AnimeFest 2016: Artist Alley Review

One thing I’ve noticed that is starting to deeply disturb me is the ATROCIOUS LIGHTING in every artist alley ever. Like, I get it that we’re always in a convention center or hotel, this isn’t really like a shock but it’s starting to bother me. Whose prints look good in this lighting???? Look at me. I look like an alien who has just eaten the blood of an enemy (ie colourpop avenue ultra matte lipstick) (side note: do not recommend that lipstick)

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A big plus side is that I was able to wear British Bear which I got in the mail THE DAY BEFORE WE LEFT!!! BEAR COORDS, TIS LIT:

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Logistics

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We actually managed to make it in time for badge pickup on Thursday since we were a short(er) drive away, but we were unable to actually set up our booths? So we went to Daiso and H-mart instead? And we saved badge pick up for the morning when we could just do one big trip and get our booths in order as well. Badge pickup was painless, my friend told me they ran the Sales Tax IDs the night before in anticipation of the internet pooping out so it was really quick. The only complaint I have is that the islands and artists spots were completely unmarked….so all weekend I had people asking me what letter/number I was and the only way I could figure out WHERE I was located was by asking nearby people. Just put sticky notes with artist names on the tables or SOMETHING. There was a pillar per island, you could also just print out a big LETTER and stick it up there.

The big thing with this alley is that the space is 100% open…100% of the time. This didn’t bother me much at first and it’s still not a HUGE deal, since I packed up my product and brought it with me at the end of the night…but that’s because I have a bunch of plush and I can put it in a bag and toss it over my shoulder. There’s a few problems with the open alley:

  1. You get more people off the street that are just looking for something free to do. I.E. you didn’t need a badge to get into the AA, so yo have more kids and teenagers not looking to even spend a little bit of money on a badge. Now, you DO get some sales this way that you may not have, but overall I think it provided for a less-spendy crowd.
  2. Security is crap. Day 2, I believe it was, I heard some chisme that an artist near the front had prints stolen overnight. Apparently the thief went for the display first, ripped the print he wanted to get down, as well as others around it, then left the damaged prints and stole some from under the table instead.

This is the big issue for me with this con- you could tell when the drunkies started coming out (and it does seem like this is primarily a party con) and the AA being open all night means there is an entire floor where people can wander and hang out in, with little to no security (I literally saw one security dude make his rounds while I was at my table). If the sales made it worth it, that would be one thing, but regardless- people having stuff messed up or stolen is a bad bad thing.

Performance

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So I wasn’t so far in back this time, but it didn’t really seem to matter because the foot traffic all around was not that great. But also, being closer to the front doors where the food trucks were waiting outside might have helped a bit. I didn’t bring that much since I literally just had what I could make in 9 days, and I baaaaasically sold it all, but I had to mark things down and cut deals more than I have at previous cons. My profit was 78% of the total cost of items brought, if that helps. I’m usually in the 90% range. The AA in general was kind of dead…..maybe that’s just my impression. There were also more plush artists than most cons I go to but that’s ok, I don’t think it’s bad!

It’s like I said, if sales and traffic made it worth it to push thru the uninterested attendees and the unsecured alley area, that would be one thing, but they didn’t.

Overall Convention

I’m too tired from conventioning to have done anything at this con. BUT, zero panels interested me, the dealer room was FINE (I did get myself a bunch of things), but I can’t really speak to much of the convention otherwise.

I will comment on the Sheraton, though! We were in a room near the elevators which meant that the whole time, the place literally shook and grumbled and trembled the entire time! Walls are crap, so it was pretty noisy from neighbors and parties down the hall. The tub didn’t drain, phone didn’t work, and the elevators in general seemed like they were gonna snap at any second. Solid “Meh/10” not sure if I’ll be back next year. I think I may switch for San Japan (I miss youuuu) instead.

This is the last convention I have planned for this year and I’m pretty exhausted. I have a trip to New York in a couple days and a bunch of Etsy orders to fill in the meantime, and THEN is San Japan which I won’t be doing AA at, but I WILL be working with the fashion team, so it’s a whirlwind rest of August!

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