Photography by Stephen Klise
Spot yourself in the crowd? Post it on social media and tag us! #Bombsheller
If you’ve been following us for a while, you might remember that we celebrated a milestone back in March – our very first booth at ECCC! We’re no strangers to conventions, but ECCC lit a fire in us. We had such an amazing time and met so many incredible artists and fans that before we even had the chance to cool down, we were thinking about which cons we wanted to conquer next.
By the time San Diego Comic Con rolled around in July, our COO, Jazzlyn, joined the lineups for three amazing panels, which you can read about here. In September, we drove to Portland for Rose City Comic Con just to talk to artists, hopefully meet a few members of the Bomb Squad, and see if we could manage a super-impromptu pop-up. We didn’t make pull one off at RCCC, but Jazzlyn built a pretty impressive trunk shop out of our company van and parts of our customizable racks that you know we’ll be deploying in the future. At the beginning of October, we got the chance to scope out New York Comic Con; it was an amazing whirlwind of a weekend and there’s no question that we’ll be trying to get a booth there in the future. Then, Halloween weekend, we got to experience our second “first booth” of the year at Seattle’s own GeekGirlCon!
Considering our booth includes two fitting rooms and a “back room,” Stephen, Jazzlyn, and I got it set up pretty damn fast! We’ve already got this whole convention booth thing down to a T. When you get a chance, you should go check out the time-lapse video on our Instagram of Jazzlyn and Lee (one of our talented sewists!) getting the booth set back up after putting all our Shells to bed on Saturday night.
On the other end of the show floor, our web queen, Tati, was setting up a table of her own! Her booth was absolutely adorable – if you didn’t get a chance to see her on the show floor, you should go check her out on instagram as @birdstareart. It’s always exciting when we get to see one of our own do cool shit. We have some seriously talented people on our team!
When I walked into GGC for my first shift in the booth, the convention center was bustling and alive with eager attendees and artists. As I moved through the con, amidst incredible cosplays and fandom-inspired outfits, I was seeing… Shells! We were spotting them out in the wild the entire weekend – such an incredible and affirming feeling. It took a lot to not stop every person I passed on the street and on the show floor to talk about them.
Booth life was a blast – I love getting to work with a crew of amazing teammates who manage to stay bright and cheery the entire weekend. While we didn’t have quite as much open space for dancing and impromptu check-out-this-four-way-stretch squats as we did at ECCC, we had all the space we needed to have a good time and an excellent selection of Shells.
Our booth neighbors were all a delight to meet, we got to see some amazing cosplays, handed out Dum-Dums to trick-or-treaters, and one very sweet con attendee and new member of the Bomb Squad let us borrow their sword while they shopped. A few of you Bomb Squad babes came by our booth in Shells, some of whom didn’t even realize we were there that weekend and were just excited to show them off to us. We had a few people ask for pictures with us, which is just so wonderful. You all seriously have no idea how much that means to us!
Jazzlyn returned to the stage to speak on a panel – “Women in Leadership: How to Turn Passion and Ambition into a Dream Job.” She spoke alongside other women in leadership roles to talk about their varying fields and how they’ve come to thrive in their careers.
A sure sign of a successful panel is the conversation it generates afterward. Multiple people came by the booth just to talk to her about the panel, and I inadvertently caught bits of conversation from people who really seemed to enjoy it – as well a LOT of candid excitement over her sparkly pink blazer. During the fashion show, when she went onstage to introduce our models, an audible “Oh I LOVE her!” came from a stranger to my right, and I caught at least one “I NEED that jacket.”
Did I forget to mention…?
WE OPENED THE FASHION SHOW AND TOTALLY KILLED IT
Let me say, first, that everybody in this show was incredible; every model, every runway song choice, every oufit – they all had the crowd gasping and cheering, ourselves included. I could sing the praises of it all day because every brand onstage made a fan out of me that day – but nothing compares to the feeling of seeing our models come down the runway. This show was a special one; the weekend before Halloween meant an especially spooky show, and we had just come out with one of my personal favorite collections to date – a line inspired by our favorite classic horror movies.
While the audience waited for the show to start, our models were finishing getting ready backstage. Costumes on, makeup done, and hair in place, the only thing left to do was to ease nerves and channel their characters. They practiced their walks and poses, and did their own impromptu photo shoots – because alive or dead, when you look this good, you don’t pass up a great photo op.
