It’s January and that means it’s time to start gearing up for our travel. As we’ve said before, wherever we go we always like to meet readers and other authors who live in the area, so watch our calendar and let us know if you live anywhere near a place we’re going to be and you want to get together!
Anyway, I want to share a little bit about setting up our shows, just in case anybody is interested in what’s involved. We do 20-25 shows a year, mostly fetish shows but some gay prides and a few wholesale shows. Last year was our first year of doing wholesale and let me tell you, it was quite a learning experience. I learned (for one thing) always to check and make sure that the venue got your early orders. We spent $1400 that we shouldn’t have had to at the Philadelphia Convention Center because they hadn’t gotten my electric and equipment order beforehand.
In the trade/retail show business, fees have to be paid well in advance of the show. That means that right now I’m paying show fees for all of our events between now and July. I also have to book airfare in advance (hotels, too, but they don’t usually charge until the stay is over). So we’re frontloading most of our expenses for the year right now. Add to that our first couple of shows are wholesale and we won’t get paid on those orders until usually May-July and you’ll see that this is financially a stressful time of year for us.
We’ve also got to decide what shows we’re going to drop. Often it’s evident (if we lost money last year, for example) but sometimes it’s a really hard call. There’s a large event in Portland every March. We love Portland but we just don’t make enough money to justify going back to that one every year. Same with Tampa. So if we’re dropping events we need to be adding them, but that means more risk. Sometimes (like Rocklahoma) those risks pay off fairly well, but sometimes (Boston Pride, for example), they’re a miserable failure. It’s easy to be over-optimistic and spend a lot of money on travel and show fees (the year we did about seven Renaissance Faires comes to mind) and then lose money on all of it. But we generally get one or two good new shows a year.
Last year our best addition was Rocklahoma. I personally love outdoor events, especially concerts. Reggie and Eeza weren’t quite as happy about Rocklahoma as I was, though. For one thing, the wind blew incessantly and when you have jewelry displays that can be quite a problem. We used about three whole rolls of duct tape securing everything to the tables. It was quite successful and I was really happy with how much we leaned about windproofing.
Another thing we learned was to bring more chairs and thicker shoes. As I like to say, we had assumed that the name Rocklahoma referred to the music, but it turned out to be the ground. I’ve never, ever spent three days on harder ground. Being the mercenary that I am, I also sold our chairs (right out from under Eeza, who was not happy). I wasn’t terribly popular after that, but it was a good profit-making opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. The music was good, the weather was nice except for the wind, we made some good sales, and I got to spend three days outside. What more could you ask for?
So I’m looking forward to this year. I love traveling to shows, setting them up, talking to people, running the business, and seeing different parts of the country. We really could use another submissive or two to help carry bags, but until then we make do. Hope we get to meet you at some event this year! Be sure to check our schedule periodically and see if we’re going to be in your neck of the woods. For now, what we’ve got is Philly in Feb., Vegas, Dallas and St. Louis in March, Kansas City, San Jose and Pryor in May, Tulsa and Colorado Springs in June. More could be added to that. If you know of any events that might be good for us, feel free to write and let us know!