Meet the Mao
Hello, I'm Mao, the owner and operator of the Menagerie.
I got interested in vending because I love attending conventions, and I wanted a way to get more involved in the community. I also have fibromyalgia, so can only work a set amount of days at my day job (a dog bather) and I loved the idea of something I could work on at home to cheer me up when I wasn't feeling as good. I got interested in crafting yarn tails because I thought they were beautiful and a great alternative to real fur! I also had some ideas for how to improve their basic design - and it's worked out!!
When I first got started, I received a lot of encouragement and assistance from others already in the vendor community. This is one reason I love meeting and networking with my fellow vendors, and I'm always willing to try and answer questions for anyone getting started!
I've been slowly working on expanding my product lines, but my favorite thing to work on will always be the yarn tails. It's such a satisfying feeling every time I finish one up!
I think the best part about running my business is working my stand at conventions! I have a blast every time! You get to meet so many unique people, and see some really fantastic costumes and fursuits! Even by the end of the weekend, when my energy reserves are getting low, it's still always a great experience. I also get to travel to a lot of conventions and see places I might not have gotten to otherwise!
Probably the best moment of being a vendor is when someone sees that special product. You know the one - the product you can't live without and that you know was meant just for you. The way their face lights up and they get all excited - and it's your product that made them feel that way. There's nothing better then that feeling.
There's a lot of work, research, and testing that goes into being a vendor. Sometimes it can be stressful, and sometimes you have products that fail. But the products that work, and the community that supports you, make it all worth it. It's an experience like no other, and I'm glad it's an experience I get to have. I can't wait to continue to grow and improve even more as the years go on!
Husband & Artist: LessThan3
Hello, I'm LessThan3, also known as <3
When Mao first started the Menagerie, I was only supporting as a table minion and loving partner. I studied art in college, but due to a lot of circumstances I had not put pen to paper in many years. For Christmas one year tho, Mao surprised me with probably one of the best gifts I have ever received: a digital screen in tablet. Ever since I have been working hard at translating my traditional art skills into the digital art world!
You can find me quite often at the stand, either helping Mao out or giving her a break for a stretch. You can also check on my open commission slots at the stand at any convention. I will sometimes offer limited at-con traditional sketches - this is the only way you can get traditional art from me! Be sure to check in early if that's something you're interested in. More often then not, I will be offering an at-con discount on take-home commissions too.
I enjoy traveling - it's one of my favorite things to do. It's one reason I love working with Mao on the convention circuit. We get to go to many more conventions because of the business then we could without it! I also enjoy getting to meet and know people of the fandom through those that visit our stand. It's really a good feeling when someone either comes to look specifically for you, or stops by and exclaims that they remember you and it's good to see you again. It's definitely an experience I will continue to enjoy for many years to come.