midousujifanclub said: have you ever sold at an artist alley? if so, do you have any tips? im thinking about selling at a local con for my first time this year.... thanks dude
HMMMM I made a post about this before but I guess I should do one that’s more in-depth.
OK SO TO PREPARE FOR ARTIST’S ALLEY:
1. Know what you’re willing to spend on AA. Artists alleys can be a great place to make money but they also can be a great way to lose money if you’re not prepared. Generally AA tables aren’t THAT expensive (AX’s is the most expensive i’ve seen - 215$ i think it was?) but when you consider the amount of people the go through the AA and impulse buy things (because lbr AAs are basically just one giant checkout counter candy aisle) you can actually make up your capital and come out with decent profit if you’re smart about it.
2. Find someone to table with, if you can. Someone who is into similar fandoms is a good idea. Try an artist friend or maybe someone from the internet who’s looking to get a spot. This increases your chances of actually getting a spot at an AA and also gives you someone to talk to and throw ideas back and forth when it comes to figuring out how you want to market yourself.
3. PREPARE IN ADVANCE. i can’t say this enough but if the con is 5 months away, you should be like, in the thick of conselling preparation. You need:
- a seller’s license/permit. Usually you can get these for free or for a meager cost through your county or state’s website (they usually end with a .gov so that is an indication that youre in the right place.) get these early and ask questions if youre confused about what theyre for or what they do and do not allow you to sell.
- a display. A lot of first time consellers tend to just kind of spread their stuff out on their table which requires the people walking past the table to look down. This is not a bad idea per se, but you’ll get less business this way. Ever wonder why expensive toys are generally at eye-level in toystores? It’s a selling tactic. People buy what they can immediately see and what catches their eye. Build a nice display for yourself, and make sure it fits your table and the rules and guidelines for the AA. Try to stay away from a lot of over the top display decorations. You can just build a simple and lightweight one with PVC or those interlocking wire shelving units that walmart carries.
- product. This sounds like a no-brainer but honestly it is a place where a lot of artists kinda… end up lost, especially first timers. Make sure you have product that is directed at the audience you’re selling at. Consider which series are popular (or are projected to be popular) at the time of the con. Consider what your financial limits are when it comes to producing product. A lot of sellers drop hundreds of dollars on product but they’re usually more experienced and really know what’s up. I’d recommend making simple buttons, laminated keychains, bookmarks, prints, and other small things that people can just buy immediately. Yknow like instant satisfaction type stuff. Be aware of how much money you’re putting into the product vs how much you’re selling it for, and also consider how much money your potential buyers are going to have on them to spend.
- commissions. This is something that I personally dislike doing, but it’s kind of a huge benefit to be able to do it at a con. Taking commissions at your table for people to come pick up later on or at the end of the con can suuuuper boost your sales because that person is getting something custom for them, and it’s tangible — they can take it with them. My advice for this is to only take five slots, and when you’re done with them, IF you get finished with them at the con, then open up for more if you feel confident enough to. Don’t take more than you are capable of handling though, because then you’re stuck producing realmedia commissions after the con, spending money to post them out, worrying about them getting damaged in the main, etc. It’s best to not overwhelm yourself.
- have a helper. Generally, most AAs allow each seller to have at least one helper with them. Your helper will help you pack up sales, exchange money, keep track of sales, bring you food and drink, relieve you when you need to go to the bathroom, etc. I would NOT sell without one. Most AAs also require the seller to be there most, if not all of the day while AA is open, so it can get stressful and tiring to sit there for 8 hours without being able to get up to pee or get something to eat.
- Understand tax. Are you going to be charging sales tax? Are you required to charge sales tax? Do you have to report those figures anywhere on your income tax reports at the end of the year? Look at this closely before you bust out into the AA scene. Learn first, do later.
Make sure you set up and take down your display BEFORE the con. Understand how much space you’ll have and how much room you will have to move behind your display. Set up your display so that it looks visually appealing, but is also not particularly complex to take apart and set up, and also make sure it isn’t delicate or fragile. Most people will, without thinking, touch the product you have on display because that’s what people like to do. If your product just falls of your display, figure out a better way to display it. When you’ve finalised your display setup, draft a schematic of it and take a photo of it so you have reference when it comes time to set it up.
Also understand that if you are not successful at the con, or not as successful as you had hoped to be, don’t get discouraged! Learn from what happened, what products you saw other sellers peddling, which of your products sold the worst, which ones sold the best, so on and so forth. Study what happened and recycle that information for the next time you do an artist alley table.
GET A PAYPAL CARD READER. I’M SERIOUS. If you have a smartphone, GET ONE. Some people just don’t have cash on hand or don’t have ‘enough’ to get what they want at your table, but DO have money in a card or in a bank account, and don’t want to go to an ATM to withdraw 3$ for a keychain. Make sure you get yourself a card reader if you have a smartphone. It’ll enable you to make WAY more sales.
There’s probably more I’m missing but thats the gist of it and i hope it helps!
answered this question late last night & thought it might be worth a read!
Awaake though Corgi not