would hate to lose track of you again.

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