Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tips for Vending and Selling at Conventions

Lilly Inverse Designs, Squirrely Evil and I at my first anime convention, Animarathon, in March 2013
Vending or selling at a convention for the first time can make one anxious, flip out and down right spaztastic!

How to make the convention selling experience more enjoyable and successful:

Before the Con
  • Check out the convention program while restocking and creating inventory so you can get an idea of the audience that will be there. Look at the panels that are being offered as well as the guests that will be featured.
  • That being said, have a large variety of products. Customers love to see a well stocked table with lots of different kinds of eye candy.
  • Take inventory of your products.
  • Stock up on extra sleep if you can. Take more naps than usual. Your mind and body will be taxed and will thank you for stashing up the extra rest.
  • Take/keep taking that multivitamin. The con crud is a real thing! Many germ-filled hands will be touching everything! Your stock, you, money, door handles, tables, etc. Try and wash your hands before you eat and/or use hand sanitizer if you can't get to a bathroom.
  • Bring food and water - Depending on how busy it is you may not have time to leave your table. A refillable water bottle and crunchy peanut butter granola bars are my go-to items! Along with fudgy poptarts.
  • Do a dry run of the setup beforehand so you can tweak now instead of at the con.
  • Bring change! - Many customers will only have $20s from the ATM.
  • If you have multiple copies of the same product, pack the ones you would like on display first in a separately for easy access during setup.
  • Pack as much as you can the day before you leave. The day you leave may be hairy and the less you will have to worry about the better.
  • Not to get graphic but pack an extra pair of undies ladies! You never know if Aunt Flo is going to make an appearance.
  • Pack a sheet to cover your display when the vendor room closes.
  • Do you sell some products in sets? Store the items together to insure quicker service!
  • Bring an extension cord if you plan on using power as your table may not be close to an outlet.
  • Know where your table is going to be ahead of time? Post where customers can find you in social media.
  • I normally people watch or visit other vendors and artists when times are slow but consider bringing a book or a handheld game for when traffic slows down.
  • Give yourself extra time to get to the con and setup.
My booth location for MetaCon 2013

Setup/At the Con
  • Get to know your table neighbors. Particularly if you're by yourself. You will need them to watch your table when you need to use the restroom.
  • Have a notebook with you to write down all sales for inventory later. This is a great way to see what sells and what doesn't so you can adapt your con prep later.
  • Write down new ideas that you and your customers come up with.
  • Eat and drink!
  • Network with other artists and vendors during down time. Hand out your business card. Talk shop. You might make a new friend or two!
  • Have fun! Don't be afraid to attend a panel or two.
After the Con
  • Redo inventory and record sales to see how well you did.
  • Get extra sleep to make up for what you lost.
  • Post pictures of how fun it was on social media. We want to see!
  • Get ready to prep for the next one!
Has this article helped you? Tweet this article!

Can you think of more tips? Have questions? Please comment!