Fire and Steel

It's been a while since my last blog post – my fault completely. With Fan Expo Canada over in September, the convention season is winding down now. I have more time to write and reconnect with folks again via social media.

The title says it all. I'm super excited to announce that for the first time ever, I'm pushing the frontiers of this company westward to the wonderful Canadian cities of Winnipeg and Vancouver!

Find us at C4 Central Canada Comic Con in Winnipeg from Oct. 27-29 and Vancouver Fan Expo Nov. 10-12. Assuming the world doesn't end, we'll be pushing to other Canadian cities in 2018 too. So don't fret if you don't see your city on our list yet!

People keep asking me how things have been going. In just a few short months, we've hit so many milestones, it's been hard to keep track of things. In only ten short months, I've:

  • Leased a warehouse
  • Surpassed sales quotas many times over
  • Browsed around for a cargo van
  • Pushing into central and western Canada for the first time
  • Shipped my first overseas order
  • Spoken to fellow geeky enthusiasts from Australia, Iceland, Germany and Italy
  • Sealed our first serious wholesale contract
  • Shipped our first order to a celebrity

Let's just put it this way: I've had no time to keep up with my blog and social media because business has picked up so much. It's been a very challenging experience to learn how to manage, prioritize and juggle all the different aspects of running things. I hope to get better with time and I hope to be able to hire help at some point to keep things running smoothly.

As for how my days are going, I’ve now gotten use to playing The Waiting Game. You know the one that involves you calling someone? You get their voice-mail. Then they call you back. It just so happens you left your phone for two minutes to go to the washroom and they choose those precise two minutes to return your call. So then you call them back and you get their voice mail again… and so on and so on... and you just sit there with your eye twitching, trying not to go insane.

The Waiting Game drives me nuts.

No matter how much you try to force things to move faster, a lot of times you just have to wait. For replies. For stuff to ship. For papers to process. Whatever.

I’ve been twiddling my thumbs waiting for our newest stock to arrive for a while now. I wish I could play Hand of God and reach down and move the pieces along. It’s extremely satisfying once it all pans out, but it's extremely frustrating while it's happening.

Oftentimes you have no control over any of it. If customs decides to hold resin guns for a detailed inspection, there's nothing you can do about it except be patient.

In only a few short months, we’ve grown quite a bit as a company. Even though I speak with the Royal Plural sometimes (it's a bad habit), it's still just me here. I'm considering getting a volleyball, drawing a face on it and calling it Wilson to keep me company at the warehouse.

I'm on the brink of being able to hire someone. Soon... soon... I feel like if I don't, I'll become Gollum.

Every week I’ve been at a different convention with very few breaks in between. It’s been very go, go, go. I've met so many amazing people now that I can say I made new friends after every con I've been to. That's what it's actually all about. I confess that a part of this business is completely selfish for me: It helps me make new friends and meet the most amazing people. That has always been the most fun aspect of running Fire and Steel for me.

I've told people time and time again that I don't sell swords, I get paid to make friends and have conversations, so I realize how lucky I am. I love how excited people get to geek out with me and I love that cons are safe spaces for that.

When I was growing up, it didn't feel like there were a lot of places where it was safe to be a nerd or a geek. I hope to help develop the culture that it's okay to be a geek or a nerd, because that's why this company was created in the first place.

Random thoughts: I've now been concussed by a Doomhammer, slashed by a Leonidas spartan sword, jabbed by a Hobbit club, and poked by an Avacyn spear. All occupational hazards.

I’ve also fallen behind on doing those silly YouTube videos I’ve been really looking forward to doing. They’re coming, I swear! Doomhammer versus Thor’s Hammer is something I’ve really wanted to explore. Pumpkin carving with swords? Yes, please. I've wanted to invest in better film equipment so the video and audio quality is better.

I'm slowly approaching the one-year mark when I first started doing this full-time. Looking back, I don't know how time flew so quickly. I blinked and here I am!

 

PS. If you've placed an order with us and it still hasn't shipped, what I said above is true. Customs delayed the upcoming shipment for a 2 week inspection =(. I'm really sorry about that. I'm trying my best to get you your orders fulfilled as soon as possible.

 

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Written by Laura Suen — October 19, 2017

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