Posts tagged ‘anime weekend atlanta’

Anime Weekend Atlanta 2014: Artist Alley Review

Heading back from my last con for the 2014 season. Long, cross country flights are a great time to draft blogs for posting later. 🙂

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.

This was Kimchi Kawaii’s second year of doing Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA). I started going to AWA as I have some artist friends who do this one every year and I wanted to meet them in person. Sales were good in 2013 and my friend from Sweet Fancy Cuteness was going again this year so I signed up to return. It was a lot of fun hanging out with her and meeting her friend who runs ShouYume. We had our tables next to each other and also shared a hotel room. I always enjoy doing artist alleys cause where else can you be in a room with fellow creators who understand the ins and outs of being an artist?

Sales-wise, well, that’s where this con was a bit lacking. I had set a sales goal (as I always do) and this was the first con where I didn’t make or exceed it. I guess having done 20+ cons by now, I’m pretty blessed to only now have this happen. It wasn’t just me either. Many artists were posting on social media and talking in person about slow, even outright dismal sales. And even the dealers’ were saying their sales were low as well which is a clear indicator that it’s not just you.

Usually, you see people coming through the AA with their hands full of stuff from the dealers’ room – collectables, plush, etc. – and you can tell where their con budget went. However, this year not too many people seemed to be carrying ANYTHING. I saw a lot of browsers, but people didn’t seem to be buying.

Friday sales for me were probably some of the worst I’ve seen. As a rule, first day sales are usually the lowest for the whole con as a lot of people are still in school or at work. Hours are usually shorter as well. However, Friday at AWA was abnormally slow. I don’t even think it was this slow for me at my first artist alley table (Fanime). One friend got up to roam around as she said she was about to fall asleep at her table. Yeah, it was that bad.

Saturday everyone was hoping sales would pick up. Second days are usually the high point. While sales picked up a bit, it was still really slow for a Saturday. Once again a lot of looking, not much buying. I did finally manage to clear my overhead for this con (cross country flight, hotel, registration, food) late in the day on Saturday. The slow sales left most of us hoping and praying for a really strong last day.

Sunday, I did pretty well and this brought my AWA profit about equal to what I made in 2013. Last day sales can really blossom as people start making those last minute purchases before leaving. Some artists only sell at cons and for those of us who do sell online, well, why pay for shipping if you can get it in person?

As I stated earlier, I had a sales goal in mind going into this one. I based it on last year’s sales and the fact that I had plushies with me now which have been strong sellers all summer and really helped push up my totals significantly. I was also basing things on attendance totals. I had just done a local con about three weeks earlier (SacAnime) which has about 11-13k attendees. AWA usually brings in about 20k, so I set my goal to be what I had brought in at SacAnime figuring that was more than doable considering the additional 10k people at this one.

In the end, I made about $600 LESS than SacAnime. I’m actually coming home with a majority of my plushies, which is rare. The Steamed Buns were the only ones that sold out. I guess that’s less that I have to sew for my online shop for the holidays which is sort of bittersweet. On one hand, less sewing which means more time to focus on my 2d art. On the other hand, I had some plans to use the AWA money for some new products for Kimchi Kawaii. I’ll still be able to get them, but it’s going to be a lot slower now and I may not have them for the start of the 2015 con season. Hopefully, will have them by my next big con which I hope is Anime Boston.

Most of us were scratching our heads wondering what was causing the lack in sales. Someone had suggested that it was the proximity of another large convention that had happened about a week or so earlier and that people were financially drained after that one. There was speculation that attendance had dropped. Others wondered if there were too many artists for a convention that size though I heard that they dropped the number of artists this year. I believe there were about 150 tables vs. 200 from 2013. Considering SacAnime Summer had a lower attendance, but upped their total number of AA tables and people still made good sales, I’m not sure that the ratio of artists to attendees is the issue.

I don’t know if anyone who runs AWA reads this, but I do have two suggestions. PLEASE move the events hall away from the AA. The constant bass from the concerts right next door was extremely uncomfortable. It was hard to talk to customers and in these halls with cement floors, it just echoes like crazy and becomes even more annoying. There were times when I could feel the bass in my body. I’m not a decibel prude. I go to concerts. I go to clubs blasting EDM. However, when I’m trying to interact with my customers, it would be really nice to not have to shout and miss half the conversation.

