As always, SC ComiCon was a terrific show. It seems like there are more cosplayers every year, and there's something for everyone. My only complaint is that yet again, I was in the very back, almost at the farthest end of the row, behind a column. That stupid column is my nemesis every year. I covered it with signs as high as I could reach and set up facepainting around it, but my table was still hidden from the main flow of people.
Even so, lots of people came by and several bought my new little dragon eggs. I always wanted a dragon egg - so I'm pleased to find that I'm not the only one! Since I only have a small artist table at this comic con, I couldn't bring my bigger pieces. I don't know if I should try to move to a bigger spot, though. Every year, no matter how soon I send in my registration, I'm stuck behind that column. What if I pay more for a table and just get stuck behind a different column? What if people are looking for me in the old spot?
I guess it's really going to depend on how much I'll have ready to bring next year. This year is going to be big -
I have no debt, I'm full of ideas, and I have no fewer than four dependable freelancers I can call upon to help me finally bring some stories to life! I just have to carefully manage my resources and keep going between comic cons as well.
On a long shot, I've entered Etsy's #DifferenceMakesUs small business contest. It would mean a lot to win this, or even just to get votes. Go to https://etsy.wishpond.com/small-business-contest/entries/148907175 if you'd like to vote for me and OtherRealm Studio. I know, the form stripped my formatting and editing is not an option, so I have no paragraphs. O.O I was horrified. So I'm posting my entry essay below with paragraphs so it isn't such a pain to read.
Etsy Business Contest Essay
I never wanted to leave my daydreams behind to join the “real world” and stop having time for reading and drawing and making stuff. Couldn't I get work that would let me share my daydreams and stories with the world?
The answer was,“Nope! Artists STARVE, so forget it!”
So I chased everyone else's idea of what being a responsible adult should be. Slowly, I began to forget my daydreams.
And then, I messed up. I bought an online course – a good one – on a subject that could make money quickly, thinking that after I made the money, I would finally give myself permission to do what I wanted to do.
Do you see the problem yet?
My head understood the material, but my heart said no. I aced the lessons, but everything I tried to implement flopped. Utterly.
Worse, I had paid with a credit card, thinking that once I got something going, it would “pay for itself.” It did not, and now the interest was piling up.
My husband cut a deal with me. Every year, he works crazy overtime and saves that money for our family vacation. We could pay off that card, but the money would have to come from our vacation fund and I'd have to pay it back, but at least we wouldn't be paying interest.
Suddenly, my debt was not hurting “only me” anymore. All I'd wanted was to make life better – to be creative again and afford some way to bring my stories to life so everyone could enjoy them. Instead, the only thing I'd created was a disaster.
What could I do?
My “someday biz” was either going to be today or never.
When I was a kid, my parents were in a tough place financially. So they built their own business out from a hobby and traveled to shows, selling hard-to-get supplies to other hobbyists in person and by mail-order. I knew show vending. I knew tracking down bulk suppliers and modifying products for individuals' needs. And my hobby (I know Etsy peeps won't laugh!) was making costumes. Plus, I had been a panelist once at a comic con and was amazed at how familiar it was.
It was the barest thread to hang my business on, but I threw everything I had into making the best stuff I could and selling it.
Incredibly, it worked. After months of hustling like mad at every comic con I could get a table at, I paid back the vacation fund. Even more incredibly, I loved what I was doing. Making costume accessories, “magical amulet” jewelry, quirky sculptures, and everything else that would fit on my table brought me joy. And my creations brought everyone who saw them joy, too! I began to be inspired again and create new, original things – lightbulb bug sculptures, abstract fairytale art with multiple layers of meanings, teensy baby dragons to hatch out of their own eggs and keep in a piggy bank hoard. The beautiful imaginary realm of my childhood came back and I could share it with everyone in a way that they could touch and enjoy!
Well, everyone who happened to see my table at a comic con. There aren't many nearby, either. I had to get my mail order going.
But it was scary!
My shipping skills were way out of date. And then, how to navigate the gap between getting the order and getting paid the proper shipping so I could send it out? And in all the vast internet, how are people going to search for my unique, quirky, sometimes downright weird creations? Who even wants a lightbulb bug before they see one?
Everyone told me, and I didn't want another account for a thing, and I put it off... and then, quite recently, I tried it.
Oh wow. Everything is so much simpler. I can get my iPad mini or a phone, and take a nice picture, fill in all the fields with description, keywords, package size and weight, and it's done. It's on the market, in a place where people look for unique, quirky, handmade items, where people appreciate creativity and value the love that goes into crafting. And they can click a button, pay the right amount for shipping every time, and then I print a label and drop it in the mail! Ta da!
Now, anybody can order from OtherRealm Studio, and get their very own bit of that magical, quirky-fun realm in a package delivered right to them. I get to share my newfound joy and inspiration in a way that anyone can hold in their own hands. In my own small way, I can open wide the gates and invite you to experience a place you never needed to leave behind – the realm where daydreams become real and you can escape until you're refreshed and ready to emerge to face the day's challenges again.
May your every day be a beautiful adventure!
If I had ten thousand dollars, my first thought is that I could help so many people! For example, it would help my family a lot if we would quit deferring fixing up the garage as a workspace, as my supplies keep conquering various corners of the house. I am currently creating lots of new items, and experimenting with new media – I'm running out of materials for my little dragons! But the best, craziest thing that I'm working toward, winning or not:
The earnings from my creations are going to hire an artist to help me create a webcomic about the Other Realm, and someday I'd like an animated series – probably on YouTube. There are at least three people I have already had in mind to hire for this if I somehow make the money for it. See my story for why everything I do MUST be paid for in full. Debt will never hurt my family again!
If you think my essay is worth a vote, please go vote for me here! It's free to vote and you will get my undying gratitude :) and I'll be able to come out with better stories and art even faster!
Artist, writer, creator of stuff. I just want to build worlds for you to escape to.