I need to start this post with several huge acknowledgments.
I’ve said this so many times already but I need to express how genuinely thankful I am to everyone who contributed to my Go Fund Me campaign. You got me to Vancouver. We did it!
This was achieved by combining the generosity I received in my campaign along with connecting with two very special ladies, Kate and Bella. We shared a hotel room to help defray expenses for the three of us.
I need to tell everyone that without the support of my husband, Merrill, and our four beautiful kids: David, Jaden, Phoenix, and Raven, I’d never have the opportunity I had this past weekend.
I love all of you so much and know that I appreciate how patient, strong and amazing you all have been and continue to be.
So the saga begins here.
Chapter 1: Playing Footsies with Fate
Being the frugal creature I am, I decided to not take a taxi from the airport to the hotel; I was going to take the train and then walk. I had on my most favorite boots – the most awesome footwear to ever grace the earth – my tall Doc Martens. Too bad I decided to wear very short socks.
As I walked from the train to the Sheraton, the sock on my left foot began to slip down…down…to the point where it was halfway off. Yes, I felt my boot scraping against the back of my heel but I was on a MISSION! I had a gigantic suitcase, two extremely heavy handbags, and an attitude to carry all the way to the hotel, so I wasn’t stopping for a sock malfunction.
I made it to the hotel, got into the room, and immediately sat down to catch my breath.
Was my foot throbbing like this the entire way over from the train station?? I took off my boot. And what I found is so repulsive I can’t even post the picture here for fear that you’ll either stop reading this post or never return to read another, lol!
Let’s just suffice it to say, I had a blister the size of a Canadian two dollar coin (yes, I actually did measure it) and it had burst. Nothing but raw skin underneath, bloody and painful as hell. Sigh…maybe a shower will help me feel better.
Nothing like hot water beating against a raw, open wound.
I had no choice but to hobble a couple of blocks away to the marketplace and pick up some first aid supplies. Which turned out to be the furthest away I’d venture from the hotel during the convention, since my foot was so impossibly sore I couldn’t wear anything but a sock on it for the duration of my stay. I did try to brave footwear on the first night – BIG MISTAKE. I made it so much worse. Went back to sock-dom.
My two lovely roommates, Kate and Bella, came in and met me while I was in the vendor room. It was like meeting up with old friends, even though we never met in person and had only met online very recently. I had to say I was a little insecure at first because I was literally old enough to be their mom! Kate and my oldest son David are the same age!! That vanished rather quickly and we embarked on the beginning of quite a bunch of misadventures.
Kate and Bella later on introduced me to some of their friends, Kayla and Christine, who extended so much hospitality to me that I felt as if I knew them forever too! Another friend, Rosemary, was such a delight to be around (and had a completely badass Abaddon cosplay that needs to be seen). Everyone was so friendly, fun, and treated me like a long-lost buddy.
The vendors room was abuzz and exciting. Not only was I selling my handmade jewelry, but I was also selling Clifhanger merchandise for my friend, Shannon. Shannon is an amazing designer who co-owns this operation with Clif Kosterman, the bodyguard for Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. Clif has his own fanbase, lovingly known as Clifhangers. I was honored to help them out. Please check out the Clifhanger FB page at http://www.facebook.com/Clifhangers
I was on my aching feet literally all day but it was so worth it. It was a successful day and I learned a bit more about my audience. Can I tell you how much I love meeting my customers in person? It’s soooo much different than online.
What I love most about it is that my customers are able to ask me questions, I can tailor a piece on the spot for a perfect fit, I can get to know all of you and learn more about what kind of pieces interest you most.
After a hardcore day of selling, Christine, Kayla, Bella, Kate and Rosemary convinced me that what I needed was to go to the Karaoke party. I never attended it before, I was in great company, so I went.
The party was hosted by Richard Speight Jr. and Matt Cohen (Trickster/Gabriel and Young John Winchester). Emily Perkins (Becky), Rob Benedict (Chuck/Edlund Carver), Chad Lindberg (Ash) and DJ Qualls (Garth) were all in attendance.
Matt, Chad, and DJ had no problem going into the audience and partying it up with the rest of us:
I have to say that I was extremely fortunate to have such good company!
