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Let the 2024 Season Begin

Well, production has begun for preparations for our massive 2024 season. Its massive for several reasons. First of all, we’re going to be doing some massive shows. If you haven’t read my previous post, we’re returning to Awesome Con in Washington DC in March. We’ve also got the fantastic, Indiana Comic Con also in March, plus the Midwest Gaming Classic and GenCon, to say the least.

Shadow Tray

Another reason this season is going to be massive is because of some of the new products we’re going to be launching. We’ve got a new game or two, plus several new card storage and dice storage options coming your way. I was supposed to be off until February 1st, but my creative assistant couldn’t wait to get started, so we began production early this week. We have well over 100 new items we’re planning on making in the next 4 weeks in preparation for our first couple of shows, Geek Meet Indy and Awesome Con.

Silverwolf Illustrations is also busy putting the finishing touches on several brand new illustrations to adorn your favorite dice tray or deck box. Check out her Instagram channel for sneak peeks in the works.

Speaking of sneak peaks, we had our cell phone caddie on display for the last few shows of last year so we could get feedback from our fans. Geek Meet Indy will have first chance at purchasing the cell phone caddies with or without our Modular Game Master screens.

Deck Vault

Last but not least, we’ll be releasing our newest card storage option called the Deck Vault. This beauty has the storage capacity hard core Magic The Gathering Commander fans have been begging for. This card box will hold not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 double sleeved — yes, you heard me right — 4 double sleeved commander decks. Look for this monster to make its first appearance also at Geek Meet Indy.

Our other new arrival has yet to receive an official product name. We’ve had several people stop by our displays and comment on our dice trays and how they would make nice shadow boxes. So, we have modified our traditional design and added an acrylic slide-out panel and now you have a dice tray that can double as a shadow box to showcase your favorite dice. Optional display stands and wall mounts are being developed.

As you can see, while we’ve been taking some time off, we haven’t been idle. I hope you’ll help us make 2024, the biggest yet for Silverwood Wood Designs. Looking forward to seeing you at one of our many shows this year!

2023 Recap and 2024 Schedule of Events

It occurred to me that I had yet to post anything on social media in a way to wrap up our 2023 event schedule. I have to admit, working full time, trying to launch Silverwood Wood Designs and attending to my other responsibilities gives me little time to compile my thoughts. Honestly, I have the time, its just something I probably don’t prioritize if I were to be truthful.

For 2023, we ended up attending 26 shows over the course of the year.

In those 26 shows we visited 6 different states (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Washington DC — I know, technically not a state) not including our home base of Indiana. We did 2 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Themed based shows, 4 general craft style shows, 6 gaming centric shows, 6 Toy and Collectibles shows and 8 comic conventions. The shows ranged from less than a hundred to more than 70,000 in attendance (actually hit both extremes within 1 week).

We had a lot of fun, met some really nice people, saw a lot of great cosplay, and learned quite a few things about what shows work for us and what shows do not. Sadly, almost without exception, toy and collectible shows were our worst performers. So, as you can imagine, we are not planning on returning to any of them in 2024. Oddly enough, our general craft fairs performed better than the toy and collectible shows, for the most part. That’s not to say we didn’t have dudes in the Comic and even the Gaming Conventions, we sure did, Atlanta Comic Con and Frankfort Comic Con, sorry, not coming back. Con on the Cobb, we couldn’t wait to get out of there.

We did a little over 65% of our total sales in the first 6 months of the year, and we saw steadily declining numbers as the year progressed starting in July. What caused this, we’re not sure, but we felt like the shows themselves (with a few exceptions) struggled to met their attendance goals. All the shows we attended that were repeat shows for us in the second half of 2023 had lower attendance except for MakeVention. I believe that show saw a boost in attendance this year and it showed in our sales numbers. While our hopes for the last few shows of 2023 were not met, our overall sales numbers for the year doubled year over year from 2022.

Our last official show of 2023 was on December 10th. Since then, we’ve been enjoying some time off focusing on new product development, planning for the new season, and trying to figure out new ways to excite our followers. With that we turn our eyes to our 2024 season.

