This year's Con Kasterborous was a mix of the familiar and a lot of firsts for us here at Contented Comfort. Chris and I saw a lot of familiar faces during set up the Friday night before and all throughout the weekend for me, and Sunday for him. Of course, everything was brand new for Allie since this was her very first year attending anything but set up.
For those who do not know, Allie came on as my apprentice back in December. She's a bit young, true, but she has a real passion for the types of fandoms we make items for, at least those she's allowed to watch or read. And she has both an artistic eye and a nose for perfumery. So she has been studying different aspects of the business around her school schedule for the past seven months.
In fact, IDK was made as a collaboration between Allie and me. She picked the character and the defining characteristics we would use for the design and fragrance. I handled the carving of Crona's unique hairline for the design.
I mean come on, would you hand an eleven-year-old gloves, a filet knife, and a block of soap and say, "Here, go carve this?" Not happening!
I pulled several bottles of fragrance oils matching what she'd mentioned and walked her through the blending process, making suggestions along the way based on experience with how certain fragrances interact. She did the rest.
Con Kasterborous was Allie's first foray into any type of sales and customer service. She had an absolutely terrific time and did a wonderful job speaking with customers and answering questions.
Chris took Allie's place helping on Sunday because I had the opportunity to be on the Supernatural Fans panel, and she just was not ready to try and run the booth on her own. I'm still relatively new to such things, having only been on three other panels at Rocket City LitFest several years back before this one. But the other panelists were superb, and we had a great group attending with no end of insightful comments and questions. It made it a lovely experience.
As always, the convention was energizing for us on the Contented Comfort team. We came home with new insights and ideas, and the sales to support their implementation. In fact, you might have noticed a new heading above. Home goods is a section we've been anxious to add to Contented Comfort for several years now. With just myself to knit or crochet items, we weren't getting anywhere fast with the handmade and only handmade approach, so we decided to take a different tact by partnering with InkTale.
I've painted off and on since I was in middle school, and both Nichole, i.e. Allie's pen name for her painting, and Hailey have shown natural talent with abstract art, acrylic pour painting in particular. Through InkTale, we are able to offer several different items designed using artwork created by the three of us ranging from clothing and accessories to artwork prints, coffee mugs, throw pillows, and beach towels.
Now, Nichole and Hailey are very young. Hailey is only nine, and Nichole just turned twelve. So the handling of the items featuring their art, or commissioned originals, is a bit different. Instead of being treated like any other sale, the profit from each sale of their items goes straight into the respective girl's education fund. So you know every purchase there helps send that budding young artist to college in a few years.
Also, after years of working with what natural light we can and cameras that aren't always reliable, we have just been able to get a proper product photography set up. We are excited to begin the process of replacing the existing photographs with more professional quality images over the next few months.