Jazzlyn took the stage to introduce us and talk about who we are, and why we do what we do. People gasped when we talked about our sizing and I caught the fringes of a conversation that sounded like two people already pulling up our website on their phone. Jazzlyn left the stage, and Rhianna’s “Disturbia” started pumping over the speakers. An excited tension rippled through the audience as our first model, Marlow, moved across the stage with a captivating intensity. By the time they reached the end of the catwalk in their #Freddy Shells, their claws beckoning and curling menacingly, the audience was entranced.
One by one the models made the catwalk theirs.
Jennifer sauntered up next, oozing charm befitting a swamp witch in #Lagoon. Shubzilla had a strut to die for in #Suspiria. Merri shuffled towards the crowd with childlike, murderous glee in #PlayWithMe. Christal’s blood-red boa sliced the air as she showcased two designs; #ShiningJohnny Shells and a top made from #TheMaze. Finally, because we’re far from traditional, our dark bride Fox closed the procession in #ShesAlive, tossing her bouquet to the crowd – tied delicately with a ribbon holding a token for a free pair of Shells.
As the rest of the fashion show continued, the energy from the catwalk continued backstage. The models poured over tagged photos and videos on Instagram, and by the time I met up with everyone afterward, everyone had an undeniable glow. Jazzlyn would later tell me that seeing everyone’s hard work come together so wonderfully made her tear up like a “proud mom on her kid’s fucking wedding day or something” – especially fitting since one of those moments came when affixing Fox’s veil before the show. “She was just so beautiful!” she gushed, “I couldn’t help it!”
Before we wrap this up, I want to give a special shoutout to our swamp witch, Jennifer. Not only did she step into the role when one of our models couldn’t make it to the show, but she’s one of our sewists, and she worked the booth the next day, AND she styled the models. Talk about being a total powerhouse! Thank you, Jennifer, for being such a damn badass. We’re honored to have you on our team.
Thank you again to our models; Marlow, Shubzilla, Merri, Christal, and Fox. You’re all so amazing. Shoutout to our photographer, Stephen Klise, for not only taking some bangin’ boomerangs at the fashion show but also for being an expert booth builder!
A booth, a panel, and a killer fashion show all in one weekend – that’s a hell of a way to kick off our first year at any convention. Thank you so much to GeekGirlCon for not only having us, but for putting on such an amazing and inclusive convention. We’ll definitely be back!
Think we can top it next year?
Check out this behind-the-scenes gallery of creepy cuties and spooky shenanigans.
Photographer: Stylist: Event Coordinator:
If you’ve been following us on social media, you know that for the last few weeks, we haven’t been able to stop talking about San Diego Comic Con. While we didn’t have a booth at the convention this year, our COO, Jazzlyn Stone, spent the weekend talking on panels, getting to attend a seriously amazing geeky fashion show, handing out prizes, and getting to meet you – the members of our ever-faithful Bomb Squad!
After giving Jazzlyn some time to recoup after her busy and exciting weekend in San Diego, we just had to sit down and pick her brain a bit about the experience. She spoke on three different panels alongside our friends from Espionage Cosmetics, with a rotation of other awesome professional geeks to talk about their experiences and to share their wisdom about building their careers.
Each panel focused on taking your passion for the nerdier things in life and establishing a career around them, with focuses on slightly different areas of the process. “Building your own Themyscira” talked finding your niche and building the professional relationships needed to turn it into your life’s work. “Level Up: Be a Nerd Boss” tackled the technical side of getting your brand off the ground, like marketing, licensing, sales. Last but certainly not least, the “How to be a Nerd for a Living panel shared how they got their start and tackled questions about what it took to carve their paths in the industry.
No; I did a panel with Nerd For a Living previously at C2E2! That’s how I met their producer, Wendy Buske. She’s amazing, so I was really excited to work with her again. When she was like, “Hey, do you want to come to San Diego to be on this panel?” I was like, “Forever YES. Just – blanket yes.”
Chug water in the hour beforehand so your mouth doesn’t get too sticky while trying to talk. Eat food – like real food. Don’t over-practice; you’ll likely have an outline beforehand and it’s good to read that a couple times, but don’t practice your answers because you’ll sound too forced. Be authentic, but read the room. If people obviously want to hear more about a story you’re telling, you can divulge a little bit more. I was on three panels that were similar, and different parts of a story I told at all of them got more exciting at different parts depending on the crowd.
When Susan Eisenberg leaned back in her chair and winked at me, very secretly and quietly. It was amazing and I almost screamed into the mic. But I didn’t, and that’s probably one of the chillest moments I’ll ever have.
