We have so much talent in the Supernatural fandom! Fans draw, edit photos and videos, write fan fics, create costumes or props, make jewelry and much more. It’s time to showcase the #SPNFamily’s talent and ask the people behind the creations some questions!
Let me introduce Shelley, the co-founder of Con*Quest Journals™.
We talked about the Supernatural fandom, custom journals and other fandom goodies!
Let´s start with the interview!
How and when did you got trapped in the Supernatural fandom?
I would never say “trapped” – I would say when did I come in to the family. Before we had a journal business, we had a pop culture T-shirt brand. I had several friends who watched Supernatural and they kept telling me to watch it, but one friend in particular who works for Creation Entertainment told me how amazing the Supernatural conventions are. That prompted me to binge the first 8 seasons and vend at our first Supernatural convention in 2013!
What does the Supernatural fandom mean to you?
The Supernatural fandom is the reason we are in business today. We were about to give up on the journal business when I just had this feeling that we needed to try and make a journal for Supernatural fans. We made a limited quantity of a brown cardboard and canvas binder with a small craft company for the 2015 Supernatural Las Vegas convention and sold more there than any other event. We had found our people. We knew from the t-shirt business that fandom sells, but we had not applied that to the journal business before then!
When did the idea of making the journals start to grow? Was there an initial thought or moment?
Yes! We were vending with our t-shirt brand at a regional comic con in Portland, Oregon. I walked past a journal booth and a separate protective sleeves vendor (the sleeves were for photo ops and artwork). These were the two busiest booths at the convention! I went back to our booth and told Ted, my business partner, what I had observed. We both said “Wait, has anyone ever made a journal for the ops and stuff you get at cons?” No one had. It was that same day we decided on the name [of our company] because our journals were originally for everything you do at a con – thus Con*Quest.
What was your very first item for Con*Quest Journals?
Our very first item for sale was a Con*Quest Adventure Journal. The small craft company we worked with had a few home improvement canvas binders left from a previous project. We converted them into convention journals by silk screening our name on the cover, printing unique pages for the inside, and including sleeves for the 8 x 10 photo ops. Our concept was a journal that would celebrate each convention by highlighting the location.
Your products are all officially licensed. How did you achieve this? Can you tell us more about the procedure?
We were vending at a Supernatural convention in Pasadena, California when someone approached us and asked if we ever sell wholesale or sell to retailers. I told her that we had not yet but we would love to! She gave me her card. She was a buyer from Hot Topic. When we connected again after the convention, we found out we needed to be licensed to be sold there. That’s how we connected with Warner Bros. to apply for the Supernatural license.
What is the process when you have an idea for a new item like a Journal/Planner/Binder?
Our ideas for products are constantly changing and evolving. Many of our ideas come from things we want to see or use [ourselves]. For example, I was using random notepads around the house for grocery lists, quick to-do lists and notes to leave for my family. We did not produce notepads and there are not a ton of super useful fandom notepads on the market. We also have seen a big notepad trend in the stationery industry among other brands. So we decided to do a test run of Harry Potter notepads and they were a success! We also look at gaps in general in each fandom – for example, when we secured the Supernatural license, we knew no one had made an official John Winchester Journal that was actually a replica. That and the road map were the top priorities for Supernatural after we did the first licensed Supernatural convention journal.
Our goal is to make stationery products as unique as the fans for each property – we are not a one-size-fits-all brand.
As a team, we get on the phone to talk about concepts and creative direction. Sometimes I have a very clear idea of the product and design in mind and sometimes more of just a general idea. Our creative director runs with our ideas and creates the artwork.
Once we design a product, it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months to get through the approval process with Warner Bros. From there, we have samples made and then finally go to production. The entire process can take from a minimum of 3 months to a maximum of over a year for one product.
We try to do smaller runs the first time to test the market. If the product is successful, we will re-order at larger quantities. Many times we have to order a certain amount because it’s the minimum that can be produced.
