Momocon 2017 : Artist Alley Review

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN! Time to discuss the Artist Alleys I do this year! Which means I can no longer say I am anticipating con season- I’m DEEP IN IT! Like last year, I’m going to try and divide my assessment up into 3 parts- logistics, performance, and overall convention.

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I kicked the year off at Momocon in Atlanta, a convention I did not initially get into but my good friend Marina of Precious Bbyz asked if I’d be interested in table sharing, which was super fun! The first few times I ever tabled in an AA was with Marina so it was fun to do it again now that we’re both ~*professionals*~ who have more of a handle of what to do and how to not starve/die/hate life by the end of it. As a result, I’d say we both left with a favorable impression of the con. I would definitely love to return next year if I could! The people we met were also really friendly and helpful and post-artist-alley time was enjoyable. Yay! Yay for good feels!

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Marina made us some really incredible promotional art that is really important and fine, please take a look. I think she still has some and will be bringing them to A-kon so plz anticipate.

Logistics

Yo logistically this con was pretty easy? Any time I encounter an easy con logistics-wise, it makes me wonder what ya’ll other cons even doing. I flew in from LGA (Atlanta airport, I hate you) and I gathered my belongings and met up with Marina, and we UbErEdD over to the hotel, where we realized we arrived at 11 am on Wednesday when the alley didn’t even open until 2PM Thursday so we had like 27 hours to kill. Which we did by eating pizza and acquiring booze.

We were able to check in that night around 8PM and we probably could have set our table up then, but there was some confusion with the table layouts due to the loading dock in the back (this didn’t affect us) so we weren’t 100% sure if the layout would be the same in the morning (hint: it was). Also, no one at registration knew where to get Artist Alley badges but we basically just ended up needing to go to the back of the exhibit hall where the alley was and picked up the badges. Was relatively painless but I think the communication on how/when/where to accomplish this step of setup for artists was a little poor.

Our location was pretty decent, we were on a corner near a bunch of food vendors so while maybe the position wasn’t IDEAL, I think it could have been worse. It seemed to us that traffic was pretty consistent the entire time- I remember noting that there wasn’t even really time for me to play my 3DS which is pretty unusual for a con. But, the alley was only open from 10-7PM every day, which seems like short hours. I feel like we could have squeezed in some more profit with an extra hour or two in the evening. This leads me to

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Performance

This was maybe my 3rd lowest convention in terms of net profit, but this is also the only convention in a few years where I split a table. So if you combine profit for Ugly Plants AND Preciouz Bbyz, our table as a whole probably blew it out of the water. It was about on-par for most of my conventions last year, so for half a table I’m really thrilled. I did not sell out, as I have at previous conventions, so the fact that my profits were similar means that my tiny shift to more manufactured goods is paying off and I should probably get my ass in gear and do more of that, since I literally cannot physically sew any more than I already am loloollolollooll.

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I got the feeling some artists in the alley were not doing so favorably. I think us being plush artist and product designers, rather than print artists, really has helped us keep our profits even from con-to-con, year-to-year. I know some people are discussing the DEMISE OF PRINT ART SALES, which I can’t really speak to, but I can say it seems people still want to buy pins, stationary, keychains, and plush cacti.

I do want to, on a personal level, shift away from Pokemon and fanart plush. I’ve been telling myself this for maybe a year now, and it’s sort of hard to stick to when you have Bushwick rent looming over your head and you end up saying “sure, I’ll sew 20 more Mimikyu for you” but I’m trying to be more creative in my push designs and I have a lot of ideas for apparel and accessories that I’ve been slowly testing out too, so we’ll see if I can’t incorporate that into the mix throughout the rest of this convention season.

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Overall Convention

Though I didn’t really attend much of the convention (skipped the rave AND the game room, quite unlike me), it seemed to be an overall fun time. I did attend a panel by a friend which was really cool and full of people, and it seemed like no matter when/where I went the convention center was really packed so these are all good signs in my book!

But I did get to hang out with some really lovely people, and I experienced WAFFLE HOUSE/HAUS/HUT for the first time (I don’t know how it’s escaped me for so long), so my overall impression of the convention was really really positive. I only wish SONIA could have been there but you know, I can’t have it all. On that note, it was also my first con without my sister/helper and though it was fine, it’s always more fun with her there.

My next convention in approximately 9 days is A-kon and I am so unprepared it’s SHOCKING. I’ll be next to Precious Bbyz again in what we are referring to as KAWAII ALLEY, which is really just a clever scheme to ensure none of us starve or go loopy from sitting at our tables too long and always have a support system. I cannot wait for this con and the many more that follow!!

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