The other suggestion I have is probably harder to fix, but I’m just going to throw this out there. Please put fan artists, especially studios with multiple tables and large amounts of fan art prints along the wall and not in the islands. I was across from a studio like this. They were nice people, I’m not coming down on them. But their placement meant that our aisle was frequently congested. There were many times when there was a large crowd in front of their table with people looking at all their prints up on display or waiting to flip through their portfolios on the tables. Many times it was to the point where people couldn’t get by or get to my neighbors’ or my table.

I’m not sure if I will be returning to AWA for 2015. I put my name down on the email list to be notified early, but I’m also waiting to see what others say about some of the late fall conventions. Part of it is the sales since I do have such a large overhead coming from CA. The other part is due to timing. AWA falls at the end of September which coincides with Fall Welcome at my full time job at the university. The students are coming back and it’s the busiest time for me of the whole academic year as I have a lot of welcome events that I work at. Preparing for a con and preparing for work events leads to a lot of overtime and late nights all at once. I’m actually returning to four tabling events and two overtime days right off the bat.

Basically, I’m trying to decide if profits from AWA are worth the stress. If they were like Boston, I would just down a ton of Starbucks and nose to the grindstone in silence, lol! But they aren’t so I have a lot of thinking to do. We’ll see what 2015 holds.

October 23, 2014 at 6:02 am 1 comment

Super Behind and Anime Weekend Atlanta

Hi everyone,

I’m so behind on my posts here. I still have the SacAnime Summer AA review and my Kickstarter 2.0 review to write up. Quick nutshells of both: SacAnime totally rocked and the KS was a success.

Anyway, I’m currently scrambling to get all my inventory done and ready for Anime Weekend Atlanta which is coming up faster than I would like to admit. Here is my location in the artist alley. I’ll be there with all my plush (lots of Steamed Buns need homes) and other kawaii items. Hope you’ll come see me!

Added bonus – two cross country flights mean lots of time on a plane and in airports so I’ll be able to write up the other two blog posts and have them ready to post when I return 🙂

Kimchi Kawai will be at table H8 in the Anime Weekend Atlanta Artist Alley.

Kimchi Kawai will be at table H8 in the Anime Weekend Atlanta Artist Alley.

 

September 20, 2014 at 8:29 am Leave a comment

Artist Alley Con Review: Anime Weekend Atlanta 2013

Am back from my last con for 2013. I decided to close the 10 con run out with Anime Weekend Atlanta. This was my first time doing this one and my first time selling in that half of the country. All my previous cons have been along the West Coast (I’m in CA). The main reason I went was to meet some artist friends who I had gotten to know through deviantART. This was going to be the last con for one of them before they moved out of the country, so I figured it was now or never. It was that and I figured a way to expose my brand to the other half of the USA. I knew that with flight and hotel it was going to be a pretty pricey one, but hey, companies pay WAY more than reg fees, airfare and hotel for their marketing campaigns, right? When I saw the seating chart for the artist alley, I was pretty disappointed as I was in the second to last island facing the back. For those of you not familiar with artist alleys table location can sometimes make or break your cons. Usually the back is like the corner of doom. So after seeing the map, I figured “Yep, this one will be purely for marketing and socializing”. I also had people telling me in a group I belong to on Facebook that AWA was more of a social con and sales were generally slow.

Super cute squid amiguri a fan made for me. I was so flattered! He sat on the table all con and helped sell stuff :)Super cute squid amiguri a fan made for me. I was so flattered! He sat on the table all con and helped sell stuff :)

Super cute squid amiguri a fan made for me. I was so flattered! He sat on the table all con and helped sell stuff 🙂

Well, let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised. I just did my sales totals for this one before writing this and AWA ranks as number 3 in top grossing cons for Kimchi Kawaii’s 2013 run!

So what did I think of the con? I had a great time there. I didn’t get to do much sight seeing at all of the Atlanta area so this will just be about the con (unlike my SakuraCon review). One artist had said that the con attendees at AWA are some of the nicest people you’ll meet at a con and I have to agree. Everyone was so polite. I had one of my fans on my Facebook page come by and give me a totally cute squid amiguri that she had made for me. I was super flattered!

