We've been in business for the past 10 years. We started out making garb and leather goods in our basement for the local cast of the Ohio Renaissance Festival. It was strictly a hobby business and let us help out some poor Rennies who otherwise would have been naked. That might be period, but it's not decent! Especially in Ohio!!
Oh, I didn't say who "We" are. We are Liam Helmes and myself, Devlyn MacKinnon.
In 2002, we discovered eBay and a serious lack of fundage. So, we started selling our used garb, and then new garb.
By July, we were seriously cramped in our workspace, so we moved into a very tiny workshop of about 300 square feet. Once again, we outgrew that, and moved into our current location in June of 2003.
The new place had some retail frontage, so we decided to just toss some stuff in the window and see if it would sell. And it did.
Then came the fire. On Febuary 4, 2004, an historic retail shop two doors down exploded into flame and required 8 fire departments to put it out. We watched in horror, thinking we were a goner for sure. But all was well, well, not well, but ok.
We had no actual "fire" damage, but, in the process of keeping the building from bursting into flame as well, the water cannon shot a rock through our roof. This allowed gallons and gallons of water into the ceiling, where it froze.
The next day, we had to evacuate the premises for 6 weeks, we were told. Alas, the contractor apparently meant 6 months, because that's how long it took before we got to move back in.
To put it mildly, it was a flippin' nightmare. The insurance company was mean, the replacement building was gross, and hot, and stinky, it was teh suck. But we survived and moved back in to a relatively restored building. Yay!
We had another major expansion when we took over the final 1/3 of the building in April 2006.
Wow! I've really been remiss. I haven't updated this page in over two years! We've been busy!!
We just love moving, apparently, so we did it again in July/August 2007 but just across the street to a much larger and more fabulous building. It was currently occupied by our good friend Ayman Elsebaei of "Art Of History" (see his stuff at http://www.theartofhistory.com). We negotiated for a short time and then agreed to be partners and share his building and retail space and work together to make both of our businesses bigger and better. We now share a 16,000 square foot building. Quite a step up from our beginnings in about 300 square feet!
This partnership has been very good for us. We have lots of space to grow and by sharing a building we also reduce our overhead which is a must in the present economy. A win/win situation for everyone!
In January 2005, Devlyn got tired of the ugly, lame website we had up for years and built a new one. It got another major overhaul in January of 2006 and now again, in January of 2007. I'm seeing a trend here!
We really wanted this to be a very interactive, customizable experience for the customer. Kind of like coming into our shop. We are still far from our goal, but we've come a long way, baby!
We continue to sell on eBay. You can't beat the amount of exposure that you get on eBay. We currently have an eBay Store and also list items on Auction. We like folks to be able to get a bargain.
In 2000, we were invited to a sweet little faire in Kalamazoo, Michigan to sell ... Ice Cream for a friend of ours. We took over Queen's Ice Cream in 2001 and vended there until July of 2005. We brought Odd Bodkin up for the 2004 and 2005 season and made many good friends.
Also in 2004, we vended at the OSU Renaissance Festival, where we didn't make a lot of money, but did have a good time. Another road trip was made to River Raid, in Northern Kentucky. We didn't have much luck there either. But, it did get us out of the aforementioned gross replacement shop we were in at the time.
Due to some family fun, we missed out on the 2006 faire season. Darn it! Hopefully, this year we'll have better luck with that.