So much! I was taking a lot of notes during each panel because so much wisdom was being dropped. A few favorites:
“Think about it like a stovetop, you can’t burn all four burners at the same time or you’ll burn too much gas. Switch your energy between the four to stay focused and move forward.” – Robyn Warren of GeekGirlStrong, on sticking to four points of focus to avoid burnout.
“Stand out by finishing something. Create something, make something, and just ‘do’. Don’t be a afraid if the first round is bad.” – writer Sam Maggs, on how the biggest hurdle in starting something new is actually starting!
“I could have saved a lot of time by asking the customers wanted they wanted first, and not just assuming.” – Jaimie Cordero, CEO of Espionage Cosmetics, on listening to your customers and fans!
We also talked about our “bugs” and seeing them not as flaws but as features instead. My OCD and ADHD were hell when undiagnosed, but now that I’ve gotten ahold of them I’ve learned to redirect that energy and use them as tools instead of letting them hinder my lifestyle. I’m learning to rethink what I originally saw as flaws in my design.
The fashion show was fucking amazing. It was like a Beyonce concert – everyone dressed to the nines to be there. Also, some of the designers were their own models and I was in the front row (very luckily – thank you, Espionage Cosmetics!) and so I got to see them before they walked out on stage.
I would see them right before going out on the catwalk and they’d be backstage pumping themselves up and then they’d step out like “HELL YEAH!” and it was really sweet and also really inspiring to see what these people were doing. The one I voted for (and won!) was inspired by Ripley from Alien[s] and she didn’t even have to pump herself up on stage, she just got onstage and her music came on and she just did it. It was so good, I was losing my mind – we were all losing our shit. It was a really, really good show.
People were really excited about it and asked me where I got it! I think they were really excited that I was actively trying out a prototype at a convention and that they had the chance to see something that no one else has yet. I got the most compliments on that outfit. I, personally, am even more excited than I already was about this skirt because of how much shit I shoved into those pockets and it stayed up!
An amazing Shade the Changing Girl, and an incredible Jon Snow:
Exactly one week ago, we returned to the real world after an incredible weekend at Emerald City Comic Con. Our first year of having our own booth on the show floor went far better than we could have imagined; even though we’re back on our daily grind, we’re still glowing from the experience! After some time to reflect, we thought we’d share some of our favorite things from the convention.
We’re so proud of how our booth came together. It seemed right at home in its corner of the show floor, and it was exactly how we’d envisioned; bright, bold, exciting, and sleek. Our signage, all made in-house (yes – even the plastic tags!) let everyone know exactly what we’re about. Our new mirrors were adorned with bold words meant to embolden everyone that stepped into our fitting rooms. The entire weekend, people were excited to try out superhero level spandex, were intrigued by our ability to print on demand, and asked if they could buy our pink and holo bags, because they’re just that damn pretty.
We wanted to start our first year on the show floor at ECCC with a bang, so we started a scavenger hunt, of sorts. We came armed with a bag full of tokens, each good for one free pair of shells. We gave tokens each day to artists and bloggers at the convention, then they Instagrammed and Tweeted where to find them until a lucky winner showed up to claim their token. Throughout the weekend, we gave away 10 free pairs of shells! If you needed any evidence that it pays to follow us on social media, there it is.
Our booth debut also included two live signing events! On Saturday, we had a live signing event with artist Jen Bartel – the talent behind #GalacticCats, #StellarDinos, and #CelestialCetaceans. If you’re not familiar with how a live signing works, it went like this:
The ECCC-exclusive variant of Jen’s #StellarDinos featured appropriately green dinosaurs, to keep with the Emerald City theme. Each fan went home the very next day with a memory that is actually not only unique but also wearable, with signatures that will never wash off or fade. Suck it, “permanent” markers!
On Sunday, we hosted another live signing for Kelly Sue DeConnick, the writer for Bitch Planet and Pretty Deadly. This live signing was scheduled just days before the convention, though you might not have realized it if you came to the signing. When we learned that Kelly would be joining us at the table, our production team was able to print a backdrop just for her – that’s right, that badass Bitch Planet background was made by our team the same weekend as the signing! That’s the beauty of on-demand printing (and having an amazing production crew to do it).
Over the course of the weekend, we met so many of you. We had a blast talking to you, laughing with you, shopping with you, and talking spandex with you. So many of you went out of your way to find us, and some of you made a point to introduce your friends to us. A few of you came by just because you wanted to us see that you were proudly sporting shells, which is just so amazing to us. Our hearts couldn’t be any more full, and we couldn’t have gotten to this point without your love and support.
Thank you for getting us to Emerald Comic Con.
Thank you for making it amazing.
Thank you for supporting us.