Posts tagged ‘artist alley’

Put on Your Sales Face

Since there aren’t flashing signs over our heads that say our personality types, we really need to be careful of the front we present to the public when representing our brands. Joe Schmo who doesn’t know me at all may not give me the mercy of the introvert card. They may just think I’m rude or disinterested.

Continue Reading February 25, 2017 at 6:48 pm 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

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

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

SacAnime Summer Artist Alley 2014 Review

Running a little late on this artist alley review for SacAnime Summer. It’s been pretty much nonstop this summer. Am actually typing this up as I fly to my last con of the year, Anime Weekend Atlanta.

I had heard from some artists that the summer show was usually the weaker one for them, sales-wise even though attendance numbers are always higher than the winter show. It could be cause SacAnime Summer falls towards the end of the convention season. Attendees in CA have already had Fanime (May) and Anime Expo (July). By the end of summer, money is starting to run a bit dry.

I was curious to see how this one would go for me. SacAnime is my ‘local’ con and I am able to bus in and skip the hotel cost. This would be the first time I would have my minky plushies for sale at this one as well. I started sewing them in March of this year and had been able to really push sales up with them. A lot of anime con attendees are vulnerable to the cute, soft, fuzzy thing syndrome. I’m not immune!

My new tiger bun plushies.

My new tiger bun plushies.

In addition, I was also putting a lot of pressure on myself for sales at this one as it was coming at the tail end of my Kickstarter. I had started my second Kickstarter in early August, right before Otakon so I could promote it at both cons – one in the beginning and one at the tail end. I was planning on using SacAnime profits as ‘rescue funding’. I had set a goal mentally for what I wanted to make.

SacAnime has been experiencing growth every year. They moved out of the Woodlake Hotel a few years ago to the Sacramento Convention Center. They have the advantage of being a large con, but not overwhelmingly so. The dealers and artist alley share one exhibit hall and this helps bring in traffic to the AA. And because it’s not the beaumoth that AX has turned into, the attendees aren’t on total visual overload by the time they get to us.

Let’s just say that SacAnime sales came through in amazing fashion! I made my goal and a little beyond. Thing is, when I had set my goal, I had based it off the previous summer’s convention and added on what I thought was a reasonable increase. Well, when I looked at my sales sheets for that year, I realized that I was off by a significant amount. So my sales goal was suddenly not looking so reasonable.

My table at SacAnime Summer (2014).

My table at SacAnime Summer (2014).

I sewed as many plushies as I could, including sewing when I got home from the first day. The Steamed Buns and Roary Tiger Buns went really well. They’ve been good sellers at the all the cons I’ve taken them to.

I was off to a very slow start on Friday. I know that first days are usually the slowest in sales (except Otakon where I was told that ‘they shop HARD on the first day’ and I found that to be true) since the hours are shorter and a lot of people are still at work or in school. However, this year’s SacAnime sales seemed a lot slower than usual. I talked with some fellow artists and we were all kind of worried, especially the ones that drove up from Southern California. Making my sales goal was looking like an impossible dream since it was already a pretty steep number to begin with.

Saturday was a lot better and then Sunday I posted totals for last day sales that I haven’t even pulled in at AX! Sunday definitely made up for the disappointing Friday and then some. I was able to pass my goal and have a little extra. I was pretty blown away.

I was able to pour the money into the Kickstarter via a friend who upped their pledge. About a week later, I closed out my first successful Kickstarter! The extra money went into funding my SacAnime Winter table.

For those of you wondering if SacAnime is worth it, I would say yes for locals and in-state. If you are thinking of flying in, you may or may not break even, but in a few years, I think it will be big enough to make the trip worth it. Added bonus, the summer show shares the convention center with the Greek Festival and SacAnime attendees get in free with their badges. It’s kind of nice to get good food and escape the usual overpriced, subpar con food. And GREEK DONUTS – totally yummy fried goodness topped with sugar, cinnamon and honey. Definitely get the greek donuts!

September 27, 2014 at 4:59 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

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