This post is a few days later than our usual report, but we've been especially busy catching up on everything over the last few days.
After using up a lot of our prepared resources for Anthro New England, we were in a bit of a scramble to make sure we had more stock in time for Fur the More. Before we left for Anthro New England, we placed an order for what we thought we'd sell, but for one title (Give Yourself a Hand), we had to actually break into that order for stock for that con, which meant we had to get an expedited order sent over to our hotel at Fur the More. Luckily that didn't end up being a huge problem, but still.
My sister was a huge help in getting more samples prepared in time, a big thanks to her for all the samples you guys enjoyed at Fur the More!
The drive was about seven hours in total, so not bad. I let Jake start the trip, which took us a bit of everywhere to get around NYC rush-hour traffic, but it still was very manageable. I took the second half of the trip, since that was what required us to navigate Arlington/Crystal City. I didn't have any issues figuring out where to go, luckily, but we'll get to the first added issue in the next part.
Thursday – Setup
Because of the distance, we opted to set up on Thursday. In all honesty, with how quick we're able to get our display setup these days (since we've eliminated using the grids), we may just opt to start getting to conventions for Friday unless they are REALLY far away, including big ones. Something to think about as a cost-saving measure.
The first part of all of this would be unloading. We received an email from the convention a couple days prior, mentioning they were going to attempt to facilitate half-hour timeslots to use the loading docks in the valet parking area. What wasn't mentioned (or at least clearly enough for me) was that to do that, you had to actually have the hotel staff valet park your car, which is where the loading dock is, pay to do that, then go inside and unload. We didn't even know about this part until the end of the convention, when it was finally explained. The hotel staff certainly wasn't helpful in that regard; they just kept yelling that everyone was taking too long.
Thank you to JD, TJ, Otter, and Alkani, who all helped in some way with the unloading and bringing stuff into the convention hotel.
While they did that, I drove down the road to park the car in the garage under the hotel we were staying at. It was close enough that without crutches, I would have been able to walk back and forth without issue. At least the people who ran the local shuttle got to know us very well over the course of the weekend.
Setup itself has almost nothing to talk about. We just got a new banner stand days before the convention, and despite being heavy and a little clunky, it proved to be the MVP of the convention. It was up in a couple of minutes, and my banner PERFECTLY fit on it. We'll have carrying bags for everything moving forward, but we received the stand too close to the convention for things to ship.
The day started out pretty steady. As per usual with the first day of a convention, I slept almost zero the night before, so I was slow to get the energy going. Once it did, I saw the day fluctuated quite a bit, with very busy points and very slow points. We tried something new this convention, in having Jake pretty much just be our cashier, so I can talk to customers about the books, and then once decisions are made, I can grab titles and just hand them over to him. It worked out super well, as we had several times where I had someone else lined up and ready to talk books as soon as the first person was taken care of.
Our Friday ended up with gross sales JUST shy of our ANE Saturday, which at that point was our biggest sales day yet.
It was busy. There were dead times, but wow. By about halfway though the day we'd beaten ANE's Saturday numbers, as well as the ANE overall numbers, which at this point already made Fur the More our highest-grossing convention. Not much to say other than that!
Sunday was steady at first, then died off quite a bit. As usual with our Sundays, it got busy at the end, with staff members and dealers finally coming around to grab things they'd been eyeing all weekend. In the end, we ended up at 63% above ANE's gross sales.
We still were only at about 55% of what we needed to make to end up with a profit at Fur the More, despite the great numbers on paper, so 2021 will certainly be the year of us attempting to figure out how to way cut costs.
Also, a big thanks to JD, TJ, and Skunkbomb for helping us load out! It'll be nice when I have proper use of my legs again, and none of this is an issue.
This convention, we started doing something a little different with our fact cards: we added quick sales pitches to them—essentially the thing we'd say if they showed enough interest in the book to pick it up. That seemed to work out pretty well.
The biggest thing that seemed to be suggested for this convention was that we need more variety in our Fanged Fiction side. Which is totally fair! We're working on that, and are excited to have a couple of titles planned for later in the year.
We also started printing up physical catalogs for our products, as a test. They were supposed to be around the convention hotel, but since our catalog was double-sided and included our Fanged Fiction work, the convention was "kind" enough to bring them back to me, informing us after the fact that they don't like to advertise that adult-oriented work exists in the fandom, despite the fact that erotic works exist in the young-adult sections of national bookstore chains. This was also interesting with the fact that the STI-testing place the convention brought in had a table full of condoms. Not that there's a problem with that! Just thought it interesting.
Despite the convention facing some definite challenges this year with the new venue and other things, we overall had a great convention! We'll be looking to apply again next year, as well as do another charity anthology, if the convention agrees.