So KCCExpo is done and I can say it was pretty good. I dont know how the convention ITSELF was, since I couldn’t leave my table(solo selling). But I know it was small so that says something. For a small con, however, the artist alley seemed fairly packed. They succeeded in putting a LOT more tables than originally planned and since it was all in one big room, there was less issue with artists hidden away and getting no real business.
I remember at KFX there was issue of tight hallways and hidden booths that people didnt know about. Not the issue here. Nice flow. Good set up.
Sales were better this time than last time too. I think the very VERY affordable entrance fee really does it. More money to spend on artist alley. And because the tables were really affordable, unlike KFX, I actually made up for my table easily. If I had sold solo at KFX, I would not have. I only made 75-80 for a $100 table.
This time I made $135+
Now UNFORTUNATELY it was almost all stickers again. I don’t..SEEM to really-..sell my prints? Makes me kind of sad. But I do appreciate that people like my stickers so obviously focusing on small cheaper things is best for me.
Just like last time, theres a lot of challenges and learning curves. This was my first time ordering serious con products like charms and professionally printed stickers. Most of my stickers were still made with cricut paper and that became a whole new issue.
I also spent money where I shouldnt have, on things I didnt need because I didnt get the chance to use it or it was just unecessary.
I had a lot of plans for the con that I just couldn’t see through.
About haf, maybe, of the things I wanted to do could not be done due to lack of skill or time.
For example, I had planned to make the sewn felt plushies of bees, owls, cats and foxes.
I later bought felt colours that matched the voltron lions, since I was already focusing on voltron with my acrylic charms.
The main problem with the felt cafts was that I hadnt made anything with felt in many years, and what I had made was nothing compared to what I wanted to do for the con. It was much less flat of an object and I wasnt use to the sphereical shape required. The first attempt was extremely poor, and I didnt go back to try again because I had other things to focus on.
Another was the jewelry I wanted to get back into. I was starting to get into polymer clay finally, but due to my eczema, I could never work on it for long to build up the skill and really practice. So my hands were in poor condition. I tried with gloves but had nothing of proper size to allow me to work well. I now know I need to both work over a long span of time and to get something for my hands so I can even do anything with it.
I’ve got experience with beading and did want to look into selling that again, but had no confidence with the stock I had. I wanted to get into a different style but did not have time.
I wanted to really focus on painting but even that stock was too small. I actually bought a single grid wall to put against the back of my table but did not get the time to work on the big stuff.
I DID paint some bee art on little hexagonal wood panels, but not to what I wanted. I’ll definitely go back to that and try again though. I still enjoy the idea of bee art on hexagon wood.
I did get some nice painting out of it. I made a small hand size painting Im actually fond of. My deer painting came out nicely.
Selling original paintings at a con isnt really a good market though. It’ll be useful for our local arts market at least.
Setting up was an interesting challenge. It helped that I bought things to display my product and take up more space, but I was still selling solo and so take up much less space. And with less product, it looked pretty small compared to others. But I think I got it to work.
I looked into ways to display the prints better, so they don’t block each other so much. I ended up using cardboard and paper mache to just make something for the time being. And although the back was a little too short to properly stand up the back prints, it worked MOSTLY well?
I’ll want to look on expanding off that, definitely.
I made more stickers. And thus came up the next issue…
So with 3 friends moving to another city, and one of them being the person I looked to for help on home printing stickers, I was now stuck on that part. So I looked into getting a printer much like what she had. But with finances poor, I had to limit myself to an older model. I thought it would work but in the end the printer CAN NOT handled the cricut sticker paper. It gets stuck at the wheels when turning over and it either jams on one setting or moves so slow it only prints the very end of the job by the time it gets out. This wasted a LOT of ink.
After speaking with a coworker, I connected with the artist: Socij. They had a high end commercial printer and because of them, I was able to both restock on my voltron stickers AND get some new Adventure Time ones.
Getting the new printer wasnt a total loss. I now had a printer and scanner in one, so was able to save space when I already knew I needed to replace my fathers printer. The colour usage was better financially and the colour ACCURACY is great. I have an HP envy model, so I pay by paper and have my ink replaced for me through mail when I begin to run low.
