Long story short, it was an EXCELLENT convention socially, it was a really not so good con for business. I broke even, but boo-urns did sales suck. It seemed like it was the same across the board though, I kept asking various dealers. Here's what I think happened:
Con registration, the art show, and artists alley were all on the same floor within mere yards of each other. To get to the dealer's den, you had to go down one floor on the escalator (which later broke, and hurf durf, people hate stairs) then turn the sharp corner, go down a hall, then turn left and go down ANOTHER hall, and it was the end of said hall. Astolpho, with whom I was sharing a table, called it the "Dealer's Dungeon". I had people coming up to me on Sunday saying they had no idea we were down there and "too bad" they already spent all of their money at artists alley, which royally blows because we actually paid for our tables -_-
My suggestion for next year that I think will work for everyone: Keep everything together. The second you start splitting up "similar" topics (like separate rooms for the art show, separate locations for dealers den/artists alley) people get lost, and people don't read signs, so its easier for everyone if the convention was able to perhaps rent out one (or both) of the two smaller rooms on either side of the dealers den and make those "artists alley" rooms so you have 2 or three rooms that are right next to each other all dedicated to art/stuff dealers. That way if you wanna see ANY dealer, you don't have to choose one location or the other, we're all right there.
Also, this was the first convention I've done so poorly on sales, and also the first convention my sales of matted prints were really bad. I only sold one, normally I sell out. It was mostly a sketchbook commission and sticker/magnet con for me which was surprising. Its so hard to predict what people will want, I guess all I can do is make sure I have options, which I don't mind doing at all.
I really enjoyed my seating arrangement. Astolpho and I shared a table and we were seated between Miss Monster and Nambroth, who was then seated next to Vantid, who was then seated next to Foxfeather, so we had this row of awesome going on that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The Art Show
I sold 5 of my 10 pieces, minimum bid, but I put them at a price I was happy letting them go for, so no disappointment there. I sold an additional piece at my table as well, so my Sphinx now has a happy home and that makes me happy as well. The art show was not good for most people. The statistics we were given were 1000 some pieces were in the art show, only 300 and some sold, and most were minimum bid. I have no idea if its the economy (which I could have sworn was getting better) or the fact that its close to the holidays and people don't really buy art as gifts? Dunno. But, I was okay with my experience. Less things to take on the plane :)
I didn't get to see the fursuit parade :( Every convention I've been to they've gone through the dealer's den and I thought I had a prime spot for it, but they never came down. I think it was because the escalator broke. We all felt so forgotten! D: There were so many suits there I would have loved to have gotten my photo with that I saw Friday, but didn't see at all Saturday and Sunday. Guy with the Charlie (All Dogs Go To Heaven) fursuit, if you're reading this, please please please if you go to FC please come by my table I want a photo with you!
Also, I really loved Jill0r's black/white cat costume. He's such a bastard.
This is the first convention I've been to where it was mutually agreed that we didn't want to do the "dinner shuffle" and just wanted to order in. This was partly because there were no real places within reasonable walking distance (weather considered) and Fox has this really huge ass Van that we didn't really want to move because parking it is a bitch, so we got the menus for places that deliver to the hotel, which was all Italian. I figured since I'm here, I might as well try Chicago deep dish pizza. Fox likes one place, but the "fan favorite" was another place, so we ordered one from each and had a "tasting". I wish we could have a breeding program for pizzas because I really enjoyed the crust texture of the fan fave pizza, but I preferred the sauce/topping structure of Fox's favorite. That said, I still don't think that Chicago pizza is for me. I prefer my sauce between my dough and cheese like God intended, thank you.
Higgins was kind and stood an hour in the cold to get us a big bag of Doug's Dogs for traditional Chicago style hot dogs. While I appreciated the food and was very hungry, I also don't think I like chicago dogs either. I had always thought they were just made with celery salt, which I've had before and liked, but the topping choices for the "standard" were really weird and not my cup of tea. That said, I heard from several others that they have a few "gourmet" options. Next year I think I will look and see if they have a menu online and send Skorzy or someone for a food run and get that.
We did enjoy the Italian place we ordered from where I just got some basic tortellini and my very first cannoli, at Eldarath's suggestion (and it was a good suggestion at that!)
Then I went out to a sushi boat restaurant with my roommates, Mystee, Bastian, and Katarina, and Dingbat joined us. Kat was very kind and treated me, thanks again Kat! They had a green tea creme brulee that looked suspicious but Bastian was brave and tried it and said it was good, but they didn't have any more float by. Now that I know its possible, I'll seek it out in California (or make my own!). The salmon was particularly good at this restaurant.
As I said, this was an EXCELLENT social convention, and I felt that I got to spend adequate time with a larger group of people that I normally wouldn't have gotten to see since I only attend West Coast conventions. I also got to spend more time with Nambroth and her husband Eldarath who are both awesome people but I never got a chance to hang out with them because we're always so busy. I also got to meet Katarina for the first time, and considering we've been online friends for years and she knew me way back when I was an annoying little teenager, it was really cool to meet her in person.
I got to meet some new people as well, and hung out with Duncan and Takaza (who is amazing at mixing drinks by smell, omg) and saw Roho and Genet and Will and lots of Skorzy's friends who wanted to meet me. Hopefully he'll be able to go with me next year so he can hang out with his buddies he never gets to see.
The hotel is very nice, though expensive. The layout is a little derpy, but I think that next year with a little more working with the hotel and the layouts things can be a little less confusing as to "where stuff is". I REALLY enjoyed hanging out with everyone, I had the absolutely BEST time ever and I look forward to seeing everyone again next year, and I will because... *drumroll*
I am the Guest of Honor for MFF 2011
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D !!!!!
So, I'm really looking forward to that. Thanks all for a great con!