I made a big jump comparison from last years cons to this years. I know there was some dejection before. It’s pretty hard to get into something you don’t yet have anything to compare to. And since I had nothing, I was pushing myself that year to make a bunch of things I wasn’t sure would sell. I wore myself out the first time, and stressed out on whether I had enough on the second.
The difference between last years motivation, efforts, and results were quite different.
So I’d rather not go too much into details over costs. More so cause I dont have enough to track it ALL. There was a lot of wasted costs in things I never even MADE.
But when it came to tables versus income, that was an obvious comparison.
Last year AND this year I did two cons. Last year were single days. This year were two days. I’ve only done the first of the two for this year, of course.
Last year, first con, was $100 for a table for ONE day. Overly expensive for a poorly promoted and early stages con. I and 3 people split the table and only had to pay $30 each, with 10% off our table due to early registration. I made $70 myself. With low numbers of products, I wouldn’t have made it solo. Stickers were what I earned everything in.
Second con. Table was around $25-30 I believe. Much more affordable, and on its very first year. So the expected outcome was small but the results were actually good. It felt like it was a glorified festival/market due to lack of proper paneling. But I think that’s the expectation with small first start cons. We don’t have the greatest venues for lots of panels as is. I can only imagine the costs for the con hosts. I made $130 that con, mostly due to headpieces. But stickers still earned me the most, much like the first.
Third con, first of this year(2018), was a table that cost me around $70. This was a table for TWO days. THIS was Penti-con.
Let me elaborate:
Penti-con, I believe, was on its second year at this point. I knew a few people that had gone and seemed to enjoy it but I don’t believe it was TOO well advertised that time. I may be mixing it up with another.
Now I have no idea if they had much in the way of panels, but I know that the artist alley was in a LARGE room, much like the size of a standard highschool gym. Perhaps larger. I’m sure there’s a proper term for it I cant think of.
The stated expected outcome was 1000 people, and I don’t think they met that number but it sounds like they came close to 900? (Don’t quote me on that…)
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I gotta say the atmosphere felt very positive. I never left the main area besides getting water from a concession stand(btw they supplied water later for free), so I don’t know what was around, but the host of the con was VERY good about both taking care of her vendors and making sure to communicate with her attendees. She would consistently make announcements for the attendees to let them know when something was going on. It was honestly the only way I knew there was Axe Monkeys(Axe throwing company) out front, of a childrens potions class, and when a guest speaker was starting. She had an impromptu scavenger hunt and a little conga line for child cosplayers(Note: Led by a THE MASK cosplayer who had the music from the chicka boom scene)
She also made sure that all tables had made up their table costs, which I greatly appreciate as I had both that and a hotel to pay for. I feared the worst with such expenses. And had I a local to stay with, I probably would have come out completely green.
So as I said, the cost of the table was around $70(75?) for two days. Very affordable. The hefty costs I PERSONALLY dealt with was my hotel. They did their best to make sure con goers got deals but since I was solo in a room, it hit me hard either way. I’m sure one can go a group stay and that’d be much better for them. Later, a con attendee suggested I stay with her next time.
My hotel, a single bed with a kitchen, cost me $200 for two days. That’s $275 to make up for. And that isn’t even taking into consideration all the expenses in making my charms that year, the stickers, and my new prints. Especially considering just how MANY I made. I’ll get into that later.
I made a LOT of product to cover two days, juuust incase. Better safe than sorry, right? It’s not like I wouldn’t be able to sell what was left later. Everything I made earlier that year would cover BOTH June and August. Funny enough I actually need to restock on certain stickers.
On the first day, in only the first two hours, I made up my table ($76). The days were 10-5 and 10-4, to give you an idea of time. By 2pm I made $150. By the end of the day I’d made $230. That is nearly double what I made in a single day at my last con.
On the second day, it was MUCH slower. What I gathered from advice and commentary, you would want to make up most of your costs in the first day. I didn’t make up hotel AND table yet, but you can consider the hotel now covered.
By the second day, both was covered. I have to recalculate but the results were $350 overall.
Now there was some big differences here.
WHAT DID I SELL?
So last year, second con, I had 7 prints and 1 bookmark. I took away 3 prints from the first year because they were printed at home AND one was based on a series not overly fond of selling fanart(Too small of a company.) I also took out the sticker for it.
I had one new print and 5 new stickers.
As well, there was the Voltron charms
From the end of that con, to the June 2018’s Penti-con, I had a HUGE overhaul.
12 new charms were made. Some were made over the end of 2017 and the rest were made early 2018. I liked to order anytime the supplier had a sale. The costs were pretty heavy compared to how often I sell, but its good in the long run.
7 were new Voltron charms, 2 were Zelda and 3 were Mass Effect.
The Voltron charms were 2 extra characters added to the same cat hood themed charms made for August 2017 and 5 pairing(AKA Ships) charms of selective couples from the original 6.
The 2 Zelda ones were selected from many ideas I had. I wanted to do a few for “Breath of the Wild”, “Ocarina of Time” and “Wind Waker”. Several were ready to make but I selected the more simple and easier ones due to how much I’d put on my plate and the time constraints.
