I was originally gonna plan out an article about what it was like being an exhibitor at NY Comic Con, but I feel like adding the basics of what you need to start out when it comes to having a table at ANY convention whether it’s comic book, anime, or video game convention. Let’s get started…
So some supplies you need to bring with you to any convention:
- Cash Box: Important place to have your money stored in. Make sure you have at LEAST $150 in change to break large bills. Also make sure you have a lock and key
- Card Reader: For those who have an iPhone or an Android, Square and Paypal offer credit card readers for those smaller business types like yourself. You can easily get one for free if you sign up at the website, but a usual replacement is around $10
- Rolling suitcases: Great to carry prints, art supplies, cashbox and many smaller items for your table.
- Hand Cart: Something to carry heavier loads like tables, chairs, boxes, etc.
- Packed Lunch/Snacks/Large drinks: This is quite important for those who don’t want to die of starvation, wait in long lines at the food court or restaurants and especially not wanting to pay the overpriced meals the convention offers.
- Tables and Chairs: This is if you get a place outside of the Artist Alley of any convention such as the Small Press or Dealer’s Den, any place that offers a square area with a cloth wall. The convention will sometimes offer tables and chairs for more money to go along with the payment for your spot.
- Storage Cubes: This is an interesting investment if you want to make cool props to hang and post your artwork along with an organized way to store your art supplies, cash box, and other things that you can easily access to. Experiment. Here are some examples http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mby6f3bv4c1qg3s1lo2_1280.jpg and http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mbzprjefox1rbzog9o1_1280.jpg
What can you sell?
- Prints: An easy start, turning some of your best digital work into nice 11x17 poster sized paper for fans to hang up on their walls. Best approach is getting orders from a printing place like Fireball Printing.
- Comics: What’s better than one picture? How about a bunch? There are many countless places to print your very own comics whether big or small. Try out places like Ka-Blam printing.
- Knick Knacks: These are the smallest of things to sell, but they are the biggest attention getters from my experience. They can be laser cut keychains, buttons, pins, covers, etc. While many would buy expensive toys, collectibles, commissions and so forth, the cheap, little knick knacks are instant money makers just in case those bigger prints and comics don’t sell as much. Make sure you have a LARGE supply of these.
Optional stuff: Some of these items aren’t allowed due to the convention rules. Double check with rules and staff to see if it’s ok to sell at the table.
- T-shirts: An interesting challenge, creating art especially for clothing. Original art only or else the copyright drones will come in and assassinate you in the night. These are the most expensive thing to order in terms of mass shipment. Some places will price you based on how many colors you have in the image alone. Also don’t forget about sizes and types of shirts too.
So now that we have that out of the way for now,what are some experiences I had with NYCC?
- The Show Floor is a DEADZONE: It was pure hell, especially on a Saturday when everybody is using their cellphones for EVERYTHING. No call, internet reception, text message goes in and nothing goes out. If you did get a text or call, it must’ve been 5 hours ago. Bigger problem if you’re using the card readers.
- The Exhibitor Pass instantly gets you first in line: Having an Exhibitor pass lets you enter into the place at any time, especially before the Show Floor opens to the public. Helps out on getting first in line for any of the video game demos.
- Saturday is like bumper to bumper rush hour traffic ALL DAY LONG: Saturday is just IMPOSSIBLE to get from one place to another since everybody is running about getting from point A to B in just mere seconds. Plus being back to back, funk to funk isn’t quite comfy either.
- More than 3 is quite a crowd: Be careful with how many people you plan on sharing a table with. There may not be much room on the table to put ALL of your stuff, plus you may not get as much attention or business as some of the others.
- Know your location of restaurants/fast food and markets: This is for the fellow that forgot to bring a packed lunch for a long day of selling artwork. One thing you’ll instantly find out is that convention food is OVERPRICED. Care for a cheeseburger, fries and a small drink? That would be $25 please! It’s best to locate any sort of McDonald’s, Subway, 7/11 and what have you. It will save you time and money. Be warned, there may be huge lines over there too.
- Sunday is Special Sales day: On the last day of the convention, there will be various offers on stuff you wanted to buy for much less, so have a ball with the bargain bin of neat stuff and save those greens for the bus ride…and some soap for the shower.
Welp that’s all the wisdom I can offer for now. Till next time. :D
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