And so begins the task of condensing this weekend into a readable, concise (pfft, yea right) blog post.
WARNING: THIS POST IS SUPER PICTURE HEAVY, PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK. Also, if there's a picture of you posted here and you don't want it to be, please let me know so I can take it down. ((UPDATE: LOL IT WAS ORIGINALLY, BUT TRANSFERRING BLOGPOSTS FROM MY OLD SITE TO THIS ONE MEANS I DON'T HAVE THE PATIENCE TO RE-ADD THOSE BILLION PHOTOS. MAYBE SOMEDAY, BUT NOT RIGHT NOW SORRYNOTSORRY.))
In case you didn't know, I'm located in central Ohio. Frill is located in central Georgia. That's 10 hours of driving, so making this trip is kind of a big deal. Flying is not really an option since I'm selling at Frill and cramming everything into 1-2 suitcases is just not going to happen.
We started out on Friday morning, drove a few hours to pick up another loli, Jessa, and continued our trek. We arrived in Decatur (which I was sadly surprised is pronounced like DEE-KAY-TER, and not DECK-AH-TEUR, like I'd thought) a little after 6pm, and they had scheduled a Fashion Walk "tour" through the cute town at 7pm. I was so worried that we'd miss it, and we almost did. By the time we got checked in and all our stuff into our room, it was nearly 7. Luckily I had all my coords and such arranged for the weekend, so I could just throw everything on. Not-so-luckily, my makeup was all melty from camping out in the car most of the day =__=; We made it down to the massive group of lolis in the lobby just as they were lining up to begin the walk. But somehow I managed to get a minute to take some video while we were waiting on Jessa to finish getting ready (I would embed it below, but I'm having issues with YT, ugh).
The Fashion Walk consisted of a big group of lolis trouping around town, slowing traffic and causing stares. It was fun. The walk ended in this super cute little shop where we were treated to wine and scones and other cute treats. So many lolis & petticoats - I was afraid we'd end up breaking something.
((I enjoy re-looking through all these pictures that we took on our first night, because most of these people started out as strangers, but by the end of the weekend I pretty much knew most of them. ^^))
Friday ended with a pool party, which I chose to forgo and instead take the time to set up my booth for the next day (which come to find out, there were mermaids present, and I'm sad I missed it). Once we were finished with my table set up, it was time to hunt down food. We hadn't really eaten anything but snacks in the car on the way over, and whatever tiny breakfast we had at Tim Horton's on our way out of Ohio, so food is something that we were really excited for. Unfortunately, it was super late and the only thing really open was Taco Mac, which was just a block or so away from the hotel. Now.. wtf is Taco Mac, you ask? Yeah we said the same thing. I was picturing maybe a crappy taco joint for stoners or something, and I couldn't've been more wrong. It was basically a BW3s, with wings & burgers and stuff - no tacos in sight! So we ate like there was no tomorrow and hurried back to the hotel for a few hours of sleep before the next day.
We were so exhausted this whole trip. We never really recovered from the drive (oh, did I forget to mention that we didn't go to sleep the night before we left?), so this whole weekend I felt like I was functioning on borrowed energy. Saturday began bright and early, as I had to finish stocking my booth before things opened early for the VIPs. There was a lot of shopping to be done at Frill this year, whereas last year there was only the boutique & consignment, this year included an artist alley and designer's dealer room on top of the boutique & consignment, so there was a lot to take in. I still don't think I got the chance to walk around and look at everything - every time I tried to, I always ended up getting stuck talking to someone or taking pictures, or whatever. Which is definitely not a bad thing! This weekend was definitely filled with a lot of friends & feelings.
I also received some bad news, that one of my models would not be showing up. Unfortunately there were some transportation issues so she wasn't even able to make it to the con. I felt super bad upon hearing this, because I know part of the reason she decided to come to Frill in the first place was to model for me. Despite this let down, I had to spend that afternoon scrambling about to find a replacement. Most of the short girls were taken for the show (contrary to most fashions, I prefer short models - the shorter, the cuter, the better imo!), as I ran around asking every one I saw whether or not she was already modeling. Luckily, as I was giving up hope, I stumbled across the most adorable loli, and somehow she wasn't modeling! I had won the lottery (she's the cutie wearing the white jsk, down in the photos below).
Saturday evening concluded with the 'Frill After Dark' events, which included things like the Dandies & Darlings dance, and of course - the Fashion Show. Part of the reason I brought along my loli friend, Jessa, was because of how kick ass of an a make up artist she is. I'm so happy that I had her backstage, making all my models look super gorgeous. Model call was at 5pm, but the fashion show didn't start 'til 10pm, so if I wasn't running around getting wigs from my room or whatever, I was backstage most of the evening. I ended up missing the dance, but somehow my boyfriend still enjoyed it without me. That's another thing I've yet to bring up. He was super popular this weekend, and I feel like I didn't even see him most of the days because he was off in panels or being popular or something. But that makes me happy knowing he wasn't just sitting around being bored all weekend.
When the fashion show was getting ready to start, Jessa ran out to watch and record the show in it's entirety. I'm so happy she did this, as I was still backstage with the models, (so all I have is this, lol) and I wouldn't have been able to see it otherwise. Click Here to watch the fashion show.
Once the fashion show was over, so was I. Exhaustion hit me like a brick wall and I was ready for bed. There was (a surprise, at least to me) an after-party for the Frill VIPs & designers, and although I would've liked to have taken part, I was so freaking tired on top of not eating for ~13 hours, that I simply did not have the energy. I made a quick appearance and said hello to a few people, but then we were out the door and on our way to... Waffle House. There was nothing else open at this time. Not even pizza places. Granted, it was 1am, but still. Anything would've been better than Waffle House, ugh. I should've taken a picture of what I wore, because I wore my bloomers with a t-shirt which made a surprisingly cute coord, and something I've never tried before. (Definitely remembering that for other times when I'm lazy but still need to look cute.) Somehow we managed to not die from the awful food and horrid vomit-smell inside the restaurant, and got back to our hotel once again for only a handful of hours of sleep.
