“When’s the last time San Diego had a, like, BIG Leather-con?” My Brother posed on the patio of a coffeeshop in Hillcrest, San Diego, CA which I just happened to show face at after a year away. “Besides contests, I think it was Leatherfest X in 2001 which.. technically wasn’t in San Diego. So… 20 years*?”
And the wheels began to turn.
*At the time, I had forgotten about WCJG, GRuE, and have since been made aware of a few more. My apologies.
The One Twue Way
The Project began in September 2019. The first two-and-a-half months were dedicated to answering one simple question: What the hell do we want this thing to be?
“Circuit party!” The gay boys cheered
“High-Level Kink!” A Leatherwoman longing for the play parties of olde suggested
“72 Hour Dungeon Party!” the Leatherman with a track record of intense play parties revised
“Fancy Leather dinner?”
“A contest? But like… not a contest.”
“Something like….” the names CLAW, IMsLBB, DESIRE, SWLC, and many others were thrown around in the same vein.
Quickly the pot of ideas quickly filled and overflowed as ideas were flung like food in one of those campy teen movie food fight scenes. Some ideas had the support of the entire team, while others… not so much (sorry circuit party). Still, it was hard to pick only one way to celebrate; then, I received a text message completely unrelated to the topic while we sat at a brainstorming meeting (spoiler alert, it was about dick): “Uhm… all of it?” And there it was. There was no One Twue Way to do the thing.
We decided The Project would call on the best things from our favorite conferences, without pigeon-holing folks down one specific path, and would give nod to San Diego -no, Southern California’s- Leather community.
THAT’S a thought
We had an idea and a timeline! We wanted to get the event on the schedule and promoted for January 2020! ’cause it’s super easy to plan an big conference that spans multiple days and appeals to a broad market within four, er, two-months. Easy-peasey.
Late October we realized that a January launch just wasn’t going to work, negotiations had just started with venues and we hadn’t so much as whispered the name to people. We pushed back three months (April), finals! Six months (July), Pride and Comiccon, also Leather and Summer don’t mix well. Nine months? October. October is the end of Summer, right before the start of contest season, and a full year would give us exactly the time we needed to coordinate the things. I and the Director of Finance began our search for a venue that would host us in October 2020.
A dozen “No thank you” emails and phone calls later, we finally found someone who would sit with us and entertain the idea. Within a few weeks, the negotations were underway, the venue approved, and the contract was signed in November 2019. Whoo!
Wait. HO-LY SHIT.
One major issue still existed: The Project still didn’t have a real name. Leatherfest was thrown around, but it didn’t quite encompass the scale of it all. Xfest felt like a cop-out. We grabbed another pot and filled with the acronyms and abbreviations of our favorite events, and soon enough it too was overflowing: CLAW, IMsLBB, IML, SWLC, BBRU, GRuE, SDLP, Wristrained, LALP, PSLP, Sin, NWLC, Heat, Revelry, OLW, Pig Week, Wet’n’Hot, Olympus, Drummer, DESIRE, and the list goes on-and-on. They were all taken – “OH! What about Taken!?” the Director of Outreach exclaimed.
“No, sounds like CNC and I don’t wan–“
“WHAT ABOUT CNC?!”
“I’m not gonna start with you about why that’s a bad idea”
SoCal had to be a part of the name, which meant the acronym has SC in the beginning or the end. We flip flopped between Leather and Kink as well, but ultimately agreed on Leather as it incorporated the community at large better. “SC” and “L” so far. We soon started using “SoCal Leatherfest” as a placeholder, otherwise SCLF. One fateful Friday, before boy date, Autocorrect paid us a favor:
“Hey, I wanna talk SCALE today. Just a headsup.”
“SCALE? Holy shit. That’s so good!”
That brief exchange, and autocorrect, and dumb luck led us to SCALE – Southern CAlifornia Leather E-Word (the E wasn’t officially decided until a few weeks later).
READY… SET… Go?
We soft launched SCALE in December. Soft because we did a great job of building a website, ticketing platform, social media accounts, and planning schedule – but were awful at promoting, sticking to the schedule, and picking a starting point. Excitement got the best of us, and here we are.
The soft launch exposed SCALE to a few places, mostly socials and word-of-mouth, while the platforms we had developed were being passively worked on to make sure the hard launch was more successful. New Year’s Eve it was decided that we’d hard launch after the new year and give folks another reason to celebrate and jump on board!
And here we are. That’s the last four months wrapped and tied off with a bow. We’re excited to share this journey with y’all, and thank you for taking part in the writing of this chapter in Southern Califonia’s Leather Experience & History.
Yours in Service & in Leather,
Director of Marketing