Women in Comics Month: Interview with Kelly Heying

In honor of Women in Comics Month this March, PREVIEWSworld talks with writer Kelly Heying!

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PREVIEWSworld: Who is your current comics employer?

Kelly Heying: Co-Owner, BuyMeToys.Com

PREVIEWSworld: What is your primary job title? In a quick phrase or two, could you define your job’s key responsibility?

Kelly Heying: I am the Co-Owner (with my husband, Casey, being the other Co-Owner) sharing all day to day activities (including running the store full time) as well as all the behind the scenes work (orders, inventory, taxes, bank runs, bringing in new products, advertising budgets, etc.).  Basically we do it all and have a family as well.

PREVIEWSworld: Could you please explain how your work helps make comics a reality? (Connect the dots for us. Where are you in the flow of getting a book into reader hands?)

Kelly Heying: Since we order and work the register, we are the people that customers trust to recommend and sell them comics and graphic novels.  One of my favorite things is to recommend new things for someone to read! 

PREVIEWSworld: What’s the part of your job you enjoy the most?

Kelly Heying: The most rewarding part of my job would have to be someone coming back to pick up the next in a series that I have recommended to them, stating that they enjoyed the series!  I love getting new customers, especially women and kids, into reading. The industry really does have something for everyone!  My customers have become my family of sorts!

Creator signings are probably my favorite part of my job.  While they are a ton of work prepping for weeks ahead of the event, when the day comes, everything just works out perfect!

PREVIEWSworld: What comic titles have you worked on?

Kelly Heying: While I have not written or drawn a comic, I worked as an ‘editor’ of sorts for The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles, a comic series that our store published and my husband, Casey, was co-creator and artist for.

PREVIEWSworld: While there are loads of professionals in the comics industry, there are only so many folks who get to do what you do! How did you get started? How did you learn all the skills you needed for your position?

Kelly Heying: We have been in business as a storefront for over 21 years!  Casey started with his business license doing mall shows and mail order.  At some point in time, I told him his apartment was overrun with his business stuff and he needed to think about opening a store!  All this was happening while I was in school for Chemistry.  Who knew 21 years later I would be working at the store as an intrical part of the business!  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  As far as learning the skills, I can’t say we know everything, no one can, but some of it is learned along the way, while other things can be taught in a classroom setting.  Getting to know other retailers can also help in your quest to make your store the best it can be.  One lesson that I have learned is just because it works for one person, doesn’t mean that it works for you.  The industry is ever changing, staying on top of the trends is super important.

PREVIEWSworld: Talk to us about the heroic people in your comics life. Who do you admire? Who inspires you? Why?

Kelly Heying: This is an industry with too many people to list that admire.  I would probably say first and foremost my husband for introducing me to this world.  He works so hard in and out of the store to make it a success.  His work ethics are ones of admiration for all! 

PREVIEWSworld: Every industry professional has something they absolutely love about comics. Whether it’s a particular title or format or audience or tradition or something else, we’re all hooked. What’s special about comics for you? Would you be willing to share a treasured memory about it?

Kelly Heying: My first comic I read was Kingdom Come.  As we have met creators in the industry, becoming friends with Alex (Ross) has to be a top experience for me.  After we became friends, I ended up telling him that the first comic Casey gave me to read was Kingdom Come, he thought I was lying!  I now read more than Casey does, I was hooked!

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