An Ethel Among Mermans (thornwolf) wrote,
An Ethel Among Mermans

Antheria from a dealer's perspective

This sketch was done in Doodles' book where he had quotes taken from this guy who says hilarious things in his sleep. We were supposed to pick a quote and illustrate it. This was mine :)

Figured I'd let you all know how it went!

I stayed with Balaa and Bagheera who kindly put me, Isil and Ferality up for the convention, and let me carpool with them. Originally the convention was going to be only about 30 minutes away, but then when it moved to Redondo Beach it became a little less than an hour away x_x Not too big a deal since its weekend traffic but meh. We got to do the usual "work hard - eat well" thing where each night we had a delicious "not every day" food (home made hot pot, hot pot at Jazz Cat, Chinese at Tasty Garden) and Balaa introduced me to these addictive little premade coffees in a can you can get in Asian markets. Also, Bagheera reawakened my love for gummy worms. :9 Isil was the source of many hilarious convention in-jokes and Ferality is always fun to hang out with, I'm just glad I got to see her for more than 5 seconds this time since we were staying together XD

Fortunately they DID change the dealer's hours on Friday, so set up for that was 10-12 and opened at noon, closed at 7, we got there closer to noon. The first day was hella slow. Fridays usually are, but there was a whole lot of confusion. I used this day mostly as a social day and received a couple of commissions which allowed me to break even on the table, which is what I was most concerned about at this con.

Something that surprised me though, was that 2 and Jibba were going around asking us if we were comfortable temperature wise, being very proactive about making sure the dealers had what they needed. This is the first time I've ever been in a situation where the con chairs personally asked us, or even cared, how we were doing, with the exception of Glen Wooten at Califur who is always awesome about getting us what we need. 2 and Jibba also asked us how business was going after we had packed up/were outside waiting for our ride to pull up, saying they wanted to make sure that it was a lucrative convention for us, genuinely interested. So, again, very pleased at the interest. No one usually thinks to ask, and it was a refreshing change from some situations where I feel like the con staff actively try to make things more difficult for us (like instructing people to constantly badger my table minion for his minion badge while he's AT my table trying to work, he's not bothering me obviously because he's supposed to be there, leave him alone! but I digress...).

The second day, business boomed, but it had a slow start. The den opened at 10, but the registration didn't open until 11, which I thought was rather backwards, because a lot of our customers who said they were going to be at the con weren't arriving until Saturday, so that led to a big rush of people coming in all at the same time instead of trickling in little by little as would have been preferred in such a small room. So, I would change it so all convention activities open at 10.

Then there was a stupid thing that happened that I only found out about through talking to folks when we were wondering where the hell everyone went, apparently there was a beach party planned AWAY from the hotel, and they "closed" the convention on the schedule. Seriously, saturday "convention closed", which is really dumb because we had a serious lull in the dealer's room as a result (on our longest/busiest day at most cons!) because people didn't know we were still open (why go to the 2nd floor if the convention is closed?). This of course led to a lot of us dealers just yelling across the room to chat to each other and being incredibly casual, which, whatever, that was fun, but we still would have liked a little more organization in the schedule. I'm hoping this was just an oversight/growing pain of the convention.

I had a full table which left me with an empty seat (where Skorzy usually sits but he didn't want to come to the con b/c of all the previous derp, he thought he would be frustrated...which eh...he would have but I think he would have had fun anyways but I understand). This empty chair was really awesome because it meant I got a variety of people to sit next to me and chit chat/help with table stuff, etc. Drake/CentaurDG stayed with me on Friday, got me coffee, helped out, and talked with me for quite awhile which was very enjoyable. It was funny that people mistook him for Skorzy but I guess if you only vaguely remember him, Drake makes a logical substitute? XD Roz/Martes sat and showed me a comic I was curious about, Furtech sat with me and we talked about this and that and the other thing which was always enjoyable, NavyRaptor sat with me a little while and coordinated possible camping plans and then there was Katze who just yelled at everybody and miraculously made a ton of sales for both Balaa and I by just being himself. Thanks guys for the company!

