I'm back from DragonCon and have finally stirred from my post-con torpor! Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by, including a couple of my Patrons here! It was so lovely to meet you and give you hugs (and pins!). I got to see so many artist friends I haven't met in person, plus old friends I only get to see this time of year. I only wish I'd had more time to spend with everyone!
I always like to do a write-up if I can. DragonCon is such a massive show and always a great event for testing out new, ambitious things! I've been working hard towards it for a long time before the event to make new products to debut, such as the tote bags and scarves. This was also the first time I've ever had to fill such a large space at 8 x 10 feet! It was an intimidating prospect!
So how'd I do? I sold half my canvas totes, but only a couple of scarves! Most folks went for my prints, pouches, totes, and greeting cards (especially the ones themed for the month of September!). I also think my display made an impression! People really seemed to love my little 'shrine' of flowers and candles.
You can also see a video tour of the booth here.
All in all, I made back expenses and then some! Having a larger display space really paid off for me, as I think the larger display footprint allowed me to give people a better idea of the scale of this ambitious project of mine which is really hard to contain in a smaller space.
The Art Show
The Art Show was a new beast this year! New management meant new changes, such as the lack of a silent auction or a print shop. This meant more floor space for artists and a new way to buy directly from the artist, instead of an auction! It was nice to be able to take my earnings from sales in the Gallery area home immediately instead of waiting for a check to come in the mail.
There was a little confusion about how to buy things from the gallery bay, but otherwise, I felt the changes were for the better, letting the Art Show check-in process go more smoothly (no dealing with barcodes or anything of that nature). I really enjoyed the new black pegboard for the Gallery area as well!
The volunteers were especially exceptional this year. They came around often to see if we needed help and check on our well-being!
What Did I Learn?
DragonCon, especially one where I test out new things, is always a learning experience! Here are some things I learned.
- Bundle Deals. The bundle deals worked like a charm! I attribute most of my sales to people wanting to buy gifts for multiple people and being encouraged to do so by saving a little money with a bulk discount.
- More Signage. I need more signage to show people I'm on Patreon, what my name is, and also that the series is about a birthstone series, as it took people a minute to realize this was a birthstone series and upon realizing that fact, they of course then wanted to immediately see what their month was, which was easier when I made month signs to go by the images (and to subdivide the print bins).
- The 15 Second Rule. Kevin, who has vast retail experience and is a remarkable salesman, taught me this at the con. Basically, instead of smothering people with my overeager greetings, give people 15 seconds to process what they're seeing and decide if they are engaged with it.
This wait time helped me make a better call about who was meandering through and who was actually interested so I don't waste my precious introvert energy on people who have no interest.
- Stock for Birthday/Month Sensitive Items. I had so many September babies stop by and say "It's my birth month and I'm treating myself" or I had friends of September babies shopping for birthday gifts for the special September person in their life. This should have been obvious to me, but I need to keep more stock on hand for these timely occasions! I even made extra of September and still sold out!
- More Small Impulse Items. I had so many people who didn't want to make a big investment or who didn't have a lot of wall space who ended up scooping up stickers and greeting cards. I would have sold pins like hot cakes for this reason as well!
I want to focus my table area around showing off these small items since they became the 'bread and butter' small sales that added up nicely at the end of the day because they are easy to manufacture on a mass scale with a good markup and impulse range price tag that isn't too much of a burden for the average buyer.
- Calendar. I REALLY need to finish up the calendar for this series, as now that I have all 12 images, it's become my number one requested item. I've planned to work on it after the enamel pins, so it will be coming next year!
Oh boy it was SO hard to pick a cosplay to feature here! Now that they've lifted the no photo ban in the Art Show, I had a lot of fun taking photos of amazing cosplayers who dropped by my booth. They were all wonderful and you can see more of them here.
However, I just have to feature this lady! I was a Power Rangers fan back in the day and this lady made me squeal with nostalgic glee. She also made her costume herself!
I am already missing the glorious geeky chaos that was DragonCon! I love being around so many kindred spirits that it feels pretty lonely when I get home and return to the grind. I'm grateful my fans (and especially my Patrons) are here in my corner experiencing this journey along with me. Your encouragement and feedback have helped me have one of my best cons ever!
Next, I'll be hopping right into Kickstarter fulfillment and revving up for the Goddesses of Autumn pins, so there's no rest for the wary!
Did you stop by at DragonCon? What was your fave cosplay? Sound off in the comments!