I own the Winchester Journal from you. I love it. I know you created more Lore pages from Sam & Dean. Does the “Lore Pages No. 1” on them mean that we get more?
We had originally planned to do more but when we also won the Harry Potter license, we had to use our resources to also support that new license. We plan to do another set, but with the pandemic, it’s difficult to say when.
Did you create the pages? What was your inspiration for all the pages?
If you’re referring to the pages of the John Winchester Journal, it was stills from the show and also from the original, official WB Supernatural website.
Do you still have the very first journal/item that you created for Con*QuestJournals, like a reminder of how it all started.
Absolutely. I have every journal we have ever made.
Have any of the stars seen the journals? What was their reaction? Was there a favorite reaction from someone?
Briana Buckmaster and Kim Rhodes both loved the Supernatural convention journals! I think Kim said “this kicks ass!” which I loved and Briana said “you’re killing it.” They are both so awesome. I gave John’s Journal to Jeffrey Dean Morgan and he said “this is fantastic, thank you!” and he hugged me. Aside from that, I’m not sure if any of the other actors know about our journals. I assume since they sign them etc, they have seen them but I have no idea if they know me or our company.
Shelley and her business partner, Ted, with Jared and Jensen at a convention
You have journals for fandoms besides Supernatural. Which other fandoms do you ?
We are also licensed for Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Riverdale and The Great British Baking Show.
What journal do you use for yourself right now?
I use my Supernatural 2020 planner, my Sam Winchester lined journal, my Castiel dot grid journal, my Harry Potter 2020 Charms planner, my Harry Potter celestial planner (for memory keeping) and my Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Harry Potter notepads.
How did you came up with the idea for the Roadmap. How did you create it?
Our creative director is a huge Supernatural fan. We were on a call talking about John Winchester’s journal and she said “we need to make a road map” – so we did. We quite literally went through every single episode to note each location and created the map from our own research.
What are your plans for the future? New products or something else?
Our newest Supernatural product is the Supernatural Smash Journal. It’s really our love letter to the fandom and gives them a scrapbook for their memories and favorite fandom moments.
We are in production on the Harry Potter 2021 planner now, along with a set of totally new products we’ve never done before! We have several big surprises coming out very soon including more Supernatural products!
Editors Note: The Supernatural Notepads that were introduced in July were one of the surprises!
I know you only ship to US and Canada. How can international fans (like me as a German) buy your journals and other products? (I really want the Smash Journals so badly, that´s why I ask!)
We are only licensed to sell in North America with WB. However, most of our products are on Amazon so I believe international customers can order from there!
Our amazon shop is: https://www.amazon.com/conquestjournals
You can find our schedule on our website:
Are you creating other art besides the journals (because each of your products is a piece of art)?
Thank you so much for saying that! Our creative director and a team of freelance artists design our products. Right now, 100% of our focus is on our journals and planners.
Shelley and Ted with Con*Quest’s Creative Director Tracey
Now it’s time for the question I ask everyone. If you could change only one thing in the world right now, what would it be?
My initial response was that everyone would be kinder. But I think I would end the pandemic if I could because it’s taking such a huge toll on all of us physically, mentally, financially and emotionally.
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview with me!
Editors Note: You also can watch this video about “How Con*Quest Journals Began“
Do you have any Con*Quest products? How do you use it? Do you have ideas for new Supernatural stationary products that you’d like to pass along to Shelley? Please share your comments, questions, and reactions below! If you want to follow Shelley the links are:
Supernatural Shop: Shop for Supernatural Merch
Harry Potter Shop: Shop for Harry Potter Merch
Thanks for reading.
-Using Words, Telling Stories, The Writer Business-
You can read more of my articles by going to my Writer´s Page!
Learn about other fans who have been “Inspired by Supernatural” in WFB’s “Lighter Side” articles!
Con*Quest Journals is one of the many Supernatural Merchant Stores featured in WFB’s Supernatural Merchandise Marketplace!