Sunday morning I slept in a little bit. I was so exhausted, so I awarded myself an extra 40 minutes of sleep, but despite that I was incredibly cranky. I feel awful admitting that, but I was just so irritated from lack of sleep, so that morning all I wanted was to stay in bed all day. But I forced myself to get up and open up my table for one last day of sales.
Sunday afternoon before the Tea Party Luncheon, there was a Designer Q & A Panel, which I nervously participated in. I really wish I had a photo to post of all of us sitting up on the stage answering questions, but sadly neither my bf or Jessa were present to take one :( They were off being popular elsewhere, which in hindsight, is totally fine with me, because I'd probably be too nervous if they were present anyways.
This panel was probably one of my favorite parts of the entire weekend. I've never participated in a panel like this or talked about my brand in such a public setting, so I was filled with a lot of nerves. In addition to myself; Moss Badger, Lily of the Valley, Megan Maude, Alice Doll, & Kinki Kitty (I think that's everyone...) were there. I felt so intimidated by the designers who've been at this for several years, and I'm sure my voice was all shaky as I answered questions about Elegy and how I came up with the name and talking about printing fabric and whatnot. The end was full of feelings & tears, as one sweet girl talked about how much she appreciates what we do as indie designers, and how she sees what we do is truly from the heart and out of love. It really made my weekend, and reinforced why I keep Elegy running, despite the low points, slow sales, and hard times.
After the tears, it was onto the tea! Now this is where things really differed from last year, and not for the better in my opinion. Last year's tea was super precious. We had actual tea sets, and a gorgeous spread of scones and such. This year.. there was neither. I'm not sure if it was because it was put on by the hotel, but the "tea wear" was definitely just generic coffee mugs, and there were no cutey treat set-ups - our food was just brought to us on a boring plate. I don't mean to criticize or bash the tea party, I just think last year felt more authentic and full of love than this year's. We had to leave pretty soon after the tea had started, so I sadly didn't get to stay for the feedback session, so I'm not sure what was brought up at the end or suggestions people made or anything :(
You see, my bf wanted to get a headstart on the road, and not be driving all through the night. So by the time we got the car all packed up and everything, it was about 5pm. It wasn't until a few hours down the road that we stopped for gas & treats, that Jessa noticed.. her debit card/ID was missing! We ripped the car apart searching for it, to no avail. I finally suggested that she call the hotel, and.. of course, they had it. Jessa had changed in the bathroom before we left (I'm totally skanky and changed in the parking lot, heh), and they must've fallen out at some point during that. Of course we had to turn around and get them, putting us behind, which means with all the lost time... we could've stayed for the feedback session after all =__=
Since I didn't get to have input at the actual Frill event, I'll just leave it here:
OVERALL FRILL EXPERIENCE:
Since I attended both last year's and this year's, I feel like I'm in a position to compare things well.
LOCATION: Definitely an improvement. Last year's was in a small banquet hall type thing, with no room for growth. The Marriott Courtyard is really big, so we have plenty of room to grow there. I really like how the hotel is set up as well - the windows overlook the lobby, so you can see what's going on, and it feels more integrated.
BOUTIQUE: As I mentioned above in my post, the shopping experience has drastically improved, and there is so much more. With the addition of artist's alley and the dealer's room, that makes finding specific sellers much easier, whereas last year I really feel like my stuff got lost in the mix with everyone else's in the boutique. I appreciate that I was able to have my own space this time.
ATTENDANCE: With Frill only being in it's second year, and Lolita being such a niche thing, it's expected that there's not thousands in attendance (but could you imagine, one thousand lolitas?! O:). There has been some growth, which is definitely good, and I really hope it continues to do so. It's still pretty small though, as attendance is >200 lolitas.
SELLER EXPERIENCE: ((As a seller, my experience is definitely different than just an attendee, which is why I'm separating the two.)) As far as my table and set-up went, that was a breeze. There was no charts, so we got to choose our own spots - I chose a table right across from the Dealer's room, so I could be close to the other clothing designers. The selling areas were open on Friday pretty much all day until midnight for set up, which was something I was worried about since we were coming into Georgia later in the day.
As I mentioned above with attendance, well that really effects sales. I did way better than last year, and I suspect that's from having my own space, but I still didn't do tremendously well. I did get my work shown and my name out there by having my own table and participating in the fashion show, which is certainly a plus, but making the huge trip that we did is almost a little crazy. I wasn't able to cover our hotel/travel costs, but I know I did better than a few of the other tables I talked to.
Disclaimer: This is only the second "actual table" that I've had at a con (the first being Ohayocon earlier this year, in which I did amazing), so I still don't know what's "normal", or what to expect in terms of sales for cons/events. I'll keep on supporting Frill though, because I do believe in what they're trying to do, and I really want to see it grow and be an amazing con for Lolitas. Once the attendance gets up, it only makes sense the sales will go up as well.
I feel really lucky to have met and made connections with other sellers - I hope to participate in more cons in the near future~
ATTENDEE EXPERIENCE: I had a blast at Frill. I met so many lovely, amazing people, and I really felt like a part of the community. Last year, I didn't know anyone, so it felt like I was walking into a room full of strangers. This year I recognized a lot of people, so it was easier to integrate and feel less like an outsider. The drive is super long and ugh, but super worth it in my opinion if Lolita is something you're really passionate about. Having to leave and go back into the boring, ugly, real world was super sad, as I wish that everyday could be filled with as many lolitas as this weekend was.