We recently returned from our first Comicon experience. We figured our hometown would be the ideal place to start so we set up shop at the Phoenix Comicon over Memorial Day Weekend.
First off we want to thank everyone that stopped by the booth to look at our gaming tables or just say hi. The response we received was overwhelming. We had no idea what to expect going into the show so we planned for the best and are sure glad we did. Just the process of getting fine gaming furniture loaded into the convention center kicked off what turned out to be a fascinating experience.
Being the rookies that we are we decided to avoid the load in crowds on Wednesday and wait until opening day to get unloaded and set-up. That is when the fun started. After being directed by several different security staff to several different WRONG locations we finally found our home in booth 1781. The set-up process went pretty smooth once we got everything in the building and in a matter of a few hours we were ready for business. We are sure glad our tables come with removable legs, it made getting them packed and moved in so much easier.
After getting set-up we had an hour to kill and got to visit some of the great vendors before the crowds rolled in. Then came the opening countdown and we were open for business. That first day we must have interacted with over 500 people and were busy the whole time until closing. Boy that went by fast! The response was a little overwhelming and the fact that we were local seemed to really strike a chord with our booth’s visitors. As many of you might have heard there was some disruption that first day that seemed to really cast a butt over the entire convention. It is amazing how the act of one person could affect 100,000+ other people’s ability to enjoy an event.
Day 2-4 were exactly the same. Non-stop visitors to the booth, extremely high number of compliments on our quality, appreciation for our designs, and finally some orders…and lots of them. By the last day of the convention we had to double our production time to 12 weeks, we are back down to about 8 weeks currently. Did I mention the response was overwhelming!
We did have a visitor, namely Robert Gifford owner of Geek Chic, to our booth on Saturday morning. He came down to size up the competition I am sure. Robert spent about an hour in our booth talking gaming, business, drinking, you name it. He was very complimentary of our tables and felt we filled a niche between Geek Chic and some of the inferior mass-produced competition. He also appreciated the fact that we were innovative and not just a copycat company. What a great compliment from the man that started the gaming table industry. I will probably expand more on my interaction with Robert in a later blog.
The close of the convention came Sunday afternoon and all of us were beat. It had been an incredibly fascinating 4 days. Now we just had to load-out, and we thought load-in was tough? Again being the rookies we are we packed up and headed to the freight elevator, hmm only about an hour wait! So we decided to head out to the front exit and after quite a bit of time and effort we finally get back to the truck and loaded up.
We came away from PCC with the knowledge that Uniquely Geek is a viable business and that the demand for high-quality custom gaming tables is definitely out there. PCC was validation that people appreciate great design, quality craftsmanship, and affordability did in a reasonable time frame.