GeekCraft Expo Midwest is coming to Madison's Masonic Center March 25 and 26! This free, family-friendly event will be full of amazing handmade geeky goodies—including those by returning exhibitor Camp Coaster.
We interviewed Camp Coaster's Pam Koukas about how they got started, their inspirations, and what items they'll be bringing to GeekCraft Expo Midwest!
GeekCraft Expo: How did you get started making coasters?
Camp Coaster: We started making coasters because we really wanted some Doctor Who-themed coasters but no one really had any. So, we did some research and found out how we could make our own. Eventually, friends started asking us to make ones for them. That led us to opening an Etsy store and selling on there and doing craft fairs, to opening a physical store called Wayward Apple Gifts. Our niche tends to lean heavily toward the geeky and sassy. We like making fun things that make people smile.
GCE: Although your store name is “Camp Coaster,” you create all kinds of things—can you give us the rundown?
CC: We started with coasters, and then moved into doing buttons and magnets as well. Over the years, we have added mugs, light switch plates, T-shirts and onesies, soaps, bath bombs, and so much more. Usually when we start making something new it’s because someone suggested it.
GCE: What are your favorite nerdy and sci-fi shows and movies?
CC: Oh man, such a hard question. Mystery Science Theater 3000, The
Thing, Doctor Who, Supernatural, Flash, Serenity, Arrow, Psych, Game of Thrones, the Evil Dead series, Deadpool. There are another 30 shows and movies we could list, but maybe we should just stop here.
GCE: How do you decide which characters, movies, and shows to showcase?
CC: A lot of time we just do shows or sayings that we like, but then of course, we have built up a lot of inventory based strictly on people’s requests. People will ask us to make something and then we will be like, "That's a great idea.”
GCE: What’s your most popular item?
CC: We have a few things that sell equally. One is our piece-together stone coaster sets. The idea is you put four coasters together and they form the TARDIS, or Death Star, or a map of Middle Earth. Our funny coffee/tea mugs sell really well, as does our baby onesie Snuggle This Muggle. People also really love our Sorting Hat and Patronus Bath Bombs. When you drop the Sorting Hat into the bath water it will release this amazing scent and color of what house you belong to. The Patronus also has a great scent and after it dissolves, it leaves behind a little charm that you can put on a necklace or bracelet.
GCE: What was your favorite part of GeekCraft Expo Midwest 2016?
CC: Our favorite part of the GeekCraft Expo was meeting so many fellow crafters who have also created things that are geeky or pop culture. It’s nice to have formed a little circle to share info on upcoming conventions and fairs, and who you look forward to seeing.
GCE: What types of items are you bringing to GeekCraft Expo Midwest this year?
CC: So much stuff. Two different styles of coasters, pins and magnets, mugs, travel mugs and water bottles, bath bombs and soap (regular and geeky), onesies for babies, socks, and of course a surprise or two.
We want to thank James for taking a break from expo prep to answer our questions! Be sure to RSVP for GeekCraft Expo Midwest, as well as our GCE Kick-off Party March 24 at The Bodgery, where attendees can win prizes by Geeks Mania Arcade, The Game Crafter, Artist & Craftsman Supply, and our exhibitors!