We expanded our reach in 2023. For 2024, we are going to continue that search for new and exciting shows to introduce our products and try to cultivate new followers. As of right now, we are planning on adding two or three new states to our schedule this year, Missouri, Pennsylvania and possibly Illinois. With this expansion, however, we are going to try and stay focused our number one market, gaming. Based upon the results of 2023, we have decided to drop outright 10 of the 26 shows we did last year. Our goal for this year will be to still hit 18-20 shows, but hopefully have them be more successful (quality over quantity).

Yes, you saw that right, we have added GenCon to our list for 2024. I received our acceptance letter for the newly implemented Maker’s Market which takes place in the concourse between the main hall and Lucas Oil Stadium. While we were disappointed that we didn’t make it into the main vendor hall this year, this will still be a fantastic opportunity to get exposure to the largest 4 days in gaming.

Missouri we’re planning on heading out to Oz-Con in West Plains in April, and we’re looking at Geekway to the West out in St. Louis in May. For PA, we’ve been accepted at 3 Rivers Con in Pittsburg in June and I’m hoping to catch up with a buddy of mine while were out there. Illinois has numerous gaming opportunities, including one I recently discovered called Heroicon in Decatur. I’m also trying to get into Adepticon up near Chicago, but they are full already for 2024 — so maybe next year.

Booking shows is not the only thing we’ve been working on. My creative consultant and lead illustrator and I have been busy working on several new products. Right now, we’re hoping to introduce them over the course of the first several shows, with the hope of having most of them available for GenCon including the 10th anniversary edition of the Silverwood Chronicles.

So, thanks for checking us out. We’re looking forward to all of the new and exciting shows lined up for 2024, and we hope to see you at one or more of them!

2023 New, New, New!

2023 is a New Year, and with the New Year comes new shows, new products and new goals for Silverwood Wood Designs and our associated products, Silverwood Chronicle Books and Silverwood Tableworks. We’ve kicked the year off with 3 new shows in Frankfort KY, Atlanta GA, and Butler County OH. Frankfort and Atlanta were both disappointments on many different levels. CincyCon at the Butler County Fairgrounds in Ohio, was moderate success. The show by our normal standards was relatively small, but because of the gaming nature of the show, we managed to do well.

Spring brings more new shows in new locations which we are very excited for and hoping for a positive response to our product offerings. With these new product offerings we have just showcased our newest items at the last two shows a modular game master screen and accessories and new dice sword case. Response has been very positive for the game master screen so much so that we sold out in Atlanta and sold half of our stock at CincyCon. The dice sword case has received much less excitement (certainly gotten some ooohs and aaaaahs), but our first two are still in our inventory.

Silverwolf Illustrations has been busy working on new images to sport on our products which we will be introducing in the shows to come. Let us know what you think and check out our Super Bowl commercial that didn’t quite make it to prime time!

2022 Final Stretch and Looking Toward 2023

So far, 2022 has been a break-out year for me and our ventures, The Silverwood Chronicles and especially Silverwood Wood Designs. At this point last year, I was ready to give up. I had thrown numerous things at the wall hoping something would stick, and all we seemed to get was stained walls. It wasn’t until I started looking at the details, that I saw a glimmer of hope.

Current Inventory ready for the Christmas Fair 2022

I had told my family that unless we could demonstrate that the shows were profitable, or at least breaking even, that I was done. There was no since being upside down on these adventures any longer if they were not going to carry their own weight. Going into Q4 2021, it didn’t look good. We had poured a lot of capital into building out Silverwood Wood Designs and so far the performance had been just okay. Our two final shows, one of which was a startup convention, had to provide some serious lift to meet the predetermined objective of breaking even for the year.

After the dust had settled, we managed to eek out a small profit for the year. The final two shows had done it, and the startup convention really opened our eyes to what potential there was with Silverwood Wood Designs.

Starting in 2022, we decided to pull out all of the stops to see just what we were capable of. This meant more shows, new destinations and bigger risks. Keep in mind, we had been limiting ourselves to a key group of shows and central Indiana to help minimize costs. This we knew had to change and so we started looking for shows in surrounding states. We have so far done shows in Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Florida this year. Next year, we are already looking at shows possibilities in Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Washington DC.

