Here at Arms and Armor we love to support the incredible flourishing of HEMA tournaments the last decade has witnessed. We get a lot of requests to furnish prizes at these competitions, so we thought we'd take a minute to give tournament organizers some info on our process, along with some tips for how to minimize the back-and-forth that is often commonplace in these interactions.
Nathan and James selling swords at a Longpoint 2019
We are a small shop that hand crafts everything we sell, so there are a bunch of factors that influence how we are able to accommodate requests for sponsorship. One of these is the recent proliferation of tournaments in the US, and around the world. Don't get us wrong, we think it's super awesome that folks around the world are taking the time and effort to organize sword-fighting competitions, but it does pose some challenges for us. Back when there were only a few national competitions we were generally able to donate a significant prize like a longsword or trainer. For example, in 2019 we sponsored Longpoint with the donation of a Black Prince Sword with a special purple grip (we named it the 'sword formally known as the Black Prince', get it?), and CombatCon with a Fornovo Sword. We try to carefully choose one or two tournaments a year that we can sponsor in this way.
Sometimes we are able to contribute smaller physical prizes. For example, we donated a dagger to be a prize at Iron Gate Exhibition in 2019, and are contributing steel dussack trainers as prizes at SoCal Swordfight, the Valley of the Sun Cutting Tournament, and the Icebreaker Open tournament.
While physical objects are cool as prizes they come with additional costs as far as shipping and care. Also if the winner of the piece already has a similar item they are left with something they may not need. This is why we are happy to give gift certificates as sponsorships at smaller events, or tournaments in places where shipping adds substantial additional costs to the donation. Gift certificates can be provided with minimal cost and allow the winner to get a prize that fits their needs and desires.
Get an A&A gift certificate here!
If you are organizing a tournament and want to request sponsorship there are a few things you can do to help us. First, include attendance estimates with your request. These are particularly helpful if it is an event that has happened for several years and you can give us firm numbers of past participation. Next, don't wait until the last minute. Especially with physical prizes we need to manage our inventory. We are often in a situation where we would like to donate a prize to an event, but we don't have any appropriate products ready to go. Third, it really helps if you have a prize budget. We are more likely to be able to sell you an in stock product at a discount than to simply donate it. The guys do need to eat, and this business has small margins. It also shows respect and appreciation to any crafts people to compensate them for their products rather than expecting them to always be able to give free products as prizes.
If you are a tournament organizer and would like to discuss sponsorship please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the word 'sponsorship' in the subject line. We will get back to you as soon as possible. If we are not able to sponsor your event this time around it is not necessarily any kind of reflection on the awesomeness of your event. Please understand that we would love to sponsor tons of tournaments, but that our donations are necessarily limited by our need to pay the rent.