June 15, 2017
I did GeekCraft Expo last weekend in Portland, and had a fantastic time!
This was my first time at this show, and will definitely be back next year!
Doing shows the first time is always a risk. While I don’t usually opt to sell at a show in it’s first run (GeekCraft Expo came to Portland for the first time last year), doing any show for your first time, regardless of how long the show itself has been running, is like throwing money in a wind tunnel and jumping in to catch it. There are some factors you can research beforehand to see if it’ll be worth the money, but it’s still a risk nonetheless.
Kim (one of the organizers) emailed me last year to see if I would do the show, and even though it was tempting, I decided to wait until this year to jump in. I was definitely interested, as many of my customers are nerds like myself, and enthusiastic when it comes to anything nerdy, but again, this was a new show. I’ve thought about doing the comic con circuit, but that’s a huge financial investment for a booth, especially for a small handmade business like mine. GeekCraft Expo might just be the perfect show for me to dip my toe in the nerdy waters.
I figured after one year, the folks at GeekCraft Expo would have a feel for promotion and have attendance numbers from last year, and they did. Dan (the other organizer, and Kim’s husband) was super quick to email me back with attendance numbers from 2016.
The numbers weren’t bad, especially for a show that was on it’s first tour last year (this show tours throughout the country), and in a location that can get lost at times (DoubleTree Lloyd Center in Portland).
Dan and Kim were fantastic organizers! Dan is a writer for Deadpool (for real!!) and Kim works in video games as a community manager, and they’ve spent enough time behind the table at shows like this to make it fun and easy to be a vendor. They offered vendors a catered sack lunch to opt into (I totally did, as I tend to do most shows all by myself), and had staff members available to booth sit in case you needed a restroom break (this was so nice to have!).
This event was just what I needed to see if my fellow nerds were picking up what I was putting down. Even upon load-in, I felt a positive vibe coming from the organizers and from my fellow vendors. Don’t get me wrong, most of the other shows I do regularly feel like that (Crafty Wonderland feels like a family reunion with my talented maker friends every time), but there have been shows where getting that vibe going never happens.
While doing shows is a ton of work, they are so incredibly rewarding for more than just sales. I get instant product and branding feedback, and also get to know people attending the show, regardless if they buy anything. I connected with more people on a deeper level at this show. It must have been my nerd showing.
Thanks for reading along, and we’ll definitely be back at GeekCraft Expo PDX next year!
Hey there, I'm Holly Marsh (Maker/Illustrator/Mama/Nerd), the force behind MarshMueller. I started the company in 2011 after getting frustrated with the ho-hum options in big box stores when creating my first son's woodland-animal-themed nursery. I hand-pick every fabric, thread color, and zipper, design my own sewing patterns, and moosh them all together to create rad products for parents and gift-givers in my Astoria, Oregon studio (aka MarshMueller Secret Labs).