Shop Grrls

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Squirrel: I said hey. What's goin' on?

We're been neglecting the blog a bit. Whoops.

Our current projects have kept us pretty busy. In fact, I should be busy right now with one of them, but it's been a long and stressful couple of months for me, and I thought this would be a good break.

Butterfly recently got up the funds and the confidence to buy herself a website. I helped walk her through the process of buying webspace, and right now I'm supposed to be off filling in the blanks. But boy, it is ever TEDIOUS! She's got a lot of stuff, and most of it has to go up on the website in some form or fashion. Which means lots of picture processing, and lots of coding. Fortunately, she knows pretty much what she wants, so it's going up nice and easy.

I've also been putting lots of my stuff up on the web, but not through my website. I found a new website called Etsy and I've been working on getting all of my stuff up there. I know, I know, I really should put it up on my website. But I'm lazy like that. Putting other people's stuff up is easy. It's an obligation. My stuff? Not so much.

A few months ago we went to our first Anime convention, and brought along Cat and Ducky's stuff. This week-end, Cat will be making her first debut at a convention, along with Butterfly. It was originally going to be all four of us, but Dragon has theater obligations, and I've been summoned by my family. We're all crossing our fingers in the hopes that Cat will have a good time, and help us make good sales. Right now we could all use a little extra money.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Squirrel: Anime Con Rules

Dear Anime Loving Customers,
Thank you for visiting our booth. We now have a whole new set of convention rules, just for you.

1) The table in front of me is covered in jewelry. The table next to me is covered in plushies. If I knew how much the plushies cost, I'd be standing behind the plushies table, not sitting behind the jewelry with a lap full of beads. Quit asking.

2) The plushies don't have price tags, but all of the jewelry does. At least make the effort to pick up the jewelry and look at the price tag.

3) You have picked up a necklace made of sterling silver, Swarovski crystals, and pearls. It is very pretty, very sparkly, and very expensive. It in no way represents the price of anything else on the table. Don't bitch about how expensive my products are unless you've looked at the whole table. At least then I'll know that you're complaining because you're a cheap twit, as opposed to just a twit.

4) Please do not glomp the plushies. Especially if said plushie happens to be laying next to the 3 1/2 foot high jewelry display that is towering over my head.

5) There is only so much high pitched squealing we can take in a single convention. For the love of god, lose your voice already and get it over with.

6) If you must have a high pitched conversation about how cool something is, please don't do it directly in front of our booth. You may have spent all of your money on Ramune and plushies, but there are other people with more money who might spend it on the sparklies your poorly cosplayed ass is blocking.

7) All rules for costuming apply double to jail bait. Points for effort. Negative points for excessive display of underage cleavage, ass cheek, or "strategically" placed mesh. I know your mother didn't let you leave the house like that. And for the "Daddy" following his skimpily dressed daughter and her friends around.... Ew.


9) If you must bad mouth the products, at least have the courtesy to do it away from the table.

10) Using air quotes around "one of a kind" when talking about the hairsticks I spent four days on will cause me to leap across the table and strangle me a CatGirl. Consider this your warning.

11) Idiots who stab their toes on the escalators because they are running around barefoot will be laughed at. Idiots who get their skirts caught in said escalators because they're too dumb to hitch up their masses of fabric will also be laughed at.

12) Idiots who sit their asses down in the middle of the hallway will be stepped on. Especially if I'm carrying 50 pounds of gear, or trying to get to the bathroom. Never get between a woman and the bathroom.

13) Please do not ask to read my shirt when I am carrying 50 pounds of gear.

So no shit, there I was, making jewelry behind the table. This group of girls comes up and notices that one of the charm bins is labeled "50 cents." This particular bin is all pewter and tin charms. They start pawing through the bins with sterling charms as well. One of them repeatedly picks up charms from the sterling bins (Clearly labeled with higher prices) and talks to her friends about them as if they were all 50 cents. I noticed her doing this, and got A Feeling. This kid was going to try to claim that the charm she decided on had come out of the 50 cent bin. Sure enough, she hands me a dollar bill and says "50 cents?" I notice that the charm in her hand is considerably brighter than a pewter charm, and much thicker then a tin one. I ask to see it. She hands it over. I tell her that it's $2, not 50 cents. At this point she pouts a little and claims she got it out of the 50 cent bin. As if I'm some huge coropation who has to honor the price on the "shelf," and am so stupid as to have completely missed her telling her friends that the charms in the other bins were 50 cents. On the minus side, she didn't pony up the extra buck. On the plus side, she's well on her way to a career of petty theft.