Sunday was really dumb because the den opened at 10, then closed at 2. Guess when hotel check out is...
So business really sucked on Sunday because everyone's trying to get their crap together. If I had to suggest something it would be that the den stay open til 4 or 5 on Sunday so folks have time to check out and have a little bit of time to relax before the dealers pack up. I made a lot of sales after I packed my crap up already, which I was happy to do, doesn't usually work that way, its just because people had to do their thing then run back to the den and buy something they had seen previously but were hemming and hawing about getting (hey it happens!).

Also we didn't anticipate this, but once we experienced it we weren't really happy with the fact that the den stayed open so late. It closed at 7 (so, 10-7), but if it closed at 6 that would amazingly open up a bigger window for us getting dinner and getting our homework done at a reasonable hour. If you figure we leave at 7, by the time we get to a restaurant there's a crowd, it takes an hour to eat, then we go home and do our homework. There was a lot of staying up until 3AM, needless to say XD But this is one of those things where its live and learn, I think in the future if the den closes at 6, a typical dinner hour, the dealers can get out of the room without fear of having their stuff stolen by folks still cruising through, and can get to dinner. 7's around the time folks start drinking anyways so there weren't a lot of people in the den past 6.

There weren't any real bad things that happened in my dealer's experience (aside from little annoyances that just come with being a dealer, of course) except for people being VERY inconsiderate with their costumes and not respecting dealer space. There were a couple of people visiting the dealers behind us that kept hitting me and Balaa in the head with their "adornments" as we're working, and again as I was walking around the dealer's room, totally not okay. Also, it's very rude to haggle with artists if they don't previously present you with a "deal" (such as if you buy this I'll throw this in), don't just lowball them off the bat for prices posted. I heard of a few people getting stiffed for work already completed, or having someone try to bring them down to a ridiculously low price. I think it just comes from people not understanding what dealers go through to bring them their art. We're hungry, often times hopped up on caffeine because we're trying to fight our natural sleep schedule due to doing work the night before, we're sitting down all day, we have to listen to lengthy descriptions (active listening for 9 straight hours is EXHAUSTING I tell you what), and yes while we do this on our own free will it doesn't mean we should undervalue ourselves. I have no problem with saying "no" in those situations fortunately, but...its still kind of rude that people do this to begin with ;/ So, END OF PSA. I did, however meet a lot of awesome people (including Isil's boyfriend Adam). It was a total social con for me which is rare because I go to califur and FC, both of which are fairly active cons, and califur I usually just head straight home since its so close to Skorzy's.

All in all, I would return to Antheria. My problems ended after I was at the convention, all the problems I had prior were before it started, so if those are fixed next time I think it will be an even better experience. Business wise, I had an "oh shit this will never happen, not in a million years at this dinky little con" goal, and I actually met it.'m totally eating my words now, and very grateful. It came from badges and sketchbooks though, this wasn't really a "stuff" convention like Califur was (The past 2 Califurs I barely drew anything but maybe the occasional sketchbook), so I think to turn a profit you'd have to have several custom options available of varying price ranges. Also magnets did very well over the stickers.

Again, this is just one dealer's perspective, I realize its way different for attendees and I heard from several people that the events were really stupidly put together and none-too-interesting. That beach party was made of fail given everything I've heard but its one of those things that's kind of hard to put together because the weather varies so much around this time of year. Yes, its beach weather some of the time, but this weekend it turned particularly humid (especially for this time of year), and no one wants to suit when its hot and muggy. Also, sunday it got cold and rainy and weird, what the heck? So I think having last minute parties, closing the con for said parties (essentially making it mandatory), is not a good idea for future cons. I, however, had an excellent convention in my experiences and will return next year if there is a next year.

Sunday after dealer's close I went with Katzey and Zot to Buffalo Wild Wings which was, oh my god, a great way to cap a convention (wings and beer, woo!), so thank you guys for that. I also got an awesomely derpy badge from Jello (I am both farting AND picking my nose with my tongue...what's not to love?), art from Isil and Fera, prints from Baggy and odds and ends from Balaa. FRIEND SWAG = AWESOME! Thank you everyone for a great con!

For those of you who saw my prints/enjoyed my magnets and stickers, Tugrik does all my print work. I know I talked him up to some of you at the convention but you guys should seriously hit him up for printwork. His prices are very affordable and he has a wide variety of stock available, and you noticed the quality of my stickers/magnets, those are from him :) Please email him at tugrik[at] for projects!
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