Jump to content
Andra

Ren fair etiquette? (Re: exclusives)

Recommended Posts

I was new to the maille scene this summer and attended my first convention with only a couple of items. I was very consious of the existing maille artisan there and specifically approached him about, "hey I'm new to the scene", "my kit is wildly different from yours". "Hope you don't mind..."    He was very accepting, very supportive, we actually hung out and talked shop for hours.   I think the crucial thing here is that your competition views this as a full time job whereas my friend and I are both folks who make some money on the side with something that's predominantly a hobby. Come between someone and their paycheque (particularly in this economy) and you're much more likely to raise heckles.     For whatever it's worth I find that word of mouth is a far better sales tactic than conventions. I'd recommend staying classy, vent here but stay civil with the organizers. Don't get in all out war and make your own business through other channels.

Do consider your prices as well. I am HUGE on quality and the person I apprenticed has gone out on her own and done a few shows. I have lost commissions and I am looked on as "expensive" even though I dont charge much for my work ($15-20 for a bracelet depending on a weave). So having a hobbysts prices hurts those around you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had one guy recently during set up for a show look down his nose at me and say "oh they didn't tell me there was going to be another chain mail vendor here" and get all snobby because my stuff is colorful while his girlfriend's is all galvy.  the funny thing was it was me who told his girl friend about that particular show at the last one we had been at together when she had come over to ask about a particular weave.  When I tried to talk her at their table later ( he had handmade leather pieces he made)  he kept making comments about how you have to charge more for quality and stuff while glancing over at me and I wanted so much to hit him...she did it for me and told him to behave that she liked my stuff and wished someday to do stuff like mine. it made my day .  Her stuff was nice but very different form mine and we were able to see that and even gave her advice on website for tutorials.  I will admit yes I was a bit annoyed at first that there was another mailer there I was used to being the only one at that show but I had a Convention once where there were only 2 chain mailer and they put us next to each other was too, you just have to make the best of it and talk up your stuff without actually sniping at theirs.  I understand how you feel and about asking but if the people running the event feel there is room for more then one mailer and gave you a spot then it didn't really if he minded or not.  I would have stopped by to say "hi" but even with my low self esteem at time don't think I would asked his approval. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wel!  LOTS of developments over the course of the fair season this year!

 

Given that I am sharing a tent run by a wonderful lady, I decided not to make waves and just rolled with the punches.  

 

I kept my class, showed off my scale work, and consequently, the next fair we had that was run by these folks, they not only approved us outright for scale (which they had blocked right along with the chain in the past) but actively encouraged us to have a lot!

 

I did a 5 weekend fall fair in the tent like this and netted more than I have sold in the last 2 years of fairs!

 

I was also approved to have my own scale and chain tent at thier next fall fair, and invited to do the same at thier spring fair.  I JUMPED on the fall fair, but I need more cash flow in the money chest before I commit to the spring fair too lol

 

So it all seems to be working out.  They may want to give thier friend a leg up, but they can't resist my scale work and want it whenever they can get it!  I anticipate a fantastic fair season for 2014  :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

suddenly i don't wish that there were more renn faires around here that I could sell at.  much as i love the idea of making a pile of money off of chainmaille....I just have such a low BS tolerance that I would lose my s**t on any organiser that tried to come to me after the fact and deny me selling my product because someone whined.  especially if there was no mention in the contract. 

 

someone would be getting beat down with a length of chainmaille sheet.  potentially two someones.  organiser and rival maille douche

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I REALLY want to do a Ren fair. . . I need to get my stock up and running first. . . I easily have a dozen different weaves I want to make 3-5 bracelets and necklaces out of of each base metal (barring gold and silver. . .) as well as 2 of each color and a couple 2 color set ups. . .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't even know if there are any renn faires in Australia... definitely not within a few thousand km of me, lol. But yall are making me think of keeping an eye out for any down south, though I have no idea if the market is already saturated or not. Despite the possible politics, it sounds like a potentially great money-spinner!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

look into Larping groups too. some will allow you to set up as a vendor and you still get to be involved in the atmosphere similar to a Renn Fair in most cases but not as restrictive in regards to "period" historically accurate work

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that tip. I think there might be some Larpers in my (small, isolated) city but I don't think they run the sort of events where outsiders could come and sell, and I don't have the time or focus to really get involved. Might be worth shooting them an email however... I should look up their events down south however.

 

Didn't realise renn faires had restrictions re historically accurate work. I see so many pix of women in chainmaille bras attending them/advertising booths, I just assumed it was a free for all... 

 

Australia does have a lot of outdoor "alt lifestyle" festivals, so if I do move down south or find an economical way to travel with my gear, I should look into that. I primarily sell to muggles at the weekly outdoor markets here. Planning on going online, but not expecting to make anything much (so many geeks maille) except as a brochure for irl customers.

 

Sorry for going off-topic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

look into Larping groups too. some will allow you to set up as a vendor and you still get to be involved in the atmosphere similar to a Renn Fair in most cases but not as restrictive in regards to "period" historically accurate work

I am doing Amtgard right now. SCA is a but too "period" centric for me atm. . .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amptgard is the one with the full contact combat isn't it?  a bit too rough for me or was the Dagehir or something like that.  I like the light touch combat of NERO and the fact that they let me hang out and make chain mail all day if I want to as long as I stay out of the way and stay in costume and in character, lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not full contact. More Foam boffer style where they frown on grappling and such. It is light multiple hits and is very big on ambiance. It is also more Tolken essque, with magic, monsters, etc. Many people enjoy hanging out and maybe fighting.

Edited by Lysenis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SCA does full contact but with rattan swords for safety. We also have no issue with people chilling and making maile. That's what I do almost every event lol. as to being "period centric" we allow for like a 1000 years of history to span.As long as your persona falls between 600 CE to 1599 CE you're good.. heck I was just working with AA at Chalice and had no issues and I had some of the more "period nazis" complimenting my work. It might be your local group are sticks in the mud. Time to cross a border and play with another group lol. You don't have to play where you live. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had issues with some of the old School NERO guys when I started making armor for our home chapter because they kept saying Chain mail was a wast e of time and too time consuming and it my pretty colorful stuff wasn't "real armor" throwing the 35 pound split ring, scale shirt that has stopped metal swords at them has since shut them up on that score, lol this shirt has stopped swords in sparring and while a few scales are dented it is holding up rather nicely if i do say so myself... :fish:   We have since changed chapters since that one closed.

Edited by calisandra

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×