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  1. #1
    Regular therainbowtroll's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Pumkin Hill

    1st time vending at a con: very nervous

    Hey everyone

    So I will be vending at Furnal Equinox (Toronto Convention) at the end of this month and I am very worried.

    So I did vend before. It was at a meet that switched venues. I was really exighted for it. I prepped charms and stuff. I was also doing it with my girl friend. She does art as well.

    So the day comes and.....she barely broke even. And I didn't even break even. When I left I thought I was going to. I only got 1 commission and it never got anywhere. Basically the guy said "sure I would love one!" Sent me a bunch of refs over facebook and never payed. He then ignored my messages about it then few months later did the same thing only with amiibos. The guy is local so there really is no excuse. Despite not being able to pay for my commission I see him buying 60$ games and other collectibles. (I have him on fb) The reason why I am so upset about this is beacuse if I had only gotten that commission I would have at least made even

    I have advertised though mostly fb and the local forums. I did get one badge pre-order (which is awesome) I have since posted a bunch (but not everyday. Like once every few weeks) And havent got any other intrest. This is very discouraging considering I see either people offering dirt cheap stuff or popular people posting once and instantly getting filled up. And I know this is a common problem many artists struggle with.

    So I guess what I want to ask it how do more experiences people deal with these issues? How do you get more commissions? What can I do to stand out a little bit?

    Thanks if you read all that :p

    Since them I have been a nervous wreck. Im worrying that I will spend all this money on making charms, paying for the table and business cards only to find that I wont make anything.

  2. #2
    I'm sorry to hear that happened to you. thats a fracked up thing to do. I would suggest payment first methods or working out an agreement with WIP payment methods (Payed for each stage of the WIP in equal chunks). I never trust people enough to give them a drawing before payment, especially when its really easy for them to do stupid things like that.

    For Tables, you want to stand out, Have your art displayed in such a way its not possible to just walk past it. Display some fanart of popular animes, cartoons, or such (Zootopia, kung fu panda, ect) to draw people in but also mix in some personal things as well. And more personal things on the table along with the other art. This will draw fans to want posters, or people who see your style and like it to see what else you have to offer.

    I've never made a vendor table myself, but I see tables do this sort of thing and it seems to work for them in the bigger cons. Display is key at a table, variety is also a factor.

  3.   This is the last staff post in this thread.   #3
    feline fine Noxid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Well I can't say much about being a vendor since I've never been one, but some things I notice as a customer:
    - lots of items on display
    - colourful signage
    - unusual items
    - engaged vendors

    it's kind of a marketing challenge, if you don't already have an established "fanbase" so to speak. It might be a good idea to think of ways to encourage people to interact with you and your content because if you can make a connection to them it can help you stand out.

  4. #4
    Junior TheWolfNamedBunny's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    I've been a vendor at a couple of cons now, either with a friend or as a contributor to my college's Brony group table. A couple of things I've learned, from observation, first-hand experience, and from networking with more experienced table-neighbors before/after the con:

    - Have lots of varied work on display, from fan art to personal work. I agree with the suggestion to make yourself stand out. A lot of artists have different ways of doing this (a neighbor of the Brony group at a con last September had multi-colored lights and I think some other cool stuff; doing that's a tad risky, and could be obnoxious if overdone - also some cons have rules against stuff like that, so be advised - but dang did they get a lot of traffic). HOWEVER, if you use those stacking mesh boxes (which I highly recommend), do not stack them much more than three boxes high. You want to keep your display at or near eye level with the average adult passerby.

    - Offer a variety of commissions that work for different budgets, and have people pay upfront; that's how I've gotten a lot of convention commissions, at least. Example: I offer two paper/commission sizes at cons, mini (drawn on smaller paper) and full (drawn on average 8.5x11 sized paper), each with sketch, ink, or color available, with prices based on how much time I estimate each tier/size will take me. Not everyone can afford or is willing to pay for a $35 or more full-sized color commission, but they might be able to spare some money for a mini color commission (in fact, this is usually my most popular commission type at cons). The same applies to your pre-prepared work such as charms or prints, actually - have stuff that'll work for different budgets.

    - Be careful not to overstock! Chances are, unless you've already got a large established fanbase/consumer base, you're probably not going to sell out of everything or even one item. My suggestion, especially for newer prints/charms/etc. which you haven't sold before, is to keep it to no more than 5-10 units per item offered. This'll also keep your base costs down, which will help you come closer to "breaking even" even with fewer sales.

    - Try to offer something new with each event, especially if you're working a con circuit within the same state or the same metropolitan area where a lot of the same people will be attending and will have already seen your stuff from previous events before. Cycle out some stuff if you need to (you can still offer older stuff, but try to draw attention to the newer stuff).

    - If you can't display all of your available products at once, be sure to mention related products not displayed if someone is expressing interest in a product that is on display. Example: I have a set of prints featuring related characters in a similar format, for which I only had room to display one. When someone expressed interest in the displayed print from that set, I would mention that I had other prints in that set and pull some or all of them out for them to see upon request.

    - Don't sell yourself short: it can and likely will bite you in the butt later! This is something my table partner and I learned through networking; he thought that we should lower the price of one of my new products because it wasn't selling as well as we had thought/hoped, but after talking to some of the tables around us as we were dismantling our displays and getting ready to go home we realized that might not be such a bright idea.

    - Know your audience. Some stuff will not sell as well at a big, general Comic Con as they will at a convention with a more specific target audience, such as an anime convention, a pony convention, or a furry convention. Also, some states or regions will yield more profit than others. Utah congoers, for example, don't tend to spend as much at cons as congoers in other regions, so I've heard.

    - Don't get discouraged! Not every con will be a big success, but as long as you don't stop selling at cons completely, you'll keep learning and those not-so-successful cons will become fewer and farther between. This isn't to say that they still won't happen - sometimes there are factors that you just can't control, such as the economy and what kind of competition you have with other vendors.

    As a couple of these suggest, networking/talking with others around you can teach you quite a bit. Best of luck to you; I hope this stuff was helpful and that this con goes better for you than your last event!



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