The fairy bottle had been done before but I started over on it when I prepared it for this year. Twilight Princess wolf Link was a BIT of a challenge since I’m not experienced in drawing wolves but he was also the least amount of detail.
The Mass Effect ones were actually all from existing stickers. The Shepard was done for August, and the Tali and Garrus were done by the end of the year. I took all three and made them charms in 2018.
Each charm was $8 each except ONE design. The Klance charm with holding hands. That charm had two different designs on each side. It’s $10. Another one had a SLIGHTLY different design(the Allurance) but that was just their faces.
RESULTS: Whereas in August I sold 1, and over time online I sold many more, I successfully sold I think 21 at Penti-con. Unexpectedly successful. I think it helped that I upped my game when it comes to display.
As you see, I finally used a grid wall I got last year for my stickers, and I also got grid squares for the charms. Each charm was packaged with a designed backing and something to hang.
Speaking of stickers. I went craaazy with stickers. I don’t know what pushed me to do it but I started sketching out a few new Pokemon stickers and a few became MANY. But the main overhaul was the Steven Universe stickers.
Over several months I did the linearts, then the flat colouring and then the full shading. I actually found it less stressful to do it that way than finishing a full sticker and moving on to the next. I feel like I would have burnt myself out easier by working on the same things for a longer period than working on a couple linearts that day and switching between multiple items.
I had plans for all major Steven Universe characters, and even some secondary stickers for ones. For example, Lapis was to have two with different moods. Pearl was going to have a second one that specifically went with the Mystery Girl sticker, and Blue Diamond had one that was from her first appearance with her cloak.
I ended up at least finishing the characters planned, though not every sticker. ALMOST all got finished by June. I’ll be finishing the rest for August.
The Pokemon stickers was less of an organized plan. I sketched a lot of them out, scanned them and then digitally sketched over it for finish concept. Not all of them got digitally sketched, which narrowed down which ones I’d work on next, and not all of those digitally sketched concepts were finished either. I just wanted to make sure what I wanted to go.
There’s still plenty I have listed, and even some not properly sketched.
My goal was initially over 80 stickers, which included some new Voltron ones(Now aimed for August) and Night in the Woods.
But all these stickers had to be home printed or home cut. The Pokemon ones were all printed locally, cut by hand. The Steven Universe ones were printed on my own printer with a new Sticker paper I bought in a stack of 40. The Cricut paper was WAY too thick for mine to handle, and I no longer had access to my friend’s printer. So I needed a new option. They still look very good. I sell them for cheap. Depending on how they were made, what with, and what size, they were a variety of price. And I sold them in groups.
The Pokemon stickers were almost all 1.00 each. I’ve been told that’s still underselling but I think it was better for me. The Dratini and Teddiursa were very small so only .50 and the Ninetails and Growlithe were much larger than normal and so I put them at $2. I might lower them to 1.50
The Steven Universe stickers, having been home printed, would be .50 to 1.00 based on size. I separated them all by group. The Voltron stickers were small, though printed on the better Cricut last year, and I sold them for .50 each. The Adventure Times also were Cricut but I lowered from from last years $1 to .75 cents. And finally the HIGH QUALITY, UV Laminate gloss Mass Effect stickers sold at $2 each. Harder to sell those. But they were so expensive to make, I cant lower the price.
I sold the Pokemon stickers as sets of 5 for $3, otherwise known as $5 WORTH of stickers for only $3 (meaning you can get Dratini and Teddiursa as a single $1 sticker, or Growlith/Ninetails as 2 $1 stickers worth.) I can honestly say that I’m sure I made more doing that deal because every time I told someone about the deal, they grew in interest. And those wanting all the Eevees suddenly had a better option.
As usual, stickers sold the most. I sold 193 stickers.
Surprisingly, I didn’t do too bad with prints this time. I added to my variety a little bit by putting in an original, an Adventure Time print that was much more colourful than the first con’s one, and a Voltron print. I also made one more Zelda print and an extra AT bookmark.
I didn’t expect it, but I sold the Voltron print a lot. It supports the idea of a Poly relationship with 4 characters, and often the ships shown in it were sold with charms. The Bubbaline one didn’t surprise me as much. I was very proud of how it came out. It was colourful and happy and it was a very popular pairing. The Zelda one sold a few times, though I had hoped to sell it to one person who wanted both her and Link. I gave him a deal but he couldn’t take his debit on my app. He did compliment the work though.
Zelda was much more detailed than Link and she took less time. I think Im just getting better at the speed I illustrate. Considering how many I did in a couple months with charms prints and ALL stickers.
My proudest moment was actually selling my ORIGINAL print, the first of the Bee prints meant to be compiled in a zine later on. I’m working on the second print for August.
Whereas I sold maybe 2 first con, 1 online, and I don’t think any last October, I sold at least 20 prints at Penti-con.
I’m most proud about the fact that I made as much products, as many illustrations as I did in that time. I started early so as not to stressed out and I was STILLmaking things in the last week. I packaged things way more professionally and had a table FULL of stuff. I actually have to look at how I’m going to fit more later because I may lack the room. The grid wall and squares really help and I got that wooden shelf from someone online. Id love to get another from him that’s bigger, maybe more rows? Maybe I’ll set one behind or in front on a box?