This is a little late and I apologize. I’ve been so busy with shows and work and life this is the first chance I have had to reflect upon MegaCon!
Last fall many of my students and colleagues at AI Tampa wondered if I was going to sell at Mega this year. I kept saying ‘No, I’m not a Con girl. I don’t think my work would fit there. I could never make enough’ Then I started thinking, why wouldn’t I fit there? Should I take a risk and do a Con? Especially a big risk such as MegaCon? I started looking up past con vendors, pictures from the exhibitor floor, and thought some more. In the end I knew it would be a lot of work and a big risk, but how else could I get my name out there so fast and to a larger group of people? I typically sell to just Craft Shows and ETSY and finding a following there is difficult. Maybe this was my chance to break out! Answer: Yes it was.
I started designing a new line to fit with the Con crowd. My own look and style, but something I would want to buy at a Con. Something that was not necessarily anime, but comic related. I like cute and fun. You never see cute and fun comic heroes. You never see cute and fun hair stuff that’s not kawaii. And mainly, you never find cute plush that isn’t made in China/Korea/YouPickYourForeignCountryHere. Thinking along those lines I developed a new plush line and started making hair accessories I would want. I found similar ones in the UK and felt I could make my own here. I have this fancy smchancy sewing machine, let’s put it to use!
And boy did I. I was in such productive modes for December and January I often had two machines going at once. I would set my embroidery machine up to make the hair accessories and on the opposite side of my loft sewing super hero monsters on my back up machine. For about 6 months I had these pillow forms wondering what to do with them. About three weeks before the Con my brillant idea came. Super Hero Logo Quilted Pillows! (And I was brilliant by the way. I made seven and came home with two.)
Typically I can set my booth up in under an hour for a regular craft show. But with the amount of product I was bringing when I had the option to come in the day before I jumped at it! Jay dropped me off with all my stuff and took Zoe shopping. I tried to create a booth that was inviting and fun. We were given a 10′ x 10′ space. So many people had their table pushed up to the front. Come on people, use that space wisely! I placed my table back four feet to let them come in and have more room to show my plush work. I really think this helped. We used Jay’s Mario canvases as a conversation starter to help pull people in. (Those three canvases are still available if anyone is interested!)
On Day 1 I got there a few hours early to lay all my small pieces out and to check out the competition. Looking around I saw a few other plush artists but no one had anything like me work. I was nervous and excited about the day to come. Would my work be liked? Would I do well? Well, before the show opened my neighbor came over and bought my two largest monster canvases that I brought for decoration. I brought them to fill my space, I honestly didn’t believe they would sell. And they were the first to go! I brought 6 canvases and came home with two. I am serious when I say I had these 6 for over a year and a half. And to be gone that fast? Wow to me. Doors open, the madness begins. I was selling like crazy and selling items I honestly didn’t think would go. My super heroes were doing well but the pillows sold fast and my normal plush that I do all the time nerly sold out. My awesome hair accessories barely sold at all. My coffee cozies were a great item and did very well. My goal for Day #1 was to make back the fee of the space. I was short $10 of that goal. All in all an awesome day 1. If I compare my earnings to a regular craft show – I killed it.
Head on Day 2, the longest of the three days. We knew this day, the Saturday of the show would be the craziest. And it definitely was. Barely any breathing room! Sale after sale after sale. I honestly can’t believe how well I was selling. The audience I always try to sell for was there. Everything was selling on Day 2. I really wanted to go and look around but discovered that would have to wait until Sunday. My goal for Day #2 was to make the booth fee again. I passed it by a lot. Again, killed it!
Day 3 – We are ready to go and hope to have nothing to bring back. I have to keep rearranging my spaces because they are starting to look bare. I start directing people to my website because at this point three of the six super heroes have sold out. Please note I came with five of each! I had a little break when it was thinning out to go look around. I made a trade and bought one item from other artists. One problem I always have with craft shows and cons is I don’t want to buy something I know if I had the time I could do myself. You really need to impress me to get me to buy from you. Saying that I traded with Chris Hamer and bought from Keith Rein. Really nice, talented guys. And I splurged and bought a Freddy Moore Girl figurine. I had been dreaming of her for over a year. Day 3 goal was to make the booth fee again. I was short $10. Again, I killed it! And I couldn’t believe it.
MegaCon was an absolutely wonderful time. We are definitely doing it again next year. Come check us out in Independent Press, booth # to be determined at a later date. It will be under Handmade3D but my boss, who had never seen my personal work in person until MegaCon, says I should change my business name to “Ellen Awesome.”