Chapter 2: Close Encounters of the Surreal Kind
Russ Hamilton, the Location Manager for Supernatural had made the mistake of mentioning on Twitter that he was an enormous fan of Cap’n Crunch cereal, particularly the peanut butter and crunch berry varieties. But he couldn’t get them in Vancouver. So I tweeted him telling him I was bringing him some from the States.
Turns out Kate knows Russ and managed to get him to the vendor room so I could give him the cereal in person. Totally amazing. Russ invited us to drinks in the hotel lobby bar after the vendor room closed. Russ is the perfect host and was VERY patient while I asked him questions about his work. Location Manager doesn’t begin to describe what this man works on. He’s the HUB of the operation. Follow him on twitter @RUSS_MOVIEGOD – he’s always an entertaining read.
While we were having our drinks, Russ tweeted that there was a party in the hotel lobby bar. More merry-makers joined us. Along with Jim Michaels! Jim, as all you Supernatural fans know, is the Executive Producer of the show. Jim asked me how I got into jewelry design.
I explained how I always had done it, since I was a kid. I lost my job in January, after working in the financial industry for over 20 years. I had decided to give my jewelry a shot at being my means of supporting my family, but was struggling with just being an online presence.
At that time, I discovered Supernatural and quickly became enrapt in the show’s incredible stories and writing. I had never felt so inspired, and SPN pushed my creativity and enabled me to come out of the broom closet, so to speak.
A lot of people think my jewelry has pentagrams on it because of the show; the pentagrams are not representative of the show, but of my beliefs that I’ve kept close to my heart for many years. SPN gave me the courage to proudly display my beliefs without fear of being discriminated against or judged.
My husband also quickly became a fan of the show and while looking online one day, discovered SPN had conventions. “Why don’t you give this a try, Jo?” I immediately contacted Creation, who encouraged me to try it at the Whippany, NJ con this past spring.
I knew I was in my element. I found what works for me – interacting directly with my customers in the convention setting.
Supernatural literally changed my life.
Jim was very pleased to hear this and went on to tell us instances where he’s heard from fans with similar stories; how SPN has gotten some fans out of depression, encouraged fans to rise up to the challenges life throws at them, and just how fans are HAPPIER because of the show.
He and Russ made quite the pair and kept us all entertained. Great, genuine guys. Thank you!!! You can follow Jim also on twitter @TheJimMichaels
The weekend was flecked with surreal moments. Like Kate running over to me, screaming, “The Alpha Vamp picked me up!!!” Now how many ways can you interpret that statement? She then showed me what she meant. She happened upon Rick Worthy in the hallway. When she asked him for a photo, he literally swept her off her feet and posed as if he were about to bite her.
Other weird moments:
– Hanging up on my father because I walked into the elevator where James Patrick Stuart happened to be. Who then seemed very concerned that my money was falling out of my bag…he even walked me and made small talk with me to the North Tower. Sweet guy!
– Giving jewelry to Chad Lindberg – such a sweet guy!! He told me he was going to tweet a pic of the necklace and my shop. AND HE DID! He even remembered what I had said to him when I gave him the necklace and he quoted me. Chad – you ROCK!! PLEASE follow this man @ChadLindberg he’s amazing. Very talented man who as we all know was Ash in SPN, but also has a very impressive list of credits to his name such as Sons of Anarchy, Weeds, Criminal Minds, etc. He’s also a paranormal investigator with Haunted Orange County – check it out!!
– I also gave jewelry as gifts to Felicia Day (yes, she’s as amazing in person as she is on TV) and Alex Zahara.
Alex Zahara was in only one episode of SPN – he played a character named Vance in the episode with probably one of the best titles ever, “Criss Angel is a Douchebag.” Vance was an obnoxious magician who heckled the hell out of Barry Bostwick’s character.
Vance died horribly, being stabbed with 12 pointy objects. – a memorable death, to say the least.
He is very well-known in the Stargate fandom and has played many characters.
Alex was my neighbor in the vendor room for a great duration of the weekend. Can I please tell you that I have never met such a genuinely nice actor?? Each and every person that came over to meet him was met with a smile, a conversation, and HE was the one asking the questions. He tried to get to know every single fan. He insisted on the fans telling him some things about themselves so that he could personalize each autograph. Who does that?? Alex Zahara does!