Closer to the end of my deadline, I was looking into parchment based stck to print some bee related art. I thought I found what I needed, but it turned out to be of a regular paper thickness with just a linen texture. Not a total loss though, as one of my plans was to make some small 1 to 2 dollar booklets/zines of bee related art. I did NOT make that for this con, as I could not finish the art in time, BUT I have it for next time.
I also know that my local print shop I use has the linen stock Id like to print some digital prints on.
What I DID get from them was my Shepad “I should go” art on a thick polyester round cornered 4.5×4.5
The art was very popular online and I did get laughs at the con but it never sold. Oh well. Add to the stock, right?
What I made to go with it, as a set, was some chibi Shepard stickers. Im actually REALLY fond of these and though it sucks only one sold, I am glad I have them. These are UV protected laminated vinyl stickers. They’re very high quality so of couse they’re more expensive than the cricuts. But unfortunately I had to price them higher for the cost of making them to begin with. Minimum they have to be 2 dollars each over 1.
The biggest investment I had was the voltron stickers. I actually struggle a LOT with making these.
HERES what happened:
I worked hard to make sure I could order these charms in time for the con, keeping an eye on my expected source and their turn around time. Finally when I finished, I contacted them. BUT..they werent responding, I got paranoid after some time and looked into other potential sources.
The main issue? Design limits.
SO I have 6 designs here. The plan was to get 100. To split that evenly, I would have to expand to more than 6 designs. I’d get maybe…78? 84? And then Id use the remaining with an extra design. Either I’d use a sheep design or a zelda one, as seen here:
But the other two possible sources were VERY limited on designs. One would only take 5 designs per order, until you were ordering past 500. And the other took maybe 3 max per. The one with more designs per was in the UK and thus more expensive. I’d have to order multiple orders and split the designs between them to meet my needs EITHER WAY.
The lesser designs one had FREE double sided, so they seemed better, but in the end i chose the bigger order from the further place. I may look back into that later BUT the results were good.
..so. This would be really expensive right? I had to now get an order of 100 and 50. 5 charms each to evenly make them. 100 had 4 design and the 50 had 2. All designs covered without the extra ones needed. This would be maybe..500 dollars. Thats a lot. What happens the night Im planning to put my order out?
I get an email.
A discount on all acrylic charms.
This saved me SO much! I was saved! The timing was amazing. And I had to get that order out IMMEDIATELY to get to the front of the line. I did. I got them. And they turned out great.
I only sold 3 charms the whole time, sadly. BUT, bright side, I’m now selling them online, on my tictail shop. Something like this is much easier to sell online than my prints. So far I’ve actually sold to 3 customers and between them have sold 5 charms. Im really glad. The feeling of selling something I’ve made, knowing people are happy with something enough to physically want it in their hands, is such a warm feeling.
I also have my prints and stickers there. They don’t work out so much with profit versus cost to mail, but I’ve sold some stickers before so I figured I’d continue.
So now the con season this year is over for me. I cant join anymore cons for the year because sign up is closed, but I’ll be going to the town where my friend moved so I can join her in the cons there. Im more determined to expand even if I’ve not done as well as I’d like. Im slowly getting better.
I have all this time now and I already want to plan and make and get ready for the nex time. I want to sell online more and I want to create more. I want to build my brand and my audience more. I had these previous plans that didnt work out that I have TIME to try and work out next time. I have time to practice and to order and to save money. I want to make some Marceline and Bubblegum stickers to go with the Adventure Time set. I want to finish my Klance and Shallura voltron charms, already in the works. I may even orders those ahead of time and sell them online instead of waiting for the con.
If I actually made money effectively through my art, I could do it all. I DONT yet though, so we’ll just have to see. Just have to build things slow. But knowng how people love my stickers, I know I need to build on that.
I want to evetually get a button maker and make those. I want to look into magnets as well. AND I do want to make more original art I can sell, making cute charms, jewelry, buttons and stickers that everyone can enjoy and not just fandoms.
I still plan to make bee related work, with the books and paintings and linen stock print.
Im not completely dejected. I know what people like of my stuck. I know what I want and need. And I just want to create.