Professional Plush Manufacture: Factory or Handcraft?

You’ve got a plush design that you like and it’s selling so fast you can’t keep up. Outsourcing your plush is looking like the solution to all your problems.

Continue Reading October 21, 2015 at 5:03 am Leave a comment

Otakon 2015: Artist Alley Review

This was my second year at Otakon and things got off to a rough start and I didn’t make goal, but I survived. I kind of have mixed feelings about this weekend. At least my flight got me there without a hitch like what happened with Anime Boston!

Steamed Bun plush and Hamburger Bun plush toys on display.

Steamy rolls out the unwelcome wagon for Hammy.

A highlight of the weekend was that I got to meet a lot of artists I correspond with online in the Facebook artist alley group. I also got to finally meet Tonya from Shinedown Productions who’s been doing my Punny Buns plush. She brought me the final Hamburger Bun prototype on Saturday. I had Hammy out for display at my table and got a lot of positive reaction to him. Honey Bun didn’t make it to this con due to luggage space. I was able to get some pre-orders for him. I’m excited for 2016 when I have the Punny Buns with me for the con season. I think this will really help me get to the next level with Kimchi Kawaii.

I had planned on bringing over 100 plush, but due to the fast turnover time between Anime Expo and this one, I didn’t complete as many as I would have liked. I did rush through a bunch so I could send them ahead of me. Plush sell well, but boy are they bulky. Shipping has now become a part of my artist alley prep. I guess it keeps me on track, especially for east coast cons since I have to factor in cross country shipping time.

Sales seemed slower this year on the first day compared to the previous year and general sales all weekend seemed lower for everyone I spoke to in the AA. This year, Otakon only saw about 28,000 which was a significant drop in attendance. I think there were two main factors in this – they did away with one day passes so that meant someone who wanted to just come on say, Saturday, still had to pay around $100 for registration. Also, even though it was months ago, the riots in Baltimore seemed to keep some people away as well.

I had hoped that with the increased plush variety, I would make a certain sales goal, but I came in well short of it. Honestly, it was a bit disappointing with all the work and headache I had leading up to this con – extreme time crunches, other obligations cutting into prep time, wrong items being shipped, items missing all together from orders, etc. This is the last travel con for my 2015 season and I’m pretty happy to be putting the suitcases away until next year. I’ll have the Punny Buns arriving from the Kickstarter so will be focusing on that and getting ready for my dealers booth at SacAnime on Labor Day weekend.

My plush did sell out and this was the first con where I actually sold out of the Sweet Dreams Strawberries by the second day. Usually, those are a hard sell – lots of people think they’re super cute, but they just won’t buy. However, the prints were slow to move and I had a hard time selling the deco den phone cases that I carry.

Even before this con, I’ve decided to discontinue them as it’s just too difficult to keep up with the new models coming out everyArtist alley table for Kimchi Kawaii at Otakon, 2015. year. Plush making is also taking up a significant chunk of my time. Additionally, the market is just getting flooded and a lot of people are underpricing their cases which means I can’t compete. Side note to artists: PLEASE don’t undervalue your work! It just hurts you and your fellow artists and gives the buying public the expectation that they shouldn’t pay more than $5 for anything we do (ends soapbox).

So to sum it all up – for those of you considering selling at this con, it has had the potential for good sales, but this year was just an off year for whatever reason. It will be interesting to see if they lower prices or bring back the one day pass again for next year which could up sales again. They will also be moving to the D.C. area for 2017.

Also know that Otakon has some of the longest artist alley hours out there. Friday was from 1pm – 11pm. Saturday was from 10am – 11pm. Sunday is more normal in hours. If you can swing it, I definitely recommend bringing a helper to give you breaks or make sure you are neighbors with friends!

August 11, 2015 at 6:00 am 2 comments

Artist Alley Review: CatConLA 2015

This past weekend, I sold at the very first CatCon LA. This was billed as ‘Comic-Con for cat lovers’. It was such an amazing weekend and exceeded my expectations by far.

