March was a bit of a whirlwind due to not just having two shows but also due to all the personal life things happening. I really meant to get these reviews out sooner, but I guess better late than never? 🙂
Nerdfaire was a one-day new event in Lynwood, WA.
The table was inexpensive, we drove up just for the day (a little less than a tank of gas for the round trip), and we didn’t print anything new for the show, so therefore our costs were super minimal. We made back those expenses by lunchtime, so everything after that was gravy. I unfortunately did not get a chance to talk to other vendors about how their sales did, due to everything else that was going on that day.
Which brings me to my next point – the vibe and the staff. It was AWESOME. It felt like being welcomed home, even though I didn’t know any of this staff. They were very on top of things and helpful. And once we got our awful news during setup, every member of the staff continued to go out of their way to check on us throughout the day. When I needed to get an extra badge last minute so we could have someone come jump in for Harrison, they made it so hassle free and simple. The vendors around us were also gracious and helpful and constantly checking on us. And Harrison’s wonderful fans – I especially want to thank Mac and his human for caring so much.
Towards the end of the day, the staff came around asking questions about what worked and what didn’t, in person, and then followed up with an online survey after the show. I appreciate that they genuinely seem to care about everyone’s feedback as they look to grow this new event.
The only cons I have: vendor parking being at a church down the street didn’t feel very convenient or secure. Additionally, being a one-day con, pretty much everyone who was going to come showed up first thing in the morning. Which means by about 230pm/3, the hall was preeeeeetty quiet and stayed that way till close at 6pm. We had already made a profit, so we didn’t mind, but it was a long time to just sit there getting to know our neighbors with very few sales.
The end result/verdict: It was worth it for us, we’ll totally do it again. And I’m confident it will keep growing!
ECCC (Emerald City Comic Con), the big Pacific Northwest show in Seattle, ran March 14-17 this year. We were in the main vendor hall, sharing a large booth with our studio mates. I love this show, I really do.
So let me start with the pros. Wonderful time with fellow vendors, wonderful interactions with fans. The people at this show are part of what keep us coming back. Even the new security, for us, was smoother than we had worried it would be. Yes, it meant we had to allow a little extra time, and the first day had a few rough patches, but then it smoothed out as people got into a routine. Caveat: other than our boothmates, we didn’t have a chance to ask many of our other vendor friends about their experiences with the new security. I have heard, in general, that considering it was new, it ran okay for exhibitors but there were some major issues with treatment of anyone with ADA access.
This year was also our best year so far there in terms of sales. We were considerably up from last year.
The cons: Our great sales were sadly not enough, because costs have also gone up! We noticed both our hotel bills and food bills went up from last year, so we’ll have to make some adjustments on those plans in future if we want to balance things out. Seattle just keeps getting pricier. Table costs also keep going up, especially for those (like us) who don’t or can’t get in to Artist Alley and have to spring for vendor hall space. Also on the cost side (and this one is totally on us!), we miscalculated how much more pet sitting would cost us with the new dog!
Other vendors we spoke to (both on the vendor floor and in Artist Alley) said they did okay, but many were down in total sales from last year. It sounded like those in the Homegrown Section (hidden allllll the way in the back corner across the Sky Bridge) were especially struggling to make sales (or even get found by people looking for them!).
The verdict: All in all, I love Seattle, I still love the vibe and people at this show every year, but we need to be able to cut our costs and get back into Artist Alley to really make it worth our while. It’s firmly in the “we really want to keep doing it, let’s see how things shake out” camp right now for us.