The first convention I ever had an Artist Alley table for, was Kollision Con 2011. Actually it was my first time selling my jewelry, Charms by Nash, at any craft show-like event. To be blunt, it was a total loss for me, and very disappointing. Between the production cost of making my jewelry, the cost of the table, travel, and hotel, it wasn't worth it.
I thought, "If I can't sell this kawaii handmade miniature food jewelry at an anime convention, what's the point?" I just continued to sell my jewelry online, and I stayed away from conventions all together. My skills as a polymer clay artist have definitely grown over the last two years, and I've sold a lot of piece online, so I thought I'd give Kollision Con one more try.
This year, I decided not to kill myself making hundreds of pieces for the con. I just worked on making a variety of items, and whatever I didn't finish I wouldn't sell it. I really wanted to have the Portal Cake Necklaces done for the convention, but they weren't finished in time (you can see both yellow and chocolate portal cakes in my Etsy shop).
Kollision Con 2013 was 10 times better than 2011. The last time I did Kollision Con, it was in a really nice hotel in St. Charles. The location was gorgeous, but the placement of Artist Alley was terrible. They put us in a hallway, and at some point one of the lights blew out, and we were in a dimly lit hallway.
This year, they put the Artists and Vendors in one huge conference hall. There was a lot of aisle space, the lighting was really good, the staff members were great, and the circulation of convention goers was awesome. I got such a huge response to my jewelry, it was unbelievable. I have to say, I really do enjoy interacting with customers in person.
They get to see the detail of my work up close, and they learn a little bit about how I make the pieces. I don't know if it was the change in venue, the fact that Kollision Con has been around for 4 years now, or maybe the fact that I've gotten better at making delicious looking trinkets, but this year was a huge success for Charms by Nash.
I took some of the profits from that weekend to register for an Artist Alley table at Anime Midwest! So my optimism about conventions is restore, and if sales continue to go well, I'll be going to a lot more anime conventions in the Chicago area.
I will definitely be getting an Artist table at Kollision Con again. You can see a full gallery of my perspective of the con (including some really awesome cosplayers) in my Facebook Gallery.