Continue Reading June 9, 2015 at 6:09 pm 7 comments

Punny Buns Kickstarter: Two Weeks Left

I’m currently running a Kickstarter to add to my plush inventory. This one is focused on the Punny Buns – my cute line up of bunny characters that are all based on bread and pastry themes.

Continue Reading April 21, 2015 at 10:17 pm Leave a comment

Artist Alley Review: SacAnime Winter 2015

SacAnime Winter was another great show for me. I had a great time visiting some fellow artists who I follow. Sales continued to be strong and my totals came in pretty close to the summer show which is great for a smaller con.

Continue Reading January 27, 2015 at 5:09 am Leave a comment

Catpuccino Pre-order Event Extended

Ending Feb 6, 2015. Pre-order and save $5. All pre-orders will be entered into a random drawing to win an additional plush from the current stock, including Catpuccino.

I realize that ending a pre-order event at the end of the month is a bit rough, so I’ve extended the Catpuccino pre-order until February 6, 2015. Don’t miss out on your chance to save $5 and get the free Coffee Cats button set.

Also – everyone who orders before the cut off date will be put into a random drawing for an additional plush of their choice from my current stock! This includes Catpuccino! Yep, you could get a double shot, lol!

Head over to the Storenvy shop to place your order.

January 26, 2015 at 5:06 am 1 comment

The Kimchi Kawaii Year in Review!

Happy New Year!

Happy new year to everyone! Hard to believe that we are in 2015.

2014 was an amazing year for Kimchi Kawaii. I was able to meet some long-term goals I had set and had some surprises as well. The business grew a lot as I work towards doing this full time.

I went to eight conventions this year, three of them out of state – SacAnime Winter and Summer, AOD, Anime Boston, Fanime, AX, Otakon and Anime Weekend Atlanta.

At Fanime, I made the jump to dealers hall.

SacAnime Summer I had sales close to what I do at AX (which was amazing since SacAnime is still a growing con with attendance around 13-14k and AX is the largest in the country).

Anime Boston blew all artist alley sales records out of the water. This was my first year there and despite a hiccup with FedEx not shipping 1/3 of my stuff, I still had amazing sales there.

Otakon was another strong con for me – loving these East Coast cons 🙂

2014 saw me jump into the world of crowd funding. I ran two Kickstarters – one in May that didn’t fund and one in August that did. Both were to fund professionally manufactured plush.

The popular Steamed Bun plush for sale at my AWA artist alley table.

The popular Steamed Bun plush for sale at my AWA artist alley table.

I introduced plushies to my line up in March/April. They have totally taken off and I ended up spending most of the year behind my sewing machine trying to keep up with orders. Steamed Buns has been the biggest hit with about 80 sold already (35 came out of the Storenvy shop alone since being posted there for sale in the summer).

I just wrapped up the busiest holiday season ever with sales in the Storenvy that pushed me over the 100 sales mark. Am currently at 161 sales which is pretty good considering I’ve only had the shop for a year and a half. By comparison, I had the Artfire shop for a few years and probably totaled 50 sales over the entire life of the shop.

So what’s up for 2015?

LOTS!

I’ll be kicking off the con season right at the start with SacAnime Winter on Jan. 2nd. Then I’ll be flying off to Katsucon in Maryland for Valentine’s Day weekend. I’ll return to Anime Boston in April, Fanime dealer’s hall in May and will have two tables in the AX artist alley in July. The remainder of my summer cons have yet to post registration, but I’ll be updating the website as I get confirmations. I hope to return to Otakon and AWA.

I’m currently prototyping some more plush. I started two series of characters called Punny Buns – bread based bunnies and Coffee Cats. I’m hoping to have one go to crowd funding and the other to develop through pre-orders. Catpuccino is currently up for pre-order in my Storenvy shop.

I am also working on setting up an email newsletter that will go out once a month with current cons, news and exclusive discount codes to email subscribers. I’m hoping to launch that in January.

Whew! So that’s what I’ve got planned already and as I write this, we haven’t even started 2014 yet. Many of these things have been in planning since this past summer.

I want to close out by saying sincerest thanks to all who’ve helped make this a banner year for Kimchi Kawaii. Here’s to 2015!

January 1, 2015 at 12:23 pm Leave a comment

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