This past Saturday I tabled in an Artist Alley for the first time! I wanted to post a little recap about it here, in case people are interested and just for myself in the future.
The convention I tabled at was a small anime con called Karoshi-Con at Northern Illinois University. It’s a one day event with free admission, so it’s low-key, but still has all the standards like a cosplay contest, some panels, and of course the Artist Alley. In my opinion, I would definitely check it out if you live in the area, but if you’re more than a few hours’ drive away, it’s probably not worth it.
Anyway, I got there about 40 minutes later than I planned, so I was stressed out on arrival, but the staff was super friendly and helpful–I really can’t say enough about how great they were throughout the whole con. They made sure we artists were up to date on schedule changes and offered to table-sit if we wanted to walk around…I took advantage of that because I had to come to this con alone. Which was kind of scary, but also kind of nice because when I’m doing something nerve-wracking with another person I usually end up feeling more pressured and self-conscious. If I’m by myself I have to force myself to dive in and do it.
Fortunately, though, my table setup went fine and I sat expectantly as the con opened (true story I was actually so nervous at the beginning that when I tried to draw in my sketchbook I had to stop because my hands were shaking too much). Attendance was really good—there was a steady trickle of people coming through for most of the day. I was in a bad spot, in a corner against the wall with empty tables on either side, and I think a lot of people walked by because they just didn’t see me!
But as it turned out that didn’t matter too much because I still had much better sales than I was expecting. My goal was to earn back the tabling cost of $15, and I ended up earning more than $150! This was mostly thanks to my Youtuber merch; my Markiplier and Jacksepticeye buttons and charms were my highest sellers. I had anticipated this, and it was great to be going about my business and suddenly hear a high-pitched “yOU HAVE MARKIPLIER BUTTONS?!?!” One girl bought one of every piece of Mark merch I had. Another took my picture because “You’re the table with the awesome Youtuber stuff!”
It was really heartwarming, on one level because people liked stuff that I had put hard work into, but on another it was just nice to know that I had brought these people joy. It was a special feeling. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.
Another pleasant surprise was that people were interested in my original as well my fan stuff. A lot of people bought my “Spirits of Nature” prints and my zines. I actually sold out of “Feral.” It was encouraging to see my passion projects were so viable!
All in all this con was probably the best first AA I could have hoped for. I learned a lot about how to make my table better and what to sell for next time. The other artists, the attendees, and the staff were all amazingly sweet and made it a great experience for me. I definitely plan to return next year!