Posted by Sarah Kearns on

It's almost here, the months and months of work and it's almost here!

Our road to the Expo continues! To recap, 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 show if you're a fan of Tabletop Board Games and D&D RPG Campaigns, from dice bags and dice trays to card holders, playmats, and more!

One day left to make stuff, then Thursday it's the drive down and stall set up! I've definitely not made as much stuff as I wanted to, but it's a life lesson should we ever do this again. We did a test pack on Saturday of the car, and it's probably for the best we didn't make as much as I wanted, as it's a pretty tight fit! My knees will be well acquainted with the glove box once we finally arrive there...

I'd chalk it up to a few reasons why we've not made as much. One, I lost a very close family member in April after weeks in hospital, which understandably had an effect on how much I could work around that.

Two, our main paper supplier had an issue at the end of March where someone cut all the premium paper down to A4. All of it. Now, we need A3 for everything, and it was not an option to do match ups, so I had to use their standard paper, which is fine, its not awful, it just has more issues than the premium paper. For example, 1 print in 15 might knack up on the premium paper (lines/smudges/black specs/pale spots), where as its 1 in 5 on the standard paper- very costly if you're wanting to do say 100 Lorcana playmats, especially when the blank mats take 8 weeks for delivery. So, I just made a handful of each playmat design, enough hopefully that folks will consider buying them off the website. The good news is the premium paper is due back into stock w/c 3rd June, so at least if we get orders at the expo they can be fulfilled using the good stuff!

The 3rd reason is totally my fault, and with hindsight may not be the best idea, but you never know til you try. I decided we needed to be running a Kickstarter campaign, while we're at the Expo. Now, there was method in my madness- if we do miraculously sell out of a lot of stock, which would totally make the last 6 months of no days off worth it, but would leave us at a bit of a loose end for the rest of the show.

Enter the Kickstarter- The Component Keep! This is our new, vertical, freestanding modular tabletop holder

So, if we do run out of stock, we can just demonstrate this and hopefully get a few backers to boot! Development of this has basically taken over Thursdays for the last few months, and all of my husband's free time as he's the design wizard that came up with the physical products that were in my head. I couldn't be happier with what he's done, but the stress it's added to the Expo run up hasn't been ideal- let's hope it pays off!

Thankfully the kickstarter is only one small A4 box worth of precious car space, the bulkiest items being our hand trolley for carting all the boxes inside, the folding chairs (neither of our back's would survive 3 days in the chairs provided by the show), and the Ikea shelves. Everything is mainly in either large really useful boxes, or the empty boxes the blank playmats come in, so hopefully we can condense some boxes down for the journey home if we sell enough stuff. 

Back to the expo, the organisers very helpfully put a checklist on their website, which was great for reminders like needing Hi-Vis vests when constructing the stall, and printing out the various access passes we need as vendors. I have needed a little guidance in navigating this, but I think we've done what we were meant to- we'll see on the day!

It's certainly been trying times these past 6 months, there have been points where I keep asking "How will I make this money back" as I have to buy yet another thing for the show/stall/journey etc, notable unexpected purchases being a large portable battery (still much cheaper than the power offered by the Expo), a fan and cooling box (cons get hot!), a new card reader with receipt printer and the sheer amount of bags, flyers, stickers, hooks and cards needed to display the stock, certainly more than just mailing it in a bag!

Thanks for reading, sorry this seems a bit much! If I can make back what I've had to spend on everything, plus enough to be able to have a few days off, I think I'll be happy with that. Let's see what happens!

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