Selling at a Con -- Great Idea!
Why Artist Alley? It is a good place to start, to “get your feet wet” so to speak. One
reason would be price. AA can be cost friendly. What you save on dollars you give up on space. That can be a good thing! If you are making the product yourself, you have limited time and resources. A six-foot table will look a lot fuller with a hundred items than a ten by ten foot square. If you want to see if a new idea will sell or not, this would be a great test market to talk to people and receive feedback. I really enjoy relationships that I have acquired in Artist Alley!
Artist Alley does have rules. You must make what you sell. Therefore, every item in that area has a lot of blood, sweat and tears in each product. Whether it is art school, technical school or lessons, each has taken the time to learn their individual craft. They are trying to get their start in the retail world and each has an interesting story. Many artists will work with the client’s individual tastes also. So one-of-a-kind gifts are always found here.
Writers are also in this area! It is a great place to talk to authors about self-publishing versus large publishers. If you have questions such as: What are the pitfalls to writing; what they like about being a writer; how to they discipline their day; etc. it is the best time to engage in conversation. I have met a lot of authors and became exited over new genres do to conversing with Artist Alley Authors.
This is the place where illustrators buy space. I am thoroughly envious of a skilled person who can reproduce sketches of people or fan art. At the Tampa Bay Con three girls went in on a table to cut down on their expenses. That is always an option too. You just need to formulate a plan.
Artist Alley is given a six-foot table, two chairs and two exhibitor’s passes! Yeah! But, for a little extra, you can purchase extra exhibitor passes to include a third person or purchase the highly sought after end cap. Also when you are doing your cost analysis, don’t forget that you don’t have to buy a four-day ticket to get into the Con. (But if you are a sketch artist, then when you are not at the table, you are not making sells. Everything is a trade off.) Also use that as a bribe for whomever you get to help you work your booth. That’s right. Both of you do not have to stay at the booth the entire time. Scheduling panel sessions as well as shopping sprees is part of the fun.
What is not so much fun? Schlepping your inventory in and out of the place. Trust me, Murphy’s Law states that your table will be the farthest one from the dock. Invest in a good dolly, the four-wheeled kind! Even with two strong boys, they practically twisted my arm to by a $30 one from Home Depot™. Everything fits and is moved in one trip! That leaves more time for others to off load their stuff. The Golden Rule: be nice to all
Exhibitors! Remember when I said, “your friend could go to the panel? “That is when you need to go bathroom the most and need your neighbor to watch your booth.
Which brings me to scheduling, especially for MegaCons, Artist Alley is always the last to be allowed to unload their wares. It is usually the first day that the Con is open. So be efficient. When packing up my items, earrings is together by category in snack baggies and so are the pins. That makes it easier to arrange. They are in turn, in one container. All purses are in another container grouped together by genre. Pillows and art work is in the last container. I can be set in a half hour if in a rush. All business items are in my last container, that way, the tablecloth, signs, moneybag, square, paperwork is all-together and I can start selling even while I am setting up.
It takes practice to get set up and take down working efficiently. I still borrow stuff from neighbors and they from me. That is part of the fun. You never know if you items will sell unless you try.
Remember: “Sell or Sell Not There Is No Try.”