We had some great shows in 2022, and a few that were not so great. One thing I have found out about this business is that you are always learning. You can always see where we are headed next by visiting the Events page. While we continue to grow and expand, I’m doing what I can to maintain the fiscal standing that the business needs to continue to pay for itself and not tap into personal resources. By the end of 2022, we will have participated in 17 events. In 2023, we are hoping to hit 20-24 events.

I would be remise in mentioning that during this year, we have launched several new products in our Silverwood Wood Designs catalog. As such, this has limited my ability to write and design new games. That doesn’t mean there are projects on my mind or in development, it simply means that they currently are not taking precedence due to the fact that SWD’s products is what is creating the draw and paying the bills.

Dice Book
Dice Briefcase
Double Decker
Deck Book

As I mentioned earlier, we are expanding our shows into other states and moving to add some larger shows. A few that are already on the books for next year include the Midwest Gaming Classic up in Milwaukee and Atlanta Comic Con. It has been a wild ride this year, but we are looking forward to what is in store for 2023. Please tell your gaming friends about us and check out our new shop at http://www.silverwoodwooddesigns.com/shop

Indy Comic Con 2022 in the books

What a fantastic time we had at the Indiana Comic Con! My biggest regret was that it was on Easter Weekend and I was unable to spend that time with my family. I hope that Imaginarium will be a little more conscientious of this in the future.

Beyond that, had an awesome time. We met a lot of super people, and made some new friends. One of the funniest moments of the convention was when someone came up to our table and remarked about why there were so many dice towers around the con. We obviously didn’t think there were that many, but our response was that it was the item most requested the previous con.

Speaking of dice towers, we started out the show with 22 unique designs and ended with 7 towers. Dice trays and deck boxes were also a very popular item this show. All in all, I think we brought 104 items and returned with about 30. We were blown away by the response. Kat with Silverwolf Illustrations, is currently working on some new images and I have some new ideas for products that we will be working on for the next time around.

We also ran into some Silverwood Chronicles friends. It was wonderful to talk to many of you that had started the series and wanted to continue it. One of the challenges I have is trying to balance out the focus of our booth. I guess the bottom line is I am a creator and I love creating things. Books, games, accessories and the like. As such, I want to make available all of those things with our friends.

Right now, we have a pretty busy schedule this summer. Currently we have six shows coming up over the next 4 months and we have committed to going to Tampa Bay Comic Con in July. We’re always looking for smaller one day shows that we can squeeze in over a weekend, so if you know of one that is not currently on our events tab, please message or email me and I’ll look into it.

So, big thanks to all of the Imaginarium team, especially Lexie. It was a great show. Everything was very well run and it looked like everyone that was there had a great time! Looking forward to Tampa.

Branching Out

2021 has been an interesting year. We started out with the wonder if there would be many if any conventions to attend, and we finished the year with a total of six events under our belt. Not a record by any stretch, but still a good showing given the circumstances.

2022 looks to be trending more favorable as everyone is growing accustomed to what I guess we are going to call the “new normal”. This means more conventions and more opportunities to get out, see people and share my books and products with you.

Since we began this journey back in 2016, we have confined ourselves to our familiar territory of central Indiana where we are based. This coming year, 2022, we are going to start moving out into strategic areas. We are currently looking into some convention opportunities in the south-central part of Florida including none other than Tampa Bay Comic Con.

This event takes place the last weekend of July, just one week before our big show Gen Con in Indianapolis. We’ve put in an app, so we’ll wait and see.

We are also exploring some events on the East Coast near the Washington DC area. At this point, I have not applied for any events, but if you know of a good event that would fit our books and products, please let me know as I do not know the convention scene in that area like I do Indiana.

2021 also saw the launch our newest endeavor Silverwood Tableworks and Wood Designs. I’ve enjoyed working with wood ever since I was a pre-teen. I credit my grandfather and even my great grandfather, whom I never knew, with getting me into wood working. So this year, we launched a line of custom wooden gaming accessories and tables.