One guy was actually very sweet about wanting to buy something for his mom. Sadly, he realized that he didn't have enough money to buy her the necklace he wanted, but he did manage to scrounge enough for a pair of earrings. Maybe next time he'll have enough for the necklace.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Squirrel: I Stab at Thee With Hairsticks

Hairsticks, despite seeming like a quick and easy way to add to our line, are a PAIN in the REAR. Why? Because I can not do anything simple. It is not enough to have a little glass filled with pretty wooden hairsticks. NO. They must be PAINTED. And in order to be painted, they must be VARNISHED. After several nights of working on these sticks, I have finally finished with the painting part. It takes an average of three layers of paint to get it thick enough to not show the wood through the paint. And another layer of decorative color, whether it be a full coat of metallic over a flat color, or just a painted design slapped on the ends. Actually, the painted designs turned out to be a bigger pain than just putting on an extra layer of color. Because I am OCD. Anyways, there is an extra two coats of varnish over the paint, and the bottom layer of varnish has to be sanded in order to make the top layer stick. Tonight, I am forsaking the stringing of tags in order to put beads on all of the sticks. It shouldn't take too long, but I'll be glad when they're done. I hope that they will sell, because that means a return on my time investment (in the form of money). I also hope that they don't sell, because dear god I don't want to have to do these again anytime soon. They are terribly pretty, I love that they turned out so well, but they are a PAIN.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Squirrel: Birthday and Big Convention

Butterfly's birthday was last week. Through the miracle of blogging and wide friends networks, I managed to raise enough money to buy her the travel bag she really wanted. It is much with the spiffy. It's like a Robo-bag. Everyone who has seen it agrees that a) it is a very awesome bag and b) it's a good thing Butterfly is tiny. The handle comes up the the top of my thigh, and rolling it out to Dragon's car on the day it arrived was a pain. 4 inch heels didn't help the situation. The look on Butterfly's face was worth it, though. She now officially has it all packed up and ready for the convention this week-end.

Our first major convention is this week-end, and we're all really excited. It's considerably more money than we're used to spending, for considerably less space, so we're all crossing our fingers. We've all been cranking out product, and a few weeks ago we sat down and had a go at putting together a better table setup. On Thursday, we're going to go over it again, put in some of the additions we talked about, and make sure that we all know how it's supposed to go. Butterfly has these nifty wire racks that we made stands out of, and I bought some cool velcro zip ties which will make it easier to put the whole thing together. Hopefully it looks as cool when covered in necklaces, earrings, and other assorted jewelry type stuff. If this convention goes well, we plan to branch out into other big conventions in the area. We've mostly been sticking to smaller cons, but this is our next big step. We're two years into my original 10 year plan, and it's very exciting to be making a bigger move, as opposed to many small moves. Wish us luck!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Part of this World

I am Ruby Dragon... Dragon as I will be known here. I have the pleasure of sharing my hobby with two beautiful ladies, Squirrel and Butterfly. I'm a workaholic... almost always doing something. Hence, my hobby of chainmaille. It gives me something to keep my hands busy and my mind creative.

Conventions is step one to making it to our goal of owning a shop. Our next step is more and bigger conventions. Small steps... to make sure we are doing this right.

The main focus is to share our joy and imagination with the world through our work... and to have fun doing it... no matter how big or how small.

We enjoy meeting new people and experiencing new things. We enjoy infecting people with fun and laughter. Welcome to our world.

My Little Part

I'm Butterfly, addicted to the sweets of life with never enough time to smell all the roses. Never constant, I'm easily distracted and often spacy. However, there is very little that brings me more pleasure than my beads. As impatient as I am in all other areas of life, I can sit for hours with my tiny beads and thread, and all because at the end I have something beautiful to show for my time not wasted.

I've been doing conventions with Dragon and Squirrel for a while now, and for the most part I was a voyeur to whatever was going on around me and my beads. But I have enjoyed it, because there are some interesting people and situations to watch. But now I'm more committed to experiencing and being more involved, and I look forward to seeing where this goes.

This is the beginning, the beginning of our story

Woo! Shop Critters is online! I guess we should start by introducing ourselves. Or I could just start by introducing the others. Or I could start with me. Whatever.

I'm Squirrel. In the sense that this whole mess was originally my dream, I'm the boss. Except, not really. Dragon and Butterfly are just as much in this for the long haul as I am. As I often say at conventions, we are three sole proprietorships pretending to be a limited partnership. Someday, I want that "pretending" part to be real.

What we really are is three young women who have a dream. Someday, we want to own our own shop. And in that shop, we want to be able to sell all of the fabulous and wonderful things that we and our numerous crafty friends make. In the meantime, we are attending conventions all over the country, getting our business together one step at a time, and occasionally even having fun doing it.

So why are we here? Well, for one thing, we've all got tons of stories from the conventions we go to. And I for one want to have a record someday of those stories. For another, I want us to be able to share with each other and our friends the sorts of things that go on at these conventions. And finally, while we all have personal blogs in other places, I wanted to create a place where we would have at least a little annonymity. After all, it's easier to be funny when you don't have to worry about people getting cheesed off at you for saying them.