Fanime: The TL;DR Review

May 30, 2012 at 6:58 am 1 comment

As promised, here is my long, in-depth summary of Fanime weekend, 2012. It’s gonna probably be a long account, so kudos to those who make it to the end of this post, lol!

Got up at 5:40am so my friend could drop me off at the train station at 6:30 and then took the 7:15 train out for San Jose. It’s about a 3 hour train ride. I really like it actually. It goes along the water for about half of it and some wetlands and so I always get in some impromptu bird watching. I actually saw a swan on the way home. Anyway, I really wanted to take the later train, but then realized that I had two lines to go through before I could get to my table and set up so it was the early train. Well, turns out I had like 30 minutes to set up anyway! There had been some technical issues on Day 0 and then a power outage at the convention center and so there were A LOT more people waiting to get their pre-reg badges on Friday than originally planned. My sis picked me up at 10:13 at the San Jose train station and then we unloaded, parked and waited for nearly 2.5 hours. It was like a line at Disneyland. Just when you think you are almost there, you turn a corner and find that actually, there are about 20 more very long switchbacks still to go through! I saw a lot of fellow artists with all their wares stuck in line before and behind me. Finally, we got checked in and then headed up to the AA. Since most of them were still stuck in line, AA check -in was a breeze. When the Alley opened at 2, some were still filtering in and getting set up as customers came in and out.

This was my first Friday selling, so I really had no idea what to expect. Last year, I just sold Saturday and Sunday. My sis loaded me up with survival rations and then took off for home. I decided that getting up at 5:40, riding the train for 3 hours and then waiting in lines and setting up a table was enough for one day so didn’t cosplay.

My sis helped out on Saturday. She was Pikachu with cute ears and tail made by her husband who is pretty crafty with felt, paint and glue! Saturday was definitely the busiest day for me out of all four days. My fake cupcakes were once again a huge draw. They get a lot of attention and so despite them being kind of a pain to pack due to their fragile nature and just bulky shape, I still pack them and bring them with me. I scent them and so when they are all together like at my table the whole area smells like frosting. It’s kind of funny because once people were told they were fake, they were saying ‘Wow, they look so real! I’m even imagining they smell real!’. This year, I had the deluxe ones, medium and minis. The mediums were priced at $10 and sold the best. In the end, I sold about half the cupcakes I took with me. I was actually surprised that my minis didn’t sell as well. I’ve heard from other artists at the AA who were saying that they sold more of what they didn’t think they were going to sell and their expected best sellers barely moved. Strange…

Sunday, I had my friend Anne helping me out. She was Jem from the 80’s cartoon, Jem and the Holograms and got lots of comments on her costume. She was originally afraid that no one would recognize her, but there were enough children of the 80’s there 🙂 One person did think she was Pinkie Pie though, lol! Sunday was a lot slower than I expected. I think it was due to my location. I was on the first row on the right side and it wasn’t in direct line with the front door so that meant that traffic was a lot less. When I looked behind me, the middle was a lot busier. I wish we had more control over where we are seated, but it’s pretty much luck of the draw and when you sign up.

This was the last day of con and only ran til 3. Anne was with me once again. I cosplayed as Esmeralda from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame. Got some pretty decent sales as people made their last minute purchases. I ran a button sale in the last 30 minutes and pulled in some 11th hour income. Then, it was time to pack up and head home on the train again. I sent half my stock with Anne who drove. She’s going to repack it and ship it down to my friend’s house in Los Angeles so it will be ready for Anime Expo. Got to talk to some fellow con goers in the train station. We were all joking how we all survived for 4 days off of con vibes and Pocky. I’m pretty sure I ate the equivalent of 3 full meals in the 4 days I was down there. One thing’s for sure, am pretty tired of Subway!

So, what did I think? Well, I’ve always loved Fanime. It was the first con I ever went to and the first one I sold at, so it has a special place in my heart. I love the feel of the Artist Alley. Not to sound too much like a geek, but I really do feel at home there. It’s just so cool to be in a room with 300 other artists who also share a love for Japanese pop culture. I took my list with me of people from dA who I wanted to meet in person. I got to meet a bunch of artists from deviantART for the first time and saw some that I had met last year. Bought some things in the AA. As time goes on, I find myself buying more from the AA than the dealers’ hall. I find so much more original stuff there and I want to support my fellow artists!

I had a much better table set up this year, but I think I don’t register with the lolita community as much as my table isn’t the expected pinks and pastels that are usually associated with lolita. When you’re walking through a room with that many artists and that much visual overload, you start to look for certain things that tell you a table may or will have what you are looking for. I was tabling under Kimchi Kawaii and my colors are primarily green and blue (see my blog banner). I saw a lot of lolitas just walking by. I did get some more of them actually stopping when I was dressed in lolita on Sunday, but I don’t want to lock myself into only wearing lolita at cons. I like to cosplay too. Although, it is kind of funny that this year, I had more people ask to take my picture when I was in lolita than when I was a character. Anyway, my necklaces and hair bows didn’t sell as well as I would have liked, which was a bit of a disappointment. Maybe the loli community is already saturated or already have their favorites.

I did notice that of the things that I sold the most of, it was things with my artwork on it – like my acrylic charms and the buttons were a HUGE seller. Sold out of the pho design again despite taking double of what I took last year. Need to print a TON off for AX. So that made me feel good that people do like my art! The cake boxes did pretty well since they were useful. That was one thing that sometimes turned people away from the cupcakes – they are just decoration whereas the cake box you can store stuff inside. I’m in a bit of a pickle for AX since I sold out of a lot of charms and my supplier takes 5 weeks to turnaround an order. Last year, I didn’t sell many charms and so this year, I did an order right before Fanime once I got checks from my online shops and ordered charms without holes for rings and hair clips. ARGH! So I may take my tools with me and the cell phone straps and just start taking apart earrings if people want the designs on charms. Who knows? AX could be totally opposite and everyone could want earrings there!

I lost a few sales due to the fact that I don’t have a cell phone and credit card reader. Am going to finally get a cell so I can have the Square app for Anime Expo.

On the train ride home, I did my tallies and started making notes for AX. I’ve got 3 weekends to restock and get things ready. Am kinda scared. I heard AX is HUGE and it already took me 3 months to get ready for Fanime! Eek! Am taking these two nights off, but then it’s back to hitting it full time after my day job and all weekend, every weekend. Am setting a financial goal for sales so we’ll see if I make that one. We still don’t have table assignments for that one, but I will post my location as soon as I know! The fact that I’m on crash course for AX means that new digital art from me is still going to be on a bit of hiatus as I frantically work to restock. Hoping to get back to doing some new art though in July! So many designs and ideas! Whew, you made it to the bottom of the novel, I mean journal entry! Congrats!

Entry filed under: Informational. Tags: , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Anne of Green Gardens  |  June 1, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    I’m a “geek” in my own gardening way, but i do enjoy Fanime. Lots of fun costumes to look at, and PLENTY of people-watching! I only buy things from AA, but did pick up a new wig in the dealers room, so that was cool. Now we just gotta get that Poison Ivy costume to fit. Sigh…I’m on a new diet! hehehe. It will be just eating healthy food. I hope I can do it.


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