Traffic was actually pretty good considering my location. I think the fact that the food area was at the end of the alley helped draw people into what would normally be a dead zone. And the food! You know how most cons have crappy, overpriced hot dogs or something? At this one, they actually drove food trucks into the convention hall and people could pick from chicken and waffles (I never got to try them, the line was always too long), Vietnamese, Mexican and a hot dog truck that had unique offerings like a kimchi hotdog. I had the Vietnamese food one day and it was super delicious and kept me full for the day. The only downside was that the whole hall started smelling like fried food and it wasn’t aired out too well so I would go back to the hotel smelling like a waffle every night.

I actually ran out of business cards at my table about halfway through Saturday so had to McGyver a solution (there, now you know I’m an old fogey, lol). Nearly everyone has smart phones these days so I taped one of my remaining cards to a piece of paper and told people they could take photos of it. I may do that for future cons, although without the last minute Sharpie sign. People collect business cards at cons like Pokemon or something and generally, I don’t see a huge uptick in ‘likes’ to my FB page cause I know that they all get lost in the shuffle. At least with a phone picture, they would come across it when sorting through all their con pics. We’ll see. It’s something I’m thinking about and may try for 2014’s con season. And hey, it would save on resources as well!

I had great fun meeting my friends from dA. One of them was right next to me selling under the name Yarn Candy Sweets and helped me watch my table when I wanted to explore a bit. The other was closer to the front selling resin jewelry under the brand Sweet Fancy Cuteness, but we all got to go out and eat dinner twice this weekend so that was fun. We went to the Marietta Diner which apparently was featured on Diners Dives and Drive-Ins. You can tell a place is good when you’re sitting there eating and talking about coming back again in the same weekend. We did a last lunch there before everyone headed their separate ways on Sunday.

About the only complaint I have about AWA was the internet in there was super spotty, especially on Saturday which is when most of us pull in sales. My friend had her card reader go completely down Saturday morning so for a while, we were running cards through mine and I was just paying her cash. But as the day went on, I found that mine was having difficulty connecting as well. People were saying it was the sheer numbers of people in the convention center all trying to access the internet. I don’t know. I’ve sold at Anime Expo (the biggest anime con in North America) and never had connection issues like I did at AWA. I hope that this isn’t an issue next year.

Yes, I did say next year. I put down a deposit on the last day for the 2014 show 🙂

And that wraps up my 2013 con year. I’m now working on pumping up the shops for the holiday shopping season which is rapidly approaching, taking a little much needed time off and doing some new art. I need to get some new designs in there to keep it fresh for everyone! I’m also compiling my con list for next year and tracking artist alley sign ups. My first one I hope to snag is a table at Anime Boston in March. We’ll see how things go. I’ll be updating stuff on my website and FB page primarily as I confirm cons.

October 17, 2013 at 2:16 am 2 comments

Hello from Crazy Land!

I know it’s been really quiet here for the last month or so. Since Fanime, I’ve been doing crazy, mad prep for Anime Expo which is coming up in a few days. I’ll be selling at table B28 in the artist alley so come see me if you’re attending. The Storenvy shop is currently in maintenance mode as they don’t have a vacation mode. Zazzle of course, is open 24/7 so no changes there.

Big news is that I just found out that I’m off the wait list and in at Anime Weekend Atlanta’s artist alley! Super excited about that one cause this will be my first time selling on the eastern half of the US and I’ll get to see some of my deviantART friends that I’ve only corresponded with online so far. I’ll post the table number as soon as I have it and hope to see some of you there.

In other news, Zazzle just launched their new site redesign. I went in and formatted all my stuff for banners and whatnot the other night so things are nice and clean. I really like the new layout. I think it fits in well with my website and the whole Kimchi Kawaii brand look. For some reason, I can’t get a picture of it to upload here, grr. I’ve got a laundry list of stuff to get done for Anime Expo and about 6 more hours to do it all in, so I’ll have to figure that out later. In the meantime, you can click on the link above.

July 2, 2013 at 1:49 am Leave a comment


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