Wooo! I've been super busy. I feel bad since that usually means I start to neglect tumblr and DA XD Oh well, I'm here now! Anywho, not that my first two conventions of the year have passes, I'm getting ready for the big one...ANIME EXPO! This will be my second time vending at Anime Expo in their Artist Alley, but it seems like the first since the store has changed so much from that first visit. I have ten times the product and product diversity which is great, but it makes it much more difficult to decide what to bring.
Would those of you who attend conventions care to leave me some feedback?
First off, I know my items are at a much higher price point than most items in an artist alley which usually consist of buttons and prints (most priced under $20). Despite that, I at least always recoup my expenses to get to the convention, but not always my time. The problem is that A) I have to hand make all of my product from scratch every time and B) everything I make should be custom sized; this makes it very hard to decide on what stock to bring.
Kimono dresses are by far my most popular items but are, alas, the most reliant on custom measurements, so I can't bring stock of them besides maybe a display dress. Pinafores that tie in the front can be adjusted for multiple sizes, but I have over 200 pinafore designs which makes decided which to bring a tad overwhelming. Skirts with zippers are fantastic and cute, but once again rely on custom sizing. Skirts with elastic waists can at least fit multiple waist measurements, but they're usually not my favorite choice out of all of my designs. Printed are ideal for convention selling, but my small scale means I have to front money to buy stock and, if I misinterpret what the favorites and most popular sizes are, I'll be left with a ton of stock and a hole in my bank account.
It seems like t he easiest option would be to just accept custom orders and have samples at my tables, but where's the fun in that
I want to be the savoir for that girl who got to attend AX at the last second and desperately wants something cute to wear that day to the con. I want to see how happy girls get when their mom surprises them by buying them one of my dresses they had been eyeing. I want to help the boys who want the freedom of dresses without their parents' judgment. Pretty much I want to see the smiles on everyone's' faces when I physically hand them something they're excited to buy since I normally interact with people over a computer.
SOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooo what doe you guys think about this?
- I'll take custom orders for kimono dresses, but not have any in stock
- I'm considering doing the same thing for pinafores, but I really want people to be able to use them day of. Maybe you guys can let me know what your favorite pinafore designs are and I'll work on making some stock of your favorites?
- Take custom orders for skirts with zippers and bring samples, but have no stock
- Bring the leftover printed dress stock I have from ALA and order only a select few new designs to bring along (I'm looking at you Sesshoumaru)
- Bring an assortment of capelets and skirts with elastic waists since those can fit multiple sizes.
In addition to my normal clothes, I was thinking about cleaning up some of the sketches in my D&D notebook and maybe making stickers or keychains. You know...something small that people can buy since I know cosplay items aren't in everyone's convention budget. I have a specific "doll style" that I use when I'm sketching characters in Darling Army designs, but I'm unsure of how well they'll do on keychains or stickers since they're taller than the traditional chibis that most people sell. I also have a vector, lineless chibi style that is more in line with what I see on DA and in Artist Alley, but I feel like it kinda loses some of the clothing detail which I like so much =3 What do you guys think? Would you be interested in small merchandise like in my doll style like the girl Natsu picture down below (without the BG and cut around, of course)? Or should I bite the bullet and go with the more widely accepted, squash chibi? It's a classic for a reason ;3
Any input would be fantastic. I'd also love to hear what you would want to see at a convention from me. What would you want to see in person? Would you be more interested in taking something home that day or having it custom made and shipped later? Yes on stickers?
Thank you guys so much in advance!
Just for fun, here's a throwback photo of me and my BFF the last time we attending AX a few years ago. Comfortable cosplay FTW