The Hardest Thing To Start

I’ve done a lot of hard things in my life, (Please feel free to insert inappropriate sexual joke here badum tshh) but by far the hardest was to start a business. I’ve done this three times. I only wanted to do it twice. It’s kind of like falling in love on Game of Thrones.

GOT Pic
You haven’t submitted your 1099 yet sweetheart

What I mean is that you pour so much of your time, effort and emotion into building this business that when it fails for any reason its like going through a bad breakup. Up to and including the business taking half your stuff, most of your friends and all your self-esteem.

My first business endeavor was making historical reproduction jewelry for the Society of Creative Anachronism.

images
The Dark Ages has Cosplay too

I made expensive jewelry for people who like to dress up in Medieval Garb and pretend that the middle ages wasn’t riddled with lice and bubonic plague. I think their Tagline read “The Middle Ages as they should have been.”  And you know what? I loved it. I had a fantastic time, made a lot of friends in different states and generally got treated like a Lady (Cause I was, I was Lady McBain). But then the Recession did its premier debut performance and no one was buying jewelry anymore. The SCA is expensive, there’s a lot of upkeep and expensive tools and toys to get to do it right and I couldn’t afford that. So I had to liquidate and shut my tent flaps.

SCA Shop
These are not as much fun to slam as doors.

Since I couldn’t afford to go unless I was selling something I stopped going and in the process lost contact with a lot of friends. Heart break.

My second endeavour was a much shorter lived affair. three years after shutting the tent flaps on my first business I opened another one. A New  Age bookstore.

NA Bookstore
Summoning the Devil has never been so pretty.

That lasted all of six months before the Recession did its encore performance and my Investor panicked and fled like I was actually summoning Satan. It still hurt, I’ve never actually been able to Summon Satan, I just don’t have the heart to kill the damned goat.

Goat
I mean, could you?

But in all seriousness after that I pretty much figured I’d call it quits on the whole business thing. I hate working for other people, I hate day jobs but I was tired of feeling like a failure, never mind that the statistics on small businesses are abysmal. Last time I checked the statistics showed that only 40% of small businesses started would last one year. Of those 40% about 19% would last 2 years. But if you can hold it together for two years the odds get better. But no matter how you slice it it still sucks to try so hard and have it fall apart. So I did what most of us do. I settled. I got a job and I resigned myself to the drudgery of paycheck to paycheck.

paycheck
Seems about right.

And then a cliché walked into my life by the name of Tracey. No seriously, I had met this woman once, at a friends party, on Halloween. It’s a Trope. Anyway, she wanted a specialty costume made for an Anime Convention she was going to in December. Now I’d been to Conventions before. I used to make Cosplay for people to wear in Cosplay contests and a lot of times I’d take badges in lieu of more money. Cause Cons are awesome. I went over to her place and got to work turning her into Bayonetta which is really hard to do since that characters hair is her costume and we were not dealing with that kind of wardrobe malfunction. We went with pleather. We went to the convention to show of my mad skillz and hung out with another friend who happened to be running a fan art table in Artist Alley.

Artist Alley
This is frighteningly accurate.

Tracey got it into her head that she wanted to do a table of her own. So I offered some suggestions and figured she’d get overwhelmed and decide not to take the risk. Like most of us would. At this point I did not want to be involved. Two days later she texts me: “I took your suggestions, the business name is going to be Sakura Sisters, I don’t know what I’m doing, I need your help!”

That was December 2014. It is now July 2016 and our business has blossomed. We’re doing 4 cons a month, we have a room in our apartment that’s just for our supplies and inventory. We’ve been to 8 different states and 33 conventions in the last 18 months and I’ve been able to stop working a day job; Tracey still has one but she has more bills than me. We’re beating the odds. This blog is dedicated to beating the odds, to giving other folks a little more insight and some tips and tricks of the trade. I’ll be adding interviews from other businesses that frequent the conventions and from some of the behind the scenes people at the conventions we love. I told you all the sad scary stuff at the beginning because you need to know that this isn’t all sunshine and roses. Its work; hard, messy frustrating, rewarding and satisfying work. I don’t think we’ll ever be rich doing this but that’s not the point, if I wanted to be rich I’d marry a rich guy. I want to leave something behind. I want to have an impact and have fun doing it too.

I’ll be posting to this blog as often as  I remember and I’ll hopefully be entertaining enough to keep you coming back. If you have suggestions for blog posts that you’d like me to explore please leave them in the comments or check us out on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ArtiFoxx. We’ll be posting our upcoming cons and new products on that page.

 

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