Though I don’t often try out first-year cons for obvious reasons, I was super pleased with my experience at Anime NYC and I’m really glad I took the smol risk! Are you sick of seeing my table set up yet?????
I missed a lot of Saturday (I wasn’t drunk for once!!!) and my helper was out of commission, so unfortunately I didn’t get to experience this con very much outside the artist alley. That definitely limits my ability to generalize about the con and should provide a grain of salt to any readers, but I’ve done enough conventions at this point that I think I got a feel for it as a seller!
Ya’ll, God bless- that’s all I have to say. I run errands in the city almost every day so I picked up my badge Thursday before the convention- this took me literally 30 seconds. Well, it took me like 30 minutes to get over to the Javits center but y’know whatever. Then, when setting up the next morning, I kid you not I have never dealt with a more competent, efficient, and helpful staff. Maybe having unionized security/staff for the convention center helped (they are unionized, correct??) but even the volunteer staff knew exactly where to direct me.
I’ve decided to break down categorically the issues one may encounter while setting up for Artist Alley and attach a corresponding number that denotes the amount of ~*difficulty*~ I had with each category:
- Picking up my badge: 0
- Getting into the center: 0
- Finding the Alley: 0
- Finding my table: 0
- Permits and Paperwork: 0
- Friendliness of Alley Staff: 0
- Volunteer Staff’s general knowledge: 0
I mean you get the idea. Even my boyfriend was surprised by how competent and efficient all the staff and volunteers seemed to be, having experienced some cons and heard horror stories of others. 10/10
I MIGHT say that the alley layout was not ~*ideal*~. It was shaped like a big T, with a big gap separating the bottom from the top- I think this was disorienting for buyers, and some sellers seemed to not like this. I didn’t see it impacting traffic negatively, personally, but it’s a legitimate concern. Also, it was a tad cramped behind the tables, but I’ve had full-on problems with this at some cons, but it really was no big deal for ANYC.
(I did get to wear my new Lief dress which I am obsessed with- I now want to wear enormous headbows every single day)
So, again, having missed most of Saturday for personal reasons out of anyone’s control (literally no alcohol for once!) I don’t really want to comment on this, but I will say that this was my highest net profit con for the year, by a small margin- this is mostly due to the low overhead for a con that is literally in the same city as me. I paid for the table, cabs to and from, and of course all the fabric I always have to buy. I think I could have done better with a bit more prep and, of course, if I’d not been a little out of it mentally as well as literally out of the center for most of the biggest day!
Again, I can’t comment much- I did see the dealer’s room, it was pretty dope, but I didn’t get to explore any other programming (though reading thru the pamphlets, it all seemed dope too).
Instead I’ll use this section to comment on my overall impression and whether I recommend this convention specifically. This alley was juried- this is a HUGE deal to me! It seems like more and more conventions are turning to lottery and FCFS, which in my opinion is irresponsible and lazy (you heard me!). But having a curated alley makes a huge difference- all of the work you see is quality (I felt honored to be included amongst these amazing artists no joke), and thus the Artist Alley became a destination. As a result, people sought it out with the intent to spend. I was concerned at first when I saw the alley was in its own hall, separate from other things, but the sheer size of the convention and the high standard of the alley really drew people to the booths.
Beyond that, it’s honestly difficult for me to recommend based on sales numbers, just because I am not a print artist and I tend to have the same numbers from convention to convention. I don’t want to say it’s easier for me to sell things because I’m a plush artist- this definitely isn’t true, my items have a high price point (I’m not fucking around here). It just means I occupy a different market from most people. I CAN say that the reason my net income was so high is because I live in Bushwick, so this should be a serious consideration for you if you want to fly in from California- maybe it’s not worth it, maybe it is if you want to access a new audience or just hang out in NYC for a bit (which you should, we have amazing food).
The final comment I really wanted to make about this convention was regarding the attendees. Never in my life have I been to a con with kinder, friendlier, considerate, and empathetic attendees. I am not exaggerating one bit- everyone who stopped at my table was so sweet and complimentary, and I was having a pretty rough weekend so I just left feeling so overwhelmed and humbled that I wanted to cry. Miraculously, I did not have a single person harass me about my prices- even if people couldn’t afford the items, they made sure to tell me how much they loved and appreciated my work which, honestly, means just as much to me. It really does, money is great and I suppose I have to pay rent, but if I could love off of shin ramen and the love of strangers alone, I would.
I also got to meet so many people that knew me from Instagram and Etsy, and connect with so many artists that I may not have otherwise- it was really really special and I really really REALLY had a lovely time for these reasons alone. I really hope I am lucky enough to be able to return in 2018 because I love New York and I love that we finally have an Anime convention of our own- and a good one, at that!
To wrap up 2017, I’m working on a “State of the AA World” post to sort of set the stage for myself for 2018, and also just to maybe start a discussion with other artists, because I love talking smol business and I love hearing what other people think. Also, I want to try some new things on this blog- I want to do a video for my New Year’s resolutions, as well as maybe highlight some more FUN aspects of my life beyond just writing reviews. That’s all, until my next post whenever it be~