Off on the Road to the Expo!

Posted by Sarah Kearns on

Looking for your fix of in person Tabletop Board Games and D&D RPG Games this year? We're taking a big step here at BGS this year- our first venture to the UK Games Expo 2024! We'll be bringing our unique range of gaming accessories to the table, from dice bags and dice trays to card holders, playmats, and more!

UK Games Expo (UKGE) is the largest Hobby Games Convention in the UK. Now in it's 16th year, 2024 sees the event return to 3 halls of the NEC and the Hilton Hotel from 31st May to 2nd June. While we've visited as punters before, this is our first year as stallholders, and I wanted to share this journey both as a help for any others taking the first step too, and also to introduce us to any visitors to the show.

Our journey started back in November 2023, when we made the leap and booked their starter stall package. This is a special introductory discounted rate they offer to first time stall holders, and seemed perfect for us so we reserved a 3m x 2m stall. This stall size seemed a good size to start out, we'll see when we get there how it works out! We find out later this month where we'll be in the halls, and what orientation this will be (3m or 2m frontage etc) so we'll go from there!

Thankfully, they only required a deposit of 25%, with the balance due at the end of February, so this gave us a few weeks to save up for this. We also didn't have to worry about anything while we had our Christmas order rush, always a bonus for that time of year!

Fast forward to January 2024, when after a brief Xmas break we hit the ground running with the hardest part of the plan- building stock! With this being our first time, coupled with the fact that the majority of our items are made to order, building stock is a totally unknown concept to us. We've been back and forth a few times on what to take, especially the amounts. So I had the bright idea in to "double make" bags, so for every bag design that sold I made an extra one. It doubled my workload, but at the end of January we had 69 (totally unintentional I swear!) extra bags made and ready to pack up for the stall. Assuming I can keep up the same pace for the remaining timescales, that will give us around 350 bags, which I'm hoping will be enough? 

Alongside bags we'll of course be taking our other gaming accessories, which means we need to "stock up" on our blank raw materials, so it was time to spend our hard earned Christmas earnings and place some sizeable orders with our suppliers! We have 600 blank neoprene mats currently sailing their way to our shores from the factory in China that specially makes them in our own unique size, ETA March 2024, so should give us enough time to turn them into Dice Trays, Player Mats and our newest item, mini pocked size bowls. We also took delivery of a whopping 182kg(!) of black and Walnut MDF sheets, ready to be turned into dice tray frames, card holders, player dashboards and again a new item for this year, our nested dice tower and tray sets.

Our final big spend of January was an exciting one- DICE! We ordered 140 sets, 10 designs each of 14 designs- we whittled this down from a list of over 30 available designs so let's hope we picked the best ones! I've already earmarked a couple of favourites, and I'll be adding them to the website later this month for anyone who wants a sneak peek!

I keep flip-flopping between the fact we'll either come home with 3/4 of the stock unsold, or we'll be ready to go home on the Saturday night with an empty car and a healthy looking Paypal balance. The latter would be amazing, but I'll also be annoyed at myself for not making more stock- its a no-win situation haha!

As we move through February, building stock and making plans, I can feel my nerves building of stepping into the unknown, but hopefully this will be a fun adventure we'll look back on!

Our journey continues over the coming weeks...

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