One Student’s Perspective of Maker Faire Kansas City

EurekaMakerFaireKCAuthor’s Note: That’s me wearing Eureka (more about that later). As I mentioned in a previous post, I got to help out at Maker Faire Kansas City. Rather than telling you about my experience as a maker, I’ll leave it to Chad, a business student who attended the faire and calls it a cross between a Renaissance Festival and Comic Con. If you’ve never been to a maker faire, this first-hand account will tell you exactly what to expect.

I attended Maker Faire Kansas City (MFKC) at Union Station on Sunday, June 26, 2016.  This report is in response to the assignment to attend Maker Faire and write about the experience.  I enjoyed MFKC and plan to go again next year.  There were many exhibits that appealed to children, science/engineering “nerds,” and art/craft aficionados.  (I would consider myself a member of the latter two groups.)  In many ways, the event felt like a cross between a Renaissance Festival and Comic Con.  There were contests, such as First Robotics and the Egg Drop – where kids used plastic materials to design contraptions to save an egg from a 3-4 story fall.  There were costumes with various themes, including Captain America, a pirate and several medieval-looking outfits.

One costume in particular caught my attention.  The costume, called “Eureka” (see photo), was being worn by Ms. Tamara Clammer, a doer with Brown Paper Tickets.  Eureka features a GE Mazda hand-made lightbulb and was entered into the Second Use Art & Design Challenge in Seattle.

MFKC was a showcase of entrepreneurship in Kansas City.  The vast majority of booths at MFKC were local small businesses.  A few examples that I perused or purchased from included Built KC, a custom woodworking and design firm owned by two brothers and located in Shawnee, Kansas;  Reinke Arts, owned by twin brothers that create photo-real artwork based on movies, TV and comics; and Nether Fable Designs, a 3D-printing service company based in Kansas City, Missouri that offers pre-printed items as well as custom printing and designing.

Additionally, there were booths sponsored by larger entities, such as Radio Shack and UMKC, and one small business that I saw, Poly’s Pleasures custom chainmail jewelry, hailed from Brighton, Colorado.  Many of the products were interactive, and the show gives entrepreneurs a chance to interact closely with many potential customers in an entertaining atmosphere.  Kids and adults alike were captivated by 3D printing and robotics, artwork, hands-on creative activities, virtual reality and science demos, such as a man-sized Faraday cage beside an actual operating Tesla coil that generated streaks of lightning that would arc to the cage or to the beam above.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Faire, both from consumer and entrepreneur student perspectives.  I have already shared the experience with some of my friends I think would enjoy this show, and I plan to get them to go with me next year.  And I purchased a couple of art pieces at MFKC and may have a custom board-game table designed, so friends may need to be forewarned that the Faire can be a bit dangerous for impulsive shoppers.

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Burlesque Ticketing 101

BPT_Burly_Ticketing_Front-01Brown Paper Tickets supports event organizers, producers and performers with free advice, services and ticketing tools. We ticket thousands of burlesque events every year. In fact, more burlesque events than any other ticketing platform. We’re crazy about burlesque.

As Burlesque Representative, I assist performers and producers in setting up and promoting their shows. Here are seven pieces of advice I commonly give when I talk about burlesque ticketing:

1. Use Your Own Credit Card Processor

Budgeting for your show can be a challenge. Often, burlesque producers operate on a shoestring budget and desperately need the money from ticket sales to pay out-of-town performers, venue fees, promotional costs, etc. If having cash in hand the night of your show is an issue, I stress that with Brown Paper Tickets, you can use a third-party processor, like PayPal (probably the most popular) and we’ll give you 2.5% of our 3.5% processing fee paid by the ticket buyer back to you, the producer. This means you get the full face value of your tickets as they’re sold. Plus, you get a little bit extra to help offset the fees your third-party processor charges.

2. Use Brown Paper Tickets’ Promotion Help

With all you’ve got going on around show time, promotions is one of those things that might slip. Don’t let it. We take a close look at your promotional plan and suggest ways you can improve it. We’ll help you build curated media lists for your area. We’ll send out tweets for you. We’ll edit and refine your press releases so that they are more effective in getting media placements, even coach you on TV or radio appearances. It all depends on your needs. And we won’t insult you by offering placement in mass e-mails, which most people delete immediately. With us, you’ll have a dedicated team of event specialists to get the most out of your promotional campaign. I suggest that you contact us at least six to eight weeks prior to your event to get the best results from your campaign.

3.  Offer Limited-Time Price Reductions

Many producers don’t like offering discounted tickets as they feel it will cut into their total take. But I’ve found that limited-time price reductions create a sense of urgency and you’ll pull in folks who may not have considered attending otherwise. It’s the whole “It’s on sale! I HAVE to buy it.” philosophy. The best times to offer discounts are either right when you announce ticket sales (early bird discounts) or on a significant day. For example: “It’s Gypsy Rose Lee’s birthday and we’re offering a special discount to all burlesque fans in honor of her memory.” Something along those lines. Trust me, you’ll see a spike in sales.

4. Offer Special Discounts to Your Mailing List

Show your devotees a little extra love by offering the first opportunity to purchase tickets to your shows. While you’re at it, give them a special perk like a glass of champagne, discounted VIP seating, maybe some merch. Whatever you can do to show your fans how much you appreciate their support will only endear you to them more and ensure their loyalty over time. Loyal fans are the best advertisement a burlesque performer could have, so throw a little money their way. Trust me, next time they’ll bring their friends.

5. Bundle Tickets with Merchandise

Speaking of bundling merchandise, it’s easy to offer a special price that includes some form of merchandise with their tickets. This will help you move merch and expand exposure to your brand while also saving you from having to sling merch after the show. Some merch ideas: branded drink tokens, signed posters, branded panties, t-shirts or even flasks. Merch is a great way to get your brand out in the world and if done well, can become an extra revenue stream. Just inform your door person that ticket buyers will receive something extra at the door, based on price points.

6. Offer Group Packages

Over the years, burlesque events have become increasingly popular with bachelorette parties. Consider the bachelorette angle when marketing your event. One way to encourage bachelorettes or other groups to come to your shows is to offer a group package. Think birthdays, tourist groups or bachelorette parties. Even better, develop a relationship with local wedding planners or concierges. Consider offering a percentage of the packages they sell so that they have incentive to encourage their clients to attend your events. These relationships can become super valuable and get you high-paying gigs outside the burlesque circuit, like corporate events or private parties.

7. Customize Your Producer Profiles

If you organize multiple events, let your fans see all your shows on your producer profile. Customize the page to match your branding or even better, have our tech team create a skin for your profile page that matches the look and feel of your website. Then your producer page can basically replace the calendar on your website and folks never have to leave your site to see all your shows and get tickets. If you want more information on how to create a customized producer profile, contact our Client Services department and they can get that started for you.

Any burlesque questions or need help? Please contact me directly at jimmy[at]brownpapertickets.com.

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