IndyFurCon was held over the weekend of August 12 to 14, 2011 at the Hilton Indianapolis North. This is the second year for the Indianapolis furry (anthropomorphic animal) convention, but it's our first time to sell at it because we didn't hear about it last year until it was almost over.
We went up to the hotel Thursday evening to pick up our badges and see if it might be possible to load in our merchandise. When we got there, we'd no more than entered the parking lot than we saw two people in full fursuits talking with people in attire that suggested they were probably fannish, even if they weren't actually cosplaying.
The registration desk wasn't quite ready yet, so we found a comfortable sofa and settled in to wait. I was working on a short story for a writing contest, so I pulled out my notebook and set to work. After a while they started getting enough set up that a line was forming, so we got in it and I read an e-book on my Treo.
Once they did get the registration desk set up, we had to deal with some problems. However, we were able to get them resolved and got our badges, which meant we had one hurdle out of the way. On the other hand, when we finally connected with the dealers' room coordinator, we were only able to locate our tables, not actually carry stuff in. So we just headed back home for the night, where we decided to put our badges on the lanyards we'd gotten at GenCon the previous weekend. Wearing them hanging from our necks is a bunch easier than clipping them to clothes, and there's less risk of a badge getting caught on something and lost.
On Friday morning we got up painfully early so we could be in the parking lot and ready with the first cartload of merchandise the minute the dealers' room opened. As it turned out, we actually made better time than we'd anticipated and had some time to kill when we got there. I got my Treo back out and read some more of my e-book.
Once the dealers' room actually opened for dealer set-up, we were able to get two strong young volunteers who were used to carrying heavy loads in their mundane jobs. As a result, we were able to get everything in fairly quickly. After that we just had to get everything organized and set up before the dealers' room opened to the general membership.
Once we got ready and the doors opened, we did get a brief burst of business. However, it didn't last for long and we were soon killing time. I got my story back out and went to work on it. By the time the dealers' room closed for the night, I was actually glad to be able to head home, where I entered the changes on my story into the computer and printed up a fresh copy for the next day's round of rewrites.
On Saturday morning we thought we'd eat at the free pancake breakfast one of the local churches had been holding on the second Saturday of the month. However, when we got there nothing was going on, so we had to head on to the con and eat the breakfast bars we'd taken with us just in case.
Once we got our tables opened for sales, I walked around the dealers' room and looked at the other dealers' merchandise. There was some really interesting stuff.
When the dealers' room opened for sales, I hurried back to our tables. We got another initial flurry of sales, and then things went almost completely dead. I made another polishing pass through my story, and I started making notes toward a story for an anthology with a deadline at the end of the month. However, I spent a lot of my time fighting off sleep.
This year's charity was a local no-kill shelter, and they'd brought some dogs. Most were well-behaved, but one was a rescue who'd been abused and was a little shy around crowds. But when I went out to visit them during some lull periods, all the animals responded positively to me, even the abuse survivor. The people from the shelter allowed that animals can often pick up on who's friendly toward animals and will gravitate toward them.
After the dealers' room closed for the evening, we had been planning to go straight to the monthly meeting of the local science fiction club. However, we'd forgotten a couple of items we were going to take to it, so we had to make a side trip back home. As it turned out, it was just as well, because a merchandise shipment that we'd been expecting for the past week had finally arrived and was sitting on the front step. When one considers the horrible storm that went through Indianapolis that evening, there was a real possibility all that merchandise could've been ruined by wind and rain had it remained outside.
On Sunday morning we got up and went online to discover that the previous night's storm had caused a deadly accident at the State Fair. So it was in somewhat subdued spirits that we headed back up to the hotel for the last day of IndyFurCon.
The shelter people had brought some more animals, including two tiny white kittens who'd been abandoned. They were big enough that their eyes had opened, but they weren't weaned yet, so they weren't ready to be adopted yet. But they were still cute and very engaging, and they're going to make some excellent lap cats someday.
Sales continued to be slow, and we ended up packing early. We got our merchandise out fairly quickly, thanks to some excellent help, although I don't think we were packed quite as efficiently, because in spite of having sold some stuff, we were using up more room than when we left.
Because the con was so small and we had so many extremely slow periods, we'd assumed that we'd done very poorly on sales. However, when we actually ran the numbers, we were happily surprised to find that we'd come fairly close to making our expenses, enough so to seriously consider returning the following year.
Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel
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Last updated October 21, 2012.