He has a great website where you can learn more about him – it’s an interesting read: http://www.alexzahara.com – drop on over to his site, go to his contact info and send him an email to say hi! Tell him I sent you! Alex – if you’re reading this, I hope you kicked ass at DragonCon!
Chapter 3: Tell Me More, Tell Me More, Did You Get Very Far?
So the big question is, how did I do in sales at VanCon?
In the vendor room – it was feast or famine. The way the panels were scheduled made it very difficult for people to break away and get to the vendor room, unfortunately. Especially because the vendor room was located on an entirely different floor than the panels. There were times where I was extremely busy, and other times where the other vendors and I were making bets on how many people would creep through the door during the last hour. We had at one point a whole six bucks riding on that bet. Which I lost. Damn.
Overall – my sales were the highest I ever made at an event. What were my biggest sellers? My hand-stamped pieces! I take silver blanks and customize them with sayings and designs requested by you! Nothing like wearing a necklace that reads. “Assbutt.” Or my “Bitch/Jerk” earrings.
Some of the fun things I made:
Overall the convention in terms of learning more about what my customers want was a roaring success. It was a live-in classroom, basically. The requests that I got from my customers enabled me to push my creative boundaries, which I LOVE to do! Thank you so much for allowing me to make custom pieces for you!
Chapter 4: Power to the People
My favorite part of the convention? Meeting YOU! Here are some of the amazing people I met at VanCon:
Whew! There are so many more of you out there; I’m sorry if I missed you. If you bought something from me, please email me a pic at email@example.com and I’ll feature you in an upcoming post!
Chapter 5: Do I LOOK Like a Mugger to You?
Getting a flight straight home to NJ from Vancouver doesn’t exist, apparently. So I had a brief stay in Montreal’s airport before I finally made it home to New Jersey. Mind you, I was still wearing only a boot on my right foot and just a sock on my left foot. I could barely walk on my left foot unless I tiptoed on it. Any stress on putting my heel down was excruciating.
I needed to charge my iPad while I was waiting for my flight. An elderly man was sitting next to the only available charging station. There was an empty seat next to him, where his wife’s purse was sitting. Next to the charging station was his wheelchair for when he was ready to board the flight.
I go over with my iPad and plug it into the charging station. This man looked up at me, saw my blue hair, looked down and saw my one boot/one sock outfit, and made a dramatic show of hugging his wife’s purse to himself, as if I were going to launch an attack.
Yes, I make a habit out of paying exorbitant air fares so that I can sit in Canadian airports and prey upon elderly people while there are security guards standing right next to me. That’s obvious, isn’t it? When the man’s wife returned and sat down, they made a big show out of pointing to me and whispering in French. It was so heartwarming and welcoming, thanks!
It really wouldn’t have bothered me too much, but a woman who looked like something out of Home and Garden, (and obviously didn’t have blue hair or a boot/sock outfit) came over to use the charging station when I was finished. Not only did she use the charging station, but she SAT DOWN IN THE MAN’S WHEELCHAIR. The elderly couple didn’t bat an eyelash. And no, they weren’t traveling together and didn’t know each other. Again, thanks!! I learned that blue hair + injured foot = airport purse-snatcher. Because with my injured foot, you know I could outrun those gun-totin’ security guards any day. Especially in an airport! I’d even have time to run to the cashier and exchange my loot to USD!
Ok, bitter rant over. I was treated extremely well by everyone else I encountered, so I’ll let this obnoxious demonstration of ignorance slide. Oops, I said the rant was over…
Chapter 6: What’s Next??
TorCon! I am gearing up for TorCon next month!
If you’d like to see me at TorCon and other Supernatural and Vampire Diaries conventions, I would really appreciate your support. If you contribute to my Click Start Me campaign, not only will you receive a gift certificate for the amount of your donation, but you will receive an ADDITIONAL $25 towards merchandise at http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com (additional $25 given only on donations $25 and greater).
You can read about my Click Start Me campaign here: http://tinycs.me/9T
And don’t forget, I’m offering FREE SHIPPING WITHIN THE US for the entire month of September in my shop http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com!! Just use coupon code FSSEPT at checkout!
Thank you to everyone for the most amazing adventure I ever had selling my handmade jewelry – I look forward to meeting all of you at TorCon and beyond!
Thank you, everyone!!!