Currently these products can be purchased at shows, online via our own website or through our new Etsy store linked above. Right now, we make dice towers, dice trays, dice chests (coming soon), several styles of deck boxes, game storage cases, and we crown it all off with custom gaming tables/dinning tables.

As someone who spends their most of their professional time on a computer, having an outlet to work with my hands is a great life balancer.

Silverwood Tableworks and Wood Designs

Legacy Table with Spinout Trays
Basic Convertible Table
Card Storage
The Puzzler
dice-tower-zebra-nightfury
Basic Table
carcassone box interior
Box_dice-tray-speedsting-in-Padauk
Speedsting
Talisman
Legacy Table with Spinout Trays Basic Convertible Table Card Storage The Puzzler dice-tower-zebra-nightfury Basic Table carcassone box interior Box_dice-tray-speedsting-in-Padauk Speedsting Talisman

The gaming tables have started to take off since Indy Comic Con. If you’re interested in checking one out in person, you can stop by our friends at the Spartan Gaming Lounge on the southside of Indianapolis.

I still have plans for books. I’ve got several that are in different stages of development right now including a science fiction novel, a mystery, a college anthology of works, and a non-fiction book about board game design. I am having a lot of fun with developing the wood working side of things right now, so the books are taking a lot longer to get done.

ItsNotACon Preview

Hi everybody. Our busy schedule continues as we make our way to a brand new gaming convention, ItsNotACon, hosted in Indianapolis. See our event section for details and locations.

For this show, we’re adding some much requested dice towers to our accessories line up. Below are some pre-finished shots of three of the towers. The tower’s stand 8 inches tall and can attach to any of our solid wood dice trays. We’ve also introduced a new exotic wood, Zebra wood. You can see the Nightfury dice tray and tower set pictured below. The wood’s natural striping is beautiful. I was originally worried that our etching would not show, but the presentation at this stage is really surprising me.

We are also experimenting with adding a small clear epoxy base to some of the dice trays. A couple of Kat’s designs, the Wolf head and the Phoenix Dragon, can create a measurable level difference in the wood that it could impact dice rolls. The epoxy layer would go on top of the finish to provide not only a harder surface for rolling (good for metal dice users), it should also level everything out.

Come see us this weekend. Its our next to last show of the year, and the last one in the Indianapolis metropolitan area, so I hope to see you there.

Up Next, Indy Comic Con

2021 Indy Comic Con Exhibitors Map — I’m in Booth 1036

Well, its barely been two weeks since GenCon 2021, and we’re gearing up for the next big show, Indy Comic Con. It will be held likewise at the Indianapolis Convention Center. I believe there are still tickets available at https://indianacomicconvention.com/. This year’s guests include the legendary William (Capt. Kirk) Shatner.

As you can see, I’m busy getting new product ready for the show. I’ve added some exotic woods to the dice trays and deck boxes including, Bloodwood, Purple Heart, Padauk and Hard Maple in addition to the Poplar, Oak and Aspen offerings I already have.

We’ll also be demoing games along side our friend Scott from SnyderGaming.com, as well as a few surprises.

Come find us at Booth 1036, smack in the middle of the exhibit hall.

GenCon 2021 / The Game Collector Launch

It’s been two years and change since the last GenCon hit Indianapolis’ Convention Center. This week, it returns with tempered celebration. By tempered, I mean that there will be fewer attendees, fewer vendors, and fewer hours to spend during the Four Greatest Days in Gaming.

Still, I’m excited to be there in Author’s Avenue again. Come see me and Kat at booth J. In 2019, we ran out of Book 1 by early Sunday Morning. We’ve stocked up, but it would be really exciting to see it happen again this year. So, tell all of your fantasy reading friends, to stop by and get an autographed copy of Guardians of the Silverwood.

For all of you gaming aficionados, today I launched The Game Collector app for Android devices on Google Play Store and soon Amazon Market Place. This app allows you to store you personal board game/card game (any game really) collection, and keep track of players and games played.

If you can’t make it to GenCon, we are currently planning on attending Indy Comic Con in October along with Snyder Gaming. Looking forward to seeing old and new friends alike.